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MatPlus.Net Forum General Impossible Themes
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(1) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Saturday, Jul 2, 2011 13:22]

Impossible Themes

I'd like to make (correction: talk YOU into making :-)
a big list of "impossible" themes. Naturally, they can
be divided into those that WERE shown eventually after
decades of despair (Babson, to name the obvious) and
those who still wait for another genius (100$ theme?).

Please name a theme, the importance (from ++ "makes you
a god under problemists to -- "so there") and, if it's
still waiting, the chance you see that someone finally
does it (from ++ "we just didn't try hard enough" to
-- "only if God becomes a problem composer").

I naturally start with 9 variant Fleck 2#. Importance: -
(with luck I'd get a Special Prize). Difficulty: + if free
form (I was close often enough), at least - if bound form
(no duals whatsoever).

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(2) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Jul 2, 2011 20:04]

Task: Queen-Schnoebelen in an orthodox proofgame :
Difficulty: Easier for a man to drag a bow hunted T-Rex across the event horizon of a SMBH.
Expected Award: Nobel Prize in Physics, the RV Trophy, Blue Ribbon in Taxidermy, 2nd Prize in a Russian Jubilee Tourney, 3 tickets to Spiderman.
My nearest proximity to success: Still looking for a good arrow.
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(3) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Saturday, Jul 2, 2011 21:56]

@ Hauke :

Something like that ?

Mikael Gronroos
Mat 1980
(= 7+6 )

1.Re3! [2.R~‡]
1…Q×e1 2.Rd2‡
1…Qf1+ 2.Rf4‡
1…Qg1,Qg2,Sg4 2.R(×)g4‡
1…Qa8+ 2.Rd8‡
1…Qb7 2.Rd7‡
1…Qc6 2.Rd6‡
1…Qd5 2.R×d5‡
1…Qe4 2.Rd×e4‡
1…Qf3+ 2.Rf4‡
1…Sh~ 2.Rh4‡
1…Sa4 2.R×a4‡
1…Sd3 2.Rd×d3‡
1…Sd1 2.R×d1‡
1…Sc4 2.R×c4‡
1…b4 2.R×b4‡

Perfect Fleck with 14 mates !!
Complete cross of the wR
Complete Diagonal of the bQ
Excellent withdrawal key
13 pieces
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(4) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Sunday, Jul 3, 2011 03:11]

Task: Babson theme in a study.
Difficulty: ++
Expected Award: 1st prize, reprints in most composition magazines
My nearest proximity to success: Watching Gady Costeff's 1982 study with three mutual promotions

Task: Valladao with AUW in a study
Difficulty: +
Expected Award: 1st prize, reprints
My nearest blah: Valladao with three different promotions

Task: Four knight promotions in a miniature pawn study
Difficulty: ++
Expected Award: Special prize
My nearest blah: Three, and Richard Becker was first

Task: 32 piece h# with full striptease motif.
Difficulty: It is easier to count all atoms in the universe than to randomly find the position.
Expected Award: Ultra prize
My nearest blah: I made a few helpmates with over 10 pieces and without striptease motif.

Task: Make any problem that Hauke won't use for an intellectual joke
Difficulty: It is easier to memorize all texts of the whole usenet on his brain.
Expected award: Entry in
My nearest blah: I met Hauke
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(5) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Sunday, Jul 3, 2011 08:25]

Though Fleck theme is easy with battery mates, this is a wonderful problem (unprovided checks notwithstanding) showing a maximum task.
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(6) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Sunday, Jul 3, 2011 14:14]

"Easier with battery mates" is an understatement of sorts.
Fleck himself, for good reasons, declared battery mates
should not count as Fleck. (Does someone have the literal
formulation? I think more in the spirit would be "random
threats from a battery are unwanted", as I can think of
at least three cases with two nonrandom threats from a
battery: double check, flight covering and defender shutout.
As a judge I probably would allow that in a Fleck problem.)

