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MatPlus.Net Forum General What is a "line pin" and are there undefined pins?
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(101) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 16:35]

Here is my own feeling on those questions:

Case 1: no.
At least it seems to me that everybody should agree that when a piece is pinned, its range of legal moves is altered, mainly by some royal unit badly placed on the board. But legality means obviously X-legality when we are working with condition X. Here the bQb5 has no Madrasi-legal move, so its range is empty, hence not altered by the presence of Ke2…

Case 2: yes.
At least if we follow the orthodox definition of pinning. Although wQe5 is giving check, its range of legal moves is clearly altered (in particular the capture of the bK would be illegal).

Case 3: no.
The range of Isardam-legal moves from wQe5 goes to b5 (with capture) to g5, and is not altered by the presence of Ke2…
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(102) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 11:42]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-15]

I do not believe that these terms (PIN, Anti-PIN, or SPIKE) have sufficiently good definitions, nor do I expect the present semantic methodologies will establish a logical consistency.

In fact, I do not believe that such definitions can be ascertained, without first providing definitions for the more elementary terms, upon which such terms might fundamentally depend.
I intend to explore some possible meanings for the more fundamental terms (such as CHECK) in another thread (so as not to disturb attempts to make progress here -- despite seeing little reason to hope that this thread will have any such success)...

Until then, please consider the following scenario...

Let us suppose that this community elects to declare that "SPIKE" is fundamentally different from a "PIN."
Others have already claimed that PINs are based upon a specific form of illegality -- a unit is constrained (there may be some debate whether constraint must be effective, or merely virtually), by the self-check of a hostile unit.

SPIKES, we are told, are in a similar class.
Like PINs, they are declared to be a subset of some larger general concept.
Logically, we should want to establish a name (and definition) for the super-set -- but nobody has bothered.

So, suppose that we invent some name -- for now, let's just call them NAILS (until we have a better grasp of this)...
Then, both PINS and SPIKES are subsets of NAILS...

And, for now, let us suppose that all NAILS (both PINS and SPIKES) can be virtual (read: they need not immediately prevent a possible movement, so long as they might inhibit some possibility of movement in an altered setting). So, in my earlier example, the white Rook at a8 does "PIN" (in fact NAIL) the black Pawn on a7 (to the King on a1), regardless that no move is inhibited.

What differentiates the subset of PINs?
As best I can ascertain, PINs are any NAIL which is based upon a specific form of illegality (A PIN is ANY AND ALL NAILs which are based upon self-check).
What then is the definition of SPIKES?
Again, as best I can ascertain, a SPIKE is ANY NAIL which is not a PIN.

Hopefully, I need not explain why this is an absolutely hopeless mechanism for establishing logically consistent terminology -- the semantic mechanism is beyond useless.
There is an inherent presumption that one term (the SPIKE) can effectively encompass all other forms of illegalities (one can easily demonstrate that this is incorrect).
Furthermore, there is an inherent presumption that the mechanics of the SPIKE will be similar (again, one can easily demonstrate that this presumption is false).

What would be the essential characteristics of a NAIL?
We want to presume that the NAIL requires a direct inhibition of movement, by some hostile unit -- after all, this is the basic mechanics of PINS and SPIKES.
But, these are actually the trivial cases...

Finally, what is the ANTI-PIN?
Clearly, it can not be a subset of the NAIL.
If the prefix (anti-) has any meaning (whatsoever!), then clearly it must satisfy the following: NAIL should be to ANTI-NAIL as PIN is to Anti-PIN, and as SPIKE is to OOOPS!
In fact, I challenge anyone to define the ANTI-SPIKE in such a way that it has any hope to preserve an identically relative semantic association.
I can show you ANTI-SPIKES which can hardly be considered an ANTI-NAIL -- so, why should our semantics promote a false association of these terms?

Just consider the following:

(= 2+2 )

=1 2 solutions
Isardam + Anticirce Equipollent

1. Ka6 =

note that in this solution: the white Pawn on b6 does not SPIKE the black King's movement -- in fact, if anything, it is the black Pawn on a7 which inhibits the movement of the black King.
Remove the black Pawn on b6 (and the black King is free to move).
According to NEAL's interpretation of the NAIL (which can be deriving from his definition of PIN), such a removal constitutes a violation of the NAIL concept; thus, it can not be a NAIL (or a SPIKE, since SPIKE is a subset of NAIL).
And, the alternative interpretations would need to argue that the white Pawn (b6) has directly NAILED (in fact SPIKED) the black King to c5, when, in fact, the illegality is actually triggered by a friendly unit (an illegal activation of the black Pawn on a7, when c5 is cleared).

1. Kc6 = (yes, this is stalemate -- but, I challenge readers to answer: in the final position, who NAILs whom?)

I think it way premature to start naming such terms -- we barely understand their possible scope, and we clearly have no clue about their relative association.
Plus, we have not yet defined the critically important fundamentals (e.g., CHECK).
Finally, we have yet to establish whether WFCC will accept that it has SOLE RESPONSIBILITY (and therefore, an inherent obligation) to function as the legitimate arbitrating (and sanctioning) authority, concerning the establishment of universal definitions, for fundamental chess problem terminology, spanning ALL domains of problem chess.

Without WFCC's involvement, we have no means to establish/codify the rules and guidelines (including the definitions for our most fundamental terminology) spanning all domains of problem chess) -- and without this ability, the present discussion fast becomes pointless.
Even if everyone here happens to find agreement about every single elementary term, we will have built a house of cards (which would remain eternally vulnerable to any one dissenting opinion - regardless how carelessly that dissent might have fomented, members of this forum would prove powerless to override such a veto).

