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MatPlus.Net Forum Fairies Article in Russian "HS# – ЭТО ОЧЕНЬ ИНТЕРЕСНО!" (HS# – IT'S VERY INTERESTING!)
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(1) Posted by Julia Vysotska [Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 23:54]


Dear friends,
I've just published P.Petkov's article in Russian, originally published in The Ural's problemist-2011,
I'm going to translate it into English in case of some interest to it. It would require some time for me...
That's why I'm asking you to write me or to leave a comment if you're interested in English translation.
See it at
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(2) Posted by Julia Vysotska [Sunday, Jun 17, 2012 23:32]

Dear Friends,
I've finally translated this article (HS# – IT'S VERY INTERESTING!) into English.
It's a bit complicated text for me. I'd appreciate your corrections to the language and terms!
I understand, that too many mistakes and errors are possible there... :) But maybe - the most important ones.
See the English version by the same link:
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(3) Posted by Julia Vysotska [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 10:34]

This morning I've got a language correction for the whole article(!!) from Geoff Foster. Dear Geoff, thank you so much for your attention and a great work!! So, now everyone is welcome to read a fluent-English version at
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(4) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 10:35]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-18]

Interesting article, but some content suggests the translation may be unsound (perhaps some content is unsound, too).


"On the contrary – if a HS# problem shows a modest or banal idea that has already been met many times in H# and S# in good constructions, de facto such an HS# loses its sense of content and existence."

I suspect this wording must be incorrect -- it would be absurd to claim that any modest hs#n problem would be deprived (or lose, de facto) its "sense of existence."
What exactly is that supposed to convey, anyway?

There are thousands of modest problems published every year -- in fact, many of these actually win awards! -- none of them are relegated into non-existence, due to somebody else's (subjectively) low evaluation.
In fact, I shudder to think what might happen if our frequently misguided judges had anything close to the power to un-create a work of (somebody else's) art, by applying their poorly-considered favoritism.

There are other examples in which this article *seems* to suffer from a poor translation...
Or, does it actually contain these outrageous exaggerations?
It's difficult to know what the author had intended here.

To be completely honest, I think the article misses the boat (unless there is major a translation issue).
What is a HS#n problem -- it's really only a help-problem, but instead of aiming for #1, your goal is s#1.
It's just a different goal -- in this case, the goal is slightly more complex than the fundamental aims, such as = (h=n), x (hxn), + (h+n), OO (hOOn), etc -- here, the goal is in the form of a recursive stipulation (secondary stip-in-1, to be more precise).

The help-genre can be expressed in the form:
help [goal] n. where a goal can be a fundamental aim (#, =, x, etc), or it can be a recursive stip (e.g, s#1, h#1, etc).
h#n = help [#] n
h=n = help [=] n
hs#n = help [s#1] n-1

In fact, you could have a complex goal with a recursive stipulation in more than 1 move (e.g., help [s#2] n-2).
Further, you could argue that the goal (s#1) is really compel-#-1, which should actually be treated as a fundamental aim (same as #, =, x, etc) -- it's not really a recursive stip (whereas a "self-help-aim-n" would contain a recursive stip: h-aim-1).
The article really doesn't advance the theory, because it never gets underneath these issues.
But, the point is, hs#n is of the HELP genre -- the only difference is, the goal is not # (and, in fact, the goal is not a fundamental aim).

The article provides some "aesthetic criteria," (as if it were needed!), but it essentially conforms entirely to the established criteria for all help-goal-n problems.
This criteria is inherently obvious -- why restate it as if it were opinion?

If the author intends to suggest that hs#n is somehow a fundamentally different genre (from the help-genre), he fails to make the case (no evidence is presented from which such a conclusion can be drawn).
Furthermore, there is no reason to conclude that this is somehow a unique genre of complex goals (there are other goals which are based upon a recursive stipulation).
It doesn't even sufficiently address the issue of hs=n (are we supposed to conclude that this is a separate genre?).

I thought more highly of this article when I google translated it, because that translation allowed me to presume that some content had to be discounted as a mistranslation.
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(5) Posted by Sarah Hornecker [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 11:16]

Kevin - about the "sense of existence" you mention, without reading the sources now, it obviously refers to the existance right being nonexistant if a problem is anticipated.
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(6) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 11:42]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-18]


OK, your translation (anticipation) is MUCH better than this "sense of content and existence" nonsense.
So, the author is arguing that a h#n may anticipate the content of a hs#n.

