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MatPlus.Net Forum General Meeting discussion
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(1) Posted by Per Olin [Thursday, Aug 8, 2019 18:47]

Meeting discussion

First Annual Meeting of Proof Game Composers Association (PGCA).

Discussion recorded by ZmartRec at the first annual meeting of Proof Game Composers Association and written by ZmartWrite. The meeting was held in Orthodox on 8th of August 2019 and present were P (Proof Game Composer), C (Chess960 Proof Game Composer) and A (A-to-B Composer).

P: Welcome to this meeting!

C: Thank you for the invitation!

A: I feel honored to be in such a distinguished company! In my humble opinion, I think we should elect a chairman.

C.: Agree and propose P, who has organized this meeting, as chairman.

P: Well, A, you are surprisingly formal taking into account your informal way a composing. I give my consent to chairmanship, do we need to vote about this?

C: There are no other candidates, no voting needed.

A: About voting, if this meeting goes well, I propose to tell a joke at the end of the meeting.

P: A, you are incredibly formal, from where I come we don't propose to tell a joke later, we just tell it.

A: I am happy for you.

P: OK, let's start. In the call for the meeting the agenda says 'Matters of outmost importance and none whatsoever urgency'.

C: Yes, this has made at least me curious. What is important?

P: Nothing is important, it was just my way of getting your attention. But what I want to discuss is how you see the future of your composing area. How do things look like? Let's recall the glorious four decades of proof game composing, do you see such a development in your own area?

C: Well, for Chess960 proof games the future looks good. I think it is gradually understood that Chess960 offers more possibilities as the composer is not tied to one initial position. And look what is happening in FIDE, they are now officially recognizing the World Championship. We will soon have an official World Champion in the game of Chess960. It is organized by the Norwegians, all top players will participate. As Chess960 is gaining terrain, I think it will also become more recognized in problem chess. In these circumstances I always recall the final pages of My Chess Compositions by Dr. Milan R. Vukcevich. The headlines are, if I remember correctly, The Future Form of Chess, Evolve or Disappear and Three Approaches.

P: Sounds like you expect changes, could Chess960 proof games become as popular as normal proof games?

C: Once I was thinking about a motto for Chess960 proof games and the best I could find was a question: Why give the starting position of a proof game, if it can be left for the solver to find out? On the other hand, the starting position of a Chess960 proof game does not need to be unknown, it can be given just as is done every time a normal proof game is published. It can be any of the 960 positions. As a mathematician I have mentally made the following prediction: In some centuries from now the history of proof games will be written. When the best ones are admired, the ones starting from the normal initial game array will amount to less than one percent. With this, my answer to the question about popularity is 'probably yes'. To sum up: Chess960 is coming into the chess world and it is also coming into the problem chess world. Proof games is the only problem form that has anything to benefit from Chess960.

P: Interesting. Easy to make predictions that nobody will live to see if they come true. And A, how do you see the future?

A: Frankly speaking, I am not sure should A-to-B-problems be called proof games. They are more a sort of help play from position A to B. If we think about a helpmate we see the starting position, the end position is unknown, we only know that it is mate. The Chess960 problem is a bit vice versa; we have the end position, but concerning the starting position we only know that it is one out of 960. In A-to-B we know both positions, just as in a normal proof game. I think this means that we must get more content into these problems as so much is revealed by the two positions. Generally speaking, the status of A-to-B is a bit undefined, but I will be happy to be an associated member of this group.

P: And the future?

A: In a recent award the judge mentioned the A-to-B-form to be 'fantastically usable'. Indeed, one is not restricted to a single starting position, not even to any of the 960 possible initial positions, one can totally decide for oneself the starting point of the problem. This I would call artistic freedom. And one fundamental point is economy. Economy is one of the cornerstones of problem chess, not to use more material, or time, than what is necessary. Proof games normally use excess material; this is, of course, due to the definition of proving that the diagram position can be reached from the initial position. I think that the artistic freedom mostly, and economical considerations only marginally, will contribute to, dare I say using the same word as Mr. Chairman earlier, a glorious future. If I am wrong I will not be disappointed, the fewer A-to-B-composers there are, the more space I have myself.

