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MatPlus.Net Forum General Mates In 1, 2, and 3-solve the joke!
 
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(1) Posted by Rewan Demontay (Real Name: James Malcom) [Thursday, Jul 23, 2020 22:04]; edited by Rewan Demontay (Real Name: James Malcom) [20-07-24]

Mates In 1, 2, and 3-solve the joke!


Andrew had a good joke idea recently, and after some discussion today, we are ready to present three "correct" problems that contain the same joke theme. Try and solve them before we release the solution!

Stiulation For All-King promotion is allowed

Andrew Buchanan And Noam Elkies, Facebook
Mate In 1
(= 4+6 )


Me, Facebook
(= 9+5 )


Me, Original For Here
(= 7+7 )


May you have fun! :)
 
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(2) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 03:19]

Thanks James for posting these.

The first problem comes with a stipulation, without which Noam & I think it's unfair:

"Promotion to kings is allowed (-:"

Note that even with this condition, the problem is still a joke: i.e. lateral thinking is still required. But at least you're in the right ballpark.
Up to James what stipulation he gives for his problems, but I think the argument is even stronger that this stipulation applies to his.
 
 
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(3) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 16:12]

Problemists. If because of you the FIDE rules have to
be amended again (I'm off to an arbiter course next month)
I throw the book at you :-)
 
   
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(4) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 17:11]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-24]

Noam Elkies and Andrew Buchanan
Facebook 24-Jul-2020

(= 4+6 )
Promotion to kings is allowed (-:
#1

This one is designed to try make the silly joke as obvious as possible. I think the rulebook(s) are safe with this one, Hauke :-)
 
   
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(5) Posted by Jakob Leck [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 17:36]; edited by Jakob Leck [20-07-24]

Clearly not my sense of humour.
The stipulation implies that only white makes one single move. Promotion to king does not give checkmate, so without further trickery the whole thing seems pointless. And if further rule-breaking is necessary: I would promote to ibis in the position directly above or to a camel on f8 or a giraffe on g8 in the first one. :)
For Rewan's positions I have a #4 and a #3...
 
   
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(6) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 18:32]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-24]

This is such a simple idea, and yet I can't find any antecedants. I would give the game away, but I wouldn't want to rob the "aha" from whoever has the right idea. I have put another small hint in the last reply.

Here's an extension of the last one:
me + Noam Elkies
(= 4+8 )
Promo to kings ok (-:
#2

Let me know if you can cook it ;-)
 
   
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(7) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 20:31]; edited by Dmitri Turevski [20-07-24]

I'm with Jakob.

There is a very fine FB group dedicated to math problems (fairy chess included) and they have a trope name for this kind of puzzle: “What have I got in my pocket?”[-kind-of-problem], named obviously after the Bilbo's riddle given to Gollum.

The intended solution may be amusing, and it was probably fun to compose, but solving without formalism gets boring pretty soon.
 
   
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(8) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Jul 24, 2020 21:32]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-26]

Hi Dmitri,

Chess jokes are cursed in the sense of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uE6-vIi1rQ "Cursed Problems in Game Design". There is nothing inherently wrong with requiring the solver to think outside the box, but joke problems cannot scale, either because the solver won't realize that a joke is at play, or because the solver can't figure out which joke is happening. The audience is fundamentally split into those who know the joke, and those who do not, so there is not a consistent experience.

So complex chess joke problems must indicate, I think, what is the joke. Then the focus shifts to how the novel mechanism allows good chess. Strictly I suppose such explained problems (e.g. rotating the board, dodgy promotions, Pam-Krabbe' castling, etc) are fairy rather than joke, but calling them fairy robs these weird criteria of their special magic, so such mechanisms tend to still be classed as jokes, even if the joke is pre-explained in stipulation or context. Taxonomic inertia.

Telling jokes is all about timing, they say. If I'd been the one to make the base post, I would have posted first the 5-Black pawn "tutorial" #1 only. Then when the trick is identified, post the others, focusing on the chess.

