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MatPlus.Net Forum General Why so few draw-problems?
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(21) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 11:31]

@Rosie - yes in parallel I’ve been thinking that PDB needs a way to search simply on all fairy conditions like WinChloe has. To find all h= which don’t have variant rules, pieces or bird is very hard. However that’s a problem with PDB not the Codex. A very useful PDB query clause is “... and not piece='% '...” which filters out most problems with fairy pieces (as long as they’ve been logged as such). There is also piecesymbol which I don’t really understand. However the fairy conditions one has no chance with, and Gerd only can make the change. I didn’t want to raise it here because it seemed distracting from the main point.
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(22) Posted by Joost de Heer [Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 11:47]

Piecesymbol has, IIRC, to do with the LaTeX output of Popeye.
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(23) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 11:57]

@Hauke - I’d not come across this kind of urn. Can’t just duplicate with identical balls - there must be some variation, or we have anticipation. Although certainly can have areas which are crammed full of *nearly* identical balls pretending to be original enough. This model also shows the role of history in determining the current space.

Over-dependence in history can be rationalised as an espousal of “naturalness”, but that notion would condemn all cycling problems, all grotesques, all removal of board dressing, most retros, and anything generally post-modern to be fairies. Rather than this they must be seen as successful breakouts from the mindsets that came before. Maybe these breakouts shouldn’t be made too easy, but let’s realize that this percolation into our pre-conceptions at the heart of our creativity. “Naturalism” is an aesthetic factor, no more - just one “ism” in many.
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(24) Posted by Jakob Leck [Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 12:22]

Andrew, I wasn't trying to defend the status quo, just intended to explain why I thought it (and its genesis) is the answer to the title question.
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(25) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 15:26]

@Jacob, you wrote:
In this sense "all h= are fairies" is not an over-reaction, it's just a fact.
With respect, it's both a fact *and* an over-reaction. Using that slippery word "just" begs the entire question! :)

Following Joost's quick survey, I too had a look in WinChloe. There are today 6921 problems with (1) aim "=" (2) not studies or series movers, and (3) have neither fairy condition nor fairy pieces (including neutral units). A few are odd ones, but most are genuine non-variant helpmates. So about 7000, including many prizewinners, seems quite a lot to me. How many would we need in order to say: "Wow these should be classed as orthodox"? (I could have asked you this question *before* I told you how many there are, but I thought that would be too sneaky :D)

It's not just that history has taken random turns. A very impactful random event was the timing of exactly when "the music stopped" and problems got seriously codified. It was *after* h# and s# got de-fairied, but *before* some other sub-genres that became more fashionable later. And this aspect of the Codex has not been sufficiently maintained, maybe because of question of scope: is the taxonomy a matter for the Codex or for the FIDE Album?

Does it matter? Definitely: there is an element of scorn, as we have seen here in this thread, that some people think that a stalemate is just a failed mate. Some people have the misconception that no worthwhile theme is best expressed via a stalemate. The issue has been exacerbated by the PDB keyword situation, which has hidden from non-paying problemists just how many non-variant-chess stalemates there are. This unwarranted contempt can best be removed by showing that the world does still move, that we are able to expand the scope of orthodoxy. The wonderful fairy genre shouldn't be a reject box of everything that doesn't quite fit into orthodoxy, but defined in its own terms more positively as a generalization of chess rules, pieces and board.

Another reason to fix this: PDB fairy keyword pain l. Very often I want to find all the prior art in some area, but not excluding all the fairy conditions (and pieces). This is always very time-consuming and troublesome, exactly because the term "fairy" is misapplied. Gerd could introduce a new meta-keyword which applies exactly if any of the fairy keywords are tagged to the problem, but this isn't really fixing the problem which is at the genre level. So many problems are marked only fairy as genre, and it's a pain again to separate out the helpmates from the directmates from the selfmates, requiring inefficient string level search. The idea that a helpmate which is fairy is not a helpmate is nonsense from a data modeling perspective. PDB allow multiple classifications, but so much of what's in there now just follows the FIDE single classification model.
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(26) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 15:16]

"It is easy to show the 100$ theme as a h=5"

Here's a throwaway line (from #15) which seems to have passed everybody by.
So the 100$ theme as a h=5: Black+White Excelsiors where Black on his 5th move promotes to a knight, and White's next move, also a knight promotion, leaves Black stalemated.