We have a standard definition for a SOUND CHESS PROBLEM.
We do not have a standard definition for CHESS, a CHESS PROBLEM, ORTHODOX, FAIRY, STIPULATION, CHECK, ... we do not even have a definition for WFCC.
And, not only are we supposed to put all that aside (to concentrate on the meaning of PIN, LINE-PIN, and ANTI-PIN, SPIKE, etc...), we are supposed to believe that it is not relevant to raise questions about the more elementary terms (upon which these will inherently depend).

Sometimes, I think it is a miracle that we can all checkmate with King and Rook against King.
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(103) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 12:49]

It seems that post No.99 was written in vain.
Is the position in post No.102 legal, despite the Popeye's interpretation?
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(104) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 12:55]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-15]


Popeye is known to be flawed when an anticirce condition (practically ANY form of anti-circe -- including Take & Make, which fulfills all formal criteria) is used in conjunction with Isardam.
The =1 example (2 solutions) is C+ (Win Chloe).

I do not understand how you could presume that other examples (in post 99) were necessarily IN VAIN (let alone how my "STALEMATE IN ONE" example could render them so gravely pointless).
If you were attempting to be sarcastic, at my expense, it was not successful -- I await an honest explanation for your dramatic presumption (if only in the vain hope that you might manage to save yourself from what appears an epic failure).

For anyone who takes any of this discussion personally, I can only encourage you to carefully test your reading comprehension.
None of my commentary is directed at any person; and, I will not tolerate attempts to bait me into a personal battle (this has proven a frequent tactic in this forum, to stall progress and/or destroy all hope for others to engage in an honest discussion, but this is by no means a legitimate form of filibuster).
I hope there is some legitimate purpose for your overly dramatic outburst of presumption; but, to me, it looks like continued trolling.

If you intended to continue such trolling, once again, this is no place for such childish behavior -- please, find somebody who cares to engage in such activity, and meet them elsewhere.
I am here to discuss how this community might establish a logical, coherent, universal meaning for PIN, and any elementary terms upon which this meaning might fundamentally depend.
If you want to honestly engage in that discussion, I welcome whatever thoughts you might share on the topic.
Otherwise, I must insist that you discontinue this stalking -- you are scoring no points here, by attempting to personally engage me -- for the last time: I am not interested.
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(105) Posted by Neal Turner [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 14:15]

"We require one standard -- a universal language which unambiguously describes terminology, spanning every domain of problem chess."

It's clear from all this that Kevin's dream of a Universal Language, providing fundamental definitions that will cover all contingencies, is in reality a pipe-dream.

The field is just too varied and too fluid.
Even if, by some miracle, one could offer something that would be valid for all existing fairy forms, some smarty-pants would come up with a new form or combination of forms which wouldn't be covered by the definitions.

So you'd be continually playing catch-up in a never-ending - and ultimately futile - attempt to maintain universality.
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(106) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 17:00]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-15]

@ Neal,

>>"We require one standard -- a universal language which unambiguously describes terminology, spanning every domain of problem chess."

>It's clear from all this that Kevin's dream of a Universal Language, providing fundamental definitions that will cover all contingencies, is in reality a pipe-dream.

You say it is clear from my statement that a universal standard (definitions for elementary terminology) must be an impossible pipe dream.
Then, you completely failed (or utterly neglected your responsibility) to connect the dots...
Depending only upon my statement as evidence, without providing us any logical reasoning process, you jumped to the conclusion that my "DREAM" must constitute a certain impossibility.
If your conclusion actually did follow from my statement (and not merely a wild leap of logic), you would not have missed the opportunity to demonstrate your flawless reasoning.

We can reasonably conclude that you have failed to persuade anyone (beyond those already willing to presume that your claim contains some trace of validity).
In fact, if you are willing to follow along, I'll even go you one step further...
I could even concede the possibility that there might be some validity behind your conclusion, and still, paradoxically, I can demonstrate that it is entirely flawed.

I need not object to the word, "DREAM" -- there was this truly great American who had little more than a big dream -- you may have heard of him: Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.
Don't get me wrong -- only a fool would compare my tiny hopes (for the chess problem community), with the humanity found in Dr.King's dream of equality (for American, and the world).
But, there is no denying that his dream, 45 years ago, must have seemed an impossible pipe-dream.
In fact, as many years later, we have not fully "covered all contingencies" of his dream -- and, it is entirely possible that we may never fully achieve his dream...
But, even Zeno of Elea would admit, there has been significant movement.

I can scarcely imagine how chaotic and ugly would be my community today, were it not for people who bought into this dream.
The point is this: if you care to see fundamental improvement in our community, you need not believe that it is necessary to cover all contingencies.
In fact, you need not pin your hopes to a fulfillment of this dream, in your own lifetime; you need only believe that this "dream" constitutes a pursuit worthy of taking small steps toward achieving -- nothing more is required (that determination alone is enough to dramatically advance the world).

It is not asking too much to expect reasonable definitions for a few of our most elementary terms -- spanning a broader domain -- this is not impossible.
This is not quantum physics. It is certainly not an axiomatic set theory which will logically define all possible interpretations of chess.
We are certainly capable of building a simple set of elementary definitions, which expand outward, from the foundation...
If we work together, this will prove quite easy (frankly, plenty of folks have already provided us the framework -- at this point, most anybody committed could put it all together).

Turn to chapter 3 of your WFCC Codex, and you will see that it has managed to define a number of critically important terms relating to the SOUNDNESS of a CHESS PROBLEM (COOK, DUAL, Short-Solution, etc). Note that these terms span ALL DOMAINS of problem chess.
But, you have concluded that such a definition is impossible!

>"The field is just too varied and too fluid." -- Neal.

So, how do you explain this definition?
In fact, you went further...

>"Even if, by some miracle, one could offer something that would be valid for all existing fairy forms, some smarty-pants would come up with a new form or combination of forms which wouldn't be covered by the definitions."

