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MatPlus.Net Forum Selfmates Logical selfmate - for your enjoy!
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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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(25) Posted by Mark Kirtley [Friday, Nov 15, 2019 04:31]


Thanks for posting this! I just saw it for the first time just now, and I just had to clap out loud! If only I could trade authorship of 100 of my problems for this s#10 of yours!

Really a pleasure. Is there any story as to how you composed it?
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(26) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Friday, Nov 15, 2019 08:39]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-15]

Dear Mark,

Thank you for this pleasant comment and for your good sense of humor!
By the way I enjoyed very much your s#8 in which all 8 White pieces return on its initial squares ( and most likely I could trade authorship of several my problems for this your s#8 as well as you - for my s#10! :)

Is there any story as to how I composed it? Yes, there is! And just now you "stirred up flashbacks" about it in me! But I need some days to remember everything and write down. As soon as I do this, I will post it here. Please wait :)
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(27) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Friday, Nov 15, 2019 13:04]

Thanks for quoting that wonderful S#8 of Mark Kirtley! What a beautiful conception, with so many quiet moves like Rh1 (not easy to see).
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(28) Posted by Mark Kirtley [Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 02:49]

@ Aleksey
Great, I look forward to hearing your memories of composing that s#10!

@ Seetharaman
Thanks for the kind words (and yours, Aleksey) about the s#8. I was so happy to find it, but to be complete, in case anyone does not know, that selfmate was based on P1263849 by Tibor Szabo.
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(29) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 07:12]

Thanks for quoting that precedent. It is obviously a pioneer, but it has only seven pieces travelling back. Yours adds that last important punch! Well done!
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(30) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 09:38]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-18]

Now you can read the story as to how I composed this s#10...

- Version 1 -
29-05-2018, morning
(= 12+8 )


1.Bh1 bxa6 2.Rb2 Kd4 3.Rb7+ Kd5 4.Sc4! (Sb3?) 4...a5 5.Qh8! a4 6.Rg7 Kd4 7.Rg2+ Kd5 8.e4+ fxe3 e.p.#

This version already includes main content of future problem: logics, key 1.Bh1, battery regrouping (but single along a diagonal) and final mate via en-passant capture. Also a hideaway of wS in a “middlegame” of solution should be noted.
Nevertheless first of all I didn’t like a weak loading of several White pieces - in particular of Queen that actually performed the role of an Bishop.
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(31) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 09:40]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-18]

- Version 2 -
29-05-2018, afternoon
(= 11+9 )


1.Bh1 bxa6 2.Rb2 Kd4 3.Rb7+ Kd5 4.Ra3 a5 5.Bh8! a4 6.Rg7 Kd4 7.Rg2+ Kd5 8.e4+ fxe3 e.p.#

A loading of White pieces became better. But still I didn’t like that a White officer a5 (whether it is a Rook in this version or a Knight in previous the one) is necessary only for the “middlegame” with bP “pacification”. This “middlegame” was serial and spoiled the main concept a little.

I showed these two versions to Vitaly Medintsev, my colleague in editorial board of “SuperProblem”. He advised me something, but it was only about an optimization and a loading of White material. At the same time I myself continuously was thinking about a “saturation” with subtleties in the “middlegame”...
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(32) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 09:43]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-18]

- Version 3 -
29-05-2018, evening
(= 10+9 )


1.Bh1 bxс6 2.Rb2 Kd4 3.Rb7+ Kd5 4.Sc2! a3 5.Bh8! a2 6.Rg7! (6.Sa1? pat) 6...a1~ (6...Kd4??) 7.Sxa1 Kd4 8.Rg2+ Kd5 9.e4+ fxe3 e.p.#

After 5.Bh8 a2 the situation is interesting: the White is need to force bK to move on d4, but White Knight took control of this square very inappropriate (AntiZiel element!) by move 4.Sc2. To block a Pawn immediately (6.Sa1?) is impossible in view of stalemate, so the White is forced to play 6.Rg7 despite the fact that bK cannot move on d4 at once. But the Black is forced help to the White: promoting Pawn diverts wS from d4, and bK is forced to move on this square.

Thus now “middlegame” was not only about bP “pacification” but had some subtleties (that are more characteristic of helpmate genre).

