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MatPlus.Net Forum General Visits to the four corners of the board by different pieces with their immediate departure, without capturing
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(1) Posted by Marcos Roland [Friday, Jan 27, 2023 15:21]

Visits to the four corners of the board by different pieces with their immediate departure, without capturing

@ Viktoras Paliulionis

Marcos Roland
The Problemist, november/2022

(= 2+9 )

Some months ago, I stated elsewhere that this task would be feasible with great econnomy. At that time, I had sent the above composition for publication in The Problemist. Now that it's published, I show it here. I think it's fairly well done.
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(2) Posted by Kenan Velikhanov [Friday, Jan 27, 2023 15:51]

Yes, nicely done. The content is rich and very pedigree. After the performance move, White has a choice of play. Quickly converting to a strong piece or making an expectant move to a corner of the board. The first does not lead to the goal, so you need to make a pace! And the game of the sides in doubles games in corner fields stands out. And also the return of the pawn to the b6 square. Congratulations Marcos, great job!
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(3) Posted by Viktoras Paliulionis [Friday, Jan 27, 2023 17:09]

I fully agree with Kenan's comment. In addition, I would like to draw attention to one more subtlety - the choice of the order of Black's moves: in the try 1.Qa1? black queen interferes with White's tempo. An excellent helpmate, but for the SuperProblem TT-220 it would not be thematic, since the theme did not allow promotion of a pawn in a corner square.
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(4) Posted by Marcos Roland [Friday, Jan 27, 2023 22:03]

@ Viktoras

Well, if it was not allowed to use a promoted piece as a thematic one, the task is indeed extremely difficult to achieve. Anyway, the fact that a task is hard to accomplish doesn't necessarily make for a great problem!
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(5) Posted by Viktoras Paliulionis [Friday, Jan 27, 2023 23:05]

I think all achievements during the period should be entered into Fide Albums: both great problems, and tasks, and the first realizations of new ideas, even if they are not perfect.
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(6) Posted by Marcos Roland [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 07:35]

@ Kenan
Thank you, dear Kenan, for your kind words.
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(7) Posted by Miodrag Mladenović [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 15:20]

Very nice problem and I like it a lot. However since you mentioned the economy you could save almost 10% of pieces (one black Pawn) by slightlhy modifying position:
(= 2+8 )

Although you are loosing nice corner to corner bQ move now there are no doubled black Pawns on the e-file. Not sure what is the better position?
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(8) Posted by Viktoras Paliulionis [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 15:50]

In this position one more try appeared: 1.Rh8?
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(9) Posted by Kenan Velikhanov [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 18:29]

The first version is better, because the queen goes to her place comes rooking, the pawn goes away, the knight returns to her place. Due to one pawn, the composition loses the theme of delayed "gone came"
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(10) Posted by Miodrag Mladenović [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 20:01]

Personally I think that for this theme it's better if all corners are empty in the initial position (although not so important). But when Queen is on f6 black does have much more available moves to play and I think it makes this problem better (besides saving one black Pawn). Of course this is just my personal opinion.
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(11) Posted by Marcos Roland [Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 23:35]

@ Misha

Well, it's nice to have a little more economy, but I would never consider to change the queen's initial position at the time, because I liked very much the corner-to-corner move Qh8-a1. Now that the problem is published, it's psychologically difficult for me to rethink about it. I simply don't know which version I would prefer if the elegant position of the queen on f6 had crossed my mind at the time I composed the problem.
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(12) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jan 30, 2023 06:01]

I'm hardly qualified to follow Miodrag's advice on an orthodox helpmate matter, and I am hardly one to council Marcos, but for what it's worth, I'll share my perspective...
For those who only want to skip to the punchline, and avoid my excessive wordiness: I concur completely with Miodrag's assessment.

I'm a big fan of economy, but thematic content is paramount (the late, great Dan Meinking used to say, "Theme is King").

In both versions, four separate units go in and out of all four corners (very nice touch with the h1 corner btw!).

Assuming I have stated the intended theme correctly, the question reduces to this: has the more elegant version (bQf6) forsaken any thematic/aesthetic content?
If they are completely identical (both thematically and aesthetically), you should favor the more economical version.

The key difference is this extra cornering move (bQ comes out of h8).
Is that a thematic improvement? An aesthetic improvement? And, is it worth an extra pawn?

If this were a substantial thematic enhancement, or thematic addition, there can be no debate (you decide your thematic intent, and we may only judge in the context of your thematic intent).

Does this difference enhance the thematic/aesthetic intent?
If your intent were to pursue a record number of "cornering moves" (units moving in/out of corner squares), for example, there'd be no debate: the published version enhances the thematic content, and should justify the extra pawn.
However, I suspect that's not your thematic intent here; so, no, it's not a thematic enhancement.

Does this difference add thematic/aesthetic content?
It adds an extra cornering move, yes; but, when viewed as a standalone theme, a unit coming out of a corner is hardly a theme (it's an aesthetic addition, at best -- therefore not worth an extra pawn).

Does this difference detract from the thematic/aesthetic content?
I would actually argue it does detract (albeit only slightly), in two ways:
1) it renders the h8 corner dissimilar to the three other corners (only on h8 do two units vacate), and
2) it renders the bQueen dissimilar to the three other cornering units (only bQueen vacates two corners).

