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MatPlus.Net Forum General Problem with the most content?
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(1) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Thursday, Oct 23, 2008 10:57]

Problem with the most content?

I'm looking for your suggestions for the, duh,
problem with the most content.
- Please refrain from showing modern noodle soup problems
where each permutation of the involved letters shows a
new "theme". That's cheating :P
- More objective would be the number of phases, but they
are not proportional to the content. (Classic example:
Ahues/Volkmann, bishop moves anticritically and is shut off.
Makes 4 tries in all directions, but the theme is the same.)

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(2) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Thursday, Oct 23, 2008 11:57]

Your first clarification makes me repeat my remark made in a recent e-mail to other composer. It is quite funny that many alphabetic-soup-dislikers actually fail to recognize the strategic content underlying the change. When no cheap trick is used, it might be actually very difficult to motivate the change and many as well as varying motifs must be present in both key and defences. Just one example:
(please, disregard broken English there)
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(3) Posted by Geoff Foster [Thursday, Oct 23, 2008 23:45]

I don't know why Hauke is so negative about pattern-play problems. Many classic problems have a pattern that nobody seems to have noticed before. Here is an example.

G F Anderson, Il Secolo, 1919
(= 5+6 )

1.Kd6! (A) threat Qb7 (B)
1....Rg6+ (C) 2.Be6 (D)
1....Rd3+ (E) 2.Bd5 (F)
1....Kb6 (G) 2.Bc2 (H)
1....Kb4 (I) 2.Kxc6 (J)

I can recommend annotating one's problems with the "Foster Pattern" as a way of winning prizes and gaining selection for the FIDE albums.
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(4) Posted by Miodrag Mladenović [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 07:04]

I do not see any pattern here. If this is a pattern then all problems do contain pattern. Can you please give us some more explanation why this is a pattern?
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(5) Posted by Kevin Begley [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 10:02]

Brilliant insight, Geoff!

Who knew that all this time I have been working, exclusively, on this one (anti-cyclical) theme?!!

I can just see this playing out in a TV commercial...
Are you struggling to learn foreign alphabets, by reading Rosetta-Stone's Cyclone?
<scene: some kid, looking at an inkblot, guesses "andernach camel-rider-hopper?" ...becomes depressed when told "paralyzing.">
Now, learn the easy way, from Roetta's new anti-cyclical miniature series...
<voice-over, with scrolling text ending in "many more...">
Chose from Switchbacks, King-Marches, Promotion, Tempo, or learn the complete Chinese alphabet with Sacrificial Keys!
<scene: same kid, smiling, looking at Loyd's retro-illegal version of the Chesshire Cat.>

As for problem with the most content...
If measuring the fairy piece glossary doesn't yeild a clear winner, I suggest breaking ties by counting fairy conditions.

On a serious note...
I do (very much) respect the composers who thrive on "alphabet-soup" themes.
I will be the first to concede that some of our most talented composers are Alphabetists.
I've even dabbled privately (partly curiousity, partly award envy).

But, it is healthy to question the rampant excesses, encouraged by years of judgements progressively skewed to disregard the adverse impact on Joe-The-Solver.

I would argue that the economy of fairy elements in the concentrated soup market has reached bubble-status; and that fundamental balance must be restored.

Judges should encourage conservation (particularly with respect to fairy elements), by imposing some basic regulation (primarily upon SUV-sized themes).

ps: I propose Geoff's theme be called: $700-Billion Bailout Theme.
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(6) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 10:49]

Actually, Geoff's remark reminds me of a brief period I have been using software Problemiste. I have not used it for ages now, but once upon a time one of its features was adding letters to solutions of twomovers as soon as the move appeared at least twice in various phases, even the most bizarre brutal tries. It was a real treasure trove for alphabetic theme hunters. :-)

As regards the economy of fairy means, I am perfectly aware of that point. Once upon a time (uff, I already do sound like some senior, yet I am one of the youngest Slovak composers, hm) I have been trying combinations of various fairy elements in an indiscriminate amount. Nowadays I am more conservative and I strive for using as few of them as possible - if I am able. May be it is just a matter of technique (it could have improved over years, hopefully). But as the time passes I receive (as an editor of fairy column in Pat a Mat) more and more originals with enormous numbers of different fairy elements. I can usually recognize the duck if I see the duck, especially if I had been breeding ducks in the past and thus it is not so difficult for me to recognize computer generated monster of unhuman nature as well as technically unfinished piece. I prefer easier stuff.

