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MatPlus.Net Forum General Is there any strategy in twomover?
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(21) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 08:18]; edited by Darko Šaljić [13-12-30]

Hope you will come to Belgrade for the spring Chess Problem Festival, where we will enjoy the dialogue on many chess topics.
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(22) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 11:14]

Darko, of course I plan and hope to come to Belgrade.
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(23) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 13:42]


It is tragic that somebody as intelligent as you would expect to make honest progress in such a thread, without insisting upon a definition for the ONE key term that you all claim to be discussing.

If you want a "PLAN" (based upon no choices) to solve a #2 here it is: make a threat, or impose zugzwang, such that every defense is answerable by a mate in one move.
I hope now you will appreciate how easy it was for me to answer this silly question...

With that, already, I have proven, according to your very own definition, that Strategy is indeed possible, in the two-move directmate.
Was it really so difficult to see?
And, please tell me: what is left to debate?

I am truly sorry if anything I have said is personally hurtful to any reader... but, talk about high horses, and the virus of horse**** production -- this thread is a completely aimless mess, and everybody knows it.

For those who want to stick around, to be further soothed by such an elaborate pretense, I promise to leave you all completely undisturbed.
May you all find semantic comfort in the false pursuit of your own phantom terminology.

I see now that it is completely useless to hope that this community -- even collectively -- would ever manage to realize the import of a definition (even when it pertains to the ONE KEY TERM, at the very crux of this extravagant crusade into the fantasy realm).

But know this:

1) I was not the first -- even in this thread -- to notice the deliberate refusal to define terminology (though perhaps I may have been first to expose the complicit denial of this failure).
And, you will never adequately shutter yourselves from that Truth -- and it is this (not me, personally) which offends the pretense of this conversation, predicated not upon an honest vocabulary, but upon a childish fever dream.


2) The reason I have chosen to abandon you in this thread is because the refutations are far too easy...
No offense, but nobody would honestly consider this a worthy challenge.
I suppose it must be reveal some misplaced sense of loyalty/allegiance, that anybody would want to pretend otherwise.
If ever you want to have an honest conversation -- ask yourself this: why do so many problemists feel obliged to play the fool, if not to glorify others (in their tirades of name-dropping nonsense)?

I suspect it must have something to do with a poor sense of "Strategy."
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(24) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 14:10]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-12-30]


>> "there you have the option follow, unfollow and most important - BLOCK a frustrated imbecile."

Oh, personal insults.
If you want to talk smack, Darko -- you are not even a worthy challenge.

Just remember that the true imbecile was unable to define his own key terminology, Darko.
You'll have to BLOCK everybody who exposes your incompetence... that would be anybody who asks you to define your own key terms -- at the crux of your childish debate.
Remember: I wasn't the first to ask. And, I asked you nicely for a definition. You repeatedly exposed yourself, by trying to insult the understanding of anyone who would question your inability to converse in your own terminology. Deny deny deny. Dropping names. Aligning yourself with "real" problem composers (which only come in the form of orthodox twomovers -- ha!). What a joke...

You don't even possess the vocabulary to explain what the **** you're supposedly trying to convey, in your own words!

Read my last post -- which I posted just before noticing the appearance of your childish fit -- I clearly explained that I will be abandoning this thread (there's nothing left here worthy of my time).
But, if you want to misuse this forum to hurl personal insults, I will respond.

Next time, just admit that you don't have any adequate definition to warrant the "philosophical discussions" to claim to have been a party to, concerning problem strategy.
You'll save yourself from considerable embarrassment... if you could just muster some basic honesty, people would respect you, regardless (I certainly was willing to)... you might even avoid the need to lash out with personal insults upon others (which probably encourages participation in future problems tournaments, which you may wish to judge).
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(25) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 14:17]

Well Kevin, I have hoped that someone will produce here a clear definition of strategy and tactics. If you can do this, please do and I'll be thankful. I would understand if you don't want to waste your time for posting the definition or at least telling where it could be found. But instead, wasting so much words just to spit on our attempts (due to our ignorance which I'm always ready to admit) is not only impolite, it is extremely hostile. Are you able to recognize your own ignorance?

