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MatPlus.Net Forum General A question aboute ’consequent helpmate’ (hc#)
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(1) Posted by Bojan Basic [Monday, Dec 13, 2010 00:32]

A question aboute ’consequent helpmate’ (hc#)

The definition says: "This is a usual helpmate with the only distinction that all intermediary positions are evaluated INDEPENDENTLY of the earlier moves." On the other hand, on C. Poisson’s site we find fairy condition Amnésie (, defined by: "The retrograde analysis is made independently of the moves previously played."

Isn’t the consequent helpmate just the usual helpmate with fairy condition Amnésie? If so, is there any reason for defining it again, this time in the form of stipulation instead of fairy condition?
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(2) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 13, 2010 09:59]; edited by Kevin Begley [10-12-13]

Excellent point, Bojan -- I was intending to make this case myself, but the scope of my efforts go well beyond this one case...
[though this effort is probably futile, and already demands too much of my time.]

The inventor might argue that the consequent form has precedent here (e.g., series-consequent problems).
But, it would seem wise, to me, if series-consequent were reclassified (into the "amnesia" fairy condition).

Beyond the issue of precedent, the fairy condition seems a more logical (and consistent) categorization.

First, it allows people to search for a wide variety of problems in this vein -- of various stipulations -- using a single variable (one amnesia condition, rather than numerous stipulations which contain this variable). Narrowing searches, based upon stipulations within this condition, would then require only a second variable.

Second, and more importantly, it is consistent with the widely accepted meaning of the term "Fairy Condition" (something which alters the rules of movement -- which is certainly the case with consequent-type problems).

It can be quite unpleasant arguing these classifications (or suggesting where precedent should be overturned).
Inventors tend to prefer freedom (read: chaos), without regard to the larger issue of structural integrity.

In my view, our elementary terms (aim, goal, sub-goals, stipulations, fairy conditions, etc) should be clearly defined, accepted, and adhered to -- this would help to provide a more consistent structural framework, from which we can build upon (for the benefit of all -- especially newcomers!).

That being said, I very much enjoy the retro-elements that the helpmate stipulation offers, in conjunction with this retro-condition.

Beware the hidden political issues afoot: categorization -- does hc# belong with Helpmates, Fairies, or Retros? -- will impact awards (some journals already employ contrived divisions, generally in the interest of their national membership). Imagine then what happens when categorization debates reach the level of the FIDE Albums (note: plural, as this is a collation of several independent albums, rather than one unified judgment!)... This affects titles, and the composers (people) who want titles.

People tend to stand up for their own, ungoverned self-interests... expect a fight (with a vast army retreating behind you).

A consistent, bottom-up solution is never difficult to envision. The difficulty lies in convincing the larger community that our collective interests far outweigh any individual's special interests. Sometimes I wonder if we might just as well design a non-causal warning system for the dinosaurs; but then your comments give me reason to hope.
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(3) Posted by Dan Meinking [Monday, Dec 13, 2010 23:07]

Mr. Begley's continued jabs at me (and StrateGems) notwithstanding...

The notion that a stipulation can only reflect certain pieces of information is erroneous.

The stipulation is the primary vehicle of communication for problems of all types. Obviously, one cannot encapsulate every Fairy nuance via the stipluation -- eg. Circe, AntiCirce, Madrasi, Nuclear Circe, etc., which I would classify as effects. However, in certain isolated cases, indicating "Fairy Conditions" by means of the stipulation has proved useful: ser-*, pser-*, ==, ##, and even hc#. These have not caused "chaos", to my knowledge.

To sum up: If people understand hc#, I see no reason to change it. However, if a database or software developer wants to employ their own representations, that's certainly their prerogative.
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(4) Posted by Bojan Basic [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 00:54]

Thank you, Kevin and Dan, for your opinions. However, I don't know whether I was clear enough. I was not speaking about pros and cons of one or the other option. I was merely asking whether there is a reason of inventing something although it exists for quite a some time, the only difference being a notation.

To sum up: If people understand hc#, I see no reason to change it.

This is precisely my point, but with the examples reversed. Namely, consequent helpmate was invented quite recently, in April 2010. I have no data about who and when invented Amnésie, but it is defined at C. Poisson’s site for a few years at least. Therefore, what is the purpose of reinventing helpmate with Amnésie, and naming it ’consequent helpmate’?