I was very pleased with this version. In the next two days (May 30-31) I even considered it final and showed it to several composers that are specialists in different genres: besides Vitaly Medintsev, these were Valery Gurov, Karen Sumbatyan, Andrey Selivanov, Sergey Smotrov and Aleksandr Feoktistov.
Many of them shortly said that the problem is very good. But also there were specific notes and suggestions for improving this selfmate (this is exactly the same feedback for that sometimes I show my new problems to those my colleagues-composers with whom I often communicate):

1) A. Selivanov proposed to wR->h1 - in order to in a final of the problem wR swapped places with wB (Platswechsel). This thought was interesting but I rejected it almost immediately because I didn’t want at all to “push” the supermove Bh1 deep into the solution - from the very beginning I knew that the problem should be started with this move and only with it!

2) Also Selivanov said that a “blur” of “middlegame” reduces an impression. I expected similar reviews. After all, even if V. Medintsev (which subtly appreciates deep ideas of helpmate-genre like as tempo-play and AntiZiel elements) did not immediately delve into the depths of the "middlegame", - then what to say about composers of other genres...

3) At the same time A. Feoktistov drew attention to a completely different moment - to... three corners! He noticed that if some White piece moved to a8, then the problem would additionally have “four corners” theme. He proposed to add wQb7 for about the following play: Qb7-a8, Rb2-b7, Rb7-a7+ Pc7-c6, Ba1-h8, Ra7-g7 and etc.

At first I jokingly grumbled a little at Alexander’s proposal: why are these four corners needed here if the essence of the concept is not that? But on the evening of May 31, I thought about this proposal: why we are need to add a Queen only for it executes a move to a “missing” fourth corner a8, because all the main work on battery regrouping will still be performed by Rook and Bishop? And then it dawned on me: I had to replace wBa1 with the Queen (as it was in the initial version 1) and make battery regrouping not a single diagonal but a twofold orthogonal so that the Queen would go through just a8!!

But at first I chose the wrong way - I tried to combine this idea with Selivanov’s proposal, namely to add wQh1 in order to after 1.Qh1-a1 the Queen by oneself moves around all corners. However, as is the case with Rh1, I quickly understood that it is impossible in view of strong cooks: Qh1-g1, then Bg2-h1, Qg1-g7 and Qg7-h8 - the Queen gets to h8 in a shorter way, and it is unreal to block this way because the line “g” must remain free in solution.

Also and again I thought - it is no need to spoil a key: the first move can be only Bg2-h1, and nothing but it!
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(33) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 09:45]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-18]

- Version 4 (incorrect) -
31-05-2018, late evening
(= 9+8 )


1.Bh1 bxс6 2.Qa8 Kd4 3.Qa1+ Kd5 4.Rb2 Kd4 5.Rb7+ Kd5 6.Qa8 Kd4 7.Qh8+ Kd5 8.Rg7 Kd4 9.Rg2+ Kd5 10.e4+ fxe3 e.p.#

In this version (that first seemed very amazing to me!) Queen executes total four moves from corner to corner with two switchbacks.

Having entrusted "Gustav" with testing this version for the night, I went to bed and, due to a surging euphoria, I did not even immediately notice a simplest cook with another order of moves: 1.Qa8 bxc6 2.Bh1 Kd4 3.Qa1+ Kd5 or 1...Kd4 2.Qa1+ Kd5 3.Bh1 bxc6.

I had to perform the most obvious and, perhaps, the only possible correction - a shifting Qh8->g7.
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(34) Posted by Aleksey Oganesjan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 09:46]; edited by Aleksey Oganesjan [19-11-18]

- Version 5 (final) -
01-06-2018, morning
(= 9+8 )


1.Bh1!! bxс6 2.Qa7! Kd4 3.Qa1+ Kd5 4.Rb2 Kd4 5.Rb7+! Kd5 6.Qa8! Kd4 7.Qh8+ Kd5 8.Rg7 Kd4 9.Rg2+! Kd5 10.e4+ fxe3 e.p.#!

