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(21) Posted by Branislav Djurašević [Monday, Jan 14, 2019 18:40]; edited by Branislav Djurašević [19-01-14]

I also know Mr. Kostas Prentos and have only words of praise for his entire opus, as well as for his creative work. I have taken his words in good faith. Still I fell the need to respond.
I am very glad that one of the FIDE Album judges will continue to compose further. During the process of judging for the FIDE Album 2013-2015, I, as one of judges, rewarded him with first and third prize at the strong and prestigious annual tournament of the Israeli journal Variantim for 2014 and I have to say that I appreciate his entire creativity a lot.

The thing is really a matter of principle. Why are the judges for the FIDE Album, as the most important competition in composing chess problems, being abolished in advance from a possible unintentional errors?

The most popular sports, like football or basketball and some others, have already implemented video technology to correct the mistakes of the referees.

It is entirely possible that out of almost 1,000 problems, some of the judges overlook the grandiosity of a problem. The WCCI has 5 judges, so the potential error is smaller. However, the FIDE Album has only 3 judges. Why isn't the situation opposite? Is really the WCCI (only 20 or so years old) more important than the FIDE Album?

The readers could see the analysis about FIDE Album judging process for this period made by S. Diduh with his opinion on his website. )

The readers also can take a look at my objection to the judging of the committee related to the unfair judging in the FIDE Album for 2013-2015 (please see link:

with which I supported the Official protest of many study composers during the Dresden Congress and which they signed (as I recall more than 30 of them).
Please see link:


If for some problem or study the author has already received unofficial (like what Aleksey Oganesjan just received here on MatPlus Forum) or official satisfaction from the original judge on informal tournament or even 5 judges regard to Study of the Year 2014, indicating that he has produced a possible masterpiece, the least he can expect is to find his problem accepted in the FIDE Album.

Even if there are 100 other problems with more points than his. Because, it is a much smaller mistake when a weak problem enters the Album (moreover you can find there some incorrect and unalterable ones in the past but also and nowadays) than when an outstanding problem with masterpiece potential is left out of this anthological edition.
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(22) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Monday, Jan 14, 2019 22:08]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [19-01-14]

I can only say that as a private person, I would also support the publication of the scores, and would have joined your protest, but being involved in the process back then, I was unable to do so, as I had to be bound to neutrality.

If you will create another petition for this (for change for the future), I will gladly sign. For retroactive publication, I am bound to neutrality and can't (even though I would like to as private person).

But I believe this deviates a bit from the great selfmate. Maybe we should make a new thread?
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(23) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Monday, Jan 14, 2019 22:38]

Despite being a (retired) chessplayer and solver, I grew up with the classical studies of the 20th century, which I used to enjoy very much. However, I must say that I have very little understanding of modern study compositions. Therefore, I will refrain from expressing an opinion on whether the quoted studies deserved to be in the FIDE album, or not. If I did, it would be an uneducated opinion. In this case, I will just say that the decision of the FIDE Album sub-committee seems very reasonable to an outsider like me.

Having been in the position of the judge numerous times for various genres, and revisiting my previous judgments with the benefit of time, being more mature or knowledgeable, I will be the first to admit (even proclaim) that I have made mistakes. There are many problems I would rank differently, if I had the chance. Other judges may feel the same way. Nobody is beyond mistakes. The main problem the judges are facing is that the beauty of our art, like any other form of art, is in the eye of the beholder. There is no absolute truth. What is brilliant for one problemist, might be prosaic or boring for another. Take the statistics of any tourney judged by different judges (FIDE album, WCCI, WCCT) and you will notice significant differences. One way to minimize the risk of mistakes is to have more judges and probably eliminate the two extreme grades, highest and lowest, like in the case of the WCCI. Doing the same for the FIDE album, might be a good idea, provided there are enough qualified judges willing to undertake the difficult task of judging so many problems.

Having, also, been on the other side, that of the composer whose problems are judged, I am very sympathetic to Branislav's complaints. Many times, problems that I thought were good, were not appreciated by the judge(s). Other times, it would be the other way: Some of my problems that won high distinctions, or even were selected in the FIDE album, were not so dear to me. It is inevitable when everything is subjective. I have learned to accept judgments with which I did not agree and move on.

Both sides of the argument have been expressed about the FIDE albums. Some people say that many good problems are left out, some others that there are too many problems selected, including some of not very high quality. The truth must be somewhere in the middle, making the FIDE album a selection of more or less good problems, and a book that I would like to read. It is not complete, because sometimes good problems are not included, either because the composers did not submit them, or because the problems were not selected. There is no way to achieve a complete anthology, so we must do what we can with what we have now.

Finally, I appreciate Branislav's calm response to my post that could have been received as too critical. It was not intended as such. I just felt the need to express my opinion on certain points with which I did not agree and maybe contribute a bit of information I had and I felt it was important to the discussion.
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(24) Posted by Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen [Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019 14:05]

For what it is worth I too am in favour of a more transparent judging process of the Album. Mr. Prentos makes a very good point that the judging remains unrewarded. If I were ever to judge the Album I would certainly like to be given the possibility to explain why I like or dislike certain studies. At present everything has to be read between the lines and judges are unable to explain their motivations for certain scores.

I think the WCCI and WCCT are much more exciting events due to the openness (at various stages). But the FIDE Album Selection seems to be the most important event to most people.
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