Even employing both my brain cells, I can't see how this would even be possible, never mind 'easy'.
What am I missing (apart some functioning neurons)?

---------------sorry - yes it is easy, I've just done it!----------------
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(27) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 15:47]

The possibility to motivate black S-promotion by its immediate immobilization in h=5 helps a lot:
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(28) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 15:59]

Yes, putting posts like my last one, there's always a chance of making oneself look foolish.
I don't care!
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(29) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 21:13]

I composed a draw problem you might enjoy:

Original, for Rosie Fay:

(= )

Draw four pieces to reach the "Vielväterstellung"

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(30) Posted by Joost de Heer [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 21:33]

In Flintenschach (what's the official English name? Rifle chess?) there's a lot of drawing also.
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(31) Posted by Olaf Jenkner [Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 22:37]

@Neal, be proud to be able to write postings with only two brain cells available.
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(32) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Monday, Feb 15, 2021 03:37]

Yes in speed rifle chess you need to be “quick on the draw”. The sad life of the inventor of Rifle Chess is described in a graphic novel

There’s also withdrawing chess:
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(33) Posted by Rosie Fay [Monday, Feb 15, 2021 10:07]

Ah, now, Siegfried, the Vielväterstellung must be the ultimate in composers making a problem sound not by correcting bugs in the diagram position, but by hacking its fairy conditions. How many fathers is it nowadays? over 1000? At any rate as far as I know it's one of only 3 positions where PDB does /not/ automatically add a "Duplicate diagram" para with links to all PDB's other entries with the same diagram. (The other 2 being blank and PAS. How nice that PAS stands for both Partieanfangsstellung and Position At Start.)

This leads to one reason why I prefer problems with no fairy conditions -- all too often what a fairy problem shows is a consequence of the fairy condition rather than the composer's skill. (I make an exception for observation-related conditions such as Madrasi/Isardam and Patrol/Lortap, where composers exploit the potential for shielding/check protection, and (un)guard by interference or by discovery.)
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(34) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Monday, Feb 15, 2021 10:45]

Siegfried, you should be drawn and quartered for making
more gruesome puns than even I could come up with :-)
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(35) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Monday, Feb 15, 2021 12:08]

In some fairy problems, one can see that conditions have been bolted on late in order to achieve soundness. But the real glory of fairy (it seems to me as someone who is really a dabbler in this space) is where one starts with a fairy condition or piece, and thinks: now what would be nice effect that can be showcased particularly well here? Othertimes, pieces are used like "lego bricks" to exhibit extended forms that are just not possible with the regular 6 units (e.g. n-fold cycles).
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(36) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Monday, Feb 15, 2021 20:55]

Andrew, I'd partly dissent: Mostly the timeline is
new fairy condition -> completely new effect one
can come up with, that even the inventor didn't
think of. Obviously you can do e.g. a Plachutta with
two nightriders, but it's not that dashing.
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(37) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021 03:07]


The fairy condition may be new or revisited. For example the annual French retro composition tourney generally takes an existing condition which has not been the subject of retro work before. For the work with pieces, sometimes the piece is really thematic. I saw a grasshopper proof game recently that is quite amazing in terms of tempo loss for both sides.

Other times, pieces are used opportunistically to extend existing forms. The idea of a mere "two nightrider plachutta" is a bit of a straw man argument you've set up there, Hauke. I've spent a number of evenings with James Quah, and he combines nightriders etc with regular pieces to produce e.g. more complex novotny problems than would otherwise be possible. So I don't make any of these myself but I respect them now that I understand them more.

Bottom line: if one fires an arrow from a plane, and can track where it lands, one can paint a bullseye round the arrow as it sticks out of the ground. That's not worthy of credit. But if one "calls the shot" then there is credit.

I've edited my earlier post to try to make it clear.

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MatPlus.Net Forum General Why so few draw-problems?