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|(81) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 12:07]|
Please stop using the word "unfair", until you have proven your cause.
For example, in 15 years (1992-2006) 703,3 title points were awarded in studies section for 422 studies. During the same period, 1340 points were awarded in h# section (for 1340 problems). Is this "fair"? Or it is really much easier to gain points in h#?
Full table for the interested (1992-2006)
eg 703,3 (from 422 studies)
|(82) Posted by Sergiy Didukh [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 20:03]|
A quote from the 'New in Chess' magazine:
"Unlike problems, which tend to be the world of their own, studies have a close and integral connection with the game, and almost all strong players have at least some appreciation of the endgame study."
Everyone knows that studies are a different world, except for some of us.
|(83) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 20:20]|
On the contrary, the onus is on study composers to 'prove' that the 1.67x FIDE Album weighting on studies therein is "fair" (nowadays). So far, I've seen zero evidence to support this position, and plenty that disconfirms it.
Whilst that may well be true, it is irrelevant - a totally separate issue.
|(84) Posted by Steven Dowd [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 20:25]|
All this argumentation has me firmly convinced that Sayre's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre%27s_law) holds true in chess composition as well. All this self-aggrandizing and "Streiten um des Kaiser's Bart" has exceptionally little to do with the value or beauty of a chess problem, or even its importance to chess in general, as if that were important (chess is bigger than all of our rather limited concepts of it).
Marcel's point was well-taken and I think one of my heroes in the selfmate genre, Heinz Zander, once noted, when he received complaints that a chess problem was something that could not happen in a game,"Isn't that precisely the point?"
I am patting myself on the back for finally getting wise to this whole scheme (although I worked in academia for over twenty years and should have seen it earlier) and eliminating myself the stress of submitting to a book that is amateurishly produced, when at all.
Just because chess composers are amateurs doesn't mean we have to act amateurish. Take the time to build up your own little piece of problemdom instead of trying to tear down someone else's. And yes, there are many of you out there who don't deserve this criticism in the least, I apologize if you think I am targeting you. But it is easy to see that there are too many of us out there who want to "tear the other guy down" - that made me sick as an academic (you should be helping your colleagues!) and it makes me no less sick here.
Why don't we get more individuals in problem chess? It is because we eat our young. Pure and simple.
When I started problem chess, I was very stupid at it (some may argue, that, like Buster Crabbe, I worked my way up from terrible to mediocre and leveled off there) and some individuals I came into contact with thought evidently it would be great fun to mess with the retard (nothing quite as attractive as the bully who picks on the weak, huh?). Others took the time to teach me, and no matter how I turned out, I appreciate the help they gave me to get better at the discipline. I am bull-headed and persistent, so I found many of these folks to help me, but who knows how many people were turned off from problem chess because some jackass thought it more fun to take a few pot-shots at the beginner instead of trying to help?
I typed out this bit of frustration because I haven't found any decent problem ideas in the last two days. Now back to my sickbed - unfortunately, in the last year, if I can get two "good hours" in a day, it is a blessing.
PS - I want to thank SH Lossin, who, reading my first reply here, had the human courtesy to send me a critique of some of my work and of the selfmate genre in particular. I've been too ill to give his reply the time it deserves, but I want it to be known that more of that and less of this pointless squabbling could make chess problems more popular and better.
Even if I don't agree with a word he typed, at least he took the time to help out a fellow composer. I can't count how many times I *asked* for help and received at best a terse reply of being too busy (those folks don't bother me, they are like many who only care about themselves), and at worst, a slew of dripping sarcasm that I learned not to reply to (challenging a bully does not always have the desired effect!) as it would serve no purpose.
PPS - I will be surprised if I don't delete this rant before submitting it; about 70% of my MatPlus posts are deleted as they are more for my own catharsis than anything.
|(85) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 20:57]|
It is somewhat irrelevant, but I have to make a correction about a part of my latest comment: The first 4 WCCT (at least 2-4; I don't have the 1st one, but I assume it was the same), to my surprise, had two different sections for twomovers, threemovers and fairies. This changed later and from the 5th WCCT, each genre is represented with one section, with one (sad) exception: Retros, which have never been included in the WCCT.