P: Interesting. Should we wrap up by saying that whatever we do the future is bright?

C: Stop, stop! Mr. Chairman, you have not told how you see your own future.

P: Many decades ago it was predicted that the area of direct twomovers will be exhausted, will fade away, everything has been composed. This has not taken place. I see the same for normal proof games, no end in sight, only more fantastic and admirable problems to come. I repeat my question: can we say that future looks bright?

C: Yes.

A: Yes!

P: I declare the meeting ended. A, has this been a good meeting?

A: What do you mean?

P: You promised to tell a joke if the meeting was good.

A: Ah, yes. But I don't know, it is political and might offend.

P: Come on, the intention of a political joke is to offend.

A: Well OK. In a western country the communist party was very split and quarrelsome. Once the chairman got sick, was taken to a hospital, got treatment and gradually recovered. He got delegations visiting him, received flowers, telegrams etc. In one telegram read: 'The Central Committee of the Party wishes quick recovery with votes six against three.'

P: Hahaha, a good one, hahaha! Let's go for a beer! Do we have to vote on this?

C: Let's go!

A: No, we don't have to vote, but to be on the safe side I will ask my wife.

C: Talking about wives, I need to mention a personal matter. Last year when I attended the WFCC meeting my wife left me.

P: How sad, then a beer is a must.

C: Well, the really sad thing is that she left me for a fairy proof game composer.

A: Extremely sad. Can things get worse?

C: Yes. She might come back.

P: Oh, the recorder is still on, I'll turn it off…
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(2) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Friday, Aug 9, 2019 22:27]

Why the Fairy proof game composer not invited to the meeting?
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(3) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Saturday, Aug 10, 2019 03:28]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [19-08-10]

He was invited, but was too busy with the ex-wife of the Chess960 composer.
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(4) Posted by Rewan Demontay (Real Name: James Malcom) [Saturday, Aug 10, 2019 04:14]; edited by Rewan Demontay (Real Name: James Malcom) [19-08-10]

I think that Giuseppe Ponzetto would have liked the Fairy Chess guy to go!
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(5) Posted by Thomas Brand [Saturday, Aug 10, 2019 08:51]

Very fine meeting minutes -- of course to be continued!

And there are, I think, some topics worth to be discussed in the next meetings (or here...) in more detail:

C: "Why give the starting position of a proof game, if it can be left for the solver to find out?" Indeed: Why?

C: "Proof games is the only problem form that has anything to benefit from Chess960." Here I'm a little bit more optimistic that Chess960 can be valuable for other forms, too.

P: "Many decades ago it was predicted that the area of direct twomovers will be exhausted, will fade away, everything has been composed. This has not taken place. I see the same for normal proof games, no end in sight, only more fantastic and admirable problems to come. I repeat my question: can we say that future looks bright?" Here also I'm quite optimistic.
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(6) Posted by Per Olin [Saturday, Aug 10, 2019 10:07]

Siegfried probably hit the nail in post 3. According to P, who organized the meeting, the fairy proof game composer was invited, but declined 'due to marital issues'. P further informs that next meeting will be held in Fairyland and he welcomes discussion, opinions and guidelines that can help build the agenda for the meeting.
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(7) Posted by Rosie Fay [Thursday, Aug 15, 2019 11:27]

Nice story, Per. Thanks!

Thomas Brand: C: "Proof games is the only problem form that has anything to benefit from Chess960." Here I'm a little bit more optimistic that Chess960 can be valuable for other forms, too.

I agree, Thomas. For example:
1. Greater scope for castling.

2. Greater scope for proving that castling is illegal. For example wPb2 so wBa1 is on its home square, so bRa8 has moved and therefore can't castle.