The tutorial #1 is really just a schema, and in such a simplistic problem one can reasonably ask the solvers to guess the idea, with some clues. I would almost always include such clues in the stipulation rather than in any surrounding text, because only in that way can the composer control the information available to a future solver.

Moreover, in joke schemas to indicate that an unexplained joke is afoot, I almost always use Adrian Storisteanu's (-: tag. To my mind, illegality or lack of solution by themselves are not sufficient to connote a joke. Illegality can clue the "official joke" in the Codex that the non-standard player has the first forward move, but that's a special case already handled by formalism.

The curse has scared composers off, so if we lay the curse by explaining the joke, there is actually very fertile design space here for seriously complex problems. Many of James' problems, e.g. in promotions or castling, are of this form.

There are other communities who are more open to inductive reasoning than the Facebook math puzzle crowd apparently are. Puzzling.stackexchange.com are spectacularly good at and very receptive to riddles, ciphers and other inductive problems. British cryptic crossword composers and solvers, within the framework of the Ximenean principles, delight in artistic rule-breaking perhaps above all. I do share your strong dislike of hobbits.

I don't give unexplained jokes lightly. I hate the though of wasting solvers' time. I am not trying to toy with them. Rather, I know the exultation I feel when I have figured out what someone must have in their pocket :-) Not all reasoning should be formal. This is a good simple joke, and I would wish you the same joy of discovery. The rot13 spoiler is in the next response.

Composition/solving is all about communication. The composer throws a ball across a stream for the solver to catch. The ball should be pitched so that the solver must stretch to catch it. Not too near, not too far, and definitely not in the water. Deconstructing this act of communication is interesting creatively, which is why it's worth pushing the boundaries and understanding the nature of jokes better.
 
   
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(9) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 03:00]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-25]

Spoiler in rot13 (see rot13.com)

 QUOTE 
Gurer’f nabgure tnzr juvpu pna or cynlrq ba na 8k8 obneq jurer cebzbgvba gb xvatf gnxrf cynpr: uggcf://ra.z.jvxvcrqvn.bet/jvxv/Qenhtugf.

Wbxr urer vf gung cnja pna cebzbgr gb n (aba-eblny) purpxref xvat.

Now can you figure out the solutions?
 
   
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(10) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 10:16]

The Sphinx: (eats Andrew with one gulp, for playing
Calvinball :-)
 
   
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(11) Posted by Jakob Leck [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 11:12]

Guvf vf evqvphybhf. Naq fb hashaal.

I actually prefer the following solution: Promote to king and claim to have fulfilled the stipulation by providing a mate (a companion) for the white king. Clearly a terrible joke, terrible economy of the position and stipulation, but at least amusing.
 
   
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(12) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 11:57]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-25]

Hahaha! :-)

Fortunately I define phoenix capability so I am reborn via promotion following the sphinx incident :-)

And fortunately there is no objective determination of funniness: I told a non-problem friend this morning and he laughed a lot :-)
Really the question is how chessically fruitful it can be.

I like the "mate" pun too :-)

Calvin: "Sooner or later all of our games turn into Calvinball."
Hobbes: "No cheating!" :-)
 
   
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(13) Posted by Joost de Heer [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 12:32]; edited by Joost de Heer [20-07-25]

Unknown Russian composer
(= 4+5 )

#1

Ernq gur ehyr sbe 'Vs n zna gbhpurf gur xvatf ebj qhevat n pncgher' ba uggcf://ra.jvxvcrqvn.bet/jvxv/Ehffvna_qenhtugf
 
   
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(14) Posted by Rewan Demontay (Real Name: James Malcom) [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 18:58]

I'll go check-er the rule book just in case!
 
   
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(15) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 19:42]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-25]

Joost's Russian composer friend is very good! The earlier entries are by a Brit, an American and an Israeli living in America, so use the British/American rules.

I read that in both the British & Russian rules, captured pieces are only removed at the end the series of captures: wcdf.net/rules/rules_of_checkers_english.pdf.