I like to believe that studies are not a different world. Composing studies requires the same qualities a problem composer must possess. Studies are included into FIDE albums like all the other genres of chess problems. We all agree that studies are closer to the game of chess, than all the other genres. This quote from New in Chess states the obvious from a player's point of view (I can only assume, I don't know who the author is). I have met many chess players, who mortally dislike all other types of problems, even orthodox directmates. For them, a chess problem must have a practical use to their game and this applies only to some (not all) studies. This is not my philosophy, at all. I don't care to make these people happy with my problems.
|(86) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 21:20]|
> On the contrary, the onus is on study composers to 'prove' that the 1.67x FIDE Album weighting on studies therein is "fair" (nowadays). So far, I've seen zero evidence to support this position, and plenty that disconfirms it.
How often this should be done? And who is the judge on proof?
I know an easy way for anyone to prove "study composers" are wrong. Start your work with computers, databases and everything and create 20-25 high quality studies in three years. Easy, isn't it?
At the same time I do not understand how any "study composer" may prove anything to the people who are not interested in studies and consider them inferior. Any statistics shows that studies is the most difficult genre to work in (nobody was able to prove otherwise), while potential audience is the biggest (yes, those damned OTB players which most of us prefer to ignore). Still this discussion shows that preferred point of view is the top of ivory tower...
|(87) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 21:35]; edited by Ian Shanahan [13-04-10]|
"And who is the judge on proof?" WFCC. In any case, this question also applies to your initial proposition.
"At the same time I do not understand how any "study composer" may prove anything to the people who are not interested in studies and consider them inferior." Whilst people may have no interest in studies, I'm yet to encounter anybody who thinks that they're somehow inferior: you've invoked a straw man.
"Any statistics shows that studies is the most difficult genre to work in ...". Rubbish! Try telling that to composers of retroanalytic problems.
"... those damned OTB players which most of us prefer to ignore). Still this discussion shows that preferred point of view is the top of ivory tower". Proselytizing chess composition to OTB players - a necessary and positive thing! - has nothing whatsoever to do with the 1.67x weighting for studies in the FIDE Albums. Your ivory tower is a chimera.
|(88) Posted by Steven Dowd [Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 22:26]|
Ian makes another good point:
"Any statistics shows that studies is the most difficult genre to work in ...". Rubbish! Try telling that to composers of retroanalytic problems.
There also is, I believe, as much crossover from OTB to retros and problems like those seen in the chesscafe puzzlers column. It has been my experience at least that individuals in chess clubs unwilling to look at a "mate in" problem or a study, very willingly take up challenges such as proof games and retros. And the old fashioned conditional problem, "White must mate with x piece in y moves" also seem to be more popular than what we consider to be problems of merit. Perhaps such things would make for a good conduit for the OTB player with a possible interest in problems.
I am certainly hoping that a good number of you hope to compete in the upcoming Puzzler's Cup at chesscafe.com. It would be a great way to proselytize chess problems if you are interested in doing so, with decent prizes.
I should already be in bed. "See" all of you later.
|(89) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 08:09]|
"In any case, this question also applies to your initial proposition."
Did I make any proposition? I simply do not like this strange underground movement based only on opinions and fuzzy subjective terms like "fair"-"unfair". I several times tried to turn this discussion to more constructive path by showing some statistics, but it looks like that purely theoretical thoughts tend to prevail (this was the reason for "ivory tower" reference).
"Whilst people may have no interest in studies, I'm yet to encounter anybody who thinks that they're somehow inferior: you've invoked a straw man."
Please read post 44 in this very thread.
"Rubbish! Try telling that to composers of retroanalytic problems."
Maybe I am wrong in using the word "most". I do not have direct expertise to compare studies and retros. But if average solving difficulty has something to do with average composing difficulty, then I'll insist that studies are still more difficult to compose.
"Proselytizing chess composition to OTB players - a necessary and positive thing! - has nothing whatsoever to do with the 1.67x weighting for studies in the FIDE Albums."
|(90) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 09:03]|
Being not only problem composer, but also mostly fairy chess composer, I still do not see anything wrong with the current system of points awarding for AF compositions. This discussion is full of wrong arguments missing the point and actually single one that has some validity from my viewpoint (another ivory tower), is perhaps historical argumentation. Our forefathers (some of whom are still among us) have set up the system in two steps: first the number of AF problems qualifying for title(s) was set and then their numbers were converted to points. As far as I feel, the system works okay, so why change it? Old saying says "Don't fix what works". Surely we are not losing worthy composers because of some points in some AFs, interested people compose and solve regardless of them.
|(91) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 09:19]; edited by Ian Shanahan [13-04-11]|
You ask "Did I make a proposition?". You did, proposing a need for proof in post 81: "Please stop using the word "unfair", until you have proven your cause". Proven to whom (as you yourself asked a few posts later)?
