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MatPlus.Net Forum General Our incomplete problem chess world
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(1) Posted by Per Olin [Wednesday, Sep 5, 2012 18:16]

Our incomplete problem chess world


Do we need a Codex?

A friend of mine recently stated that art needs no Codex, but there is a sport aspect of our art that needs some rules. It is fairly evident that the WFCC Codex is not designed especially for competition activities; this can also be seen from the Introduction to the Codex. However, partly based on the Codex and partly based on undocumented practices, World Championships are held in which are mixed orthodox and fairy problems.

What needs to be done?

Critics of the Codex has been expressed in different forums and on different occasions; here a summary of what, in my opinion, needs to be done. The 10th item 'Etc' indicates that there can be more, this is the opinion of just one person. After the list there are some more detailed explanations.
1. Reconsider whether the Codex Chapter II is to be the basis for the competition activities of WFCC.
2. Make a clear definition for fairy chess and other problem groups.
3. Solve the matter of retros / fairy retros / fairies; related to item 2.
4. Reconsider the status of stalemate problems to always being fairies; related to item 2.
5. Make reference to modern chess rules.
6. Take a standpoint on Chess960 (FischerRandomChess); related to item 5.
7. Take a standpoint on proofgames starting from some other position than the standard initial position; partly related to item 6.
8. Consider whether the classification system is to cover all possible problem types; related to item 2.
9. Consider having a body / committee / commission, which gives decisions concerning interpretations of the Codex.
10. Etc.

Reconsider whether the Codex Chapter II is to be the basis for the competition activities of WFCC . - The answer to this is fairly obvious; if the CodexI is not the basis for the competition activities, then something else must be.

Make a clear definition for fairy chess and other problem groups. - Fairy is mentioned only once in the Codex, in a footnote without a clear reference. If it is possible to define direct mates, helpmates etc., then it should be possible to define fairy chess. It is worthwhile to consider having subgroups within fairy chess.

Solve the matter of retros / fairy retros / fairies. - The present situation with a mixture of orthodox and unorthodox problems among the retros is unsatisfactory; in no other problem genre is this done. Having this under a misleading title for the problems is peculiar.

Reconsider the status of stalemate problems to always being fairies. - There seems to be a widespread consensus that it is odd that a problem ending in stalemate is always a fairy problem. A direct stalemate or a helpstalemate are not far from direct mates and helpmates; one is considered to be orthodox and the other unorthodox.

Make reference to modern chess rules. - It is difficult to imagine that problem chess can fix itself to old chess rules as the rules change.

Take a standpoint on Chess960 (FischerRandomChess). - Chess960 has been part of the chess rules since 2009. Biggest impact is on the legality of a position.

Take a standpoint on proofgames starting from some other position than the standard initial position. - A proofgame can start from 1) the standard initial position (SIP) 2) any of the other 959 starting positions of Chess960 3) any position that can be derived from SIP or 4) any position that can be derived from any of the other 959 Chess960 initial positions . Based on the Fairy Chess Lexicon of die Schwalbe, one would be inclined to believe that 2) - 4) are classified as fairy chess. Are only proofgames starting form one of the 960 initial positions of Chess960 orthodox?

Consider whether the classification system is to cover all possible problem types . - Die Schwalbe has a section for Schachmathematik und Sonstiges (=others). This is very practical as there are orthodox problems that fit into no other orthodox group.

Consider having a body / committee / commission, which gives decisions concerning interpretations of the Codex. - It is obvious that there will always be a need for questions, answers, interpretations. A permanent body could have the authority to do this whenever a need appears; perhaps this is a task of the Permanent Committee for Codex matters?

Does the world need to be this incomplete?

There are World Championships partly based on the Codex, which is in need of an update to the competitive requirements of today. The inconsistencies and unfinished matters need to be addressed one day. If it were my decision, it would be sooner; but as it is not my decision, it will have to be later. Until this day comes, we will continue to live in our incomplete problem chess world.

Don Quijote has left the building.
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(2) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 14:06]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [13-03-12]

Suprising that this short and almost complete post went unnoticed. The issues raised have however been analysed in depth elsewhere by others especially Mr.Kevin.
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(3) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013 21:02]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-03-12]

This post is familiar.
I suspect it may have been addressed in another thread, around the time.
Either way, the themes here are very common -- dissatisfaction with the codex is virtually universal.

But, I wonder: are our delegates even capable of a rewrite -- or would they only make the situation worse?
Frankly, I doubt Thomas Jefferson could adequately wield the quill for such a revolutionary endeavor!
Is there a character among us whom might gain a quorum?
I see only poorly grounded overconfidence.

Recent push-polling suggests we have no shortage of opinionated so-called "experts", who are collectively incapable of providing ANY definitions for even their own fundamental terminology.
Would you trust any of them to write a Codex?

The codex problem is of a fundamental, systematic nature -- therefore, it requires an honest, ground-up solution.
You can not trust developers to fix this for you.

Otherwise, you might easily find a new Codex absurdly claiming that specific fairy elements are defined by the algorithm of the quoted solving tool (in which case, an 8-fold Babson is only one deliberately buggy program away).
People who fail to understand where computer algorithms come from, should refrain from citing them as an authority; but, for every problem, there's a throw-rug, under which non-solvers are quick to sweep.

That's the trouble -- the revolution, which we all recognize is long overdue, has never sparked.
If we consider chess problems to be a worthwhile endeavor, why do we not care enough to establish honest definitions for the fundamental terms of our codex?