On fairy judgements... well, later, when I have my recent judgements by hand. :-)
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(7) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 11:38]

All sarcasm aside (Disclaimer: I wouldn't even send my problems
to the FIDE albums if they would be less pattern-heavy;
FIDE albums ought to reflect the current composing - and they do.
So this grudge is purely esthetic, not crybaby based :-)
I'm not against pattern problems as such.
I agree some of the best composers are pattern fans (again,
the 1st prize by Kovacevic in the Einat 50 comes to mind)
or at least know how to do it (everybody should take a look
at Bruchs problem in the new Probleemblad, also reprinted in
the SCHWALBE, I eventually post it here unless someone is
faster than me) but alas, there are too much sloppy pattern
fans too. I also agree it's not necessarily easier to compose
a purely abstract problem (just look into Cyclone :-) but
I've seen too much problems that looked economizable on first
glance and took one minute to improve. I think a dash of
Bohemian attitude would benefit *any* composer.
<end of rant>

@Miodrag: Geoff made a typical British joke. The fact that
you desperately searched where the claimed pattern was
neatly illustrates my point that pattern problems are in
constant danger of arbitraryness :P

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(8) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 11:41]

There was this problem by Yoshikazu Ueda in MatPlus Review with some 40 thematic lines. Or if this isn't what you look for, how about a twomover with 17 (!) variations? I've seen one a while ago but can't remember the composer or position, sadly.

Anyway, Yarosh's 1983 Babson will do (of course, the corrected version with Sh4). Une Babson aura toujours de la valeur.
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(9) Posted by Joost de Heer [Friday, Oct 24, 2008 19:10]; edited by Joost de Heer [08-10-24]

Wieland Bruch
12236 - Probleemblad 2008
(= 12+12 )


1. Bd3? [1...Sd2!(a)]
1. Bf5? [1...Se5!(b)]
1. Bc6? [1...Sh2!(c)]
1. Bd5? [2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)/Sc6(C)] [1...Bb4!]
1. c5? [2. Rc4] Sd2(a)/Se5(b)/Sh2(c) 2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)/Sc6(C) [1...g3!]
1. Bb7? [2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)] Sd2(a)/Se5(b)/Sh2(c) 2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)/Sc6(C) [1...c6!]
1. Bb1? [2. Sf5(B)/Sc6(C)] Sd2(a)/Se5(b)/Sh2(c) 2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)/Sc6(C) [1...Sc2!]
1. Bh7! [2. Sc6(C)/Rd3(A)] Sd2(a)/Se5(b)/Sh2(c) 2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)/Sc6(C) (1...Rh7 2. Qg4)
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(10) Posted by Paz Einat [Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 09:47]

Magnificent problem!!

I think the solution looks better, and realistic, if only the real defenses are counted in the relevant phases:

1. Bb7? [2. Rd3(A)/Sf5(B)] Sh2(c) 2. Sc6(C) [1...c6!]
1. Bb1? [2. Sf5(B)/Sc6(C)] Sd2(a) 2. Rd3(A) [1...Sc2!]
1. Bh7! [2. Sc6(C)/Rd3(A)] Se5(b) 2. Sf5(B)
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(11) Posted by Jan Hein Verduin [Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 09:57]

... how about a twomover with 17 (!) variations? I've seen one a while ago but can't remember the composer or position, sadly.

In Chess Problems: Tasks and Records Jeremy Morse cites this as the twomover with the overall record of 24 variations in one phase (but with duals):

N. Petrovic
The Problemist

(= 9+9 )


...and this as the dualfree record of 21 variations:

J.C. van Gool
Journal de Genève
(= 11+7 )

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(12) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 11:11]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [08-10-25]

If you only count variations and ignore the content, here's one with 4.32 million variations of which several hundreds of thousands are dual-free:

(= 11+12 )

Knud Hannemann
Die Schwalbe, October 1935
dedicated to A.C. White
Selfmate in 7, how many variations?