Since no definition was posted here, I tried to guess what might be the basic essential points for creating a definition. A better attempt would certainly be very helpful. Somehow I doubt you're willing to try it, for it might expose all your ignorance.
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(26) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 14:43]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-12-30]


How can we have an honest conversation about strategy, if we can't first define the term?
If you are willing to admit that an honest definition is required of this term, then I can at least respect your honesty.

But, here we find ourselves, chasing the tail of an undefined term... which Darko now requires to afford him with profound philosophical questions (in order to accommodate some conversations he held).
I doubt anyone can ever satisfy that need.

I don't think I started out so hostile.
I certainly grew hostile after it was insinuated that: 1) I am one of the persons who are unable to understand Darko's term (which he has continually refused to define for us, while refusing to honestly acknowledge his own denials), and 2) I'm not of the class of "real" problem composers, etc etc etc.

Maybe Darko felt like he was backed into a corner, when I challenged him to produce such a definition.
But, I certainly didn't push him into that corner.
I think he had ample opportunity to confront that challenge... with HONESTY (and if he had, nobody would have reason to think any lesser of him).

But, let's put all of that hostility behind us... and consider what you're asking for...

First question: what is the purpose of us discovering a definition for a term (specific to chess-play), which doesn't currently exist (for problem chess)?

And note: even in the realm of chess play, the commonly established definition for Strategy is less than pristine.

If you can help me appreciate the need for such a term, I would be delighted to help you uncover the necessary meaning.
So long as everyone is willing to accept that this term will have to mean something that we can actually define... such that EVERY PERSON who reads our definition will be able to understand our meaning.

Maybe what Darko means to ask is: What is strategy in a chess problem (and what influence can it have upon the orthodox #2)?
Now, here is a legitimate question... for anyone to consider... that would make for a worthy title of a thread.

As I understand strategy, in the game of chess, it pertains to intangible positional evaluations (see the definition I provided) made by the player.
You might favor one position over another, for intangible reasons: more space, better centralization, outside passed pawn, etc (beyond the yield of definitive assessment).

In problem chess, there are no intangible aims -- everything depends upon a definitive assessment; and therefore, this definition would afford our players (the solver) no possible element of positional play.

That doesn't mean you can not employ strategical planning in constructing a chess problem.
And, it does not mean that such considerations do not aid the solver in finding a solution.
But, no solver would claim to have solved a chess problem, without having calculated the tangible gains required by the stipulation.

I find little value in the desire to adopt this term -- it looks desperate.
The burden of definition, therefore, is upon any person who would claim that strategical chess considerations are a worthy technique, in solving chess problems.
And, I presume that acceptance would hinge upon some perceived improvement in solving technique.

As of yet, I have not seen this advanced by top solvers.
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(27) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 15:10]


I apologize for offended you and after carefully reading your first answer (because of I was offended!) I see that you didn't mean nothing bad and that you're partially right. Maybe it's because your superiority in the terminology and knowledge of English language (mine is less than sufficient). I'm on a pretty lazy writing and a hedonist, and you might all get it too seriously. My question here is not motivated by a desire to define strategies and tactics, but to test the idea that the process of composition (not solving) even in such a small space of #2 can provide everithing offered by game of Chess.
In any case I leave this question open to all interested and more competent than me.
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(28) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 15:35]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-12-30]


Apology accepted.
And, I'm sorry for my part in escalating this matter...

In retrospect, I wish I had helped give you better opportunities to shape your question... before it began spiraling into something personal.
I do often forget that English is not a universal first language; and, I will resolve to do a better job in helping to preemptively avoid communication issues, in this new year...

I think maybe I better understand the motivation behind your question, now.
See my last post, which has been updated.

I'm no great solver -- I'd probably consider myself fair, if not for exceptional slowness -- but, I don't see how strategy plays any part, from the perspective of a solver, when required to calculate a tangible result.
Maybe that is only a semantic issue (given how I would define strategy). Maybe I'm wrong, entirely. Maybe guessing, based upon intangible positional features, can actually be a valid solving strategy.

Whatever the case, I require a definition for strategy, in the context of a chess problem.
And, it just hit me that maybe this is exactly what you have been asking for... all along.
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(29) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 15:58]

Oh Kevin, you should read what people wrote. I have pretty clearly stated that I don't give the definition and Darko's posts also show that he doesn't claim that he knows one. So, your crusade was pointless. But it radiated a bitter scorn towards our stupidity, immorality, hypocrisy and whatever more, it generally felt like hatred. That's at least how I have experienced it, you may believe me or not.