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(7) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Sunday, Jul 3, 2011 17:03]

Forward Analysis could be applied in order to stablish if there's in fact "Random threats from a battery" - In some instances random firing is really recognizable, but not actual 'Random Mates' (each one in this category would be a dual!) - Example, of course:

Y. Vladimirov
"Sahs" 1977

(= 10+8 )

Key 1. Qg1!, and to each black reply corresponds a dual-free battery firing - Well, it can occur, in some cases (NOTE: like in 1...f6 and 1...Ng6 in the example above) - of course - black moves answered with the same battery firing, but this is a completelly different feature ... But any claim that this is not a kind of 'Fleck' (or - if the @ brand should not be mentioned) - of Separation in the Mating Move - is matter for a good debate
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(8) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Monday, Jul 11, 2011 02:10]

Task: Three different forms of the Schiffmann theme in three phases of #2.
Difficulty: Very difficult for me.
Expected Award: Sincere congratulations from me and at least one more composer.
My nearest proximity to success: All except double refutation of one of the tries.
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(9) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Monday, Jul 11, 2011 10:36]

Here's another...

Task: 5-fold combinative separation in a single-phase orthodox two-mover. This would require at least 31 distinct variations!
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(10) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011 08:11]

@ Marjan :

What do you mean by 3 different forms ?

a) selfpin by a move of the bK
b) selfpin by a move of a halfpinned b-piece
c) selfpin by capture of a w-piece


three different systems of Shiffmann whatever they are ?
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(11) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011 11:22]

a) – Schiffmann II
c) – Schiffmann I
d) – Moving the pinned piece along the pin-line – Schiffmann III
This is the task (and the classification) given by Odette Vollenweider (see the Mat Plus Interview, Nos. 12-13, 2009-10). In the same time, the classification matches the order of frequency of the Schiffmann examples in WinChloe Base. Type b) that you mentioned is very rare, it works with black e.p. capture.
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(12) Posted by Branislav Djurašević [Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011 11:41]; edited by Branislav Djurašević [11-07-12]

Marjan, could you give some examples, recently published problems, for every type, or two types together, etc. Here is our problem (with Bosko) with Schiffmann III: Only one type, but 3x1 changed thematic mates.
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(13) Posted by Dan Meinking [Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011 13:04]

Single-line h#n with 3 black Queen promotions. Impossible???

This should not be confused with h=n, which was achieved by Millour's...'P0576132'

... with 2 wQ and 3 bQ promotions. I believe he (earlier) achieved 1 wQ and 3 bQ promotions, which was equalled by a recent Tribowski prize-winner in SG. Neither of those are on PDB, however.

In the last 2-3 years, Mr. Millour wrote an article for StrateGems where he topped "all of the above" with 3 wQ and 3 bQ promotions in a h=9! That, too, is not on PDB. Perhaps someone out there can quote from his article?
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(14) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011 15:04]

Branislav, the examples are planned to be published in an article in the Mat Plus.
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(15) Posted by Dan Meinking [Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011 03:48]; edited by Dan Meinking [11-07-13]

Millour's article is in SG47 (July-September 2009), same issue as the Parry Series debut. Here's his h=9 with 3 wQ and 3 bQ promotions:

Rene J. Millour, original (SG 2009), "dedicated to R. Tomasevic"
(= 5+13 )

h=9 (5+13) C? {solution hidden below}
1.a1Q! b8Q! 2.Qe5 Qxb1 3.Qb5 axb5 4.g1Q! bxc6 5.Qg6 cxd7 6.Qxe8+ dxe8Q! 7.e1Q! Qxh5 8.Qe6 e8Q! 9.Qf7 Qexf7=

"For the first time we have 3+3 Qs! Three bQs are sacrificed, 3 wQs are born to pin 3 black pieces (Rf5,Sg7,Sh6) and block 3 other ones (Kh7,Bh8,Pf6). Not 1-3.e1Q-Qe5-Qb5 and 7-9.a1Q-Qa2-Qf7, because 7.a1Q+ disturbs the wK. ... Many thanks to Radovan Tomasevic, who checked all the problems very deeply with the help of Alybadix and Popeye!"

In his introduction he notes: "I worked with Jean Oudot on the subject in the sixties. In those days, 3 promotions to bQ in h#9 was known as Oudot's Challenge." His article concludes: "The Babson task is impossible, we were all convinced of that. As for Oudot's Challenge, we can thus hope!"
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(16) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011 04:11]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [11-07-13]


I did not think of the possibility of the case III, mainly because it is not a true selfpin, anyway it seems good to include this as "Schiffmann III".