"I several times tried to turn this discussion to more constructive path by showing some statistics, ...". Yes - but they are irrelevant to the question of whether or not studies deserve the weighting they currently receive, given that there are no longer quotas for the Albums and the advent of powerful computers has changed everything.
Re-reading post 44, I don't think Kevin is implying that studies are intrinsically "inferior"; rather, that (orthodox) studies occupy a limited region of the multidimensional chess universe, relative to Fairy chess. But perhaps I'm wrong?
"if average solving difficulty has something to do with average composing difficulty, ...". It does not, and never has! For example: an award-winning problem (Ser-S#20) I had published in "The Problemist" (May 1995) took literally 5 minutes for me to compose, but defeated quite a few of that magazine's top veteran solvers!
In response to my observation of the disconnect between the FIDE Albums' 1.67x weighting for studies and the popularizing of chess composition between OTB players, you say that you disagree. OK - but here in Australia, I'm yet to hear of ANY chess-player who is even aware of our Albums! (Maybe the situation is different in Russia?)
It's debatable whether the current weighting system works. Even if it does, it may well be improvable. Awarding 1 point per Album composition, regardless of the genre, is self-evidently equitable; the current circumstance self-evidently is not.
|(92) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 20:27]|
Let me use a working hypothesis: Let's say that for some reason, it was decided in 1960 that studies should receive 0.60 of a point for title reasons and let's accept that this was reasonable at the time and the system worked until today. Would it be logical to change that today, if the reasons behind that decision no longer existed? I believe that anyone would agree, and it is an easy decision to make, because it would please the study composers.
Let me use another hypothesis: Let's say that of several different genres, half received more points and the rest less. Would it make sense to ask for equal terms? And finally, let me extend it to the reality of today: One genre receives more points and all the others less. Would it be reasonable to discuss whether this is the right thing or not? And if the answer is that it is not the right thing, and all problems should be equal, then change it?
When I started this discussion, I did not start a crusade. I wanted to hear different opinions and find out the reasons for the bonus studies receive. Many opinions were written, some in favor and some against. I can safely say that I am a little wiser about the reasons for the extra points that studies receive. I would prefer all problems to be equal, but if they are not, oh well... We are not taking any decisions here, even if I believe it is reasonable to start a discussion in WFCC and let them decide. If it is not the right time yet, will we be ready to discuss it in 10 years? Or 20, 50, or never? Maybe it is better to completely reform the titles system, I don't know. Or maybe we would be better off without titles, at all.
|(93) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 21:21]|
Kostas, it is OK to discuss and even to initiate change by making official proposal to WFCC, if anyone thinks it can improve status quo. Just my view is that most arguments made here do not make any sense in the context. Let's look at the situation the other way: does the current system make any harm? I fail to see any harm made.
|(94) Posted by Mario Richter [Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 21:56]|
Looking for something completely different, I just found the following paragraphs (with some introductory words for a section with 'critical positions') in an old chess book, which deal with the relation between OTB-players and problemists. Because the relation between OTB-play and problem chess was part of the discussion in this thread, perhaps this historical view is interesting for others too ...
"Some amateurs, we know, altogether decry Chess problems, and will even maintain that the study of them is nothing less than pernicious, as tending to mislead one in play, and injure one's practice by creating delusive fancies. This opinion, however, although not quite groundless, is decidedly erroneous.
It is indeed the case with some players, that, having devoted themselves too much to the contriving, manufacturing, and solving of curious checkmates, they are overburdened with fancies in actual play, and are continually looking for something which is not on the board. But this is owing to their having been too exclusive; the amount of theft problem-poring having been quite disproportioned to the amount of their sound play.
We cannot but caution the young player against a tendency which much problem study may be apt to induce—the too often expecting to meet with " problems" in actual play. Whilst justly prepared to derive hence great improvement in his style of play, and much increase in his knowledge of position, the student must be on his guard against hastily concluding that he has forced mate before him in play, because he sees some resemblance in the situation to a problem which he may recollect. This delusion is very apt indeed to cost young players many a game.
Great problematists are frequently comparatively weak in play. It is true that they may possess the glance of a lynx in particular positions, and be able to detect an ingenious mate of several moves deep with a wonderful quickness, yet this is a very different thing from ordinary play."