-"... strategy pertains to intangible positional evaluations (see the definition I provided) made by the player."-

That is probably most common way in which a chess player would try to explain strategy. I don't see it as very useful. And specific strategies might be detected in all aspects of living, including chess composition.

So, some general concept and the meaning of Strategy should be established first and then we might look for a specific concept of chess problem strategy. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I would like to understand what I fail to see.
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(30) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 16:07]; edited by Darko Šaljić [13-12-30]

I've done some editing too :)

Maybe this will clarify things a bit. Under the solver I did not think on person who aims only to find a solution, but one who wants to discover the subject, content and complete idea that the author wanted to show.
Does a composer of twomover may say that his problem is showing strategic theme, idea?
This issue is not resolved for more than a century, and I have no illusion that I will resolve it, I just want to hear different ideas.
Confusion was created back in the beginning of classification of twomover themes, in so-called English - strategic school,
that actually defines the basic tactical elements
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(31) Posted by Steven Dowd [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 17:23]; edited by Steven Dowd [13-12-30]

Here is how I see strategy and tactics in the two-mover.

Any solver can use Brute Force (tactics)to solve a problem. That is a tactical approach, the kind Hertan alludes to. John Rice also wrote about a fellow who won a solving trophy by writing down every possible key, reply, and so on, until he solved the problems.

A composer may look to express a theme, such as the Albino. That is strategy.

A solver may elect to recognize strategy or ignore it entirely. Recognizing strategy in the chess problem (yes, my definition for strategy is thematic/schematic aims and it, by its very nature, must underlie tactics) is something a solver may choose to do or not acknowledge at all.

Recognition of strategy can help in solving ("Oh, look, all possible moves of the d2-pawn are available here - maybe we have an Albino in the works?") although primarily it is a help in recognizing the potential beauty of a chess problem. Only recently have computers been able to recognize the beauty in problems, and that only in a tentative way, although they have been successfully solving problems for decades. But of course trying to recognize strategy can lead to preconceptions that limit one's solving ability, just as it could weaken one's ability to play the game ("doubled pawns are always bad").

I am not certain if the above correctly describes the entities we are searching to define. But I hope to have contributed something to the conversation.
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(32) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 30, 2013 18:10]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-12-30]

@Steven, et al...

Concerning the issue of strategy in problem composition (e.g., composer sets out to make an Albino Theme).
This seems like an exercise in harvesting empty holes in the ground.

Who cares what strategy LIKELY went into a problem composition?
Of course there is room for strategy in organizing an efficient search, to more quickly achieve something -- but who cares?
The strategy involved, in finding a particular flower, has absolutely no bearing upon the value of the discovery.

I can't honestly prove that Steven actually intended to achieve full-length setplay in a helpmate of remarkable length.
Nobody can actually prove that he didn't program a computer to find such things.
His strategy doesn't matter to the audience -- it's enough that we know that he was the one (of the two composers) who somehow found something quite beautiful.

I really only know two things:
1) What content do I set out to explore (such stories may benefit somebody's technique, but it's of no interest to the legitimate critic), and
2) What content do I take away as somehow beautiful (in some of my problems, and in some of yours).

If such strategy exists in composing a chess problem, appreciation would depend upon the sworn testimony of braggarts.
Except in the interest of sharing/learning new construction technique, discussion of this matter is pointless.

An original chess problem composer is nothing more than the first person/group to find publishable beauty in some revealed pattern.
It may not sit well, for some people, but it's not much different than looking for fossils, or shopping for tile patterns.

Yes, the real difference here, obviously, is that successful problem composition depends largely upon a completely different set of good "shopping" strategies (which have been considerably evolved by technological progress).
Is there strategy involved in writing an intelligent EGTB query? Certainly, yes -- absolutely there is.
But, nobody should judge a work based upon the presumption of its strategical challenge (whereas realization of the discovery is a legitimate criteria).

It might be worthwhile to ponder some minimum perceived strategic realization scenario... but the actual minimum would be to shake a box of pieces, and drop them from some fixed height above the board, roll some dice, and let popeye do the rest.