I submit that the constant failure to launch such a movement is a revelation of something profound -- about ourselves, and about how we must view the prospects for chess problems in the future.
Maybe this attitude (which is also reflected in our failures to address environmental issues) is a symptom of a much larger problem.
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(4) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 08:31]

Hi Kevin,

Would you find the below rough sketch of definitions honest and fundamental enough?

1. Fairy condition
A set of alterations to the rules of the Game of Chess

2. Aim/stipulation
There's just one fundamental aim in all chess compositions: to achieve the best possible result (which is win, and if win is not possible - draw) in a given game played with indicated set of fairy conditions applied.

3. Examples of fairy conditions
- "Endgame studies" is a simple fairy condition like "50 move rule doesn't apply"
- "Direct mates in N" is another fairy condition that alters the rules of losing for white ("If White doesn't checkmate in N, they lose")
- "Direct stalemates" is an extra fairy condition that switches the definitions of checkmate and stalemate.
- "Series direct mates" are direct mates with an extra fairy condition (oh, yes!) that alters the rules of moving for black: "Black may and must pass moves"
- "Helpmates" are actually "Series direct mates" with additional fairy condition that alter the rules for white moves: "White may and must play with the black pieces in turn, and the move is legalized as if it was played by Black"
- "Proofgames" are helpmates with additional complex fairy condition that game is played by reverse rules and checkmate means reaching initial array

ad inf.
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(5) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 09:09]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [13-03-13]

Very interesting and I would say "Fair"

Better to start with defining "Rules of the game of Chess" :)
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(6) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 12:46]

With all due respect, Dmitri, I disagree. I would say the 50 move rule is a fairy condition applied to practical play, and not an inherent law of chess.
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(7) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 14:06]

Friends, don't let the technicalities distract you from the main point i was trying to make: which is more important - to have practical definitions or honest and fundamental? Depending on the answer to this question, defining series-movers as a stipulation may not seem such a bad idea. And if honesty makes you say that series-movers are fairy condition, then it would only be honest to say that direct mates are as well. And help-play is not fundamental :)
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(8) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 15:25]; edited by Hauke Reddmann [13-03-13]

If Dmitri hadn't become a problemist, he'd become a great experimental physicist.
If Kevin hadn't become a problemist, he'd become a great theoretical physicist.
(I wonder who feels insulted now. The string theorists, perhaps? :-)

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(9) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 15:47]

I could easily punch out a trilogy of books on this subject... so, in the interest of brevity, I will strive to be as concise as possible.

Dmitri's noble attempt to define a fairy condition as "a set of alterations to the rules of the Game of Chess," falls short, for a number of reasons.

There is a petty semantic debate about whether a "set" is necessary -- better to avoid that conversation...
Perhaps another semantic issue, this one worth noting, is that Dmitri is really attempting to define a FAIRY ELEMENT, not a fairy condition.

Personally, I would define a "fairy condition" to be a fairy element which applies, universally, to ALL units (and exemptions for any/all royal units should be stated). But, I will dodge that protracted, tangential argument, too...

Regardless, a nightrider is definitely not a fairy condition, yet it definitely alters the rules of the chess game.
This is sufficient to demonstrate that the above definition requires some refinement...

modified: "Fairy Element = any alteration(s) to the rules of the game of chess."

This still fails, because, as Seetharaman astutely points out, this hinges entirely upon the presumption of an unprovided fundamental definition: specifically, it fails to define the "orthodox" rules of chess, without which any contrary definition (for "fairy elements") will certainly crumble.
This is a commonly repeated error, based upon the false presumption that we have some definition for the "orthodox" term (when the truth is, nobody has yet managed to provide one).

I'll even refine this definition a few steps further, hopefully providing a revealing glimpse into why these definitions ("orthodox/fairies") will, inevitably, still collapse.

Orthodox = any game rules which completely adhere to the "rules of movement" provided by the FIDE RULE BOOK.

Note: the "rules of movement" are the physics, if you will, for the chessmen... and nothing else.
It does NOT take into account any claims (50-move rule, repetition), disallows all attempts at resignation and draw agreement, and completely ignores the OBJECTIVE of the game and all scoring values (whether 1-point or 3-points for a win, whether 1/2-point or 1/4-point or 1-point or 0-points for stalemate, even if +10-points for selfmate -- we can define orthodox such that all of this is completely ignored)!

A stipulation for any formal chess problem, I would argue, has (at least) three components which must be explicitly stated (our objective, our deadline, and the motivation of the opponent, with respect to either each immediate goal, or the ultimate aim).
Beyond the stipulation, there are rules which govern play (the physics of the chessmen, by which terms like "orthodox" and "fairy" must be measured).
It is critically important that we establish (and maintain), as much as possible, a distinctive separation between all these components -- if the rules governing play are allowed to bleed into the objectives (which only defines success, according to explicitly stated goals and sub-goals, which generally iterate down to some ultimate aim, such as #, =, x, +, etc), the underlying purpose of our formal description, and categorization system is fundamentally lost.
Understanding, innovation and progress all require an intelligent infrastructure.