If this is the case (and I happen to agree), then it must be the case that these two types of problems should be categorized within the SAME genre.
Except, the article fails to address this -- instead, it seems to pretend that hs#n is unique from both h#n, and hs=n (without providing any support for such a conclusion).

Furthermore, the article never addresses the issue of whether a h=n can be anticipated by a h#n, or vice versa.
[note: same goes for hs=n / hs#n, same goes for Fairies / Orthodox, etc]

In fact, the failures of Petko's article seem to lend considerable weight to the argument that problems should be classified by types of stipulation (types of problems, as is seen in feenschach), rather than by the commonly used (and highly artificial) constructs, which nobody has yet managed to define.

If we are going to consider cross-genre anticipation, then it must be noted that the selection process for the FIDE Album (which is merely a compilation of several sub-albums, by genre) is not currently capable of resolving such matters!

To better illustrate the failure of this article, consider:
International FIDE Judges, who would be qualified in the help-self-mates genre (if this were truly a unique genre, as Petko claims, they would be entitled to such accommodation) would require a prerequisite qualification in the help-mate genre.
Furthermore, the help-mate genre could potentially be anticipated by help-self-mates -- the prerequisite works in both directions!
And, this cross-genre anticipation issue would spill over into other genres, as well.

What Petko never fully states, but seems to be very strongly implying, is that there should be hierarchical preference of goals -- a composer should prefer to express their idea as h#n, rather than hs#n (if both are equivalent and valid).
I might actually agree with these sentiments, but the article doesn't address a strong resistance, which maintains that the "composer/inventor should have complete freedom of expression."

Such a preference does not universally exist between studies and directmates; nor between fairies and orthodox.
Petko never explains the reasoning behind any of his preferences.
For example, is this based upon precedent -- if so, why doesn't this favoritism apply to parry-series problems, which could be equivalently stipulated by the an anticipated form (such as, "black moves only to check")?
Or, is this based upon some simplification preference -- does a problem with fewer fairy elements anticipate something which came before it?

This article doesn't *SEEM* to address any serious questions -- it all reads as hs#n fluff (plus some subjective favoritism).
The reader may as well delve deeply into Petko's favorite colors.
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(7) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 12:00]

"Смысл существования" as used in the russian version means "raison d'être", "reason for existence". "Смысл содержания" - "content of content(?!)" makes no sense to me in the russian version as well.
Altogether the message is quite straightforward: one should not bring such problems into existence as there is no point.
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(8) Posted by Kevin Begley [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 12:08]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-18]


OK, your interpretation is perhaps better still.
But, now the article says little more than, "there is no reason to compose a banal hs#n problem."

This statement is not specific to hs#n problems -- it goes without stating that "banal problems (of all types) serve no good purpose."
Is this intended to be a plea for fewer banal problems?
We could all certainly benefit from such an article, but why should I find this applied only to hs#n problems?

So, what is the reason for this article, exactly, if not entirely to provide fluff for the hs#n problem (and pretend it constitutes a unique genre -- without providing any supporting evidence for its uniqueness, all in spite of the implied admission that other help-problems may anticipate this genre)?

I can't help but feel (hope may be a better word) I am still missing something in the translation...

Why should I consider hs#n (read: "help-[compel#1]-n") a unique genre?
Why do I need to consider a unique set of aesthetics for the "help-[compel#1]-n" problem?
How do Petko's aesthetics for this sub-genre differ from that of the encompassing "help-goal-n" genre?
Is there any valid case presented here, to support any of the claims (which translate into exaggeration)?
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(9) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Monday, Jun 18, 2012 22:45]

I don't expect from SuperGM to explain everything in details. A helpmate may be banal, but still a genuine helpmate. We can try to add to it something banal, only to transform it into helpselfmate nominally, but it still remains a helpmate in the essence.
(= 2+5 )
hs#1,5 2.1.
1...Bh2 2.Qc6+ Qxc6#
1...Bb6 2.Qc8+ Qxc8#
Remove black Queen and there's h#1 (2.1.) with the same content.

