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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 James Malcom [Saturday, Aug 10, 2019 04:14]; edited by 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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(9) Posted by Per Olin [Tuesday, Aug 10, 2021 19:42]

Meeting discussion

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

Discussion recorded by ZmartRec at the Third Annual Meeting of Proof Game Composers Association and written by ZmartWrite. The meeting was held on 10th of August 2021 and present were P (Proof Game Composer), C (Chess960 Proof Game Composer), A (A-to-B Composer) and F (Fairy Proof Game Composer).

P: The recorder is on now. Welcome to the happiest country on earth!

F: Indeed, is that the case? Having looked around, people don't seem particularly happy here.

C: Well, happiness has nothing to do with football. The happiness research is done regularly and the result always seems to be the same. Further, they have a saying that goes something like 'if you are happy, don’t show it'.

A: This is not the place we decided for last year. What is the reason for the change?

P: Well, we were invited here by a gentleman, who wanted to avoid all normal celebrations on his anniversary. When he invited us he said that he wanted to spend time with some sensible people, which of course was such a teaser that we had to accept the invitation. He will be hosting our dinner, he will be arriving towards the end of our meeting.

C: Dinner for us!? Splendid. He doesn't know how generous he is…

P: Let's start the meeting and get organized.

A: We don't have to organize, we have chosen you to be our permanent chairman.

P: OK, thank you! You are getting informal and I accept it. The agenda for today has the following topics: 1. Feedback 2. Progress 3. Application for membership 4. Minor matters 5. Next meeting. Ok, starting with feedback, we have got none. The annoying thing is that we don't know is this positive or negative; I think we should consider it to be positive.

C: I propose that we decide that it is positive. People react only when they are unhappy with something and here no reaction.

P: Huh…next item 2. Progress . Please, F, start.

F: The report for fairy chess proof games is short: solid progress. But I would like to discuss why fairy proof games were excluded from the WCCT competition and what we can do to get accepted next time.

C: We don't discuss an ongoing competition and PGCA will do nothing to promote fairy proof games in what is presently an orthodox competition. You are free to do whatever lobbying you wish. Please, A, what is the situation in A-to-B-problems?

A: Nothing much to report, other problem genres seem to get involved. Recently was seen a fairy composition with over 32.000 moves. In orthodox A-to-B problems we don't even know what is the length record, seems as nobody has really tried yet. Could be that some ortho-reconstruction is the longest one. Perhaps I or we should give it a try. In seriesmovers there have been pretty long ones.

P: And C, how about Chess960 or should we say Fischer Random Chess to honor the great master?

C: Well, Fischer Random Chess has recently celebrated its 25th birthday. On the over-the-board side there has been the first FIDE Fischer Random Chess Word Championship meaning that Chess960 is getting recognized. We in PGCA are ahead of our time, we have already separated Chess960 from the fairy chess area; this is something that other problem chess organizations will do sooner or later. Further, some promotion articles have seen the daylight, some problems have been published and some even got distinctions. But surprisingly little has taken place if and when we consider this to be the future form of chess.

P: Perhaps better to say that you, not we, consider it to be the future form. If I then continue with the situation in normal proof games, then as always, solid progress. As a detail I would like to mention the Champagne tournament 2020-21, the theme as always superbly chosen by Mr. Caillaud. In the announcement of the competition there was an extremely entertaining proof game by Pichouron with moves that one never imagines to see in a chess problem. In the same context, but somewhere else, was reproduced a couple of similar ones by another composer, Aschwanden if I remember correctly. And the award has very entertaining problems. If you have not seen these, have a look, you will be amazed, surprised, flabbergasted, laughing, crying, cheering etc.

A: It is very seldom we laugh anymore after the results of the football European Championships.

P: Item 3 Application for membership. A certain person named Cameron, having had several family names, is applying for membership in PGCA. This person is the ex-wife of two members here, has gone through a gender reassignment and the application is signed Mr. Cameron…

C: What on earth?! Our ex-wife a male and a member of our group?! Out of question!

F: What could she… I mean he bring to this group? We can manage the recording ourselves, she…I mean this person would have very little substance for the group.