Was the reason merely the unawareness of the inventor of the anticipation? If so, once the anticipation is discovered, is there a point in keeping both versions, or one (the newer one?) should be dropped in favour of the other? These questions may be interpreted from a theoretical point of view, consequent helpmate being just an example.
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(5) Posted by Dan Meinking [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 01:19]


While hc# may be entirely new, ser-hc# is not. Of course, it is Mr. Poisson's right to implement whatever representations he wishes. However, the fact that one database purveyor employs the condition "Amnesie" does not imply precedence for all other developers or publications.

The same logic can be applied to WinChloe's "condition" that roughly translates to: Black/White only replies to check, or to achieve goal. The stipulations pser-* and phser-* convey the essential information in a satisfactory manner. As does hc#.
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(6) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 04:38]; edited by Kevin Begley [10-12-14]

>>The stipulation is the primary vehicle of communication for problems of all types.

The aim -- not the stipulation -- is the ultimate (and fundamental) objective.

Many problems have no stipulation (or aim) whatsoever.
Surely, a "primary vehicle" (whatever function this term serves) must be the board & the units upon it.

But, some problems have no units, and some may have no board.
So, there can be no primary vehicle.

>Obviously, one cannot encapsulate every Fairy nuance via the stipluation -- eg. Circe, AntiCirce, Madrasi, Nuclear Circe, etc., which I would classify as effects.

Please define your term, "effects." I am certain I can demonstrate that hc# (and pser-) are similarly effects.

If we have no clear division between the meaning of aim, stipulation, or fairy condition, Circe can be expressed as an aim.
If we define Fairy Conditions as anything which alters, expands, or impedes the rules of movement, then Circe (and consequent) can only be Fairy Conditions.

The majority of problemists accept the above definition.
However, they tend to tolerate dubious classifications (such as series-movers, which is widely regarded to be a fairy condition, in spite of it appearing in stipulation form).

As I said in my earlier post, it is difficult to enlist the larger community in an effort to clean up these mistakes.

>However, in certain isolated cases, indicating "Fairy Conditions" by means of the stipulation has proved useful: ser-*, pser-*, ==, ##, and even hc#. These have not caused "chaos", to my knowledge.

Ahem, did you just admit that pser- is a "fairy condition?"
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(7) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 05:48]; edited by Kevin Begley [10-12-14]

If we can agree that these isolated cases (which include ser-*, pser-*, ==, ##, and even hc#) are indeed Fairy Conditions, which are currently cast as stipulations, we have made some progress.

Why should these isolated cases (which are fairy condition) remain stipulations?

Historical precedent may be an argument for some (though it is not enough); but, there is no such argument for hc# or pser.
Why should the larger community accept the spread of newly invented fairy conditions which come in the form of isolated case stipulations?

Is there any value preserving this dysfunctional classification system (versus reclassification of these isolated cases)?
I see none.
Whereas, you see no chaos caused by the current system... I can provide some examples of potential chaos:

1) Assume I announce Kim Poser 42JT, which calls for problems of any stipulation (but no fairy elements).

Should I refuse (or accept) stipulations of these isolated cases?
To newcomers, such a refusal may seem arbitrary, and unfair.
But, accepting these might encourage newly defined isolated-case stipulations, which literally translate to Circe, or Madrasi...
So, I must refuse.

Effectively, the term "stipulation" loses all credible meaning; and, the only way to reconstitute that meaning would be to list all stipulations which are not accepted (including the growing list of new isolated cases).

2) Consider two identical problems, which exploit illogical divisions within problem journals.

How can two identical problems (one cast as Pser-, the other as "Black moves only when checked") be allowed to compete within different divisions (S&S section, and Fairies respectively, in StrateGems)?

The same might be said for "hc#" and "h# + amnesia."

Why should these "isolated cases" be privileged to compete in a special section, which refuses all other fairy conditions?
This encourages further inconsistency -- the creation of new isolated-case stipulations, which are redundant fairy conditions.

3) Consider the judge (or composer, or database manager) searching for anticipations.

