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MatPlus.Net Forum Competitions WCCT-10: Retros section?
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(1) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, May 8, 2014 23:26]

WCCT-10: Retros section?

Can someone confirm that there's a retros section in WCCT-10? I can't find anything on the WFCC homepage.
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(2) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Friday, May 9, 2014 00:18]

You can find more information in the Batumi minutes (pages 6 and 7):

For convenience, I copy/paste the decision:

“A new section for retros will be introduced in the next WCCT. In calculating the total score of a country, only the scores of
maximum 7 out of the 8 sections (those where each country performed better) will be taken into account.”
In a vote, the Assembly accepted the amended proposal (21 in favour, 3 against, 1 abstention).
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(3) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Friday, May 9, 2014 01:40]

It is the time to suggest the themes. Perhaps a discussion in this Forum would help to take the right general direction in the Retros, from the beginning.
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(4) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Saturday, May 10, 2014 17:33]

You mean that one can suggest a retro theme here?
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(5) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Saturday, May 10, 2014 21:14]

Yes, I believe a general discussion in this Forum would be a very welcome introduction for the whole process. Most of all, it would be important to come to an agreement on the TYPE of retro condition to be used: SPG, other retro conditions, orthodox or fairy pieces, etc. This Forum surely involves much more Retro specialists than the WCCT Committee does.
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(6) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Saturday, May 10, 2014 22:21]

A general discussion is certainly possible, but the retro theme should be kept secret until the themes for each section become public at the same time, no? If one submits right now on this website a retro theme which is finally chosen for the WCCT-10, it might be considered as an unfair advantage for retro composers…

So, generally speaking, my own feeling is that the chosen retro theme should allow, at the same time, deep renditions both in the proof game genre and in the “classical” retro genre, and that the general framework should remain orthodox.
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(7) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Sunday, May 11, 2014 00:34]

Thanks, Nicolas!
Naturally we could discuss only the general direction, not the concrete theme. This may help all of us who are not very familiar with the retro genre.
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(8) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Sunday, May 11, 2014 01:39]; edited by Nikola Predrag [14-05-11]

Allowing both PGs and classical retro genre would bring many difficulties to the judges, beside testing the soundness.
For instance, fairy section is rather restrictive, both about the stipulation and the fairy elements.
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(9) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Sunday, May 11, 2014 02:23]

I could add to what Nicolas says that you face here a difficult problem :

because you have not really "judges", to find some "impartial" way to choose the theme does not seem easy.

The problem of the fields involved is another difficult point in retros nowadays you have mainly

A- proof games (or "shortest" proof games
B- "classical" retros that need mainly "reasoning"
C- retractors

it is difficult to imagine a theme that could fit these three fields.

Proof games is very active nowadays, but this is due too to computer help, and may disadvantage people that are not used to these programs, and give major technical push to those who have access to big computers.
a way to limit this is to limit the lenght of the proof games, or perhaps more radically to forbid proof games.
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(10) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Sunday, May 11, 2014 02:35]

It is true that comparing a PG and a classical retro is not easy, but judges are aware of this difficulty and are accustomed to manage it, via informal retro tourneys for example. On the other side retro composers are often specialized in only one retro genre, so a theme devoted to PGs only or to classical retros only, would deprive the Tournament of several top-composers.
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(11) Posted by Dupont Nicolas [Sunday, May 11, 2014 02:48]

Of course my previous message was an answer to Nikola.

Jacques, I don’t think that the computer argument is very important here, I’m not aware of any PG which is known as C+ but impossible to check on a classic home computer. Concerning Retractors I follow you, this is an important field nowadays, and indeed it seems difficult to find a unique theme which will include this third genre too.
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(12) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Sunday, May 11, 2014 03:27]

I have never been actively involved or composed anything in a previous WCCT cycle, and I understand that it is a highly competitive event, but I do not see why a discussion in a public forum, open to everyone, can cause any problems. Even suggesting possible themes might not be a bad idea, because it would give time to those interested to express their concerns or propose improvements. After all, the final selection of the theme will be made later, and it may be something completely different.