But reciprocal change of black functions between the two stipulations may be interesting (2 solutions without repeated 1st move of wR would make an acceptable composition)
NP original example
(= 6+10 )
h#2/hs#2,5 b)wRh5
a)1.Qxf3+ Bxf3 2.Be4 Be2#
b)1.Bb7 Rb5 2.Sc4 Rb3#
a)1...Be4 2.fxe4 Qxe4 3.Be2+ Qxe2#
b)1...Bc4 2.Rb5 Sb7 3.Rb3+ Bxb3#
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(10) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 03:10]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-19]


I appreciate your insight, and the examples provided.
But, I still don't get a good read as to Petko's point.

Consider your first example.
Are we to infer that he's claiming the banal h#1 anticipates the banal hs#1.5 ?
Or, are we to infer that it's OK to publish a banal h# (such as the h#1), but not a banal hs# (such as the hs#1.5)?

Obviously, we wouldn't expect anybody to publish either version of the first example; but, frankly, the hs#1.5 version seems the more interesting (read: the less banal) of the two presentations (even if the content is virtually identical).

But, larger questions remain unanswered: why should a composer worry whether their hs#n problem translates into a h#n problem? Even if there are some comparison problems couched in a h#n stipulation, the problem *might* be independently interesting in the hs#n form.
Why not judge all problems (including hs#n) holistically, within the context of their own content?

Furthermore, if hs#n is really a "genre" which is independent from the h#n "genre" -- and, keep in mind, there is neither a definition provided, nor even a persuasive attempt to explain what is contained within a "genre" --, then why should a h#n anticipate a hs#n?
Is it possible that the anticipation might go the other direction?
note: I do realize orthodox h#n is heavily worked, and this is perhaps unlikely, but are we meant to conclude that this could never occur (even when fairy units/conditions are present)?
None of this is clear to me, and I have difficulty knowing whether it is the translation, or the content, which fails to clarify these questions.

If such cross-genre anticipations are a possibility, it would hardly be unique to "help-[compel#1]-n" problems.
Help-stalemates might be anticipated by help-mates, Fairies might be anticipated by Orthodox problems (and also by other kinds of Fairies) -- the matter of genre-crossover-anticipation could easily burden the sub-genre specific judge far beyond the level of today's commonly observed care.
So, why are these issues raised only within the narrow focus of hs#n versus h#n?
If the article intends to address this issue, then it must provide some perspective of the larger issue -- but, in the English translation, I find no such context provided...

I understand that the article may have been primarily intended as a deeper introduction to hs#n; on the other hand, if an authority is going to make claims about the unique aesthetics which apply to an independent sub-genre, the reader is owed more than a list of subjective preferences (which are stated as if they were firm guidelines).

And, the author owes us an honest categorization -- e.g., which aesthetics carry over from the parent genre (help-[goal]-n problems), which uniquely apply to the sub-genre (help-[compel#1]-n problems), and why does the sub-genre require a unique set of aesthetic evaluation?
None of this information is provided.

Either the translation is denying these important insights from the reader, or the article should have devoted sufficient care to these important matters.

My suspicion is that this article intends to persuade readers to adopt the author's subjective guidelines, without having to provide any rationale for them.
I have great admiration for the author, and great respect for his opinions; but, that hardly counts as persuasive when he seems to be asking readers to buy into his set of preferences:

1) hs#n is an independent genre, but hs=n might not be.
2) h#n anticipates hs#n, but hs#n might not anticipate h#n.
3) the banality of a hs#n may depend upon its core h#n mechanism, but the banality of a h#n (fairies too?) depends only upon its holistic form.
4) etc...

If the author is going to put forward opinions on these matters, then at a bare minimum, the author must clearly convey how these subjective preferences were arrived at -- otherwise, what are the benefits of adopting (or even listing) them?
We are not even provided an honest definition of "genre," but here is another example of an author seeking to carve out a new genre based (unsurprisingly!) upon his own pet stipulation.

The current working definition of "genre" seems to be: "somebody's preference, which became adopted as another FIDE sub-Album."
Unless we are content to allow such a foolish definition to continue, then by all means, we should demand either a better translation, or better content.
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(11) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 03:51]

Kevin, you try to rationalize and quantify everything. I don't know whether that's ever possible. Most people have to rely on their intuition in the end. Experience teaches that the more you rationalize, the more of living/charming substance you lose. Generally, chess problemists are surely able to rationalize quite well, but they accept the vague definitions and rely on their own intuition from case to case, because they don't want to lose the excitement and beauty.