Already, there are several examples of how we might benefit by avoiding bad forms.
If anyone is interested, I'll be happy to provide more details.
Suffice it to say, there are good reasons why this distinct categorization system was developed (and passed down to us).
Ignoring the designed purpose of these distinctions has resulted in failures, which could have been avoided (but now serve only to erode formal communication).
Beyond that, we have several fairy elements which are defined in multiple ways, because the fundamental groundwork was never established, or poorly maintained.
We even had several "experts" foolishly advocating to tailor the definition of fairy elements according to the output (and version number!) of imperfect software!
If this is how problemists intend to continue defining the fundamental terms, I, for one, will soon thank them for teaching me how to better scrutinize a failed hobby.

At any rate, having defined orthodox chess entirely according to the rules of play, irrespective of the objective, we can now begin to appreciate why our terms still fail to adequately distinguish fairies from orthodox...

The rules of FIDE Chess are constantly evolving (never stopped -- and, anyone who thinks chess is now set in stone, is only fooling themselves).
The most recent change -- dead positions -- did much more than merely open the door for several fine dead reckoning problems...
Changes in the player federation's rule book also thematically ruined at least a few valuable orthodox studies.

There was one study which showed 3 separate stalemates (if memory serves, I believe all were models), but 2 of those 3 are no longer stalemates (because the play ends one move prior, on account of neither player having a helpmate in the position).
Note: the rule for dead positions is NOT a claim that needs to be made -- it governs the end of the game (read: this is a law of physics for the chessmen).
So, here was an unmistakably clear thematic intent, now ruined (beyond all repair).
I don't think many even bothered to pause, and consider the implication.

With no fundamental definitions to begin with, legality is only a fine point anyway -- does it even matter, anymore (just glance at the output, and toss out whatever fool judgement favors your friends, right)?
Nobody cares to define what is orthodox, or what is fairy -- just pocket the imbalanced points for the orthodox study, and ignore the fact that it can no longer be considered orthodox.
The judges don't even concern themselves with the fundamental jurisdictional questions, responsible for our gaping divisions.

I'm confident this new rule also wrecks a few studies involving stalemate for both sides.
And, beyond studies, I bet it entirely destroys a few formal =n and s=n problems -- perhaps even a few recent compositions.
Luckily, the judges rarely bother to notice changes to the rules governing the legal movement of their game... until they have an interest in noticing (that's when the new rules will kick-in, hard)...
This is why fundamental terms are so important -- without them, the division of categories lose all contextual meaning, soundness becomes a matter of debate, and doors close on fundamental fairness.

Some would argue that, were repairs are impossible, recast the old "orthodox" rule as a new fairy element, and carelessly toss these old orthodox relics into whatever fairy shoe box will accommodate them (because, after all, these folks don't care about fairies anyway).
Except, somewhere along the way, they forgot that they have a duty to preserve these problems.
Moreover, what fools would pretend that the same fate can not befall their own cherished problems?!

But, put all that aside -- let us go a step further, and fix Dmitri's definition, yet again!
Orthodox = any game rules which completely adhere to the "rules of movement" provided by the PRESENT FIDE RULE BOOK.

Let the old "orthodox" decay into new, throw-away fairy elements -- so long as everybody keeps the old orthodox album-points -- isn't that the point?

So what if the fundamental definition (fairy/orthodox) is drawn on the shifting sands -- so long as each new rule book provides a distinct division, right?
Somebody still has to update databases, rewrite the orthodox tasks and records, edit the books -- a needlessly unending burden to preserve problems, which had no defect (other than to have once called themselves "orthodox").

If preservation were important, why not get rid of these bogus sub-divisions, and define problem genres according to the elements which are INHERENT to problems themselves?
Specifically, according to the differences in formal stipulation: the objective, the stipulated play type (help/oppose), the number of moves.
It does not put orthodox problems at any disadvantage -- so long as you are willing to insist upon an economical application of fairy elements.

In fact, at least then they might have some grounds to justify a rampant favoritism.
Why have just two laws of physics (one which constantly changes, and another defined to be anything contrary to who knows what)?

I thought problemists were supposed to be devoted to problems, first and foremost -- but, that's not really the case.
Many prefer to be loyal to a shifting set of rules of play, for some dusty game which they like to pretend is orthodox.
The rules governing play should be, at the very least, secondary to problems distinctions.

Obviously, it is not the game that they are really loyal to -- if that were the case, they would be able to distinguish their beloved set of rules by a simple definition, they would have cared enough to notice the significance of the rule changes, and they would have bothered to appreciate the need to preserve those problems which fell from their category on high (understanding that their own problems will eventually suffer the same fate).

They must be loyal to something else...

I could go on and on... but, I'm sure I've said too much already.
Somebody had to say these things.
And now that I've said my peace, I think I'll seek another hobby.
If I have to explain to another composer why it should be plainly obvious that series-movers are a fairy condition, not a stipulation, I must be a fool in hoping for some improvement.
That last thing I want to do is stick around long enough that I wind up in a careless agreement, with all the wrong ideas.
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(10) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Friday, Mar 15, 2013 06:49]; edited by Dmitri Turevski [13-03-15]

I'm afraid you didn't understand the true power and flexibility of my definitions :)

Sure, fairy conditions are sets, as we will make unions and intersects, and, sure, empty and non finite sets are included.

Regardless, a nightrider is definitely not a fairy condition, yet it definitely alters the rules of the chess game.

Did i ever call nightrider a fairy condition? Of course the set of alterations needed to introduce nightriders should be called "Nightriders Chess" and that is in full accordance with semantics.

This still fails, because, as Seetharaman astutely points out, this hinges entirely upon the presumption of an unprovided fundamental definition: ...