Strategy, in the composing arena, is just a fancy name for search techniques.
If it makes sense to define strategy, in terms of problem composition -- or solving, for that matter -- we have yet to read how (under any definition for the term).

I presume that every composer's strategy is just this: to publish something that they deem to be of value.
No matter how lucky their random problem generator, a human must sort through the output, and decide whether a problem merits their name.
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(33) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Monday, Jan 6, 2014 21:07]

"Strategy is a thing for chess play... it lies outside the realm of problem chess."

Oh my god! No more comment needed but one: where is the "ignore"-function in the Mat Plus forum?
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(34) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 05:27]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-01-07]

The "ignore" button is just below the "haha, it's FALSE PRIDE if you can't define it" button. :-)

To deliberately ignore is to make yourself ignorant -- one does not refute a gambit by ignoring it.
"Beware false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." -- George Bernard Shaw.
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." -- Confucius.

"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes." ― Akira Kurosawa.

btw: this reminds me of debates within the art community, some years ago...
Some artists used to enjoy hearing themselves argue that color provided an insufficient representation for all imagery -- therefore, they insisted, something called "texture" must exist.

The artists who most fancied themselves, it would seem, were always off insisting that they could actually observe "texture" (but not a one could provide a satisfactory definition for the term).
To be caught wearing no clothes, after all, requires the false pride of a King -- such affliction is not suffered by the honest Pawn.

The answer to the artist's debate, of course, can be found in your Freshman Physics text (turn to the chapter on photons and frequencies).
Texture was just a contrived fantasy -- a pretense almost as absurd as "Chess Problem Strategy."

ps: the phrase "Oh My God" is best translated: I can't maintain my false belief!
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." -- Isaac Asimov.
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(35) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 05:51]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [14-01-07]

I think this one line summarises all that you had written in this thread so far :)
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(36) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 05:58]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-01-07]


Actually, I think this entire thread can be summarized by this one transparently obvious line:
If you can not define Strategy (in the context of chess problems), you are the King without clothes (only pretending it exists).

The subject heading should read: What is the definition of chess problem strategy?
After dozens of posts, we still have not one single satisfactory definition for the material claim -- only stubborn, pronounced denials of the naked truth.

It is a fantasy, which embarrasses proud believers into the refuge of ignorance and denial.
The real tragedy here is that no seamstress has yet profited from this delusion.
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(37) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 12:02]

The unfortunate thing is, Kevin has a point, regardless how he,
eh, formulates it. Ignoring doesn't make it go away ;-)

Here is, just for teh lulz, a possible very radical answer,
together with some circumstantial evidence.

Null Hypothesis: Strategy doesn't exist for an omniscient being.
The difference we make between strategy and tactics is nothing more than
a practical wording, based on our computational horizon.

Circumstantial evidence. You surely know the "pwn-a-computer" position, which
goes wNa4, bQb6 and a load of interlocked pawns. Correct strategy for human:
replay queen to a4, knight to b3, hack Pa5, win slowly. Epil fail tactics for
computer: happily hack queen, instant draw because wQ can't break through.

Let's assume the human strategy needs 50 moves to mate. The exact value is
of no relevance, in any case it lies beyond the horizon of the best computer.
OK, but now assume we have the super-duper-quantum-computer which can solve
this by brute force. He compares: Nxb6, no mate after 50 moves, "human move
order", mate, Nxb6 falls victim to alpha/beta cut.

So, the terms we would call "strategical" (weak Pa5, regroup to attack,
break through) on a 50-move horizon are indistinguishable from tactics.
They merely enable the human to cut off a load of useless null moves which
the computer has to consider.
In a mirror irony, the human epically fails to win KRB/KNN because this is
100% tactics, and impossible to break down into familiar strategical patterns.

A final word from Heisenberg to Begley:
"I have dirty water and dirty towels. And the dishes are clean! Is not that funny? That's just like us with the theories of physics. We have inaccurate experiments. And the terms are blurred. Nevertheless nice to come at the end theories out. "
(I can translate better than Google, but I kept it for effect :-)

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(38) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 16:45]

As usually, Kevin writes innumerable words which have nothing common with the topic. But these words speak from high about the stupidity and ignorance of the people involved in the discussion. That is why the ignore function is wanted.

