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MatPlus.Net Forum Competitions Magazine solving contests
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(1) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Saturday, May 31, 2014 10:43]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [14-05-31]

Magazine solving contests

There are many chess magazines that print originals and hold solving contests. In Germany it is usual to hold either to all of three kinds of solving contests:

a) Timed solving contest (usually half a year or a year). Whoever gets the most solving points over a certain period wins. Usually they receive a book prize.
b) Ladder solving contest. Lifetime solving points are accumulated, for each ascension (promotion) on the ladder after a certain amount of points prizes are awarded to the solvers.
c) Special solving contest. This usually includes christmas, summer or retro solving. It can be combined with the point system of the other two or award extra prizes. A famous example is the ChessBase christmas puzzles.

A big German magazine recently stopped supplying book prizes, so now the editor generously provides those.

There are several questions in this regard, here is a selection, you should feel free to ask more:
For everyone:
- Do you know any other kinds of magazine solving contest?
- Do you think the magazine or organisation behind it should provide the book prizes?
- How many book prizes should be given out on average per year and solver (all contests combined)?
- Do you know of any special documentation of magazine solving contests, for example in books? Is there any source that ever described in detail this aspect of chess composition?

For editors:
- How big is the percentage of solvers who actively write comments?
- It is easy to "cheat" via computer, but we at the Schwalbe received a letter that pretty much prove that at least this solver doesn't use a computer. Do you take measures to ensure solvers can actually solve difficult originals without using computers, and if so, which measures?

For solvers:
- Do you prefer a pre-selected book prize or a voucher for a specialised store?
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(2) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Saturday, May 31, 2014 19:43]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [14-05-31]

I dont think magazines provide book prizes nowadays. Many do provide subscription prizes.

There is no way to ensure that solvers do not use computer to solve. Editors rely on the word of the solvers. As a composer I value the comments of solvers / other composers. I try to comment whenever possible as I am not a good solver.
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(3) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Jun 1, 2014 13:00]

>"There is no way to ensure that solvers do not use computer to solve."

Actually, there are two ways to be sure...
1) use problems which computers can not solve,
2) reward computer solutions.
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(4) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Monday, Jun 2, 2014 19:22]


I agree with your first point. I meant that most of the originals published in the magazines are computer solvable. Hence editors rely on the word of the solvers.

I do not understand Point 2. Can you please clarify?
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(5) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014 00:14]; edited by Kevin Begley [14-06-03]

The impact that computers have had upon the field of chess problem composition has been on something near an exponential growth curve, for more than thirty years (since shortly before the first sound Babson appeared, to the first sound 2-man proofgame diagram); someday, the same will undoubtedly be said of problem solving.
The point I am making is that 'problem solvers' may be expanded to include innovative developers of advanced solving algorithms.

Problem composers are encouraged to share their discoveries within the endgame tablebase, why should problem solvers not be similarly encouraged to share discoveries which advance the field of computerized problem solving? The point is, this necessarily requires rewarding innovation in the field of modern solving techniques.
The alternative is to push the entire modern solving field underground -- much like religion has done to human advancement (e.g., the study of human anatomy, artistic expression, etc), you'd be left to hope for advancements from only those people daring enough to risk being labelled "cheater" (or "grave robber").

Today, composers use computers to pose problems for humans (though some are more interested in posing formatted solutions for judges).
Someday (perhaps very soon), problems will be specifically posed to challenge the engineers of computer solving algorithms.

My point is simply this: innovative solvers require a proper outlet, and should be rewarded for expanding the limits of computer solving capability.
Even if you only want to pose problems for exclusively human solvers (completely eliminating all possibility for computer "cheating"), it becomes immediately necessary to reward those people who can help to establish the limits of computer solving capability.

You can never fully exclude the computer -- the best a composer can do is to challenge solvers to make better use of it.
More often, the solving process will require solvers to retrace the exact footsteps taken by the composer... already, the guessing of intention has become nearly an automatic first step in everybody's solving process; this will continue, until the two opposing perspectives on chess problems has nearly blurred into a singular endeavor (a synthetic synthesis for chess problems).
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MatPlus.Net Forum Competitions Magazine solving contests