The problem I meant had 17 different (!) variations. I think, it was by Nenad Petrovic or Lev Loshinsky!
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(13) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 15:47]

Again, @Siegfried, content!=phases. That problem has
exactly 1 content: "Abfang".
@Joost: THX. This was BTW the problem I thought of when
I started the thread. Obviosly (see above) you can sort
the phases into four different ones which are alike.
@Paz: Wieland worked hard to get the non-parrying
(just differentiating) thema moves right, and I see
this as an integral part of the problem. Not just because
this adds a cross-phase-Hannelius (or whatever it is).
(Compare it with his earlier SCHWALBE version of the
theme where the double-threat cycle is already there.)

In any case, this would be my entry for the *modern*
problem with most content, but obviously I don't know
that genre much :-)

I also have an entry for a *classic* style problem
but I just recall it showed a lot of action around
an simultaneous intersection of wR/wB/bR/bB, obviously
with Novotny tries failing due to Grimshaw interference.
But that wasn't all (several problems with this theme
exist), by far not!

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(14) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 00:29]

I find the original question too vague: define "content". There is formal content ('alphabetics', 'algebra'...) and strategic content for starters. How does one begin to compare them? And what about paradox, geometry, flow etc.? Also, that type of content defined by what does NOT happen (e.g. dual avoidance, Sushkov theme...). Worse, even if we eventually agree on what does constitute content, how do we compare it between problems in different genres (#2 with Dombrovskis theme vs. Ser.H= with capture-free rundlauf, for example). Then there are utterly subjective elements such as 'beauty of position'... The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the question is meaningless because undecidable! Sorry...
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(15) Posted by Uri Avner [Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 02:08]

Is "content" a quantitative term? This is the real interesting question, not so easy to answer, I'm afraid.
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(16) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 12:03]

@Ian: *Of course* the question is hopelessly vague,
subjective and ill-posed :-)

But consider the judge of Probleemblad. I'd rather bet
high sums on that a) Wielands problem will pop up in
his prize report and b) he will mention the enormous
So, could everybody dust off their heap of prize reports,
scan for the catchphrase "enormous content" or
suchlike and post the found problems for comparison? :-)

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(17) Posted by Michael McDowell [Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 20:57]

I wonder what Mansfield would have thought of a problem with a key and six tries, all of which take a flight?

"In olden days they tried to make 'em
With keys that gave flights not take 'em
But now God knows,
Anything goes"

(with apologies to Cole Porter)
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(18) Posted by Geoff Foster [Thursday, Oct 30, 2008 22:24]

The following problem has a great deal of fine play in a single phase.

(= 11+10 )

C Mansfield, 1 Prize, El Ajedrez Argentino, 1926-7
1.Qe7! (2.Rxe6)
1...Kd5+ 2.Rc2
1...Rd5 2.Bxg5
1...Sxf4 2.Rc3
1...Sxg7 2.Rf6
1...Sxd4 2.Rc4
1...Sec5 2.Rxc5
1...Sc7 2.Rxc7
1...Sd~ 2.Sf6

There is also the set play 1...Sec5,Sc7 2.Bxg5. The comment from Godfrey Heathcote (I think he was the judge) was as follows:

The finest half-pin 2-er I know. A splendid thematic key, giving a flight square and cross-check, leads to a wonderful series of five thematic mates after moves of the Se6 and another after 1...Rd5. The construction is a marvel of ingenuity and there is only one dual.
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(19) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Sunday, Nov 2, 2008 19:52]

@ Michael: Of course this is an obvious shortcoming of the
problem, and immediately after Wieland published his SCHWALBE
version, I showed him that the theme *could* be done without.
But my "version" had many *other* shortcomings, and
Wieland deemed the flight-taking key as rather irrelevant,
especially with regard to the content.

I have to agree - does the unprovided flight help you even
a bit to find the key? Spirit, not letter!

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(20) Posted by Miodrag Mladenović [Monday, Nov 3, 2008 07:12]

In my opinion flight taking key in ortodox twomover shnould be considered as a cook. There is no content that can justify flight taking key.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Problem with the most content?