A: But it would be cute to see you two ex-husbands trying to charm your ex-wife. Perhaps you would have to have a gender reassignment yourselves. Either of you could be part of the historical couple to have…

C: If you were not my friend, I would consider that to be an insult.

P: Order, order!

F: Is this the British Parliament? Anyhow, I know how to solve this.

P: OK, let's hear it.

F: We fairy chess composers always think out of the box, we don't rule anything out, we give a possibility to everything and everyone, sometimes even find a solution before a problem has been noticed. In this case, the application will be accepted if the person invents a new form of proof games that would be of interest for PGCA and that would be needed to be covered by our association.

C: Quite a promotion spot for fairy chess. Hm… might be possible, anything new will anyhow be classified as fairy chess and already covered.

F: Seems that there is no risk. Would be a polite way of turning the application down.

P: Indeed, gentlemen, you have come to a good conclusion without my contribution. I will inform the person about our conditional acceptance. When we edit this, then we have to be careful, what is related to chess and what is not.

A: About memberships, when I saw the title on the agenda I thought it was about us applying for membership. Could PGCA be a member of WFCC?

P: No, that is not possible, they accept only country members, not a global one as ours.

A: Hm…might be a problem…as problemists we find a solution to every problem. This has even two solutions, just like a good helpmate. The less possible one is that we turn into an organization having seat in some country, preferably not yet a member country of WFCC, and that this local society accepts personal members on a global basis. The more possible one is that WFCC changes its statutes to accept also global organizations as members.

P: Hold your horses! You are talking nonsense! We are not in the bar yet. Next item: in last meeting we touched small issues and let's see what minor matters there are for us to review. Let's at the same time give a proposal for solution. Starting with normal proof games, a general question is could or should there be exclamation marks after a good move. This is something mostly seen in studies and direct mates; a good move, i.e. the key of the solution gets an exclamation mark, while a bad one gets a question mark. In proof games all moves of the solution are unique, i.e. are good ones. When in a proof game a move gets an exclamation mark, it is most often based on the degree of surprise. Personally, I would prefer to have no exclamation marks, but let's not spoil the joy of others if they want to underline the excellence of a move. Everything to be accepted. Wasn't that a minor issue?

C: Yes, indeed, and here next one. We have already touched this, should we use as title Chess960 or Fischer Random Chess? The answer is 'yes'. Both can be used, perhaps under the diagram is to be used the one of the chess rules, i.e. Chess960. Is there a smaller matter in A-to-B?

A: Perhaps. When we have two diagrams, A and B, should we identify them by the letters A and B beneath or above the diagram? The FIDE Albums have the letters above the diagram and I think that this should be recommended; this has also been seen in some magazines lately. And I suppose there are no small issues in fairy proof games?

F: Correct. We have no small issues, only big ones, as we always think big. Everything of the whole universe of fairy chess is being sorted out in an ongoing project in the web pages of Julia's Fairies. Just have a look!

P: OK, thank you! Next item is 'next meeting' and let's once more discuss this over dinner. This ends our meeting, let's turn off the recorder and start editing as our dinner host will be arriving soon. Well, there he is…welcome Mr. O…
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(10) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Wednesday, Aug 11, 2021 15:40]

But all Proof games are only A to B types. So there can only be two members. Orthodox & Fairy!!
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(11) Posted by Rosie Fay [Thursday, Aug 12, 2021 10:19]

seetharaman kalyan: all Proof games are only A to B types. So there can only be two members. Orthodox & Fairy!!

But all orthodox problems are fairy, so there is only the one type. Just as proof games are merely A-to-B problems with a particular A, orthodox ones are just fairy ones that happen to have only orthodox units & rules and allow only orthodox promotions.
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(12) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Friday, Aug 13, 2021 12:59]

@Rosie Fay. True. TRD already explained, Orthodox chess is just a subset of all possible chess !
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(13) Posted by Per Olin [Thursday, Aug 11, 2022 13:54]

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

Discussion recorded by ZmartRec at the Fourth Annual Meeting of Proof Game Composers Association and written by ZmartWrite. The meeting was held on 11th of August 2022 in a place not to be disclosed and present were P (Proof Game Composer), C (Chess960 Proof Game Composer), A (A-to-B Composer) and F (Fairy Proof Game Composer).