They may miss exact anticipations (which they otherwise would find), because of the redundancy caused by special cases.
This leads directly to chaos (plagiarism, claims of plagiarism, invalid awards, etc).
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(8) Posted by Dan Meinking [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 06:00]; edited by Dan Meinking [10-12-14]

"Please define your term, "effects." I am certain I can demonstrate that hc# (and pser-) are similarly effects."

And I can demonstrate that Checkmate and Stalemate are CONDITIONS. What is your point?

I see that, even before I could post the above reply, Mr. Begley has posted a second, even lengthier response. I have no desire to start another futile debate. Mr. Begley is entitled to his opinions, and I'm entitled to mine. Nuff said.
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(9) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 06:18]

>And I can demonstrate that Checkmate and Stalemate are CONDITIONS. What is your point?

I concede this point: Checkmate and Stalemate are uniquely defined aims.
But, they are fundamental to the games (Chaturanga, Shantraj, Chess) from which all problems sprung.

My point was merely that hc# and pser- are, in fact, fairy conditions, which are cast as stipulation.
On this point, it now appears -- to my surprise -- we are in agreement.
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(10) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 07:44]; edited by Ian Shanahan [10-12-14]

Isn't the "Mauldon-Caillaud" condition identical to "consequent" and "Amnesia"? If so, then it's been around for decades. I remember seing a series-selfmate by Don Smedley in "The Problemist" from the 1970s that used it (without any such terminology). And I'm sure I've seen older helpmates in this genre, too.

Anyway, it's really another retro variant, along with AP etc.
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(11) Posted by Valery Liskovets [Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010 13:48]

Kevin addressed in particular the inventor's opinion. Well, here are my comments.

1. First of all, the PDB contains 80+ problems stipulated shc# or ser-hc#. The term 'consequent' (initially in French) was introduced by M.Caillaud, and in his article of 1979, Michel used the former designation (in fact the earliest such series problems are dated 1976 and even 1961).

2. Indeed, my modest idea was to spread this familiar fairy condition to ordinary helpmates. Therefore the designation hc# looks quite natural, and I see no reason to replace it and the term 'consequent' here and in series genres by anything else (unless under a presumable future global revolutionary "perestroika"). I like to explain this concept via amnesia (or memorylessness) as well [likewise, I like to explain the helpmate stipulation to newcomers in mental terms via the zombie (or hypnosis) metaphor] In this context I need also to add that I disagree with the editors of The Problemist, who, publishing my F2837 in No.11, replaced 'consequent' by the word 'consistent'...

3. In my opinion, the designation (s)hc# is merely a convenient superposition of the aim h# and the fairy condition(s): a comprehensible and unambiguous way to encode everything under the diagram succinctly. Of course this is only an ad hoc approach. In general I appreciate any serious attempts to unify and systematize fairy conditions although this is not my business.

4. As to the 'consequent' species in general, there is a well-known difficulty with the classification of their problems: only a part of them deserve to be attributed as retro-problems. The other ones are reasonably considered as fairy problems with light retro only. E.g., my hc#-tanagra was published in the Fairy section of MatPlus while the second problem is being published in the Retro section. Sometimes, of course, such an attribution is rather subjective and arguable.

5. Of course, "consequent" is the same as the "Mauldon-Caillaud" condition.

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(12) Posted by Cornel Pacurar [Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 05:34]; edited by Cornel Pacurar [10-12-15]

@ Ian

RE: "Isn't the "Mauldon-Caillaud" condition identical to "consequent""?.

Indeed, "consequent" is also known as the "Mauldon-Caillaud convention", as Valery has already mentioned. Michel Caillaud certainly needs no introduction, but if you are interested in finding out more details about J. G. Mauldon, take a look at the following page from Andrew Buchanan's website:

However, to see what the "official" position really is, it would probably be sufficient to take a look at two of the FIDE albums:

FIDE Album 1983-85
Problem 919: s-h#29 mauldon / caillaud
Problem 920: s-h#36 mauldon / caillaud