Source: "A popular introduction to the study and practice of chess. Forming a compendium of the science of the game"
by an Amateur
|(95) Posted by Georgy Evseev [Friday, Apr 12, 2013 07:56]|
"You did, proposing a need for proof in post 81: "Please stop using the word "unfair", until you have proven your cause". Proven to whom (as you yourself asked a few posts later)?"
Well, I asked not for 100% proof, but for any proving arguments. The word "unfair" is not an argument of itself. I was always thinking that term "unfair" includes some wrongdoing and/or some unequal rights for different persons. I do not see such things in this case. Sorry, if my wording was bad.
There is also a strange synonimizing of words "unequal" and "unfair". I am already for several days stopping myself from overwhelming readers with a lot of examples from real life/politics which definitely show that these two words have very different meaning.
"...but they are irrelevant to the question of whether or not studies deserve the weighting they currently receive, given that there are no longer quotas for the Albums and the advent of powerful computers has changed everything."
No, we need at least some arguments to make changes in the rules, except the will of some person or group of persons. Statistics shows that current rules were never abused, there were no "inflated" titles. "The advent of powerful computers" could have been a good argument and I am the one who thinks that computers will change studies. But it is still the future and we should not act out of fear.
"Re-reading post 44, I don't think Kevin is implying that studies are intrinsically "inferior"; rather, that (orthodox) studies occupy a limited region of the multidimensional chess universe, relative to Fairy chess. But perhaps I'm wrong?"
Well, English is not my native language and I may easily miss a second or third layer of meaning. But from the face value of words it looks like Kevin has already prepared for studies a cozy dark spider-webbed closet in his bright fairy future world of composition.
""if average solving difficulty has something to do with average composing difficulty, ...". It does not, and never has! For example: an award-winning problem (Ser-S#20) I had published in "The Problemist" (May 1995) took literally 5 minutes for me to compose, but defeated quite a few of that magazine's top veteran solvers!"
That is why the words "if" and twice repeated "average" are very significant). I feel that there is some correlation, but this interesting subject is probably off topic here).
"Here in Australia, I'm yet to hear of ANY chess-player who is even aware of our Albums! (Maybe the situation is different in Russia?)"
Well, the situation is still different in Russia, but it is drifting in the same direction. I am still thinking that breaking any ties with OTB chess is bad for our art as it cuts the main road for the coming of new people. I, of course, may be wrong.
|(96) Posted by Kevin Begley [Friday, Apr 12, 2013 19:40]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-12]|
>"Re-reading post 44, I don't think Kevin is implying that studies are intrinsically "inferior"; rather, that (orthodox) studies occupy a limited region of the multidimensional chess universe, relative to Fairy chess. But perhaps I'm wrong?"
>>"Well, English is not my native language and I may easily miss a second or third layer of meaning. But from the face value of words it looks like Kevin has already prepared for studies a cozy dark spider-webbed closet in his bright fairy future world of composition."
Studies are an inferior form of composition stipulation, for two reasons:
1) they do not end with a definite result (like checkmate, stalemate, capture, etc -- the best formed problem will end with the definite realization of some aim), and
2) they fail to provide the solver with a deadline (like n moves).
The combination of these two inferior aspects (in the formal stipulation) results in an unfortunate perversion of the meaning of "dual." In actuality, the solver may repeat the position, in the course of the solution, without failing to achieve a win; yet, we pretend that such a solution is incorrect.
Note: the second reason would not apply to Illegal Cluster problems (for example), because ICs do not require some number of forward moves (thus, none need be stipulated). But, for problems which do require forward moves, the superior form of formal stipulation would inform the solver of some move deadline.
The attempt to introduce chess analysis into problem form has proven a flawed concept.
Personally, I don't think Studies should participate in solving tourneys (they only lead to controversial judging).
This has nothing to do with fairies -- indeed, there are fairy studies.
If anything, studies (whether fairy or FIDE) deserve fewer points, because they are an inferior forms of formal stipulation; nevertheless, nobody is asking to reduce them below the level of the standard scoring system (1 point per composition).
I do not consider a chess #2 to be in any way inferior (or superior) to a madrasi #2 (or any other fairy form) -- good problems do not require rules which make for a playable game.
There have been many absurd arguments made in this forum, supporting the unequal point values awarded to Studies (and yes, unequal here is inherently UNFAIR -- if you don't understand fairness, see Brown vs Board of Education: separate is inherently unequal, and unequal is inherently unfair).
1) Studies are more difficult (and finding original ideas for studies is comparatively harder).
This is nonsense -- try composing a #2 or h#2 sometime. Then talk about originality!