I don't have the time nor motivation to compose an excellent h# with a banal transformation into hs#. If you don't see the point from my banal example, I can't help it. h# and hs# are very different genres and if it is not clear from the words in Petko's article, there are many wonderful problems in it, which illustrate that most clearly. Analize those problems, relax and enjoy, do not trouble yourself with some hollow definitions.
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(12) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 11:28]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-19]


> try to rationalize and quantify everything. I don't know whether that's ever possible.

Nikola, your counterpoint swipes at a vacuum; and, your characterization of me (as some absolute rationalist) is completely bogus, and baseless, and frankly, offensive.

Please, be more careful when tossing around your absolute terms ("everything").
This is not about rationalizing every human emotion, or quantifying all artistic beauty.
You need not ponder the future of computerized humanity -- I made no such ridiculous claim, and hold no such absurd (and dramatic!) belief.

What I am saying is this:
If the author of an article expresses a belief that one particular stipulation (hs#n problems -- which happens to be one of his personal favorite forms of problem expression) deserves to be categorized into a new, independent genre, and attempts to persuade others that a new FIDE sub-Album should be carved out (you should be aware that this author is soon expected to introduce a new hs#n division, within the StrateGems problem journal), then it requires far better support than Petko's article provides.

For the record, I find virtually no support in this article.
And, for that reason, I maintain that the article is not persuasive.
To be persuasive, I would expect the author to provide, at a minimum, his definition of the term: genre.

Keep in mind, the author is essentially attempting to persuade us about how to conduct a beauty pageant for chess problems; and, how to distribute awards/titles.
If this were an academic article, which suggested an additional category, we would insist that the author provide definitions (or references to them) for the fundamental terms he uses to classify chess problems; otherwise, genres merely represent some subjectively assigned segments in a pageant (the h#n genre would be akin to a swimsuit competition).
We would also insist upon some underlying logic, which assures that each genre divisions is unique (and non-repetitive).
And, beyond that, we would insist that the author provides us a proper perspective to consider his proposal (add a hs#n category) against other forms competing for the same distinction (to have their own FIDE sub-Album).

For example, proofgames are more a popular, more enduring, and arguably a more unique form of stipulation, versus hs#n (both of which, I maintain, are sub-stipulations under the "help-[goal]-n" umbrella).
Idle-movers (ser-, pser-, w/b move only to check, etc) are certainly a more unique category -- why aren't they given a special segment in the award show?

None of these issues are addressed in Petko's article.
We might agree, this article was not intended to be an academic treatment of these very large (and highly contested) issues.
I'm simply pointing out that, as such, it is not persuasive (which it was clearly intended to be)!

I've asked, repeatedly, for someone to provide an academic treatment; but, so far, nobody can even define a clear division between Orthodox and Fairy!
If there is no academic treatment to be found, we should just admit that awards and titles are nothing more than pageantry (and, I'll have nothing more to say -- I'll just relax & enjoy the unfair spectacle of chess problems, as you have suggested I should).

On the other hand, if we want recognition in this field to mean something more substantial, we have no choice but to move to a more academic (and honest, and fair) classification system.

>Most people have to rely on their intuition in the end.

I have no idea what you're attempting to convey with this sentence.

>Experience teaches that the more you rationalize, the more of living/charming substance you lose.


>Generally, chess problemists are surely able to rationalize quite well, but they accept the vague definitions and rely on their own intuition from case to case, because they don't want to lose the excitement and beauty.

You're running off the rails here, in attempting to paint a false portrait of me; but, I'll play devil's advocate for you...
Your fear of losing the excitement (and the beauty) is not a function of the underlying mathematics.
The more you learn, the more you appreciate the beauty of mathematics.
Boredom comes from within -- it is a raging unwillingness in the face of a cold, continual struggle for improvement; and, your "intuition" is just the false comfort of a wet blanket (making you colder).

To illustrate, try using your intuition to answer the following puzzle (posed by Gary Foshee, at a convention for mathematicians, magicians, and puzzle enthusiasts):

"I have two children, one of whom is a son born on a Tuesday. What is the probability that I have two boys?"

hint: your intuition about some information (e.g., "born on Tuesday") will, almost certainly, prove incorrect.

>I don't have the time nor motivation to compose an excellent h# with a banal transformation into hs#.

Time is always against us.
You certainly shouldn't waste your time constructing any banalities -- anyways, I don't see what you would hope to accomplish by this.

>If you don't see the point from my banal example, I can't help it.