It is possible to choose a theme that will be suitable for all different retro sub-genres, although it is inevitable that it may be more suitable for one of them than for the others. Past experience (e.g., Champagne) has proved that the same theme can be successfully implemented in proof games or other retros. I dislike any kind of limitations (length of proof games, only computer tested entries, excluding one genre or the other, etc.). The competition aside, I see this as an opportunity for many retro composers who were excluded from previous WCCTs to participate and enjoy composing for a very strong and prestigious tourney. Let us try to keep it open to as many as possible, and hopefully, to attract new composers.
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(13) Posted by Neal Turner [Sunday, May 11, 2014 09:57]; edited by Neal Turner [14-05-11]

And of course the question is still open on whether PGs are retros at all.
Nowadays we see problems of the type A -> B where the solver is asked to reach position B in a specified number of moves starting from position A .
Are these retros?
I ask this because it could be argued that PGs are actually A -> B problems where the A position is not shown because by default it's the starting position.
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(14) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Sunday, May 11, 2014 12:31]

The computer matter is a main point here, and you know it perfectly.
The good knowledge of the usual programs, what they solve fast, what they do'nt.
The power of the computer
and so on...
make much easier the task of the composer,
You can say the WCCT is for the specialists anyway and it is good like that
Or you can say it should be a chance for new problemists to be involved in the field, and then, you have to take care of this.
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(15) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Sunday, May 11, 2014 19:35]

Any diagram that supplies information about the history of the game which is used to solve the problem should be considered retro. Proof games do exactly that. To solve them, you count how many moves each piece must have made to reach the diagram position, rather than playing random moves from the starting position of the game. Sometimes, they can be solved, at least partially, by going backwards from the final position. I would say that proof games are retros, although they are close to help-play problems, too.
A->B problems have the same elements as proof games, and for lack of a better classification system, I would call them retros, too.

Most proof games of a reasonable length (up to 25 moves) can be tested within a few minutes by any modern computer. I see your concern that the composers who can use efficiently the PG programs may have an advantage, but for better or worse, the use of chess programs is part of the composer's resources in all genres. Compare, for example, with the programs and databases that are available to composers of studies. A newcomer might be at a disadvantage, but luckily, for studies, as for other types of problems including proof games, it takes much more than a fast computer to compose a good problem.
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(16) Posted by Per Olin [Sunday, May 11, 2014 21:06]

The third FIDE World Cup 2013 was a joint effort by FIDE and WFCC Presidium. In this competition the section was called 'Retros and Proofgames'. WFCC in its latest competition (WCCI for individuals) uses 'Retros' only. In both competitions have been accepted traditional retros and proof games and in both subgroups have been accepted orthodox and fairy entries. For the WCCT competition the tourney announcement and theme definitions with possible limitations can probably sort out the situation.

The right general direction for the first WCCT retro competition has been asked for. In my opinion, the right direction is: for proof games 'green light' and for fairy retros, conditions, stipulations 'red light' (for fairy compositions the competition has an own section).
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(17) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Sunday, May 11, 2014 21:56]

Kostas & Nicolas,

The programs for proof games are less known than those for chess players.

They need a little habit to be used at their top.

The solving speed is in fact a major parameter :
When you get quickly the solution, you can make more tests and you can more easily upgrade the level of your aims and the quality of your results.

Now, the comparison with the end game field is relevant : there, happens exactly the same : technical matters (computers -software and hardware-) take more and more place.
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(18) Posted by Cornel Pacurar [Sunday, May 11, 2014 23:38]

Olin, I enjoyed your recent A->B article in feenschach very much. Curious what is your take on those, would you give them the green or the red light?!

As to fairy retros - I don't reside in a country affiliated with WFCC, but I think that a look at the recent 3rd FIDE World Cup results is quite conclusive. Out of the 16 correct participating entries, there were 7 orthodox proof games, one fairy proof game, 2 classical and one fairy retros, one help retractor and 4 fairy proca retractors. The ranking included 3 orthodox proof games, 1 classical retro, 1 fairy retro and 4 fairy proca retractors, thus 4 orthodox and 5 fairy compositions. It is also noteworthy that all 4 participating fairy procas made it into the award.
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(19) Posted by Per Olin [Monday, May 12, 2014 19:31]

Cornel, many thanks for your kind comment! Answering the question about the status of A->B-proof games:

A proof game can start from
1) the standard initial game array (IGA)
2) any of the other 959 starting positions of Chess960
3) any position that can be derived from IGA
4) any position that can be derived from any of the other 959 Chess960 initial positions (e.g. a position that has white bishop on a1 and white pawn on b2)
5) any other position outside 1-4 (e.g. an illegal position which can not be derived from any of the above or which has fairy chess elements)

In traditional proof games, as generally published, IGA = A and B is the diagram position. These are considered to be orthodox. Chess960 has been introduced to the official FIDE chess rules in 2008. The Codex for Chess Composition refers to chess rules from 1996; Chess960 is therefore fairy chess by definition (whether also by nature is a separate issue). Above mentioned 2, 4 and 5 are fairy chess and 1 is orthodox. Number 3, the most common among A->B-proof games, is, as far as I know, undefined. As there are no fairy elements here, I would be inclined to consider 3 orthodox. In the opposite case, when we have a chained proof game starting from IGA with two diagrams, then we would have the following situation: first part from IGA to A is orthodox and second part from A to B fairy.
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MatPlus.Net Forum Competitions WCCT-10: Retros section?