My system is so fundamental it doesn't fundamentally depend on the starting set of rules. We can start with an empty set of rules (as a definition for "the rules of the Game of Chess") and then introduce fairy conditions "FIDE rules rev 1989", "FIDE rules rev 2008" - as many as needed. Or we can start with the rules for table tennis, that's fine too, as we would, of course, soon define "Forget the tennis part" fairy condition.

The burden of proving that used combination of fairy conditions is complete and non controversial lies naturally on the shoulders of composer (it's part of soundness).

My system needs not to multiply entities by defining "orthodox", "fairy piece/element", "stipulation" etc.

It's a good system, really, honest and fundamental. A bit impractical, maybe, but that was never the purpose.

I really can go on and on, but i better don't.
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(11) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 00:27]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-03-16]


>"Did i ever call nightrider a fairy condition?"

No, I introduced nightriders into the discussion, merely to refine your definition.
I knew you'd agree these are not a fairy condition, and therefore, we can agree that you have defined a "fairy element" (rather than condition).
As we have both stated, some of these refinements amount only to a semantic improvement; nevertheless, refinements are important, if our goal is to provide definitions for fundamental terms.

>"My system is so fundamental it doesn't fundamentally depend on the starting set of rules."

Actually, there are two things wrong with your system.
First, it does -- quite explicitly -- depend upon "the rules of the game of chess" (which you have neglected to define).

Recall that your definition, which is commonly used, states the following (slightly refined, for semantics purposes):
"Fairy Element = any alteration(s) to the rules of the game of chess."
You probably could get away with saying "sets of alterations," but I don't see the need to burden readers with set theory.

As Seetharaman immediately (and quite rightly!) explained, this hinges entirely upon your definition for "the rules of the game of chess."

This brings us to the second flaw in your system -- accepting every rule in the latest FIDE rule book is not considered a valid description of "orthodoxy."

Your system would claim that #2, #3, #n, s#n, h#n are all "unorthodox" (therefore, a fairy element).
Only studies -- win/draw -- would be "orthodox."

This is flawed.
First of all, we already have a term for these: it is called "studies."
The term "orthodox" has NEVER been applied strictly to studies -- directmates were considered "orthodox" from the outset.
Your attempt to introduce new meaning to this term ("orthodox") fails, because your term provides us no meaningful value -- only redundancy (with an existing term).
Thus, we may annihilate your term completely, and free it for reuse; luckily, in so doing, we can provide a unique value to the term "orthodox," without straying far from its original use.

Due to a bias for the game of chess (a particular rule book -- and an old one at that, which we now may consider merely another "fairy condition": e.g., "FIDE version 1950?"), a number of legitimate aims/stipulations have been denied legitimate recognition as "orthodox."

Helpmates and selfmates have been considered orthodox, for decades.
But, the lingering bias has been used (without any capacity for explanation, because we have NO fundamental definitions for this term!!) to exclude a vast number of similar stipulations.

If helpmates and selfmates are orthodox, I challenge anyone to define this term such that help-selfmates are not!
Furthermore, there are a number of aims which can not properly be excluded: =, +, x, ep, 00, etc.

The objectives of a problem are distinct from the "rules of play" (as defined by any particular rule book), and should be treated separately, when considering what is orthodox.

If you want to define favored stipulations/aims, do so in clear language (but don't call it "orthodox").
Maybe call it SOOF (the Set Of Orthodox Favorites).

Second, you have to appreciate that studies are not formal chess problems.
In fact, most claim that studies are not even "problems."
[NOTE: I do not necessarily agree with the above statement, but as you'll later discover, nobody can provide a good definition for "chess problems." I will be happy to provide a good functional definition, in a later post -- it's another long story, entirely. In the mean time, anybody wishing to debate this point is asked to provide their own definition!]

I'm only going to focus on formal chess problems...
A "formal problem" MUST explicitly provide (at least) five key elements of a problem:
1) A clear goal (the measure of successful resolution) -- generally this is in the form of an aim (e.g., #, =, +, x, ep, 00, etc), but it can also be a goal (iterations of sub-stipulations, which may stop shy of the ultimate aim -- sigh, that's another long story... suffice it to say, statement of aim is required, though it need not be fully reached -- see also: MLK).
2) A definite deadline -- a non-indefinite number of moves.
3) The opponent's motivation, with respect to the established aim (1), sub-goal (1), and deadline (2) -- generally, formal problems only allow the opponent two options (help or oppose the ultimate aim, with respect to the deadline), however more complex motivations may be possible. This is another involved conversation...
4) The starting conditions -- position + any conventional rules (castling/en passant resultions), and
5) The rules of play for the game (the physics of the chessmen, if you will).

Obviously, studies do not have clear goals.
"Win/Draw" does not always resolve to mate/stalemate -- all that is required is the (forced) realization of a theoretical position (which is not CLEAR and objective, as the understanding of this may vary from solver to solver).
Furthermore, studies have an indefinite deadline!

So, they are not formal chess problems.

But, orthodoxy, in the context of formal chess problems, I argue, only depends upon the fifth, and final point -- the rules of play.

Orthodox is a term which must be kept separate from stipulations (goal, deadline, play -- as defined by 1 through 3, above).
It can not depend upon the aim of the problem.
If a h#n is orthodox, an s#n is orthodox, so too must be hs#n.
Same goes for h=n -- so long as the rules of the problem exactly conform to the present FIDE rule book (without constraint, alteration, or expansion), the problem must be considered "orthodox chess."