3. Greater scope for mutually-exclusive castlings. For example the kings are on their back ranks but on different files, so at least one of them has moved. The players race to castle, because whoever castles first proves their king was at home so the other king has moved and therefore can't castle.

4. A problem's diagram position has an obtrusive bishop, so that is seen as a blemish. In Chess960 that bishop started on another square, so it isn't obtrusive, and it isn't a blemish.
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(8) Posted by Per Olin [Sunday, Aug 9, 2020 19:04]

Meeting discussion

Second Annual Meeting of Proof Game Composers Association (PGCA).

Discussion recorded by ZmartRec at the second annual meeting of Proof Game Composers Association and written by ZmartWrite. The meeting was held in Fairyland on 9th of August 2020 and present were P (Proof Game Composer), C (Chess960 Proof Game Composer), A (A-to-B Composer) and F (Fairy Proof Game Composer).

F: Welcome to Fairyland and our capital Wundernach! Nice that we are able to hold this meeting in spite of all travel restrictions, partly thanks to our small organization.

P: Thank you for inviting us here! A pity that you could not attend the previous meeting, but you have of course seen the meeting discussion.

F: Yes, I have.

P: Let's get organized. We need to have a chairman for this meeting.

C: There is only one candidate.

A: Agree.

F: Agree.

P: Thank you! As in previous meeting the discussion is recorded, printed out without editing and distributed among ourselves. A shorter edited version leaving out comments not related to chess is published on our web-page. This is done in roughly half an hour after the meeting. This means that we try to present our cases short and precisely. Anything you say may be held against you, or on the plus side, if you say something smart you will be credited for it. We also archive the audio version of our discussions as evidence material for possible court cases.

A: Indeed, really!? Well, we all come from different parts of the world.

C: The ZmartRec recorder and the writing device were invented by my ex-wife, they are very handy. F, I suppose you know my ex-wife well?!

F: Yes, too well. She has left also me by now. Tragicomic story, we can soon form a club, just like the ex-husbands of Liz Taylor.

A: Did you hear the story about the ex-husbands of Mrs. Taylor, who planned to have a meeting and were looking for a place for the event…

P: No, we didn't hear it and we don't want to hear it. The agenda for this meeting has only short headlines: 1. Feedback 2. Progress 3. Status 4. The 50 moves rule 5. Next meeting. Starting with feedback received, there was a claim by C in last meeting that got comments. It was about proof games being the only problem form to have some benefit from Chess960. C, how would you like to comment that?

C: Well, the Chess960 castling gives some new nuances for retros based on castling rights and castling consequences. Similarly, the placements of officers can give some additional possibilities for retro composers in respect to legality of a position. But I consider these to be quite minor compared to the possibility to start the proof game from an unknown position, a position for the solver to find out.

P: OK. Let's go to item 2. Progress. Our newcomer F, please, start.

F: Fairy chess proof games are progressing and doing well. Some incidents have been seen in programming the test programs for the new inventions. Bugs have been spotted and corrected. We have, of course, the old story about Popeye and WinCloe having different interpretations of certain fairy forms. This means that what is correct according to one program might be incorrect according to the other. The programmers have been forced to finalize definitions and have done it in different ways. I am working on getting some type of fairy chess committee established to be the sole authority in these matters. The overall picture is that interesting and enjoyable experimenting is going on and continuing.

P: And A, what about A-to-B-problems?

A: Not much has happened, worth mentioning is that other problem types, e.g. seriesmovers, have noted the A-to-B-stipulation. And perhaps also worth mentioning is that the end position of a normal proof game can be the starting position A for an A-to-B problem, just have a look at the 3rd Prize of FIDE World Cup 2019. If you allow me to say so, proof game composers are stubborn people always starting from the same position, when actually there are millions of billions of alternatives for a starting position.

P: Well, we allow you to say so as you might be right. We are indeed working on the first of one of the Chess960 initial positions. With this, please C, comments on the Chess960 development.