OK, smarty-pants, here is your chance: come up with a new chess problem which is not covered by the following definition:
COOK - A chess composition is called cooked if it has a solution that differs in its first move from the author’s solution.

The trouble is, even if you think that you have managed it, you will not have nullified the definition (because WFCC never defined CHESS, or CHESS PROBLEM).
Actually, you can find fault with this, but in so doing, you only help us improve our definitions (I recommend encouraging/thanking people who help us, in this regard).
This is why we have to begin from the most fundamental terms, and take care to do our best (otherwise, our challenges only snowball).
That brings me to the fallacy of your last statement...

>So you'd be continually playing catch-up in a never-ending - and ultimately futile - attempt to maintain universality.

This is where your logical error is most pronounced.
In fact, you have made the same logical error that Zeno once made -- presuming that no movement is possible, unless the ultimate goal is reached.
There is nothing futile about helping to realize improvements in our community -- ultimately, it is your sense of hopelessness which proves futile.
If you know that you will find yourself hungry later (say at lunchtime), would you honestly conclude that it must be futile to eat a proper breakfast?

We need not expect that our definition will be flawless, or that it will cover every possible contingency -- we only need commit to small steps, in the direction of improved definitions.

Even if you hold some things to be self-evident, do not underestimate the value of committing to express them (just think of all Thomas Jefferson achieved by such a declaration).
It is important to state definitions, especially when you THINK you know the meaning!
If you find it impossible to define a specific term (e.g., consciousness), then you never understood the term (see also: the emperor's new clothes).

I promise you, this is a noble effort, which will immediately pay dividends; and, in the long run, it will lead to a windfall gain.

Talk to any really good designer (e.g., software developers involved in problem chess), and you will quickly discover that their success (e.g., the remarkable functionality of their programs, when confronted by complex input) depends upon a carefully considered specification. The better they understand (read: carefully define, generalize and categorize) the key elements, the more resilient their designs prove.

I can not say it any better than J.R.R. Tolkien:
"This task was appointed to [us] If [we] do not find a way, no one will."
We need only appreciate that "there is some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for."

On the other hand, we can presume that nothing is possible -- that all hope is but a pipe-dream -- and see who would enlist in this fellowship of despair.
I mean, honestly... from where do you all derive such a nihilistic philosophy?
Oh, now I remember -- this is that community which insisted (for decades) that the Babson Task was completely impossible!
Except, some smarty-pants named Leonid Jarosch proved that this community can not possibly define the word "impossible."
So, you should all give up trying to use it in a sentence -- you only think you know the meaning of the word.
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(107) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 18:01]

I can't guess with whom you discuss, Kevin. Do you read what was written in this tread?
We search for the essence of the features, so we try to approach them from various aspects. If all possible approaches would lead to the same area, we might at least improve our perception and understanding. And perhaps to hope that the area of the essence might eventually shrink to a point.

Pulling a ready-made perfect definition out of a hat would certainly be a great contribution. If you can't do that, you can try to contribute by offering new aspects or at least to analyze what is potentially good in the reasoning of the others.

We all are more or less aware of the limits of the offered concepts, you don't have to elaborate excessively on that. Destructive contribution is an easy way, constructive contribution is highly desirable.

- "...Logically, we should want to establish a name (and definition) for the super-set -- but nobody has bothered...."
(Immobility was mentioned, restricted mobility could be mentioned, if necessary)
"...- Plus, we have not yet defined the critically important fundamentals (e.g., CHECK)...."
(One concept was described but relying on the fundamental concept of "attack" which is not defined)

"...If the prefix (anti-) has any meaning (whatsoever!), then clearly it must satisfy the following: NAIL should be to ANTI-NAIL as PIN is to Anti-PIN, and as SPIKE is to OOOPS!..."

I don't understand what you are talking about. Why the existence of Anti-pin would cause the existence of Anti-nail or Ooops? Antipin might be related to Antibattery and that's all, so far.

I didn't mention your example as related to post 99. But I admit that it was not clear.
It was a separate question caused by my mistake (forgetting the "Equipollent").
I apologize for that.
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(108) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 08:44]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-16]


The semantics tends to become a permanent fixture (read: we almost never improve it).
Therefore, we should delay the assignment of semantic labels, until we have some understanding of the structure.

I consider it foolish to give the name SPIKES, to describe one subset of the general PIN mechanism, which is is based upon anything other than self-check.
First, we have not yet defined CHECK.
Second, we have not yet defined PIN.
Finally (most importantly), we have not yet defined the most general form of PIN.

Presume that we have defined: CHESS, and THE CHESS PROBLEM.
We can neglect the various subcategories (e.g., ORTHODOX/FAIRY -- I contend this is not a real subdivision, but it does not matter for our purposes).
Furthermore, presume that we have clearly established THE CHESS PROBLEM to be the jurisdiction for some legitimate authority (either WFCC, or some virtual Federation yet to be created).

We want to start defining the NATURE of the most fundamental terms; and, we want to go from the MOST GENERAL FORM, to the most SPECIFIC.

CHECK is probably the second most elementary term, in all of CHESS -- the first being the definition of a ROYAL-UNIT (but, they go hand in glove, and the latter is fairly self-evident).
Aside: ROYAL is such a poor semantic decision (since Queens are generally considered royals, this only confuses your audience) -- a much better label would be SOVEREIGN.

At any rate, we want to consider CHECK in the most general sense, and we want to define its nature.

Several people have tried instead to define check according to its mechanism.
For example, Hauke's definition is particularly awful:

>Hauke says: "The king is said to be 'in check' if it is attacked by one or more of the opponent's pieces, even if such pieces are constr..."

I am sorry, but for our purposes (even neglecting completely that this definition presumes a King), such a definition is beyond useless.
We do not care about the mechanism to put somebody in check -- just tell us what is the nature of CHECK.