Series-movers, obviously, are not orthodox.
All things not orthodox must be ... ?
You guessed it -- HETERODOX (a FAIRY ELEMENT).

But, as I have argued many times, Orthodox is a constantly evolving set of rules.
Therefore, Heterodox too.

What was orthodox/heterodox 20 years, may have shifted.
Orthodox today may not be orthodox in 20 years.
Fairy elements can not be defined against the backdrop of an unfixed rule book -- they must be defined specifically against the backdrop of a particular rule book (e.g., "FIDE 2013" -- which may be updated, as necessary, to the latest possible rule book, so long as validity is retained, but updates should not destroy the ORIGINAL rules under which the problem was published).
Please note: retention of the original rules (at publication) also happens to be fundamentally necessary for PROPER PRESERVATION -- something I know most will appreciate as a critically important responsibility.

Therefore, these distinctions are invalid for categorization purposes.
Instead, we must categorize based upon that which does NOT change -- and that is: the elements of the problem!

The play, the goals/aims, the deadlines, the starting conditions, and, yes, the rules!
Not two distinct sets, which are shifting, but instead the breadth of all DEFINED rules.
FIDE 2013 is a definite, unchanging rule (a fairy condition, if you will!) -- whereas "orthodox" is NOT!

I certainly appreciate that there are some good reasons for favoring orthodox chess.
It has a wider audience, and practical value.
But, the best reason is, it requires a more economical rule book!

And it is that measure (of fairy economy) which should provide a level playing field, for comparison of problems which fall under ANY rule book.
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(12) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 15:33]

Recall that your definition, which is commonly used, states the following (slightly refined, for semantics purposes): ...

There's a big problem here. You make a "refinement" to my statements (without fully understanding them) and then go on about this new concept of yours, that actually has no relevance to the argument.

I define fairy conditions as sets, empty set is a set, ergo empty set of alterations is a fairy condition.

Your system would claim that ... only studies -- win/draw -- would be "orthodox."

No it would not. Unless someone had "semantically refined" it while i was sleeping.
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(13) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Saturday, Mar 16, 2013 23:29]

To my eyes, considering the standard chess game to define what is orthodox and what if fairy has no chance to give what we are looking for: a structured chess problem world. Indeed structuration is going from the easiest to the toughest, a starting point like the standard chess game is too much complicated (even full of "fairy elements", as e.g. en-passant capture) to begin with.

Moreover I strongly doubt that "orthodox" or "fairy" could always apply to a given notion of the chess problem world. Note that in the "real life", an orthodox point of view depends, e.g., if you are belonging to the communist or the liberal party...

For example one could define an "orthodox series" as a pre-terminal sequence played by the same side, together with a terminal half move, reaching the goal. In this setup, help-self series are "fairy series" as they present an alteration of the above definition (the "terminal move" is an entire move).

So if I add to enter the structuration process, I would begin by the easiest concepts, what is a chess-board (orthodox if 8x8, fairy otherwise), what is a piece (orthodox or fairy), a move (possible, legal), a capture (orthodox if leading to an annihilation, fairy otherwise), and so on.

I even wonder if the brave "orthodox" King might not be considered in fact as a fairy piece, as its moving possibilities are altered by a threat...
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(14) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 10:20]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-03-17]

Dmitri, if you don't accept my refinements, that's fine -- you need not hesitate to provide your own!
If your own refinements happen to match the ones I've offered, I have already provided you my strategy to argue that they will lead to failure.

Already, I noted that your definition might apply to fairy elements -- but, it definitely does not describe "fairy conditions" (the term which you had originally defined).
Nightriders, we both have stipulated, are not a "fairy condition" (though they may be considered a fairy element).
However, they satisfy the definition you offer for a "fairy condition."
This is a contradiction -- which demands that some refinement be made in your definition.

If you don't accept the refinement I have offered (which, I think quite graciously supposed that you intended to define a "Fairy Element" rather than a "Fairy Condition"), then there is certainly no need not hesitate in providing your own refinement (or explanation for the contradiction).

Same goes for the rest of the refinements I have offered, as improvements -- each to address a specific, expressed failure (or potential failure, at the very least)in your original definition.

Specifically, I noted that the issue of set theory might be a semantic debate (but something to consider).
As noted, I would prefer to avoid such a counterproductive discussion about semantic minutia.
But, if you insist on such a term, please explain how a "null-set" (which you agree is still a set) of alterations (from the "rules of chess") would still constitute a "fairy element" (or fairy condition, if you still prefer that term).

Furthermore, it has already been shown that your original definition hinged completely upon a secondary definition, which you failed to provide.
If you do not define your fundamental term ("the rules of chess" -- by which you seem to be implying "orthodoxy"), you certainly can not define a contrary term (whether it is "fairy element" or "fairy condition" or whatever you want to call it -- by which you seem to be implying "heterodoxy").

I'm happy to consider your system -- including whatever terms you care to provide for it -- so long as you DEFINE them.
For example, if you define an "unreal object" to be the set of all things that deviate from real objects, you must understand that you have provide no definition (until you first define what is a "real object").