I already thanked you for your examples -- your intended point was quite clear.

>h# and hs# are very different genres...

As long as you can not provide a definition for "genre", your statement is essentially a useless tautology.
Are h#n and h=n very different genres?
On this point, there's no certainty (whatsoever) as to whether you and Petko would agree!
His article certainly doesn't make this clear.

>and if it is not clear from the words in Petko's article, there are many wonderful problems in it, which illustrate that most clearly.

No, it's not clear -- if it were AT ALL clear to you, then you could provide a definition for "genre."
And, it would match Petko's definition (which was clear to you from the article).
But, the closest you can get is to claim that answering such a question would essentially "lose the existence" of beauty.

> not trouble yourself with some hollow definitions.

It is not so difficult to fill the article's hollow terms (which you've repeated) with valid definitions.
Your intuition should not be to run away (and relax) -- you should steer into the skid.
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(13) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 13:24]

I don't analize personalities and "you" is not about you, Kevin. I'm interested in principles of reasoning, don't take anything as personal. I rationalize everything myself, I don't think it's foolish. When I see that rationalizing ceases to lead me to some clear critical point and even drags me away of it, I stop the analysis and return back to the points that looked intuitively clear enough. Often it means going back to the basic intuitive axioms and starting the rationalization again. But "I" is not about me, I don't take it as personal.

Mathematics is a perfect and most powerfull rationalization that stands on the basis of the intuition. The axioms which do not change for thousands of years make it so powerful. Without the axioms, self-evident to everyone, the rationalization and definitions do not have enough convincing power. They are more or les "hollow" or if you prefere, there is no firm ground beneath them.
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(14) Posted by Kevin Begley [Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 01:48]

Fair enough, Nikola...
I think we have plenty of agreement here... still, I don't buy any conclusions based upon intuition (anyone who does is banking on highly optimistic assumptions).

There is presently no firm foundation for our genre divisions; consequently, I find Petko's article too focused on a subjective desire to add a new hs#n genre, with too little support.
I'm not entirely opposed to the idea -- I just expect a better rationale for any particular stipulation (especially a relative newcomer) to jump ahead in the line.

I am never surprised to read a problemist advocating for some personal favorite problem element (in this case, the "help-[compel{#1}]-n", but not all "help-[compel{aim}-n" stipulations) to be adopted as a new FIDE sub-Album; but, because the divisions remain hallow, I always find such articles to be unpersuasive.

I expected Petko would try to make a better (read: more academic) case for the uniqueness of the hs#n stipulation -- though, I expect any such case is doomed to failure.
Nevertheless, I genuinely thought significant content must have been lost in translation, primarily because I know Petko is very knowledgeable about theory, and he's also capable of a much better article (especially when it comes to expressing the relevant issues in a proper perspective).
And, I would have very much enjoyed reading a more academic article from him, addressing hs#n (and other problem elements) within the context of genre divisions.

I find this article particularly disappointing, because he does not provide any credible support for several suggestions he favors (including the suggestion that hs#n somehow deserves a more unique classification than h=n, or PGn does); nor does he distinguish which aesthetic considerations are unique to hs#n, versus those which already fall under the parent Help-genre (read: all "help-[goal]-n" stipulations, including h#n, h=n, hs#n, hs-ep-n, PGn, A->Bn, etc).

When I read the google-translated version of this article, I tried to intuitively fill in the shortcomings of this article (assuming that a poor translation was responsible); but, when I read the human translation, I realized that many issues were neglected.
I happen to know a little about this subject, and the author, and the politics of a journal he edits (which intends to introduce a hs#n section) -- that's just enough to dismiss intuitive attempts to fill in these gaps.

There is a very good reason we have started to codify the rules of chess composition: intuition repeatedly fails.
We should codify more -- especially the genre divisions, and the rules governing fairy elements.
We will never advance this artform if we continue to ignore these fundamental matters, which affect every judgment, every award, and every title -- the very integrity of chess problems hinges upon our willingness to honestly and academically codify the matters that have historically been failed by favoritism and intuition).
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(15) Posted by Julia Vysotska [Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 10:14]; edited by Julia Vysotska [12-06-20]

Dear friends,

I wouldn't like to contend here at all... I don't pretend on a perfect translation of course! Please, consider, that this article is translated 2 times and edited 2 times! Mr.Petkov has written it in Russian himself. I've made a language correction for the Russian version. After that I've translated it into English. And the English version had a language correction as well. I'm sorry if the article had suffered from the all of it. Of course, it's always better for any text to read the original version of it!