So, the Babson task earns 1 point, and a mutual zugzwang study found in the EGTB wins more? Ha!
This degree of difficulty is absurd.
Try composing a problem (e.g., almost any retro) where computers can not provide any help -- then, talk about difficulty.
Studies are NO LONGER that type of problem!
Today, FIDE studies are relatively easy to compose.
In fact, hundreds have been composed by searching the EGTB for mutual zugzwang positions -- some do little more than add a preamble (hopefully with a thematic try) to their discovery.
2) Don't change what aint broken.
This is timeless nonsense -- by this argument, all human progress (and improvement) becomes illegal.
My weather forecast for the week has highs ranging from 68°F to 88°F -- but, it would require a fool to argue that C02 emissions should not be reduced, because my weather isn't broken.
BTW: if this was the prevailing logic, we would still have just one album, rather than 9 autonomous and separate (and inherently unequal, and inherently unfair) sub-Albums. Funny how it's OK to break what did work, but we dare not right what is unfair!
Inequality and unfairness are a corruption which DOES HARM the integrity of the problem chess title competition (and reflects poorly upon our art form).
3) Studies are pure chess.
Nonsense -- studies are NOT the same as a chess game, nor even chess analysis (though plenty of problemists prefer to forget this).
The appearance of dual solutions does not diminish the result of a game.
Studies really are a failed attempt to serve two masters: problem composition, and game analysis.
They are a netherworld -- less pure than a game, and less pure than a composition.
4) Giving away cheaper titles to study composers might encourage more problemists from the chess player audience.
This is nonsense -- hasn't worked yet (why keep trying it, and expecting a different result)?
Chess players are not even aware of helpmates, retros, and fairies -- what foolishness would expect them to jump into study composition, upon learning that these other things earn fewer points?!
If you want to attract more problemists, start by providing people a clear sense of what is valuable about problem composition (hint: it has nothing to do with OTB Chess, under any FIDE rule book).
Provide fundamental definitions for any divisions in the field.
The ONLY valid argument made, in this thread, for awarding studies more points was the one I advanced:
5) WFCC may decide to award more points, in order to encourage more study composition.
If that is the case, WFCC should openly declare the purpose of this unfairness.
I think that such an encouragement would be foolish, and biased (there is no evidence that studies require any extra encouragement, and no evidence that some other specific types of problems should not be similarly encouraged).
There is a good argument that studies (of all game variants) deserve both less attention (than analysis) by players, and fewer points in the album (and no place in a problem solving tourney).
However, nobody is arguing this -- we are simply arguing that they don't deserve extra points.
Fairness is not even a third grade problem -- ask any second grader if it's fair to take 1.66 cookies, for their every one!
I am not asking WFCC/FIDE to do the right thing, for problemists (that would be asking too much).
I am simply asking them to declare the purpose of their decision.
Why the skewed point system, for titles?
Why the biased divisions in their separate sub-Albums?
Just explain it.
A newcomer has a right to know what kind of competition this is, before they submit anything to one of the 9 FIDE sub-Albums.
Let them judge for themselves whether the present system is rigged, and biased.
I think it is; and, I think for this reason, people have a responsibility to elect to not participate.
If the situation continues, for a protracted period, I think a better problemist organization will become a matter of fundamental necessity.
At some point, WFCC has to decide: are we a union of problemists (problem artists and enthusaists) who use some aspect of chess in our compositions, or are we a union of chess players who prefer our analysis fitted to something masquerading as a formal problem?
ps: Grandmaster really is an improper title for chess composition -- but some problemists prefer to maintain this false equivalence with highly rated FIDE Chess players. For the same reason, I think they have a vested interest in Studies (to maintain a false link to a chess player audience); the search for personal adulation from a wider audience is perversion, which does not well serve the best interests of the problem art.
|(97) Posted by Kevin Begley [Friday, Apr 12, 2013 20:00]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-12]|
>"Here in Australia, I'm yet to hear of ANY chess-player who is even aware of our Albums! (Maybe the situation is different in Russia?)"
>>"Well, the situation is still different in Russia, but it is drifting in the same direction."
Does the Russian government still pay (a stipend?) to titled chess composers (as athletes)?
In your estimation, with respect to chess composition, has this money interest (at any time) compromised the integrity of the title system (and thereby, our art form)?
|(98) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Friday, Apr 12, 2013 23:34]|
Kevin, you have delivered checkmate!
|(99) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 00:16]|
I often wonder why I discuss this delicate subject with a good friend like you. Meanwhile, I understood the main reason: it helps me count on a correct and constructive communication. I would really like to understand why we think so differently about such important things.