Finally, if you want to claim that your term for "orthodox" (which you certainly do suggest should be considered "all rules of the chess game, and nothing else"), then you'll have to explain how this definition is distinct from the well established term, "studies."
Otherwise, as I have noted, your term is completely redundant, and therefore devoid of valuable meaning.
Why would we go out of our way to destroy the value of such a term (by redundancy), in a manner that is contrary to long established traditions -- which deems several problem elements, which are not included in the set of studies, as "orthodox" (e.g., #2, #3, #n, h#n, s#n)?
You provide no explanation.
Is your term not completely redundant (and if not, how do you connote this meaningful, beyond the function of a perfect synonym)?

Beyond offering what I still consider to be optimal refinements (to fix your broken definition), I have also argued that these such refinements will lead to failure.

If you disagree, then you have two choices, for each refinement offered:
1) either you embrace a specific refinement offered for your definition, but dispute my conclusion of what it leads to, or
2) you reject the specific refinement (in which case, either you provide something better, or you explain why the weakness of the definition is exaggerated).

So far, you only claim I am not understanding your definitions.
That might well be true -- but, it's not only me (remember, I was not the first to insist that your definition hinges upon something more fundamental, which is left undefined: what you called, "the rules of chess").

If the definitions in your system are clear to you, there should be no delay in providing a clarification, with respect to the weaknesses outlined.

Some people might think that they understand your position (yourself included); but, that's not enough!
If you are going to claim to have provided a fundamental definition for a chess problem term (as a criterion for a larger categorization system), then there can be neither ambiguity, nor definition by circular reasoning.

Whether it has changed, or not, I look forward to reading a restatement of your definition.
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(15) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 11:13]


I look forward to a conversation with you concerning the meaning of the word "orthodox" (especially, as it refers to chess composition).

I will argue that if this term can not be unambiguously defined, the only purpose it can serve, as the major criterion for separating chess problems today (particularly into self-contained Album sections, which primarily exist for the purpose of determining FIDE Titles), must be to corrupt the process of a fair competition.

Nevertheless, I welcome alternative opinions to this discussion (I am particularly interested in your views on these subjects).

Can we both stipulate, then, that our two most fundamental terms, "orthodox" and "fairy" are not unambiguously defined?
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(16) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 12:04]

My system doesn't need refinements because they all aim at improving its practical applyability by the cost of reducing its fundamentality and "honesty", while the whole reason why i had come up with it was to show that pursue of being fundamental (in sense that it operates with as little of most basic concepts as possible) and honest (in sense that it doesn't introduce biased classifications like "orthodox/fairy" or FIDE Album sections or Selfmates+Series) leads to something completely useless.

This is important: i think that my system is completely useless, it was designed purely for the sake of the argument. I'm not selling my invention, i'm warning people not to buy something of this kind.

If one agrees that fairy codex should serve people and not the other way around, one should value tradition, historical conventions, intuitivity and being easy to be learned by newcomers and community over honesty(?!) and being fundamental. One should ask himself "why many prefer to think of series-movers as a stipulation?", "how do i make a codex having this valuable knowledge?"

If you do not define your fundamental term ("the rules of chess" -- by which you seem to be implying "orthodoxy")

Aw, come on, this is getting old. I did define "the rules of chess" twice: as an empty set of rules and as rules for table tennis. And i have shown that no matter how you define it it still stays equally fundamental, honest, counter-intuitive and useless.
And i never-never-never-never gave definition or imply one for the term "orthodox", because (as i have learned from your other posts) "orthodox" is a dishonest invention designed to get advantage in FA point race. I design my system without even a hint of dishonesty.
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(17) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 18:34]

Fair enough, Dmitri.
I do agree, the value of the term "orthodox" may be useless.
Even under my definition, it amounts to nothing more than the rules of movement, which are provided by the latest version of FIDE's rule book.
This is only useful as the default rules for a problem, composed in a given period.

And, we have a long history of modifying problems, whenever possible, to stay current with "orthodox" rules.
To that extent, it may be considered useful.

You ask some very good questions: what benefit is there in calling series-movers a stipulation? [or, why would anyone prefer to consider them to be a stipulation?]

I believer there are a number of practical benefits for considering series-movers as a fairy condition.

First of all, it may be based upon axiomatic definitions of the fundamental elements of chess problems; and, this formality provides us not only greater understanding, but also an infrastructure for logical expansion.
Starting from aims, deadlines, and type of play, we may define a formal stipulation.
From this, we may define a sub-stipulation.

For example, with #1 formally defined, it is easy to establish more complicated stipulations.
Break a h#2 into components, and you see it's really "help-[#]-2" -- "play-[goal]-deadline" (where [] indicates that the play ends with mate.
Here the goal is a simple aim [#], but once a stipulation is axiomatically defined, we can very simply define more complex stipulations, in a formal way.
For example, the goal need not be an aim -- it can, itself, be a sub-stipulation, which might be solve by iteration [], or may be resolved at some point prior to having realized the ultimate aim (which any formal problem must provide).

e.g., you could make a helpmate, which ends just prior to the mating move: help-(#)-n, is different from help-[#]-n.
Or, the help-play may terminate, after having reached a #2 stipulation: help-[#2]-n (this may seem like an oddball stipulation, but there have been tourneys for such problems, and some good may come from oddball stipulations.

If we can formally define such things, in a clear way, we should -- because it provides us an infrastructure to expand the horizons (much like Max Lange did, when realizing an alternative type of play)!

Series-movers can not be considered a formal stipulation -- they only deprive us of opportunities for formal clarity.
Adding the prefix "series-" to the formal stipulation "help-[#]-n" does not provide us any new objective.
It ONLY alters the rules of movement (idleness/alternation) -- which should be recognized as a fairy element (in this case, the element is a condition, because it universally applies to all units).