You have to know to begin here:
1) CHECK is either a definable state, or
2) CHECK is a virtual threat to annihilate a SOVEREIGN (where annihilation of the SOVEREIGN is based upon some definable rule).

In fact, we do not have a choice, here -- do you see why the second option can not be considered correct?
Hint: think Rex Multiplex (not Anti-Kings).

Aside: Anti-Kings is a poor semantic -- it should be anti-SOVEREIGNS -- hopefully, we are beginning to appreciate how the FIDE Chess perspective has poisoned a more logical development.
...and, I have not even touched upon the inherent unfairness of such a perspective.

In Anti-SOVEREIGNS, you could define annihilation based upon some mechanism of anti-attacking (check need not be a defined state).
But, you can not define CHECK as a sovereign annihilation mechanism, when it might depend upon a virtual threat to annihilate either ONE or ALL of the sovereign units.
Thus, check must be a definable state (it follows that Checkmate must be in inability to escape the state of being in Check, however Check is defined).
Check has no mechanism -- in fact, it might be defined in such a way that it does not depend upon SOVEREIGN-UNITS.

I am only trying to convey the necessary thought process, here.
Hopefully, this helps (even if it does not convey the legality pertaining to the rule book of any specific game -- at least we understand something about the nature of check).

Returning to the matter of PINs (and the derivative forms)...
The last thing we want to do is apply a semantic label (e.g., ANTI-PINS), when we have no intended meaning for the prefix (never mind that the word is not defined).
The prefix implies some relative association (and it must hold for the general case).
If you define PINS and SPIKES to be a subset of one class, let's call it NAILS, then clearly, ANTI-PINS would imply a relationship with PINS, which must hold for NAILS and SPIKES.
In other words:

Anti-PIN must be to PIN as both:
a) Anti-SPIKE is to SPIKE, and
b) Anti-NAIL is to NAIL.

If this relationship breaks, then your semantic presumption was completely invalid.
And, somebody is eventually going to have to correct your blunder (and, as we all should know by now, overturning blunders is a very difficult process).
We would MUCH prefer to create a logical semantic process, with a broad scope -- rather than constantly overturn the blunders which are churned by an unintelligent semantic methodology.

Instead, we should first define the more general class (which I have tentatively called NAILS -- though, I am certainly not promoting this name).
What matters is that we outline the general concept (labels can wait).
Once the general idea is well understood, we can begin considering its possible subcategories, and any analogous concepts (an iterative process is required).
Eventually, we can make an informed decision about semantics -- we will have options to place the orthodox semantic (PIN), and we will have information to promote more intelligent labels for subcategories, and any related associations with this general concept.
Until we resolve our blindness to the consequences of our semantic decisions, it is premature to define PIN -- like putting the Pawn before the King.

Currently, CHESS is like the wild, wild west -- there is effectively no law, no intelligence, and every mindless cowboy (blinded by rubbing alcohol) is constantly shooting off their gun.
Yes, you can plan to continue making blunders, and pretend that this will resolve itself (read: you can PRETEND that all paths lead to the same outcome, regardless of intelligence).
But, if the games of CHESS teach us anything, it is that our intelligent choices, made in the present, can have a dramatic consequence upon our future!
Consider: by the time the future arrives (the one you presume will be capable of overturning our every blunder), they will have been buried under a mountain of accumulated blunders.
Why? Because we recklessly allowed our failures (bad design, and poor semantics) to snowball, in perpetuity, in the general direction of that future (which you expect to fix all).
We pretend to be powerless to make relatively tiny corrections -- ignoring that wise choices made today will save incalculable work tomorrow.
Do not presume that the future will be able to undo our careless pawn advances (false labels do not so easily move backwards).

Further, that future would be forced make enormous corrections to an increasing pile of published chess problems.
They could, of course, just throw away all past problems, and start over (it might prove much easier).
That is something to consider, before we burden the future to fix all our accumulated mistakes.

How will the future look upon CHESS PROBLEM enthusiasts of this generation? Either:
1) we lacked any ability to look ahead and/or we exhibited no care for our future, or
2) we passed a bright torch.

And, the ultimate judgement resides with the future; so, I would think very carefully, before deciding that our path does not matter.
It may not matter to you, but it will matter to the future (YOUR future, if you want to claim a share in it; and, here is your opportunity to do just that).
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(109) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 10:11]

My intention in message 98 was following.

The reader should have checked case 1 and give wrong answer.
After this he should have checked cases 2 and 3 see the difference and give the correct answers.
Afterwards he was expected to return to case 1 and change his answer).

So, my answers are:

Case 1:
The black queen is both pinned and paralyzed. These are in general two different effects which cannot differentiated with Queens/Madrasi (but the difference can be easily shown with, for example, grasshoppers).

Cases 2-3 (with correct answers from Nicolas) show that "pin" and "spike" are also different effects.

So, there is quite a number of equivalent and acceptable definitions of "pin", as a specific type of limiting piece movement (as pointed by Vlaicu); there is also quite acceptable definition of check (as pointed by Hauke).

As a result I do not consider the situation as tragic as Kevin paints it.

Concerning WFCC role, the organization is able to direct and to support, but is unable to force somebody do something. There was a terminology committee in PCCC/WFCC for years and for years there were no proposals for it, so it has died from malnutrition and nobody has cried).
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(110) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 11:01]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-16]


>Concerning WFCC role, the organization is able to direct and to support, but is unable to force somebody do something.

WFCC clearly has authority to codify the definitions of important terms (e.g., chapter 3, the Codex defines: COOK, DUAL, etc).
There is no reason they can not define others (nor has anyone provided any reason to presume that any specific definition must be impossible).

I agree that WFCC can not FORCE you to accept their definition of check (any more than they can force you to accept their definition of COOK, or DUAL).
But, there is no doubt that WFCC has reserved for themselves the authority (sole authority, if you recognize WFCC as the highest authority in Problem Chess) to define terminology.