C: Just like concerning A-to-B-problems, little activity to report. We are clearly less popular than e.g. fairy chess proof games. Experimental curiosity for new fairy forms wins over outstanding possibilities in the Chess960 area. That's all.

P: And for normal proof games, the shortest of reports: solid progress.

C: Mr. Chairman, you noticed that the normal proof games are based on one of the Chess960 initial positions. And indeed, normal proof games should be considered to be a subgroup of Chess960 as the initial position is one of the Chess960 initial positions.

F: Well, to continue on the same line, Chess960 is a fairy chess form as it has not been defined to be orthodox. Therefore all proof games, except for perhaps A-to-B, are fairy forms. Welcome to our big fairy chess family!

P: Now we are on such a side track that we continue with the next item on the agenda. I have put 'Status' on the agenda referring to the status of our association. First a question: have you heard about a Federation for Chess Composition Miniatures?

C: Yes, I have noticed.

A: No.

F: No, what is it all about?

P: It seems as if they plan to be some type of complementary organization to WFCC. They have their own statutes, miniature form problems will have their own Album, own titles, competitions, judges etc. There seems to be such a rush with awarding titles that it has been mentioned that all miniatures composed in the history of problem chess can be taken into account. It will be interesting to see if WFCC for such purposes allows the use of the FIDE Albums, which are their intellectual property. Planned seems to be some type of online organization, a type that we certainly will see more of in the future. In this situation, we need to have a clear view what is our own status and our aims. Comments?

C: I would like to consider us as a discussion forum, and if I may say so, only with noble intentions.

A: We need to have as little formalities as possible.

F: Agree with you, even if I deserve a grandmaster's title, I would not take it from some miniorganization.

A: About little formalities, if the miniature organization would be practical it would skip all formalities with Albums, judges etc. and award their grandmaster's titles honoris causa just charging good fees.

P: Well, let's see what they invent. Concerning ourselves, as I think in the same direction as you, then it seems as we have full understanding of our role. We will never have any statutes, but I must confess that I have been thinking what they could be. The statutes, that we will never have, could be expressed in only one sentence, something like: The principal activities of PGCA is to act as a discussion forum for formulation of rules, guidelines and recommendations in all domains of proof game chess composition and to decide the place for the next meeting. We will never have a presidium, we must consider a circulating chairmanship, etc. OK, with this common understanding, we can move forward to item 4, the 50 moves rule, submitted to the agenda by C. How would you like to comment?

C: Well, this must be the smallest of matters in problem chess. There are three levels in this peculiar issue, I have made notes to express myself accurately and briefly. First level: as we know, FIDE chess rules state that the game is drawn when in the last 50 moves by each player there has been no pawn move nor any capture. Second level: The WFCC Codex refers to the FIDE rules and stipulates that the draw is automatic needing no interference by an arbiter or player. Third level: The FIDE Album 2013-15 produced by WFCC describes the 50 moves rule as quote 'the position is drawn because neither side has moved a pawn, made a capture or castled within the last 50 moves' unquote. The remarkable thing here is that the FIDE Album seems to be the only authority that recognizes castling as triggering the 50 moves rule. To sum up: seems to be a small discrepancy in a minor matter.

P: Is the FIDE Album team really a high authority on chess rules? Anyhow, the number of chess problems based on the 50 moves rule is a minimum. What do you suggest?

C: We do nothing but point out the shortcomings when appropriate.

P: Well, indeed a minor matter. Just as a small exercise, let's see if we for the next meeting can invent an even smaller matter to discuss. This as home work for all of us. This ends the discussion of item 4 and we can proceed to item 5. Next meeting. Suggestions?

F: I suggest that we form a committee, four members, and discuss the alternatives over dinner.

P: Splendid idea! Thanks to all of you, this has been a productive meeting. The efficiency in our meetings must be a good role model for any organization. Let's turn off the recorder and start editing…
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Meeting discussion