As I've indicated, there is a need to provide a logical distinction between what is a rule of movement (the physics of the chessmen), and what is your objective.
So far, NOBODY who claims that series-movers are a stipulation can provide ANY logical definition, which holds these critical elements (of ANY formal problem) apart.

Beyond that, a system based upon fundamental definitions would serve as an aid for programmers.
Consider Swapping Kings.
I think every programming tool implements this as a fairy condition.
If they had a clear definition for fairy condition, such as the one I have provided (must apply to all units), then they'd immediately realize, Swapping Kings must be a fairy unit, rather than a fairy condition.
Now, consider the difference in the implementation.
If it is a fairy unit, you might have problems with a single swapping King (plus one orthodox) -- both Kings still swap (upon checks to one), but checks to the other may be unchanged.
If you want two swapping Kings, just use two of these units (but, don't call it a condition).

The logical system I have proposed would help us all to find the correct implementation, immediately.
The same is true with parry-series -- which can not be fully implemented by stipulation.
I predicted this would happen, and it has now been shown, by example.
As a result, popeye's implementation (as a vast number of stipulations) fails to provide the coverage that just two fairy conditions ("white/black move only to parry check, or meet the aim") afford Win Chloe.
The reason is clear: better implementation, based upon a consistent set of fundamental definitions.

You don't have to come knocking on popeye's door for the addition of fairy conditions, which would have resolved this completely, from the outset.

There is an extensive set of ways that fundamental terms, provided by an axiomatic codex, could greatly benefit problem chess.

What's the down-side?
You have to address some bad traditions.
The sooner, the better -- otherwise, the bad traditions snowball.
You would not have had the bad form for parry-series, if series-movers had not originally taken the wrong form.
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(18) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 20:02]

@ Kevin

If you claim series is a fairy condition, what about parry series, fairy-fairy?! As I said before, if you consider the classical chess game to be the star around which everything is travelling, I feel you will rapidly come into trouble.

To my eyes it is impossible to construct a solid “chess problem theory” while starting with something as elaborate as the classical chess game. You need to begin with the analogue of “set theory” in maths, and look at what is happening step after step.

My point is that it exist several “genres”, among them series. Algebra is to maths what series is to chess problems, if you wish. This is neither “orthodox” nor “fairy”, this is a branch. Another branch is “series together with allowed moves by the idle side when in-check”, i.e. parry-series. You may even consider that “series together with always allowed moves by the idle side” makes sense, and call it “orthodox chess problems” !
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(19) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Sunday, Mar 17, 2013 21:26]

Just to get some horse sense in this thread, suppose one humorous GM
(exists) would have played e8T...O-O-O-O-O-O before that loophole
was technically closed, and defended that move on grounds of the
official text of the FIDE rules.
Do you *really* think he could have gotten away with it?

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(20) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Mar 18, 2013 00:31]


>"If you claim series is a fairy condition, what about parry series, fairy-fairy?!"

I predicted, from very early on, that attempts to describe Parry Series as a stipulation would prove incomplete; whereas just two simple fairy conditions were enough to cover the entire genre!
The late Dan Meinking, himself (inventor of Parry Series), proved my prediction correct -- a testament to his objective and complete exploration of his invention, because he was passionately opposed to it.

The implications of his verification never sat well with Dan (he had a preference for the stipulation form, and he likely found it very difficult to accept the failure of that particular form).
He was a big person to concede an unavoidable need to (at least) provide an implementation of parry-movers in a fairy-conditional form.
If anyone doubts this, I can provide experts from that correspondence; and, you may freely consult Petko Petkov, who was party to some substantial discussions on the matter.

I am no saying that Dan fully accepted that my prescription (calling for alteration of the form of parry-series) was necessary.
The most I can say is that he was greatly troubled by implications of his discovery, and found it difficult to answer the obvious question: if a conditional form is required even in the presence of a complex set of stipulation forms, and the simplified conditional form is sufficient to fully describe all possibilities the new invention, what use is having a stipulation form?

I explicitly posed this question to him, rather indirectly; but, I thought it wise not to press him on the matter, out of friendship and respect. I had reason to be confident that he was already in the process of reconsidering his position on the form (and ONLY the form!) of his excellent invention.
Note: the value of parry-movers is not altered, at all, by its form.

The problem, as I see it, is that big investments had been made, which made concession difficult.
He was the primary consultant in establishing the odd divisions within StrateGems.
He pushed for the popeye implementation (as a stipulation), which was now proven inadequate.
And, a great many journals followed his stipulation form.
I had planned to give him considerable space (and time), to right those ships.
But, as everyone knows, we lost Dan before he could provide any resolution (one way or another).

Remember, it was Petko, not me, who first suggested that Parry Movers (which are just one of many idle-mover conditions) were a fairy condition (not merely some stipulation, as Dan's introductory article seemed to imply).
But, in response to Petko's assertion, Dan very astutely reminded us that his exact wording never claimed this: he only stated that Parry-movers were "no more a fairy condition than series-movers..."
So, for anyone willing to occupy his position, and objectively reconsider the form of his invention, you must remember that alterations can not only apply to his invention -- they must equally apply to all idle-movers (which is the foundation for both parry-movers and series-movers).

I generally agree with Dan's sentiments, on the equivalence of Parry-Movers and Series-Movers (disagreements as to whether one is slightly more fairy than the other would require a microscopic analysis -- for practical purposes, the form of all idle-movers should be considered equivalent).

