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(1) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 12:52]


So we've just seen a new award in which 1st Prize is a SOTF - a Selfmate Of The Future!
It makes a change I suppose from all those HOTFs.
Of course I've got nothing against what these designations stand for - combining two (or more!) sets of variations demonstrating different thematic complexes in the same diagram - fantastic!
No, my beef is with this 'TF' label.
It's some years since it was first coined, and guess what! We're here! The Future is Now!
Are we going to be stuck with this silly tag forever (as we were with 'Fairy Chess'), or can we break the spell and come up with something more rational?
It might already be too late, but maybe we could use our lock-down time to good effect and devise a more descriptive designation.
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(2) Posted by Frank Richter [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 13:35]

Nowadays this is often called "Adabashev synthesis".
You may refer to last FIDE Album on page 660.
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(3) Posted by Joose Norri [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 13:40]; edited by Joose Norri [20-04-02]

This being the Mat Plus site, it makes sense to have a look at some old issues. In 2-4/1994 there is Marjan's interview with Gulyaev-Grin: "It is interesting to mention that the principle of 2+2 compatible thematic variations (now very fashionable in helpmates) had been popularized in a twomover long ago, by A.P. Gulyaev and his comrades." The example is from 1930, no less, with a pair of Schiffmans and a pair of self-block dual avoidance:


In issue 15/1997 Adabashev's article from 1937 was reprinted, Synthetic Method of Composing. He shows how
can be split in two problems with the variations Bb6/Bxd8 and Rd7/Rxa7.

And he shows how
was composed by blending two thematically different problems.
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(4) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 17:47]

Thanks Joose, for quoting this!
"Adabashev synthesis", used in direct play, sounds more logical. Or simply thematic pairs.
Both h# tendencies, of matching tactical contents of different lines, and of creating groups of related variations, seemed to be transferred from direct play to help-play.
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(5) Posted by Alain Villeneuve [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 21:02]

Yes, this "HOTF" is unbearable.
Usual tendency to believe chess is just beginning with gifted people of XXIe century, and in the past, there were only fools with "engstirnig" minds.
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(6) Posted by Jakob Leck [Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 22:28]

Thank you for bringing this topic up. One of those terms that tend to stick, but are dated. Like the "helpmate revolution", which today is rather well established.
The label "OTF", apart from the timeline issue you mention, to me has another little issue: While it is a term for a technical classification, it is in some way judgmental, "of the future" can have a positive connotation. This can be rather ironic in problems that are technically of this type, but with lame thematic content and clearly not "the future" of helpmate composition.
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(7) Posted by Geoff Foster [Friday, Apr 3, 2020 00:40]

The label "OTF" was never meant to mean "Of The Future". Below is something that I wrote in The Problemist Supplement in July 2019:

The term ‘TF form’ is due to Chris Feather, who used the code ‘TF’ in his H#2 collection to indicate that the solutions contain at least two different themes, each occurring in at least two phases. ... When Feather and his publisher friend Friedrich Chlubna decided to publish a booklet of helpmates of type TF, they joked about what the term could possibly mean. In the end they called their booklet, which was published in 2000, Helpmates of The Future?? (the two question marks implied that they hoped such problems weren’t the helpmates of the future, because too often quantity was achieved at the expense of quality). The abbreviation HOTF is now in widespread use. The book was in both English and German, with the German subtitle being another (highly satirical) meaning of TF: Thematischer Fortschritt im Hilfsmatt?? (thematic progress in the helpmate).
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(8) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Apr 3, 2020 10:05]

Since the thread is already so irony-dripping I'm
tempted to copypaste it at least to TVTropes/Backronym
here a remark that is not the slightest bit of ironic,
read my lips:

If we had a strightly mathematic-formulaic description
of chess problem content, we didn't have all this trouble.
Even judges would just need to hit the start button of the
Content Finder Algorithm.

The Haukebot
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(9) Posted by Petko Petkov [Friday, Apr 3, 2020 15:11]


I would also like to express my opinion on the discussion that goes on regarding the name of a popular type of problems. In that sense, I have read with great interest the comments of my colleagues Neal Turner, Frank Richter, Joose Norri, Marjan Kovacevic, Alain Villeneuve, Jakob Leck, Geof Foster.
It should be borne in mind that the idea of creating tasks with pairs of different thematic variants is very old.
I say this, considering all the orthodox genres, as well as the genres S#, H#, etc. I can give many examples that prove that this idea was already met long before the period of 1930 - 1937.
For example, see the following problem composed in 1922:

Alberto Mari
Dedicated to a A. Batori
L'Italia Scacchistica 1922
(= 9+11 )