FIDE Album 1998-2000
Problem G25: ser-hc#33
Problem G26: ser-hc#35

"Amnésie" is a much younger condition, introduced in 2002 by Jean-Christian Galli, aka "Régicide", on the forum: -"Attention ! Ce problème est régi par la convention Mauldon-Caillaud, oublieuse, on le sait, du passé de la position, mais tout de même soucieuse de sa légalité. Cette convention a été, en principe, conçue pour les mats de série, mais je ne peux m'empêcher d'admirer ses effets sur les aidés orthodoxes"; see also the other many comments, including Michel Caillaud's, starting with " A ma connaissance, c'est original mais ne devrait pas porter la mention MCC; je préfère le qualificatif "conséquent" à MCC (qui me donne l'impression d'être "empaillé" sur une étagère); au départ, cette "théorie" repose sur l'absence de l'alternance des coups blancs et noirs dans les problèmes de série. Le développement de régicide est tout à fait intéressant mais il faudrait lui trouver un autre qualificatif que conséquent (ou MCC)."). As you can see the first "amnésie" problem was a h#2. It can also be seen here: (the initial thread of a Nouveau concours, with August 24th, 2004, as deadline), together with a few "amnésie" series-movers by Caillaud! Michel also published "amnésie" problems on the now defunct Problemesis.

A few more "amnésie" problems (mainly by Joachim Iglesias) on this thread:, which is full of explanatory comments that need to be read, as some are related to hc#, and here:

Another thread: - where Joachim extended the deadline to September 1st, 2004, and reiterated that "L'amnésie - je le rappelle - est née ici même sur France-Echecs, son heureux papa est Régicide."

Interesting discussion about WinChloe and the "Définition exacte de la condition Amnésie", between Olivier Ronat, Joachim Iglesias, Jacques Dupin and Christian Poisson here:

Maybe some French-speaking forum members can be more exact ('convention FE'?!), but it seems that, at least at one point, the preference was to keep "consequent" for series-movers, and "amnésie" for non-series genres.
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(13) Posted by Valery Liskovets [Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 16:51]

1. Many thanks, Cornel, for pointing out predecessors of hc#-problems with so many valuable details! I'm happy to see them at last. I believed that they did exist (after ser-hc#, the idea is so natural and evident) but failed to find anything myself. Strangely enough ignorant was not only I but, perhaps, the editors of retro- and fairy-sections of several strong magazines, where I published my hc#-originals. Was at least one amnesia-problem published anywhere apart from the france-echecs forum and Problemesis?

2. Of course, the main aim of my article in SG was to attract composers' attention to this idea (moderately promising as I estimated it) and, most importantly, to implement it in several more or less attractive original RETRO-problems. Hopefully, I've succeeded at least in originality (up to the results of the Problemesis-2004 tourney unknown to me: are they freely available?). Anyway, I'm happy to have composed them and subsequent hc#-problems: "ignorance is strength" (G.Orwell)! Among the problems presented at the forum-sites indicated by Cornel there are some very fine to my taste. But I need time to analyze them (and "explanatory comments" around them) more thoroughly.

3. As to the name, we have now three synonyms: Mauldon-Caillaud, consequent (together with ser-hc#, hc#, etc.) and amnesia. Perhaps, the latter is most expressive among them, indeed. But anyway I consider the three as fully equivalent in principle (excluding the historical aspect of course) and equally applicable to all the corresponding problems regardless of their genres. I (following Occam!) reject the idea to apply one of them to series-mate only and another one to the other orthodox or fairy genres. So, IMHO, presently (until a strong global unification) it is the matter of taste/tradition which of the synonyms to indicate under a diagram.
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(14) Posted by Cornel Pacurar [Thursday, Dec 16, 2010 00:38]

@ Valery

I am still browsing through those france-echecs messages and digesting the details, but I doubt that 'Mauldon-Caillaud' and 'consequent', on one hand, and 'amnesia', on the other, are really synonyms - amnesia seems to be the upper set (unfortunately, my French is quite poor and Google's French to English translations are funny (see here:, thus again, maybe somebody who actively participated in those discussions will fully clarify this).