This authority is granted by the people, and as such, it requires that WFCC fulfills their obligation, in a responsible (and fair) manner.

>There was a terminology committee in PCCC/WFCC for years and for years there were no proposals for it, so it has died from malnutrition and nobody has cried).

I have been making such proposals, in this forum, for more than a decade.
I was not the first, nor was I alone.
However, I do agree that not one single delegate has ever welcomed (nor actively forwarded) such proposals.

The nicest way I can say it: the delegates are non-responsive (perhaps they should be elected by an honest process, whereby they might be compelled to represent our best interests).

I have been asking for years for some clarification about the nature of WFCC.
They refuse even to specifically address the nature of a CHESS PROBLEM (e.g., does Shogi count? And, if so, why would Shogi problems entitle a composer to a FIDE Title?).

Maybe we are drifting off topic... my apologies for responding to an off topic remark, here... HOWEVER...
As it pertains to WFCC's DUTY to arbitrate the standard meaning (and semantics) of key terms -- and yes, define fairy/retro elements, too! -- this becomes a necessary clarification.

I understand there are challenges involved in developing a universal standard, which encompasses all domains of problem chess; but, that does not excuse inaction.
And, the delegates can not excuse their failure to fulfill the organization's charter, by pretending that nobody "cried" about their refusal to welcome proposals.
This is WFCC's duty -- and, the delegates were supposedly "elected" to fulfill wFCC's charter (not merely to pad their resume).

For years, I have stated that the delegates should seek a voluntary committee, from a diverse background (especially software developers, who require a good, universal standard!), to help make intelligent suggestions to codify standards for fundamental terminology.

The reason our solving programs do not agree, the reason our problem databases do not agree, the reason our problem publications do not agree: WFCC has no standard.
The reason variant gamers and fairy enthusiasts do not agree: WFCC has never reached out to them, to help create a universal standard.

As I have said, developers are working on a universal notation to describe the position -- and movements -- in any game.
This is generally based upon Chess.
Care to guess why this does not yet accommodate chess problems? It is not WFCC's failure to promote chess problems, but its failure to develop such a standard.
Think of it -- this allows two gamers to play the most obscure variant, but for how many will it fail to facilitate the promotion of composed problems?
Note: Promotion of chess Problems is, according to the WFCC charter, a key duty of WFCC delegates.

The delegates have been asleep at the switch, and they lack the foresight to see that we are being run off the track!
I guess they were all waiting for somebody to shriek, from being thrown under the wheels -- I guess they are all hard of hearing.

I understand that the overwhelming majority in this community have great difficulty in accepting that our affiliation with FIDE has been stretched beyond any logical association.
Yes, there are titles and revenues involved -- and, we can not ignore that any reorganization could mean a great deal to the vast majority of this community.

I am not promoting chaos -- on the contrary, I am promoting an intelligent transition, which remedies the present chaos.
Do not expect me (nor any individual) to hand-deliver a complete set of proposals which remedy a long history of accumulated blunders.
And, you can not expect that any team of programmers will provide this -- in fact, that would only undermine the notion of fair competition.

If WFCC delegates can not perform their duty, somebody else will (and WFCC delegates will soon find themselves having to admit that they serve no function).
If this is the attitude of WFCC delegates (we heard nothing, thus we did nothing!), I would not expect that bullet-point to endure long on the resume...

WFCC is ripely positioned to fall -- somebody need only create a more general, more responsive problem association... develop a fair and honest standard, spanning all domains...
And then, who will remember what WFCC was (or all that it failed to do)?
You can not say that you were never given fair warning (when you were the one appointed to the watch).

...Considering how this community treats the people who sound the alarms, maybe, for the first time, I am beginning to see why WFCC might have been left so detached, on the tracks.
If you can't build on the past, you could hardly engineer a better refuge than natural decay.
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(111) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 11:24]

As far as there is no general agreement of what a pinning exactly means, the answers to your questions in post 98, Georgy, remain subjective.

I feel unnatural to claim that a paralyzed unit may be considered as pinned (case 1), the reason being that a paralyzed piece has strictly no power (except to paralyze another unit), and being pinned is a kind of power (although “negative”).

This is just like a dummy pawn in orthodox chess. Would you claim there are positions where such a piece may be pinned? To my eyes a coherent definition of pinning should exclude such a possibility.
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(112) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 11:57]

Yes, until we have some kind of Ye olde Codex, defining everything up to the last letter and accepted by everyone, all the opinions will be subjective. You are right in the sense that the paralysis is a stronger effect which overshadows pin, and so it does not much matter if the piece is pinned, when it is paralyzed. But as both effects may appear and disappear independently (in case of grasshoppers, for example), I think it is also correct to take them into account independently.

Concerning second part, yes the piece may pinned even if it currently has no moves or cannot move at all. As i have written before, this is the property of position - it does not matter, if the piece in question has a physical opportunity to leave the king in check.

This in reality is not as strange as it may seem, because it makes the definition simpler and less ambiguous. And I think there is even no need to support this thought with examples, like Dynamo.
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(113) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 23:47]

Georgy, I wonder what would not be a property of a position?
Pin means that a departure from a particular set of squares would not be legal due to a selfcheck.
Antipin is the same about an arrival.
These are the properties of a position just as everything else.
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(114) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Friday, Oct 17, 2014 07:54]

"Not a property of position" is, of course, an effect of move.

For instance, "pin" is a property of position, while "self-pinning" is not.

So, the word "departure" in your definition is not the the best, as it generally assumes an "arrival" and raises a lot of questions (what if departure is impossible? what if there is no check after arrival? (specific one? all available?)).

So the word "removal" instead, or "absence", if you prefer it, is better, as it does not allow these questions to appear.

The problem with anti-pin is that in case of pin we have "a pinned piece", that is, the one is undergoing a removal test, while in case of possible "anti-pin" the similarity is not obvious.