# 2 (9 + 11)

1.Sg6! [2.Sf8 #] - First duet: Pickabish d6 with line - closing of Ba3 and mates after moves of the w.Queen during the pin - line): 1… d6 2.Qe4 #, 1… Bd6 2.Qc4 #; Second duet (ubpins of the w.Queen with dual-avoidance motives: 1… Bf4 2.Qd5 # (not 2.Qxd7?), 1… Sb4 2.Qxd7 # (not 2.Qd5). (additional variant1… Se8 ~ 2 .Rf6 #).
This is probably the best problem of this kind, composed before 1930, but the same idea has been encountered even earlier, in many other problems, for example, Frederick Gamage (Tidsskrift for Schack 1910-II, 1st Prize ); Henry G.M. Weenink (Nebraska State Journal, 1910), Karl A.K. Larsen (El Ajedrez Argentino 1920, 2nd prize), etc. It is the same in the S# genre, where there are also publications far before 1930. About the H# genre I will not write, everything that is necessary, was written by my best friend Chris Feather in his famous book.
I do not want to criticize Mark Adabashev's 1937 article! On the contrary - it is interesting and useful, and at the same time, extravagant for its harsh time, which, by all appearances, did not perceive such a "modernism”. But I am convinced that Mark - a super-talent who unfortunately died too young, did not know that this idea had been repeated many times in earlier publications.
In that sense, I don't think the name "Adabashev synthesis" is acceptable, even though it appears on FIDE's album.
By the way, it is practically impossible to determine when the first problem of this kind appeared. But again I say: the years 1930 - 1937 are a very late period in which to speak of discovery in this sense. There are examples in my personal database even from the 19th century, though these problems are not from a good level…
In my opinion, the proper name for the task type discussed should be ANI- PROBLEMS. Which means problems with anti-identical solutions or variants. If we have, for example, two duets, 2 + 2, we can write, ANI (2+2) or only ANI 2+2. Possible fore also are ANI 2+2+2 or ANI 3+3, etc.
When there are no duets, and there are only two solutions with anti-identical content, we can write ANI 1+1, etc.
I don't think names should be used here! We no longer need to say "OF THE FUTURE". This expression was good and necessary when the HOTF form in the H# genre was still a novelty. But this is no longer the case ...
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(10) Posted by Neal Turner [Friday, Apr 3, 2020 18:44]; edited by Neal Turner [20-04-03]

Of course I didn't mention that the composer of the 1st Prize winner (StrateGems 2018) referred to above was Grandmaster Petkov.
Congratulations Sir!
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(11) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, Apr 5, 2020 13:10]

I've got to confess that when this idea of 'anti-identical' solutions in helpmates first appeared I was sceptical.
After all, in helpmates non-thematic solutions have normally been known as 'cooks'.
But maybe (or certainly) there was something about the idea that I wasn't getting.

However in the context of 'TF' variations in direct play problems, Petko's idea seems to be very appropriate.
With the 'ANI' designation we have the idea of thematic separation, while the following numeric values allow us to specify the format of the variations.

What's not to like?
Well maybe some have issues with the phrase 'anti-identical' which certainly does grate on the ears of an english speaker.
Also some may wish to continue honouring Mr Adabashev for his contribution. The fact that there are earlier examples of the idea doesn't preclude his name being attached to it.
On the other hand there are those who object to naming ideas after people, as there is no descriptive value.
Some might like to hang on to the word 'synthesis' which does seem to be useful in describing how different themes combine in one position.
Alternatively the word 'separation' gives us the idea that the variations are split into different themes.
Marjan's suggestion 'thematic pairs' is also interesting, but maybe seems a little restrictive, as there might be more than two themes/variations involved.

So all this gives us a choice of:
- ANI 'anti-identical'
- AS 'Adabashev synthesis'
- TP 'thematic pairs'
- TS 'thematic synthesis'
- TS 'thematic separation'
- TF too late to change now
- something else

But whatever happens, the idea of of appending numeric specifications indicating the number of themes/variations suggested by Mr Petkov, should certainly be considered.
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(12) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Sunday, Apr 5, 2020 19:15]

We're not alone ;-)
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(13) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Sunday, Apr 5, 2020 20:46]

Dear all,

as a late addition to the April Fool's Day pranks, I propose the term Equivariational Symmetry, as there are at least two pairs of two variations.
You can not find more information about this is my not upcoming article "Bivariational Linguistics At Chess Kaleidoscopes Juxtaposing Additional Checkmated Kings; AND: Helpmates Of Equivariational Symmetry" (with Bender)

Best regards,
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(14) Posted by Joose Norri [Tuesday, Apr 7, 2020 10:07]

I'm looking forward to the opportunity of describing a nice little twomover as Adabashev [Barulin BI (Somov) / Levman + anti-Levman]

Is it necessary to introduce another label, be it a personal name or not, for what is just an arrangement of variations? Thankfully helpmates got rid of Onitiu, Barthelemy, Gussopulo forms.
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(15) Posted by Joose Norri [Tuesday, Apr 7, 2020 11:16]

On second thoughts: isn't it the same as radical change, only not between setplay and solution, but within the solution?
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(16) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Tuesday, Apr 7, 2020 19:29]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [20-04-07]

I think this was the theme in wcct-8 or 7, where three such pairs were required.
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(17) Posted by Geoff Foster [Wednesday, Apr 8, 2020 00:28]

For WCCT-7 see the following thread:
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