Nevertheless, take a look at this short but very interesting draft-article posted by Andrew Buchanan on his website on January 6th, 2002, and updated on January 28th, 2007:

Also, I am not aware of the results of the 2004 france-echecs tourney - the tourney director's last post on this topic seems to be the one announcing the extension, just prior to his departure to Russia...
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(15) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Dec 16, 2010 08:41]

Cornel may well be correct here... though, I have not (yet) managed to pinpoint the specific differences.
Assuming he is correct, it would be nice if these differences could be demonstrated in a single problem (of two-phases, or zero-position).
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(16) Posted by Bojan Basic [Thursday, Dec 16, 2010 15:52]; edited by Bojan Basic [10-12-16]

Cornel’s research is very valuable, indeed. Here is a scheme showing the difference between Amnésie and consequent, as I understood it:

(= 3+2 )

a) ser-hc#2;
b) Amnésie, ser-h#2.

Solution 1.Ka8 2.b5 a*b6 e.p. # works in a), but not in b)—e.p. cannot be played, since it cannot be proved that the last move was b7-b5. (Of course, in both phases there are other solutions with Black playing b7-b6, but that’s not my point.)
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(17) Posted by Michel Caillaud [Sunday, Dec 19, 2010 18:34]

Bojan is right about difference between consequent and Amnesia.
The result of the France-Echecs Tourney was never published (maybe no entry?).
The name of consequent was found by Jean Zeller, the "diagrammes" editor to whom I sent my article. He was refering to other fairy variants as "consequent maximum",... At the time, I was not aware of works by James Mauldon. It was when I sent consequent originals to The Problemist that Cedric Lytton told me and proposed the label Mauldon/Caillaud instead.
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(18) Posted by Valery Liskovets [Sunday, Dec 19, 2010 23:29]

Very interesting, Michel!

Well, for series helpmates there is a distinction between (full) amnesia and consequent. I think because of the very last, mating, move, which is exceptional. Merely different types of amnesia, yes? Instead, we could differentiate them in terms of "consequent" (say, as 'strongly' and 'normally' consequent series helpmates or something like that). Apparently no such heterogeneity takes place for ordinary helpmates (the subject of the present discussion).

Both the inventor of this genre J.-C.Galli in 2002 and I five years later were inspired by the evident resemblance between h# and sh# in this respect: related kinds of loss of memory. Therefore, in spite of the indicated distinction, I disagree with the idea to consider ser-hc# as something VERY different from hc#. Moreover, "consequent" does not look bad as the term joining all the related genres (present and future). I still prefer it by now. I'm not sure that the much less known amnesia metaphor is more convenient for their UNIFORM description. Maybe in the future. But anyway, to write 'MCC' for one case and 'amnesia' for other similar cases is unnatural and inconvenient.
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(19) Posted by Valery Liskovets [Monday, Dec 20, 2010 10:38]

Now about the presence of amnesia (amnésie), as a chess composition term, in the Web apart from the before-mentioned French dictionary, the draft article of Andrew Buchanan (which I've strangely overlooked at his site) and the FRANCE-ECHECS forum sites 2002-4. In the RA Corner I found only two such problems. Both are PGs belonging to M.Caillaud and published in Problemesis No.40. Only they are available in the PDB. Both contain there the keyword 'Amnésie', which is, however, presented still without definition. Finally, Popeye-4.55 does not support amnesia (nor hc).

A separate story with WinChloe. Itamar Faybish (responding the request from Cornel Pacurar; I thank both!) extracted and kindly sent me all 6 problems from it marked "Amnésie". Only two of them are helpmates: one h#7 of F.Perruchaud and the other ser-h#8 of M.Caillaud. Both are available at the forum site
and both are excellent.

I expected much more! So I found only two real hc#-problems (in my designations) composed before 2010: the mentioned problem of Perruchaud (Phenix and excelsior) and the very first problem of Galli (see the same site). The latter is witty but needs some technical improvements (as Michel pointed out in that forum). I haven't seen any variations. Here is my recast (to be verified):

J.-C. Galli
France-Echecs 2002
(version of VL)
(= 10+13 )


1.Bxa5! 0-0! 2.Rg4 Rf3#. 1.Q/R/Sxa5? 0-0??

Features: standard set of pieces; "surrealistic" key; 3 thematic tries.
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(20) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Dec 20, 2010 12:42]; edited by Kevin Begley [10-12-20]

I must be missing something with these tries.
It seems you should have bKnight (not bPawn) at c4 -- no?

[err, that's not possible... nevermind]
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MatPlus.Net Forum General A question aboute ’consequent helpmate’ (hc#)