Here we either have an effect of move, if a specific piece may arrive to "anti" line, or the effect is tied to line/square, not to a piece. I tend to view anti-pin/anti-battery as an effect of move, and so the direct analogy with pin/battery is broken.
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(115) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Oct 17, 2014 11:55]

Take the dummy pawn: Even if it can't move, assume its a neutral
one and a locust tries to capture it. (Or a friendly unit moves
it via Dynamo rules.)
Thus I find it more natural to resort to a remove-X definition
than a move-X-definition.
Any now I'm back to an important OTB game :-)

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(116) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Friday, Oct 17, 2014 15:24]

Georgy, I apologize for not writing exactly and precisely.
But we are far from exact definitions and I don't even try to formulate them.
I have expected that the essence of post No.99 would be clear enough and that anyone truly interested would make his own speculations about that essence.

So, "playing a move from/onto" a square could be replaced with "put off/on" a square.
(anti)pin or (anti)battery are not the static properties of a position, these concepts are based on the effects of a respective hypothetical change of position's properties.
The essence of the respective changes is "from occupied to empty" or the other direction.
The legality of a hypothetical change indicates a battery or a pin.
Prefix "anti" depends on the direction of a change.

We should be aware about the essence of concept of "pieces" if we wish to generalize the essence of chess.

Chess position is a total of relations among the squares of chessboard. Each square has particular properties created by the respective factors.
The most common factor visually appears as what we call a piece. A piece determines the relations of the square it occupies with the other squares.
A position changes by moving the pieces, creating a new total of relations among the squares.
Although we clearly perceive the play of pieces, it is actually all about the change of particular properties of the particular squares.

The features like check, attack, observing, spike, pin, battery etc., come out of the square-properties.
If we want to generalize the concept of some feature, we should be aware of the relations among the squares and extract/abstract only those relations which are relevant for defining that feature.
For the (anti)pins&batteries, it's irrelevant whether there's a piece of some type, whether there's a Dummy or an Imitator or just a stone.
There's only "occupied/empty" and the relevant hypothetical change.
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(117) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 01:59]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-18]

Hauke is approaching this with the correct strategy: ANALYSIS.
He smartly suggests making intelligent alterations to the position, in order to objectively determine (based upon an algorithmic interpretation of the feedback) whether a unit is PINNED.
Who could disagree?

In fact, with some minor refinement, his analysis technique would allow us to determine additional information (beyond whether a specific unit is PINNED).
We might also use this analysis technique to determine:
1) what UNIT (or set of units) is the PINNER of a given PINNED unit? (note: I will later demonstrate how a unit might be PINNED by a set of multiple units, or PINNERs)
2) is the PINNED unit under an "actual" pin, or merely a "nominal" pin? (note: a dummy unit can only be "nominally" PINNED, since it is no movement is actually inhibited).
3) what is the PIN-LINE (and what are the PELLE movements on that PIN-LINE)? (note: the answer to this question may blow back the hair -- like Beyonce! -- of the orthocentric crowd).
4) yet to be determined: can a set of units be PINNED?

I am only interested in the most general form of the PIN, and not merely some subclass -- whether based upon a subset of illegalities (it is premature to consider specific mechanisms which cause illegality, such as self-check), or based upon the LINEARITY of PINs.
Unless we first establish the general PIN concept, our every attempt to label a given subclass is equivalent to building castles in sand -- and if we label something without giving a definition, we are building sandcastles in the clouds!
aside (for WFCC delegates): do you, or do you not, intend to operate as a competent building inspector?

I believe that the PIN label should be applied to the most general form (the super-category) of the fundamental concept, but this reduces into a semantic debate (which I will will only consider in a tangential commentary -- hopefully, at the end).

Purely in the interest of accommodating an intelligent discussion, I will apply an invented term (the NAIL) to describe the most general form (the super-form) of the PIN concept.
The reader has the option to either:
1) interchange these terms (as I suggest: NAIL = PIN = the super-form), or
2) derive any subcategory they wish to define (based upon specific illegality mechanisms of the NAIL).

Furthermore, to resolve a contention encountered in several contradictory attempts to define the PIN (or NAIL), I will introduce two terms which define key sub-types for the NAIL:
1) NOMINAL NAIL - any NAIL which does not actually inhibit some virtual movement, and
2) ACTUAL NAIL - any NAIL which actually does inhibit some virtual movement.
These invented terms (what would Hans Kmoch do?) will be better clarified by an application of Hauke-ish analysis.

Consider this example:
(= 3+2 )

Ironically, the orthocentric crowd might want to consider this an "ABSOLUTE PIN" -- despite the fact that it accomplishes NO alteration of movement!
I will later show a HYPER-ABSOLUTE NAIL (or PIN), which makes for an interesting comparison.

Presuming WHITE is on the move... removal of the black Pawn (a6) would result in an ILLEGALITY, thus the black Pawn may be considered NAILed.
However, the NAILed unit (a6) is only a "nominally" NAILed unit, because none of its virtual moves are inhibited.
note: if a white Pawn were added at b5 (or, alternatively, if the unit on a6 were a black Queen), this would become an "actual" NAIL.

Next, to determine the NAILer (or set of NAILers), for a given NAILed unit, we first remove the NAILed unit, and subsequently test the alteration of any additional units.
This can be done two ways:
1) we can REPLACE sets of units (with impassible holes), to determine the DIRECT NAILers (of a given NAILed unit), or
2) we can REMOVE sets of units, and iterate the first step, in order to determine the INDIRECT NAILers (of a given NAILed unit).

Thus, after removal of the black Pawn (a6), we see that the subsequent HOLE-REPLACEMENT of the white Rook (a7), restores legality (causes the illegality to vanish).
In fact, legality now depends ONLY upon the hole-replacement of this single unit (a7), therefore the white Rook is the lone-NAILer (the one member in the set of NAILers, of bPa6).