Everyone has his own opinion here. Do you know what? Reading Kevin's comments I was thinking - what a hell I'm trying to do all of this? Noone is punished or criticized anyhow in a case of doing nothing..
Still, I believe it's better to do - to try, maybe to be wrong sometimes, but still to do, to create.
Otherwise nothing will happen at all.

Mr.Petkov tells several times, that he writes about his own, subjective principles, his understanding, his believes. He doesn't insists on anything! There're not so many people with the same results as Mr.Petkov has
and who also has a wish to share their knowledges! I'd use an opportunity to learn. And also - you always can skip anything you are not agree with.
Also, if you have objections about the language - just send me ( the sentences which sound wrong! I'd look again. I'd try to rewrite maybe. Maybe a better version would be possible with your help?? It's not my native language, but the article is quite complicated for translation..

Yesterday I've read several times one Nikola's comment. There are few sentences I like a lot and I'm so much agree with! (Nikola, I'd quote you at my site if you don't mind!):

"Generally, chess problemists are surely able to rationalize quite well, but they accept the vague definitions and rely on their own intuition from case to case, because they don't want to lose the excitement and beauty."

"....there are many wonderful problems in it, which illustrate that most clearly. Analize those problems, relax and enjoy, do not trouble yourself with some hollow definitions."

I have mathematical education. Still, I believe, there's (and should be!) everything in composition: mathematics, logics, rationality and intuition, and lot's of joy!! Isn't it true that sometimes you have to analize a problem with a very logical approach, but sometimes you just feel from the very first glance that it is simply great?

I'd quote Nikola's words everywhere: see the beauty, relax and enjoy!
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(16) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012 15:02]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [12-06-20]

Interesting discussion. I think (I may be wrong) that the main point made by Kevin is that Petkov perhaps wants to encourage HS# as a distinct genre without justification. It seems that this has been Petkov's view for quite sometime.

For the 2007 Fairies awards of Matplus where he was the Judge, Petkov divided the problems into Direct problems, Help problems and Helpselfmates. In Direct problems he included selfmate and series selfmate problems also (along with Direct mates).

This seems to be his personal view.

No magazine has selfmates and directmates in the same section. If Strategem opens a separate section for Helpselfmates, I dont see why composers should object.
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(17) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 07:09]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-21]


I'd like to make clear, again, how very much I do appreciate your making this article more accessible (especially for readers, like myself, who struggle -- to understate the difficulties I have -- with the Russian language).

Please, do not mistake my critique, of Petko's personal persuasions, as a reflection, in any way, upon my regard for your translation efforts (quite the contrary, I had hoped that some significant oversight would emerge in your translation -- but, as yet, it seems to have been in vain).

Nor should you regard my critique as a reflection upon Petko personally -- I assure you, my esteem for him (not only as one of my heroes, but also as somebody that I can call a friend) remains unchallenged!

Furthermore, I assure you, what differences I have, with Petko's theory of problem categorization, has in no way compromised my ability to "relax and enjoy" the other aspects of his article.

That said, I can't just forgo a critical analysis of this article's underlying attempt to advance a particular persuasion (which leads to an extraordinarily illogical -- if not a dubiously engineered -- categorization system); moreover, I can't ignore the consequences of its inherent bias, which would constitute an infection of unfairness, were these proposals to spread to generic international tourneys.
These are my opinions -- you should make up your own mind (and by all means, share it).

Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to make a more concise case for a better Hybrid categorization (one NOT limited to a favoritism for Help-Self-Mates)... so, until then, I hope you will try to keep an open mind...

Just remember: There are no bad feelings here -- I'm highly confident that Petko will fully understand (and indeed appreciate!) my effort to provide some critical perspective (and hopefully, encourage a more academic discussion) concerning his propositions -- regardless the implications, this is a debate between friends.
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(18) Posted by Kevin Begley [Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 07:56]; edited by Kevin Begley [12-06-21]


>"I think (I may be wrong) that the main point made by Kevin is that Petkov perhaps wants to encourage HS# as a distinct genre without justification. It seems that this has been Petkov's view for quite sometime."