P: The recorder is on now. As your permanent chairman I wish you all welcome to this our 4th meeting. The agenda for today has the following items: 1. Feedback, 2. Progress, 3. Application for membership, 4.Selection of judges, 5. War and problem chess and 6. Next meeting. OK, let’s start with item number 1 Feedback. There have been comments concerning different types of proof games, about orthodox and fairy variants and so on. It has even been referred to Dawson’s statement that orthodox chess is just a subset of all possible chess. Let’s sort this out. The origin of proof games has been the need to verify the legality of a position and when emerged the demand that these proof games could and should be unique, then we had a new problem genre. Proof games starting from the traditional initial game array and having no fairy chess conditions have been referred to as ‘orthodox proof games’.

C: And with the introduction of Chess960 we can say that traditional proof games is a subset of all Chess960 proof games. And therefore Chess960 proof games have to be classified as orthodox ones, we can not say that out of 960 initial positions there is one orthodox and 959 are not orthodox. Or perhaps we can say, but it makes no sense.

A: The ongoing WCCT announced ‘Proof games are required. Twins and multiple solutions are allowed’. Later was added that fairy conditions were not allowed. There were several entries starting with the traditional initial game array and play up to a diagram A, followed by a twin with play from position A to a new given position B. This is quite in line with our understanding, play from A to B is not fairy chess, if based on normal chess rules.

P: Clearer for the WCCT announcement, with no additions needed, would have been ‘proof games starting from the traditional initial game array without fairy chess conditions’. So to sum up: orthodox proof games are 1) proof games starting from the traditional initial game array and 2) from any other of the 959 initial arrays and 3) proof games from an arrived to or composed position A to a position B as long as these do not have fairy conditions. Is our member F happy with this?

F: Yes, but I am a bit unsure about the status of Chess960. The Codex for chess composition refers to paragraphs 1-5 and 9 of the chess rules, when defining the line between orthodox and fairy chess. Chess960 is not mentioned in these paragraphs but in an appendix to the chess rules and could therefore strictly speaking be said not to be orthodox, i.e. unorthodox or fairy.

P: Let’s consider that to be more a shortcoming of the Codex than of our thinking.

C: Should we prepare a Codex for proof games composition?

P: Absolutely no. There is no need for such a thing.

F: Once we touch the subject of a Codex, I have given it a thought to write a Codex for Chess Joke Problem Composition. The mighty introduction could be ‘The purpose of the Codex for Chess Joke Problem Composition is to secure the non-standardization of all issues concerning joke problems and to bring the confusion of enthusiasts to a higher level’.

A: This our group would have the expertise to write such a Codex. Many of us have published joke problems and many of us have published problems that can be considered to be a joke.

P: Gentlemen, you are on a side track, you are off topic. But to make you happy, for next meeting there will on the agenda be an item Off Topic. There we can discuss anything, is there a need for WCCT competitions, why your mother-in-law does not understand your brilliant proof games etc. We continue with item 2. Progress. This starts to be boring, so let’s keep it short. For orthodox proof games the normal report: solid progress.

C: The Quartz 25 Jubilee Tourney for Chess960 problems had not so many participants, but several interesting problems.

A: Twinning by an additional diagram is getting acceptance.

F: For fairy proof games normal, solid progress.

P: Forward to item 3. Application for membership. As you recall, Mr Cameron applied for membership in our group and we made a conditional decision to accept if he could invent an area or new proof game form that PGCA needs to cover. Early this year he proposed something that he called ‘undefined proof games’. They are these positions with plenty of undefined pieces on defined squares, sometimes there is an addition that mate can be made in one move. I told him this would certainly not be accepted as a separate type of proof games, they would continue to be regarded as fairy proof games, if they can be said to be proof games at all. A couple of weeks later he withdrew his application by saying that he looks ‘for something less stressful than problem chess and will pursue a career as an international football referee’.