Do you think more popular problems should be more represented in the Album? I have a completely different opinion: the waste majority of the published problems are the most-easy-to-compose conditions and themes.
The figures provided by Hannu, Georgy and yourself brought us to more stable ground. You presented numbers of originals from recent magazines, where the heterodox-orthodox ratio is about 2:1. Georgy presented about the same ratio in Album points, 1992-2006. The correlation between numbers of published/sent problems and numbers of Album problems per group began with the new rules, around 1980, after the continuous demands of heterodox composers.
This new system opened the doors to the inflation in both numbers (800-1400) and quality, and to mathematical games we’ve been playing for more than 30 years, without a success. Instead of the simple and efficient system (two “yes” out of three, fixed numbers per groups), we started experimenting with 0-4 numbers, with the sum of 8, with the endlessly different percentages to “correct” the numbers, etc. In short, we couldn't agree what to do with our freedom. We haven’t been capable of finding good and fair decisions. At least, I haven’t seen the right way to decide the numbers per groups, for all this years.
Any single change will not get us out of the chaos. As for taking away someone’s rights, after 55 years (while not touching the others), we need a very strong explanation. Either to agree we have lived in an unfair world for 55 years, or to prove something relevant have changed in the field of studies, meanwhile.
The only significant change I see, is the appearance of computers. Yes, computers gave a huge help to the study composers. Let’s say we reduce the points for studies, as being easier to check now. But then, what to do with helpmates, long selfmates and many fairy conditions? Some of them got even more computer help, and it’s no wonder they dominate the magazines today. Or, should we then add some decimals to the composers of the dying species, like #3? They got insignificant help from computer, while facing enormous difficulties in content and originality.
You wrote: “Maybe it is better to completely reform the titles system”
I do agree,very much. We are far behind the time, and need completely new ideas in order to survive.
|(100) Posted by Kostas Prentos [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 02:24]|
Being good friends should not and does not stop us from discussing and arguing even about delicate matters. The fact that we have different opinions on this subject does not make me respect you less. On the contrary, I appreciate all opinions written here, and especially yours, as a problemist who knows people and facts like few. Not agreeing on everything is healthy and helps on the basis of a constructive discussion.
It is a fact that non orthodox problems are being published twice as much as orthodox problems and studies. It is also a fact that many of the published problems, probably the majority, are struggling for originality, usually without much success. This is evident to all kinds of problems, orthodox or not. The only reason I mentioned the 2:1 ratio was to support the opinion that things have completely changed in the last 55 years, when magazines and the FIDE album were dominated by orthodox problems. I agree with you, that having a pool of more published problems does not mean that the problems which are selected for the album should automatically be more. It is only a mathematical probability and the number of selected problems as a percentage of the total of submitted problems, varies from album to album and from section to section. When the judges do the job well, these percentages are only statistical numbers without any other importance.
A few years ago, there was a discussion about changes in the titles system. I think it was your proposal to return to the old system of "yes, maybe, no". It was one of the reasonable suggestions at the time, although I believe that the scale 0-4 has the same philosophy and is not causing any problems. Sometimes it is useful to see all the problems that received, let's say, more than 10 points, as the most prominent of the period. On the other hand, your suggestion would avoid extreme scores like 3.5+3+1=7.5 that would pass a problem with two yes, but not with the new numerical system. It could be used as a supplementary method in cases like this. After all, the numerical system 0-4 is used in other WFCC competitions, like WCCI and WCCT, and helps on the ranking of about equal problems.
It was a different proposal that won my complete support (as a fan, I never had or wanted, voting rights in the PCCC). I think it was proposed by Lousteau and Aschwanden and the idea was to give different value to problems receiving 12 points and those passing with the minimum of 8 points. According to that proposal, each problem would not count as one point, but would carry the exact score in the scale 8-12. For the title of GM 70x8.0=560 points would be needed, but the same title would come as a result of only 47 problems, if all of them were given 12 points. I am not sure why this suggestion was rejected; I can assume because it would cause an inflation of titles, or because it would be more difficult to keep track of scores.
Finally, let me suggest that the main (or not the only) threat we are facing as problemists is not that we don't have new composers, but that we are running out of new problem ideas. You may not agree with this statement, but I believe that fairy chess is giving us a small extension of life, before the inevitable.
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