If we care to determine INDIRECT NAILers -- not particularly interesting to this discussion, so I'll skip the detailed analysis -- we would remove the white Rook, then continue this replacement process (obviously, we would discover that the white Queen, at a8, is an INDIRECT NAILer).

Furthermore, analysis will also establish that the white Rook is a NOMINAL-DIRECT NAILer (and the white Queen a NOMINAL-INDIRECT NAILer).
Removal of all NAILers (or equivalently, HOLE-Replacement of the full set of DIRECT NAILers) will not result in any additional virtual movement for the NAILed unit (black Pawn, at a6).
So, analysis (an objective algorithm!) demonstrates that this is a NOMINAL NAIL.

Moreover, consider the NAIL-LINE (and the LINEAR PELLE-Movements) of the NAILed unit... the black Pawn has movement along the a-file LINE.
Unfortunately, when we consider the NAIL-LINE, our faulty semantic logic begins to crumble..
Our orthocentric intuition suggests that a NAILed unit might have some LINEAR set of PELLE-movements possible; but, we make a false projection of this linear assumption, onto the general case -- in general, the NAIL (or PIN) does not operate on a LINE (but on a complex CURVE)!

To illustrate, consider what happens when we add a white Pawn at b5... the NOMINAL NAIL becomes an ACTUAL NAIL, because the virtual move (1...axb5) is inhibited -- no big deal, right?
Now, keep the white Pawn b5, and add a condition (Exchange Circe -- captured units, except Royals, are reborn onto the square vacated by the capturing unit).
Since 1...axb5[+wPa6] becomes a legal virtual move, the NAIL toggles back to NOMINAL.

What happened to the NAIL-LINE? What happened to the presumption of a linear PELLE-MOVEMENT? That LINE was BENT, to include b5 (yes, 1...axb5[+wPa6] may be considered a PELLE move).
In the general case, NAILs (PINs) do not operate on LINES -- but upon complex curves!

--- ASIDE: in some later posting (perhaps a new thread?) I will address the semantics issue of PIN, more completely...
For now, suffice it to say that any attachment of this term (PIN) to a subset of the general case, will effectively render the term useless (and it is a dirt poor idea to undermine this orthodox term).
Ironically, the orthocentric inventors (of so much undefined terminology!) are so recklessly eager to mark territory (from their own perspective), that their resulting carelessness (to consider the general case) constantly results in an undermining of their own cause.

We can not expect the historical development of chess semantics to be completely logical (before Euclid, math existed in such a chaotic state).
But, the modern age has no excuse for systematically failing to address the result of these snowballing blunders.
A less rigorous treatment results in a pretense of understanding, and a semantics which clouds understanding.
It repels newcomers, and falsely biases judgement (especially by distorting the concept of "fairy economy")!

Consider the historical development of basic unit labels, and their definitions...

The ROOK label (defined by ancients) essentially describes what recognize (today) to be a "(0,1) Rider" ... if you ignore:
1) that the term also defines an image,
2) that the term is not actually equivalent to this most elegant definition -- there are actually a variety of unhealthy differences, such as:
a) rooks have additional castling considerations,
b) rooks are reborn (in the arbitrary forms of circe/anticirce) onto different squares,
c) etc.

Contrast this with the CAMEL (defined by ancients)...
The CAMEL essentially describes a "(2,3) Leaper", and you need ignore nothing (its specific image depends upon a defined glossary, and it has no unhealthy differences).

A logical development would have defined (and semantically labeled) these terms according the most general case.
Their meaning could have been derived from the name -- even when in abbreviated form!
The notion of fairy-economy, naturally, would default to the MOST GENERAL FORM of expression (rather than the most orthocentric form)!
And, with a healthy understanding of economy, we might develop a logical formula to instantiate and classify (reducing the likelihood of formal redundancies).

I could go on... for days and days... but, the more persuasive my arguments, the more likely I am to encounter despair (read: that non-credible insistence that this must be impossible, based upon the realization that nobody yet has done this for us).
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(118) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 03:17]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-10-18]

To illustrate the possibility of MULTIPLE NAILers (or PINers), please consider this fairly recent problem of mine (published in June, and improved shortly after):
On PDB, see PROBID='P1286171'.

In the diagram, solution ii) shows rook-promotions (resulting in the final position):

(= 2+2 )

Black to play
Anticirce Equipollent + Isardam (+Cavalier Major -- promotions to Nightriders, instead of Knights -- which is not specifically relevant to this diagram)

Here, black is stalemated, by a complex NAIL- (or PIN-) mechanism.

First, note that black is NOT in check (white has no threat to play Rb2xKb3[+wRb4], because the resulting position is illegal -- bRb1 would Isardam attack wRb4, but not vice versa!).
Is the white Rook NAILED (or PINNED)? Is it absolute? The orthocentrics have no objective answer (no definition, no algorithm).
By analysis, we can determine that it must be NAILED -- removal of the black Rook would sufficiently prove this fact.

So, why has black no legal moves?

Start with the black Rook...
First, the black Rook can not legally capture on b2 (since the rebirth square, b3, is obstructed).
Second, the black Rook must be NAILED (or PINNED) -- but, not by any single unit; instead, it must be NAILED by a SET of multiple units (the pair of wRb2, and bKb3).

This can be demonstrated by applying the Hauke-ish analysis technique, described in the previous post.
Removal of the white Rook would result in a sudden freedom of movement for the black Rook.
But, not only the white Rook -- removal of the black King would similarly result in a sudden freedom of movement for the black Rook!
Thus, the black Rook must be NAILED (or PINNED) by the SET of units (the pair: b2 and b3).