You are, in fact, exactly correct.
And, beyond my main point point, I find serious difficulties in accepting that HS#n is significantly unique -- therefore, I can find no justification to accept that this very particular combination of stipulation-and-aim should require its own, independent, new genre.

This is doubly true when you consider that this very particular entity (HS#n) is not particularly popular -- not only in comparison to other genres, but also in comparison to other problem elements which have been logically competing, much longer, for their own (more distinct!) independence.

Petko's article takes for granted that the reader will accept this premise, without any need for support.
I will concede, it's easy to guess why Petko might presume that HS#n is a unique entity, which requires an independent genre.

Historically, Chess problems have generally been divided into two major camps:
1) HELP- (scheduling problems): all players cooperative to reach a shared goal, and
2) DIRECT/FORCED- (non-cooperative problems) problems: at least one player (generally the one w/ the black pieces) opposes the goal of another.

It is easy to fall for the illusion that HS#n falls somewhat into both camps -- and would therefore require a new and unique (third) division:

3) HYBRID-: contains both cooperative (HELP-), and non-cooperative (DIRECT-) elements.

In fact, these three divisions would be fairly consistent with some related divisions found in some game-theory references; and, I can comfortably concede that these divisions are logical, and perhaps necessary.

However, I consider it a flawed leap of logic to presume either of the following points (which seem the motivating persuasions of Petko's article):
1) "HELP-SELF-Mate" is a proper heading for this third new division, or
2) HS#n falls under the third (HYBRID-) division.

That the first assumption is faulty may be self-evident -- given the possibility of alternative aims (e.g, HS=n, HSxn, etc), a title specific to Help-Self-Mate would certainly not encompass all Hybrid-possibilities.
But, beyond that, I believe it would be faulty to even presume that "HELP-SELF/REFLEX" would be a sufficient title -- it is indeed possible (easily!) to find existing Hybrid-stipulations (and/or create new ones!), which do not fit neatly into the "Help-SELF/REFLEX" heading.

The flaw in logic regarding the second point is more involved.
I'll try to provide a concise refutation, but in the mean time, the argument basically comes down to this:
The standard application of Help-Self-Mate (read: "Help-[compel#1]-n") contains NO substantial element of non-cooperation (or direct-play) -- it can be easily reduced to a "Help-[AIM]-n" (whereas this would not be the case, were the stipulation of the form: "Help-[compel#m]-n", for m>1).

>"If Strategem opens a separate section for Helpselfmates, I dont see why composers should object."

I agree... Problemists (and, indeed, entire journals, like StrateGems) are entitled to both their own opinions, and their own divisions.
The chief editor(s) is the ultimate authority for their own problem journal -- they may implement whatever divisions they deem to be in their journal's best interest.

However, I do believe there is statistical evidence suggesting that an inherent favoritism & bias is interwoven into many dubious & illogical categorization efforts.

For specialized journals (and specialized thematic tourneys), this bias is plainly transparent.
For example, it would be silly to claim that Dr. Hilmar Ebert's Wenigsteiner-Jahrespreis is biased against 5-man problems (just as it would be silly to claim that feenschach is biased against sudoku puzzles).
Nobody is raising such absurd objections here...

However, for international affairs, which purport to provide an umbrella under which all types of chess problems may fairly reside, we should prefer a classification based upon logic (which does not tend to damage the credibility of this artform).

We have a duty to discuss the consequences of this article's advancement of an additional (highly particular) new problem genre -- this is not an objection to whatever path some journal's chief editor may care to tread.
How is my "objection" (as you call it) different from Petko's attempt to persuade us down a more narrow path -- do we not both enjoy the very same right to freely express our opinions?

Why is it only classified as an "objection" when an idea acknowledges a significant shortcoming in Problem Chess?
Petko's is the one objecting to the present classification -- not me! -- I'm merely stating that his suggestion would make things worse...

For any international problem tourney (or high-minded problem journals), which intend to provide for "all types" of chess problems (rather than merely some narrow aspect), a logical, codified classification is as essential -- indeed, it is integral -- to fairness.

We deserve more fairness -- even if the favoritism of our subjective judges still prove an obstacle, we should strive to eliminate systematic bias; and, we certainly -- each of us -- should openly challenge any proposal which might worsen our already precarious situation.
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MatPlus.Net Forum Fairies Article in Russian "HS# – ЭТО ОЧЕНЬ ИНТЕРЕСНО!" (HS# – IT'S VERY INTERESTING!)