>"As I said before, if you consider the classical chess game to be the star around which everything is travelling, I feel you will rapidly come into trouble."

The classical chess game is constantly evolving, Nicolas.
There are many who prefer to consider it a fixed star in the sky -- sometimes that approximation holds (over a small range of the function), but this assumption has always proven incorrect.

If you invent a new condition today, which declares (as most do) all unstated rules differ to "orthodox" chess rules, the rules in your game must be explicitly tied to some particular rule book.
Which one is it, Nicolas? "FIDE 20xx", "FIDE 19xx?", or simply "ORTHODOX" ?
Remember, however you chose to answer, you have helped to make my case: that "orthodox" has long been accepted as a particular rule book governing the movement of pieces (with no impact upon the stipulated objective of the formal problem).

Here's the problem: when the "orthodox" rule book changes (as it inevitably will) again, it might seriously jeopardize the rules of your condition.

Anyone who knows physics understands that the gravitational force vector dictates rotation, and this is determined by the center of mass of the system.
The star (classical chess) wobbles, and expands (it has never been fixed)... to the degree you can account for all objects with an influence on the system, the center of mass remains perfectly still (ignoring quantum disturbances).

Ultimately, I think Dmitri and I agree -- there can be no absolute reference frame for Orthodox/Fairy.
Fairy chess can only be defined according to the reference frame (time) of an observer.
That is why my categorization system always succeeds, where so many others have failed -- it is based entirely upon constants, for which there are fundamental definitions.

Unlike you, I refuse to advocate for a system which will favor only "traditional" favorites (at the constant expense of new frontiers, progress, and fairness).

If you want to declare "series-movers" to be a vogue favorite, nobody is preventing you.
Just do it honestly -- if you truly believe in a categorization system based upon the tradition of favoritism (which is what you are advocating for), then call it what it is!
Don't pretend that divisions formed conveniently for preference are somehow analogous to a fundamental axiomatic branch of mathematics.
You can not compare this to a logical categorization, based upon fundamental axiomatic definitions (which is what I have offered)... not unless you define these terms.

So far, nobody can provide any logical definition for these fundamental terms.
Formal Stipulations and Fairy Conditions are conveniently defined to be whatever anyone wants them to be.

I could begin a problem journal, and decide that the idle mover condition known as "black must check (otherwise idles)" is actually a stipulation: BMC-#2, BMC-#3, BMC-h#5...
This is what series-movers, and parry-movers have done -- obviously, for the purpose of gaining a wider acceptance.
Look at the costs of this implementation:
1) as a stipulation, it fails to provide full coverage,
2) because is not axiomatic, it causes distorted forms,
3) it encourages poor implementations (which inhibit search capability, denies possible applications, confines the scope for logical progress, and leads to redundancy),
4) it fails to provide newcomers with fundamental definitions, and
5) (worst of all) it is a lie, which serves a corrupt and unfair purpose (favoritism).

If you prefer the lie, to any logical classification, just have the conviction to call it what it is.
Newcomers deserve an honest, up-front accounting of the PCCC's system.

>"To my eyes it is impossible to construct a solid “chess problem theory” while starting with something as elaborate as the classical chess game. You need to begin with the analogue of “set theory” in maths, and look at what is happening step after step."

Nonsense -- if this were not possible, then the FIDE rule books (past and present!) would require a similar treatment.
Never has this been required.
If you can write a CODEX for FIDE rules, you can do the same for a larger set of elements.
Remember, all that is required here is a distinct set of rule books, governing each fairy element.
And, you need not sanction elements which are not completely described.

All that is required is an axiomatic system, based upon a solid foundation.
For that, you need to do little more than establish fundamental, sound definitions.
I will eventually manage this myself (if necessary).
I would much prefer to be part of a larger community which is involved in this important effort.

So far, all we see are lazy excuses ("it can't be done").

>"Algebra is to maths what series is to chess problems, if you wish."

No. Algebra is an AXIOMATIC and fundamental branch of mathematics (concerned with unknown quantities).
Look it up in a dictionary!
Series-movers are nothing more than an alternate rule book, rooted in idle-movers.
Nothing axiomatic about them -- you can't even provide a definition for how you want to classify or form these things!
Only when formed as a fairy condition do they prove fundamental.

A Series Mover is a fairy condition (because it alters the rules of move alternation), such that one player (white/black) IDLES, except to realize the goal/aim.
A Parry Mover is similarly a fairy condition, such that one player (white/black) IDLES, except to realize the goal/aim, or parry check.

The series-movers condition is a fundamental element of the parry-mover condition.

You want to falsely apply an ALGEBRAIC analogy to these idle-movers, in order to pretend there is some fundamental, axiomatic discipline involved -- that is a real whopper, Nicolas!
You haven't even provided a definition for the terms "fairy condition" / "formal stipulation" ...

I have provided several -- and, beyond that, I've detailed the essential elements of a formal stipulation.

One minute you claim a codex is impossible, the next minute, you're postulating that series-movers are a stipulation which is analogous to an axiomatic, and fundamental branch (nearly mathematical).
Nicolas, that is a howler!

>"This is neither “orthodox” nor “fairy”, this is a branch. Another branch is “series together with allowed moves by the idle side when in-check”, i.e. parry-series."

You may even consider that “series together with always allowed moves by the idle side” makes sense, and call it “orthodox chess problems” !
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