Kevin, define your concept of "definition", or stop using the word!
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(39) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 19:45]

To me strategy is different from what Hauke writes here.
Strategy has something to do with an intense fight between black and white pieces where White accumulates advantages to fulfill the stipulation.

Something like
(= 9+9 )

Sven-Hendrik Loßin, Rochade Europa 2012, s#7

Short solution:
1. Sa4! Sxc4 2. f6 (droht 3. Db5 4. Sb2+) Sg4! 3. Txg4 Lg7 4. Sb2+ Sxb2 5. La4 6. Lb5+ 7. Dd2+ cxd2#

see P1259116 in the PDB. Some strategic elements in it:
- forcing a black piece on a square where it can be pinned
- opening a white line (5th row) while closing a black line (the latter being good and bad for white -selfmate specific) in some non full length line the black line is reopened
- opening diagonal d2-h6 by sacrificing a piece (black does this and this enables him to perform his defence 3.-Lg7! but the line opening is harmful to him as well - again selfmate specific)

All this is usually seen as strategic stuff and I think this is common sense. If Kevin had written here that there is not enough strategic play in chess composition, then I would have agreed.
Of course there is also line opening/interference and pinning in twomovers but here it is done in that way that white is making small progress which is not possible in twomovers.
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(40) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 20:44]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-01-07]

Unfortunately (from Hauke's perspective anyway), my point remains.
The latest suggested definition of Strategy in Chess Composition: umm, you know, common sense strategic stuff.
- forcing an enemy piece into a pin (must be the stuff of strategy, because, well, it is just common sense, dammit).

In other words: We hold these circular arguments to be undefinable, that all strategies are glorified tactics.

As I have noted, long ago, in this thread, according to the common web definitions:
Chess Tactics- any sequence of moves which limit the opponent's options, and provide some tangible gain.
Chess Strategy- any subtle positional evaluation, aimed to achieve some intangible gain.

Aside: forcing an enemy unit into a pin, for the purpose of providing some tangible gain, would clearly be an example of TACTICS ("a sequence of moves which limit the opponent's options, and provide some tangible gain").

Note that these definitions are not based upon horizon, but in any game between players of infinite horizon (e.g., two computers playing from a perfect EGTB), the concept of strategy (in the context of solving chess problems) is vacated (only tangible outcomes are possible).
There are three components to strategy in the game of chess:
1) maximizing intangible gains (aka CHANCES) by using positional evaluation (in situations where you have a limited horizon),
2) maximizing intangible gains by anticipating your opponent's chances for misevaluation (in situations where the opponent has a limited horizon), and
3) maximizing intangible gains by some combination of 1) and 2).

In the context of a chess problem, there are no intangible aims (within a valid stipulation) -- all gains must be tangible.
And, a chess problem requires a perfect horizon (not necessarily infinite, but at least matching the stipulated problem length).
Finally, there is no hope to take advantage of the opponent's limited horizon (the solver must provide "best" defenses, to a perfect horizon).
Therefore, all strategy (in the context of a chess problem) is vacated.

It is absolutely clear why nobody can provide an adequate definition of strategy, in the context of solving chess problems.

What this thread actually asks us to provide (what even I have been asked to provide) is a definition for a word that some problem enthusiasts WANT (quite desperately, it would seem) to exist, within the realm of chess problems.
And I, for one, submit that their reasons (for wanting this term) are as transparent as the effort is misguided.

If you want a chess problem which involves strategy, you need to consider allowing intangible aims into your stipulations.
e.g., White to move and draw (but maximize chances for a win).
I wish you GOOD LUCK in determining whether such problems are sound (especially as depth and complexity increase beyond the obvious proving techniques)!
The ironic reality is: you'll be fortunate to achieve a sound strategical problem, of value, in anything beyond a two-mover.

I think we can agree on this:
“...Heisenberg removed the conceit that the workings of Nature should necessarily accord with common sense.”
― Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw, The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen.

Ignoring a valid point is indistinguishable from completely missing it, if one ignores the gradient of work.
Therefore, your best strategy is to ignore all that you will not comprehend.
And, since you have no comprehension of the term strategy, you should proceed with your own reasoning...
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