So, unless I have misinterpreted the desired theme (which is possible), the economical version is actually a tad better (aesthetically) -- even if economy were equal -- and should be preferred.
As always, I'm here to learn, and I welcome any alternative viewpoints.
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(13) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Monday, Jan 30, 2023 08:24]


Each with their own vision of economy, themes, aesthetics, ...
so I also give mine: I understand the choice made by Marcos, maybe he could even choose to add two more black pawns and put the knight a6 on a8.

... and also show it in 5.5 with the white king on h1

On the one hand "economy" is a great thing, on the other, it is a very bad guideline
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(14) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jan 30, 2023 10:58]


I failed to mention the switchback is a standalone minor theme in the original version.

Your Kh1-h2 suggestion would add substantial thematic value: both adding a second switchback and enhancing the paradox of the former switchback, while simultaneously extending cornering moves.
That said, it also degrades the clarity of the thematic content: the extended collection of thematic motifs would become less related.

In the bQf6 version, you can state the theme clearly: four units occupy and vacate all four corner squares (added theme: switchback).
In the extended version suggested, the clarify of that thematic expression degrades to: multiple units perform occupations and vacations (galore!) of all four corner squares (added theme: one unit performs two switchbacks).

The thematic clarity in the bQf6 version expresses what may be considered a new thematic element (let's assume you name this the 4x4 Theme, this problem showing both 4x4-occupation and 4x4-vacation).
In the enhanced version, do you have a Monster 4x4 (something akin to a Super AUW), or do you have a 4x4 with dissimilar sized wheels?
Such considerations are enough to plague both composers and judges with uncertainties about preferences.
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(15) Posted by Marcos Roland [Monday, Jan 30, 2023 22:53]

Dear fellows, I really appreciated your comments. Let me just clarify some points.

When I thought of economy, I included also the number of moves. I didn't quote the problem which mine was somehow challenging about economy, apart from other aspects, but I tell now that the other problem was a h#7 with 15 pieces on the board, so part of my efforts was aimed to demonstrate that it would be perfectly possible to accomplish the theme in a smaller number of moves and with a smaller number of pieces.

I saw the possibility of starting with the WK on h1, making for a 5,5 lenght, but I refrained from that, in this case not because of economy, but for the simple reason that the first move of the solution would be forced, the only legal move, and I didn't want this. Apart from that, in general, if I have a choice, I prefer helpmates with equal number of moves by White and Black, i.e., with Black playing first. (Of course, I don't take this strictly)

About the corner moves, I think that, in general, they can be more interesting when they are long moves, preferably corner-to-corner moves. In my view, the reason why these kind of moves sometimes impress us is the impression they cause of wide use of the board and full realization of the potential energy of the pieces. In my problem, this impression is enhanced, I think, because the movement of the Queen h8-a1-a7 is in a way complemented by the white pawn taking on a7 and then promoting on a8. So, not only h8-a1, but also a1-a7-a8, is the path followed by our glance.

These "sweet" words don't mean to deny the fact, in the first place, as Viktoras pointed out,that my problem is not "thematic" in the sense of the TT of Superproblem, so it cannot be appreciated in comparison with the winner of that tourney. Second, maybe Misha is right, after all, with his elegant Qf6...Kind regards to everyone.
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(16) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jan 30, 2023 23:53]

Good points. And beware the author who never breaks with the rules of grammar.
There's a delicate balance between economic and aesthetic considerations.
Violations fuel the imagination and advance our understanding of beauty.
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(17) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 08:54]


you illustrate my point very nicely :

"Economy" is a very bad guideline, and the author's personal taste or personal will is a very good guideline.
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(18) Posted by Miodrag Mladenović [Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023 10:31]

Generally I also like a lot corner to corner move. However besides saving one black Pawn position with bQf6 does give black 7 more first moves. When I started composing problems I've been thought by some prominent composers that if there is a possibility to place a piece on several different squares then I should set it to the square that gives the most number of moves to black/white. Generally having more first move possibilities makes problem nicer for solving.

And of course I can completely understand and accept your opinion that better positions is with bQh8. There are no strict rules about this.

Personally I do not favor economy over the content. Majority of my best problems are heavy positions. However if the content is identical then of course the second criteria is the economy of the problem. Since here the content is not completely identical because more economy eliminates corner to corner move both positions are equally good and it comes down to the personal taste of composer.

Also, I completely agree adding one extra half move by moving white King to h1 does not make any sense. What's the point to have forced move. That would be only acceptable if the move is part of the required theme and that's not the case here.

Anyway once again congratulation for creating this excellent helpmate.
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(19) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Thursday, Feb 2, 2023 10:10]

@ Miodrag
"...adding one extra half move by moving white King to h1 does not make any sense..."
I feel it is a bit too much!

for instance :
(= 2+11 )
1…Kg2 2.Sc7 Kh1 3.Qa1+ Kg2 4.Qa7 b×a7 5.Rh8 a8=S 6.Rd8 Sb6‡

of course it is heavier
of course the first white move is forced
of course you have only three corners occupied in the diagram (and not four)

but because the idea of the problem is "visit to the 4 corners", to have 3 of them occupied then left, then occupied again, then left again may be eye catching.

I completely understand what explained Marcos in (15) and why he did not choose this kind of presentation.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Visits to the four corners of the board by different pieces with their immediate departure, without capturing