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MatPlus.Net Forum General Grandmasters about chess composition
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(1) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 14:39]

Grandmasters about chess composition

Disappointed by "Queen's Gambit" and provoked with "Problem freaks" expression , I was looking for thoughts of great players about Chess Problem.
I found text in Politika daily magazine chess page (No 977; 3. January 2006), signed by Serbian great player Borislav Ivkov.
Here is my translation:

"While preparing the material for a book about the parallels between practical and artistic chess, one detail just defeated me.
According to many, the champion of the champions, Alexander Alekhine, ended the comment of one game with the words:
"The rest is a matter of technique."
The composer of chess studies, Geinrich Kasparian, started the analysis from that very position - the rook endgame with two connected pawns more - and proved that it is a draw!
I realized that what I had been doing for 50 years, in some hypothetical comparison, was still far less valuable than the world of chess composition. In shadow of us, illuminated by the lights of the stage, there is a whole parallel world of quiet and unobtrusive chess artists, whose characters I recognize in the books I am reading now".

"... and there is a field which, according to one of the accepted definitions that chess is an art, represents an ancient game at the highest level."

If anyone have something similar, negative opinions also, please share with us.
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(2) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 15:49]

I think if you say that only over-the-board GMs can have opinions that should be listened to, you are undercutting your own case right from the start. And just because one GM says a problem is ok, what about the 20 who say it's a waste of time? Also the word "art" makes me nervous, because it can be kind of self-congratulatory and... weak somehow. Here's an approach I prefer, which ends up in the same place, I believe. Sorry there are no GMs.

The definitions of "Spike" and "Johnny" from the collectable card game Magic the Gathering are incredibly helpful. See a famous article by the Chief Magic Designer, Mark Rosewater:
(The concept of Timmy is perhaps less relevant to chess - skip that.)

These ideas are ubiquitous in Magic: someone can be an arrogant Spike, but at least at some level, they have the self-knowledge that they are only a Spike, and that other possibilities for interaction with the game exist. A chess Spike has no such self-knowledge.

Another parallel (suggested by Andrey Frolkin I think) is to compare chess with the Olympic sports of swimming and diving. A swimmer can't seriously criticize divers just because their skill doesn't help with swimming. Diving competitions cannot be judged in a simple race; instead trusted judges rate the quality of the dives. As with all art, there is in fact a massive amount of technique and practice behind the scenes. Note that combinations can exist: e.g. a Johnny-Spike might be a very competitive composer.

OK here's a GM: Max Illingworth is a co-founder of the successful Facebook group, "Chess Endgame Studies and Compositions". I've asked him if he has any relevant soundbites.
UPDATE: He says: "Compositions and endgames stretch your imagination and realm of what is possible, and gives you the true appreciation of beauty in chess through the unique and fantastic patterns and motifs, that go beyond what one typically sees in tournament games. Also - who doesn't love making sense of what initially looks like total chaos?"
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Grandmasters about chess composition