Also, I was not aware of the difficulty of the half-pin mechanism, I could find in Wchloe a very nice problem with this (and 2 others less interesting)

Georgy Paros
Budafoli MTE T. 1931
1st Prize
(= 12+11 )
1.e4! [2.Bd3‡]
1…d×e3 e.p. 2.Bc4‡
1…B×e4 2.Se3‡
1…S×c2 2.Q×g4‡
1…K×c2 2.Bd3‡
with a complete halfpin play, and a nice flight giving key !

May this be called "Schiffmann IV" ?

Searching for Shiffmann + e.p. I found also this

Colin R. Flood
The Problemist 1971
(= 11+9 )
1.e4! [2.Sd3‡]
1…f×e3 e.p. 2.Scb3‡
1…Rb5 2.e5‡
1…Rd5+ 2.e×d5‡
1…Qb2 2.Q×b2‡
1…Qb4+ 2.Q×b4‡

with a very nice pinning and unpinning play and an unpinning key!

May this be called "Schiffmann V" ?
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(17) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011 10:59]

Thanks Jacques!
Nice problems, indeed. From my point of view you they may be both called Schiffmann IV. Thematically they look very close, with Goethart variation included in the second one.
Schiffmann III is very different in its nature, without self-pin. Also, it is not generally accepted if black interference is necessary part of it or not. However, S III was recognized as such quite early, maybe even before King Schiffmann.
There is one more form, between S I and S III: pinned piece moves along the pin-line and self-pins by capturing a white piece.
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(18) Posted by Administrator [Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011 15:38]

Marjan: the examples are planned to be published in an article in the Mat Plus.

This is not an official announcement! The article was planned to be published in Mat Plus No.41 together with other lectures given during the BPCF 2011. Unfortunately it wasn't received even though the completion of the issue had been postponed for few weeks only to allow the author more time to write/finish his text.
From editor's point of view it was a bad move of the expected writer to raise this subject in the Forum before publishing the article in the magazine, and by doing that take away a lot from the exclusivity of this elusive text.
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(19) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Thursday, Jul 14, 2011 07:54]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [11-07-14]


"...they may be both called Schiffmann IV".

OK, but why ? I would say for two formal reasons
a) they seem to need both e.p.
b) there are - and probably there will be very few problems like these
but... their content is quite different : half-pin in one, and masked pin in the other. If you extend to fairy field there may be an interest in differentiating them.

Here is a Schiffmann with Half-pin without e.p. :

Christian Poisson & Jacques Rotenberg
P. McWilliam memorial
The Problemist 1999-2001 1st Pr.(= 13+8 )
2# Anticirce

1.Qd8? [2.S×d6(Sg1)‡]
1…B×e4(Bc8) 2.K×e5(Ke1)‡
1…R×e4(Ra8) 2.K×f5(Ke1)‡
mais 1…B×e6(Bc8)!

1.B×a7(Bc1)? blocus
1…B×e4(Bc8) 2.Q×c8(Qd1)‡
1…R×e4(Ra8) 2.Q×a8(Qd1)‡
mais 1…Kd4!

1.R×a7(Ra1)! [2.R×b1(Rh1)‡]
1…B×e4(Bc8) 2.Bd7‡ (2.R×b1(Rh1)+? R×e3!)
1…R×e4(Ra8) 2.Bc8‡ (2.R×b1(Rh1)+? Bb1!)

1.Rd7? [2.S×d6(Sg1)‡]
1…B×e4(Bc8) 2.Bg4‡
mais 1…R×e4(Ra8)!

1.R×f5(Rh1)? [2.R×f1(Rh1)‡]
mais 1…Rf5+!

"...between S I and S III: pinned piece moves along the pin-line and self-pins by capturing a white piece."

I would say : it seems to be clearly S. I : the square the self-pinning piece comes from does not seem to be relevant.... but...if the captured w-piece could give a mate in another variation (or in another play) with the thematic b-piece pinned, the likeness with S. III would be very strong!
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(20) Posted by Hartmut Laue [Friday, Jul 22, 2011 23:24]

Orthodox s#2 with 6 Dentist variations.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Impossible Themes