C: Good! Then we have one problem less.

P: Over to next item Selection of judges. I have been approached by a composer asking for advice. This person is a new problemist, has only composed some ten proof games and planned to participate in WCCI, retros section. When going through the competition instructions she was surprised that she had to confirm in writing that she is willing to be a judge in the next WCCI. She has none whatsoever experience in judging, she has never studied a release position problem, does not know what a retractor is, has only heard of fairy conditions and fairy proof games. She did not feel very comfortable with the request. I had to admit to her that it is a fairly unusual way of recruiting judges.

A: Well, we have heard about the difficulty in getting judges. But what is the fundamental issue?

P: Too many competitions with too big workload. Think about FIDE Album selection, WCCI, WCCT etc. Compared to e.g. solving competitions, the judging of a world championship in composing is a much huger effort. And in solving they are able to have the team and individual championships at the same time. Why is that not possible in composing? The world champion in composing could be found alongside the team champion country in the same judging process. Is there a need to have eight world champions in composing?

F: If you ask for my opinion, there is a need for, in round numbers, zero world champions.

C: Zero is not a round number, it is oval. Did this new composer participate in WCCI?

P: Well, we discussed the situation, and gradually her interest seemed to fade away. Too much work in school, too many other things to do etc. She did not participate.

F: School? Is she a schoolgirl?

P: She informed that at the end of next three years cycle she will be a teenager.

C: Quite a way for getting judges to a world championship.

F: Then there is the aspect of child abuse. Forcing a young person to agree to working without compensation is a sensitive issue.

A: Judging a chess problem competition is not work.

P: Let’s look at the situation as a whole. This is not our problem, we will offer no solution. But if we were asked, we would give a recommendation to put some energy into the problematic and neglected area of judging. So far has only been awarded judging titles and issued a couple of judging guidelines. The status of judging should be lifted somehow; easier said than done. Well, this was taken to the agenda for discussion purposes, we are after all a discussion forum. Let’s hope that the discussion is continued by parties more knowledgeable in this issue. To conclude this item, an old joke related to this issue or not: An organization had a serious issue to solve, everyone and everything was in a state of chaos, confusion and stress. A crucial question was asked: are we going to call in a consultant or are we going to mess this up ourselves?

F: Hah, hah, a good one!

P: Over to next item 5. War and problem chess. The Russian attack on Ukraine, a war without a war declaration against a neighbour country, has split the problem chess community. The chess magazines of several countries like UK, Sweden and Finland have declared that they for the moment do not publish problems by Russian or Belarus composers. This decision has been criticized ‘individuals should not be punished, they have nothing to do with this’ and defended by ‘all sanctions declared due to the attack must be supported’. In the end, in the heated discussions persons say ‘my opinion is better than yours’. We are not to say which opinion is right and which opinion is wrong, but wrong is certainly the party that started the war. I propose that we make no statement concerning this.

A: Well expressed, mr Chairman, and I support the idea of no statement. Luckily, communications have functioned, we know of several Ukrainian problemists that so far are well. But it must be terrible to manage competitions, judge, compose with missiles in the air.

C: Chess is a war game, we don’t condemn our game, chess will continue to be a war game.

F: We should invent a new fairy chess form, where part of the own forces and all the opposite forces try to eliminate the king.

P: That’s all for today. Let’s discuss the place for the next meeting over dinner. Thank you!
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(14) Posted by James Malcom [Friday, Aug 12, 2022 01:09]

Maybe I could apply to join as Golden Age Problemist, dedicated to preserving problems as they were when published and the understanding of them then and now.
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(15) Posted by Andrew Buchanan [Friday, Aug 12, 2022 14:09]

Great stuff Per: some vaguely serious musings cheerfully presented with a light touch
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(16) Posted by Joost de Heer [Friday, Aug 12, 2022 17:42]

Rule 7 (if you end up in the top-15 you're a candidate judge for the next cyclus) is already present since the 2010-2012 cycle.
One more reason for me not to participate, I've been a WCCI judge once, and that was once too often.
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