Now, consider the black King...
First, the black King can not legally capture on b2 (for similar reasons preventing the black Rook from such capture -- here, the rebirth square, b1, is obstructed).
Second, the black King must be NAILED (or PINNED) -- but, again, not by any single unit; instead, it must be NAILED by a SET of multiple units (the pair of wRb2, and bRb1).

The black King is inhibited from any movement, because it would introduce an illegality (it would activate an illegal Isardam-specific attack from the black Rook -- but not the white rook! -- upon the other Rook).

Removal of the white Rook would result in a sudden freedom of movement for the black King.
But, not only the white Rook -- removal of the black Rook would similarly result in a sudden freedom of movement for the black King!
Thus, the black King must be NAILED (or PINNED) by the SET of units (the pair: b2 and b1).

In fact, here is a HYPER-ABSOLUTE NAIL (or PIN) -- which is MUCH more absolute than the "absolute pin" (e.g., see the black Pawn on a6, shown in the example of my previous post).
Recall that the "absolute PIN" may achieve NO inhibition of virtual movement, whereas the "hyper-absolute NAIL (or PIN)" provides a stronger chemical bond.
Both ILLEGALITY and CHECK may be considered DEFINED STATES of a position, but ILLEGALITY TRUMPS CHECK!

I encourage readers to consider the remaining phases...

This complex pinning strategy is somewhat similar (but the units are inverted!) in the Bishop-promotions solution, seen in the first-solution of the twin phase.
And, the complexity is even more pronounced in the remaining solutions (Nightrider-promotions, and Queen-promotions).
Plus, there are some failed attempts provided, which help to better illustrate some complex UN-NAILING (or UNPINNING) possibilities.

This can not be described in terms of SPIKES, nor ANTI-PINS (these undefined -- and orthocentric! -- terms do not help us, whatsoever, to understand the functional mechanism shown).
Even in combination, such terms prove useless!

To understand this problem, I believe, requires a more fundamental (GENERAL) understanding of the PIN concept...
1) You need to allow that NAILS (or PINS) may be applied non-lineraly (on complex CURVES), and
2) You need to allow that NAILED UNITS (or PINS) may be NAILED by a SET of multiple "NAILER" units.

These more fundamental (more general) concepts are enough to understand the complex PIN-mechanism of my problem... and, they may greatly help you to make your own.
I recommend investigating this in conditions with defined states of illegalities (e.g., Isardam), especially in conjunction with Anticirce forms (including Take & Make).

Unfortunately, popeye can not solve this problem, because it was designed with an orthodox interpretation of the Isardam condition (which fails when Anticirce forms are conjoined).
Hopefully, the team will remedy this, soon.
My problem was tested with Win Chloe (and I have tested Win Chloe's interpretation, fairly carefully)...

Happy hunting!
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(119) Posted by Neal Turner [Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 11:17]; edited by Neal Turner [14-10-18]

Let's talk Football!
What do we mean by 'football'?
It's difficult to say because it comes in so many varieties - we have:
Football (that's 'Soccer' to you Kevin), American football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Aussie rules, Gaelic football, Five-a-side football etc,etc

Now because they all come under the heading of 'football' they have certain features in common, including things like:
'pitch', 'team', 'ball', 'goal', 'kick', 'pass', 'offside', 'foul', 'penalty', 'throw-in'.

But for each type of football some or all of these fundamental concepts will be defined differently.
In fact this MUST BE THE CASE because this is what differentiates them as seperate games!

So it's obvious where I'm going - the different forms of chess can be considered to be different games, and what differentiates them is the way they define the various concepts of chess:
'board', 'piece', 'move', 'capture', 'check', 'battery', 'pin' etc.

Taking this view, the idea of trying to produce universal definitions doesn't make sense, because the whole point of fairy/variant chess is that the definitions are different!
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(120) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 14:11]; edited by Georgy Evseev [14-10-18]


I think that what is really going on here is unneeded complication of a reasonably simple case.

Your statement "But we are far from exact definitions and I don't even try to formulate them" is wrong. The good thing with definitions is that they define their scope. In most cases it is much better to have a simple definition and attune the scope to it than to makee a lot of special cases only to see that you are unable to predict all of them.

Yes, with the traditional definition of pin we may have a lot of purely formal cases (like pinning of a dummy or a good Kevin's example of vertically pinned pawn with Circe Exchange). But there is nothing wrong with this. We already have a lot of static, formal and uninteresting pins in existing problems, so it is impossible to propose the definition to make any possible pin interesting.

Traditional definition allows us to keep the notion of pinning piece and pinned piece, though not necessarily the concept of pin line. The concept of Pelle movement should be generalized as the legal movement of the pinned piece after which it remains pinned with the same pinner. (According to this definition the case of W: Re1 - B: Kg1 Rf1 Circe - 1...R:e1(Ra1) is a Pelle movement; the case of W: Rc3 - B: Kc1 Sc2 Anticirce - 1...Sa1 is also one. There is nothing wrong when you find something that fits definition but not expected before. With new kinds of fairy pieces and conditions this is really to be expected.)

Concerning your interpretation of position as a set of squares with different properties, it is, of course, possible, but seems even more difficult to generalize. So traditional approach with pieces seems more fruitful)) to me.

Concerning Kevin's example of Isardam+Anticirce Equipollent, it is mainly an example how a reasonably simple thing may be made incomprehensible.

1. If Popeye and WinChloe treat some things differently, it does not mean that one is correct and another is wrong. It must be considered as slightly different fairy conditions programmed. As far as I understand the difference, in Popeye Madrasi paralysys requires only observation, while in WinChloe an attack (a real possibility to capture) is required. It is the author of the problem who decides, what is intended, and nobody else.

2. Kevin also pays the price for overgeneralization. If he would have said that the rook is pinned while the king is spiked, then, really, no more comments are necessary (why Kevin declared this explanation impossible is beyond me). And of course there no pinning unit in case of spike.
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