(= 1+8 )

Suppose all the pawns represent draughts kings. Can White to play can take the man on d4 twice, to remove all Black pieces in a single move? Otherwise, the opposition means Black wins
 
   
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(16) Posted by Joost de Heer [Saturday, Jul 25, 2020 21:13]

 QUOTE 
Can White to play can take the man on d4 twice, to remove all Black pieces in a single move?

No, you can only capture a piece once. And captured pieces are removed from the board after the move is finished, this can result in some surprising situations, see e.g. http://sanguis.xs4all.nl/dammen/show_problem.php?ID=173 (one of my draughts compositions, http://sanguis.xs4all.nl/dammen/ for almost all of them) where black can't capture the piece on 11 because the piece on 22 (which is already captured) blocks the path.
 
   
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(17) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Sunday, Jul 26, 2020 05:52]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-26]

Hi Joost,

Thanks for the clarification. I guess if you could capture pieces multiple times, then the tutorial problem threat would never complete, because you would need to rundlauf an indefinite number of times, and always one more. (Fortunately, Black always has to disrupt the loop when he moves, so the actual mate would still terminate.)

Thanks also for your cool problem. I see how it relies on rule that global maximum of number of units must be captured. Surely the move notation ABxCD is insufficient to indicate the path taken sometimes in a game: how is that handled? Are draughts problems typically C+?

If you could relay a message to your Russian friend, please, I would be grateful. How about:

(= 4+5 )
#1

In his version, wK's location covered one of the 4 diagonal flights for bK, d2. Maybe this was deliberate as White's king capture could involve either promotion, so is in a sense impure. In the new version wN cunningly gives purity, if I've understood the rules properly. We now don't need wK at all, so can omit it or stick it in a corner as here. The threat is impure, but the virtual capture of bK would always be pure. I don't want to go down a rathole about defining purity, because I know what a mess it is, still I think it's nicer to have 4 bK flights as here. What does your friend think?
 
   
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(18) Posted by Joost de Heer [Sunday, Jul 26, 2020 08:46]

Hi Joost,

 QUOTE 
Surely the move notation ABxCD is insufficient to indicate the path taken sometimes in a game: how is that handled?

When multiple paths are possible, the intermediate squares are added to the move notation. See e.g. http://sanguis.xs4all.nl/dammen/show_problem.php?ID=122 (fifth white move)

 QUOTE 
Are draughts problems typically C+?

I use Kingsrow (a very strong draughts program) to check my compositions. I am certain that the intention is the only 100% sure winning line, but occasionally there are alternatives which could possibly lead to an advantageous position, but no certain win. For me, that's enough.

 QUOTE 
If you could relay a message to your Russian friend, please, I would be grateful.

I am the 'Unknown Russion composer', I added that to indicate that Russian rules should be followed.

 QUOTE 
How about

I had that one (well, almost: wBf3 instead of wSc3) on the board as well, but decided to use the diagram because a pawn is more economical than a bishop or knight.
 
   
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(19) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Monday, Jul 27, 2020 20:29]; edited by Andrew Buchanan [20-07-27]

 QUOTE 

Andrew: If you could relay a message to your Russian friend, please, I would be grateful.
Joost: I am the 'Unknown Russian composer', I added that to indicate that Russian rules should be followed.

I understood: sorry I should have put a smiley when I was asking for you to relay a message.

 QUOTE 

Andrew: How about
Joost: I had that one (well, almost: wBf3 instead of wSc3) on the board as well, but decided to use the diagram because a pawn is more economical than a bishop or knight.

I think the double role of wN as guarding e2 & e4 + blocking one route of Wh dame justifies the upgrade from wP. May I humbly ask to have this one as "JdH version AB", please?

What hint works best? Can a hint "promotion to king or queen, depending on location (-:" refer to the fact that in some countries, the promoted unit is referred to as king, in others as dame (= queen).
 
 
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Mates In 1, 2, and 3-solve the joke!