At the same time this shifting even made a problem better for several reasons:
1) in the problems, where one or several pieces move around all four corners, free corner squares in diagram position is very valuable and “masking” fact, in my opinion;
2) now Qg7 and Bg2 stand symmetrically that brings some harmony - after all, exactly these pieces with common effort will move around all corners;
3) switchbacks Qh8-a8-a1-a8-h8 in incorrect version 4 are of course nice and paradoxical but, on the other hand, different moves Qg7-a7-a1-a8-h8 are diverse, which is also good;
4) on 3rd move the Queen moves to a1 not from a8 but from a7 - and due to this it turns out that interesting and almost systematic movement of Queen and Rook in which these pieces follow each other as “glued” at a distance of one square diagonally (Qa1-Rb2, Qa8-Rb7, Qh8-Rg7) starts with the same “glued” location Qa7-Rb6.

I launched a testing this version 5 in "Gustav" at June 1 afternoon (by the way in this connection I remembered the song “June afternoon” of my very favorite musical group “Roxette”). After that the next day and a half, while this testing was in progress, I worked with this position as I could in order to make sure that there is nothing better here. Finally, on the morning of June 3, I saw that the testing was completed - so the problem was completely ready!!

Thus, in just a few days, I managed to compose one of my best problems. Further, starting from June 3, I showed this final version to a much larger number of composers than version 3 - besides the ones mentioned above, these are Grigory Popov, Igor Agapov, Oleg Pervakov, Gennady Kozyura, Fedir Kapustin, Evgeny Permyakov and as well as my colleagues by the regional team of 20th Russian team championship in composing: Alexander Sygurov (captain), Evgeny Fomichev, Anton Fedorov and Vladimir Bulanov. All without exception, the reviews were ecstatic, and many composers said that this problem raised their spirits, like a good picture, for example. I think it is the best award for the composer!
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(35) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 11:06]

wow! superb story (or history!). It is indeed a privelege to be associated with such a talented group of composers. I can only envy you! Of course, I do have some geniuses in India to work with.
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(36) Posted by Rajendiran Raju [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 18:01]

Indeed a great pleasure to brought here beautifully your experiences before our eyes..Well done Aleksey Oganesjan...Once again..!!
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(37) Posted by Mark Kirtley [Monday, Nov 18, 2019 19:27]

Aleksey, your story is really a treat! Thanks for all the details, including the names of your fellow composers who took so much interest in your s#10.
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(38) Posted by Torsten Linß [Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 11:30]

There has been a lot of praise for this problem so far, but as the authors (with the title of his post) emphasises its logical aspects one has to dig deeper! What is the logical structure of the problem? What is the main plan? What are its obstacles and how are they overcome?

First, what is the purpose of the key 1.Bh1?
- it vacates g2 for the white rook to arrive there later
- it forces 1... b:c6 which both blocks the square c6 for the bK and opens the line g7-a7 for the wQ.
Hence, the purpose is three-fold. The principles of the logical school favours purity of aims.

Second, the maneuvre Qa7-a1-a8-h8 has two purposes
- improve the position of the wR (b7 instead of b6) and
- improve the position of the wQ (h8 instead of g7).
Again, the principle of purity of aims is violated.

The problem is nice to play through. The solution has the "flow", that's for sure. But from the point of view of the logical school there are severe weaknesses.
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(39) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 12:11]

@Torsten: I'm no logician, but your first complaint seems
rather moot to me as about any *other* move would force
bxc6. So, "relativ zweckrein".

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(40) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 14:49]; edited by Nikola Predrag [19-11-21]

1.Qa1? bxc6 2.Rb2 etc. fails because bB is on g2 and not on h1
1.Qh8? bxc6 2.Qa8 Kd4 3.Qa1+ etc. fails because bB is on g2 and not on h1

So, both 1...bxc6 could be forced and wQ could reach h8&a1 but that fails because bB is on g2 and not on h1
Now a hard question, what might a purpose of 1.Bg2-h1?
Forcing the opening of 7th rank ???

1.Bh1! bxc6 2.Qg8? Kd4 3.Qh8+ Kd5 4.Rb6-g7?? fails because bR can't reach g7 from b6, although wQ already readily waits on h8
Now a hard question, what might a purpose of wQ going to a1?
Losing time just for extending the solution ???
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MatPlus.Net Forum Selfmates Logical selfmate - for your enjoy!