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MatPlus.Net Forum General Should studies be given 1.66 points in FIDE albums?
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(101) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 02:55]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-13]


It was not me forcing checkmate -- the opposition has self-mated. :-)
I provided them a way out: they could have simply argued that Studies require some special encouragement.
This is apparently a difficult concession, so they preferred to hang their King (to foolish defenses).

They should have known better than to argue that a 1.66 to 1 cookie ratio is fair.
It is funny how they pretend that a person interested in selfmates can just decide, one fanciful afternoon, to compose studies (in pursuit of extra cookies).
Don't they know anything about problem composition?
What would it say about a problem artist, who creates works which aim to take advantage of a corrupt point scoring system, in order to minimize their burden in earning a title?
The real master composers go where they can best express their vision of beauty -- only a fraud would chase these bonus points.


I think the title system has been corrupt, for all these 55 years.
But, the influence of computers is so significant, I think it helps justify a complete overhaul.

Problems which can not be aided or verified by computer, probably deserve more points.
But, the level of assistance becomes a difficult matter to judge.
If you compose a long proofgame (or selfmate), there's a chance that a computer can not fully verify correctness; but, it may partially verify the problem.

This requires careful consideration, and more discussion.
In the meantime, WFCC should clarify the fundamentals of the title process, and remedy existing harm done by the corrupted system.
What justifies the unequal (and unfair) scoring for studies?
Why don't we have ONE FIDE Album?
What is the purpose of the FIDE Album (does WFCC now accept that it is primarily a competitive title scoring mechanism, or should it return to its original purpose: representing an anthology of the best problems for a given period)?
What constitutes a valid division in the Album?
What would justify a new sub-Album division, and what would justify a merging of two sub-Album divisions?

If I were writing the FIDE Codex, I'd start by defining what constitutes a chess problem.
I can provide you a good definition, but WFCC can not.
I would then consider the fundamental elements of any chess composition.

Delegates and Judges today don't seem to know the first thing about problem composition!
Ask them about the fundamentals, and they all shuffle their feet.
No wonder everybody has a different opinion, we have not developed a common language.
You can poll a bunch of them on whether a series-mover is a fairy condition, or a stipulation.
Almost all will happily state their opinion.
But, ask any one of them to define these two terms, and they will immediately change the subject.
These are very smart people we are talking about -- they simply lack a fundamental means to communicate what problems are all about.

The first step in being true to yourself, is to know yourself.
If you (and WFCC) build a fundamental understanding, new problem enthusiasts will come.
The key problem is, WFCC has no sense of itself.
Think about it -- 55 years they have straddled a fence between problem land, and the chess game region.
You'd have to be numb to pretend that there is no harm done in staying put!

I can tell you, from personal experience, that this is a poor campaign to lure chess players...
I had no interest, whatsoever, in problem chess (except the most practical purpose, of an OTB chess enthusiast).
Which is odd, because I used to create exercises, to help casual students understand chess strategy; and, rich problems were all I ever wanted to find (or achieve) in any chess game.
I loved Chernev's endgame books (even Pandolfini's Endgame Courses -- my first chess book!), but most of the problems presented there come in the form of analysis (even where there are studies, they are filled with duals galore).
I should have been a natural problemist, but had no fundamental understanding of what problems were!

Ryan McCracken helped me take the most difficult first leap: to begin to appreciate that chess problems are an art unto themselves.
After that, I'm grateful for considerable mentoring (mostly from Kostas, and the late Dan Meinking, and several other problemist heroes whom I've had the good fortune to communicate with, especially within this very forum!).

I never accepted the false connection between otb chess and composed studies -- to me, they were all just analysis, helping a beginner to understand chess strategy.
It made no sense that some problemists (who the hell were they, anyway?) did not consider the Lucena Position to be a correct study (what was a study, if not game analysis, anyway?).
I never cared to understand the distinction, because everyone kept pretending some close relationship between problems and the game (under the false pretenses that this false illusion was appealing -- it had quite the opposite effect!).

What you want to emphasize is the independent value of chess problems!
How chess problem enthusiasts think differently.
If you want to help someone appreciate the value of physics, explain how a physicist thinks differently about mathematics (than a mathematician does).
Then, let them make an informed decision (for themselves).
Trust me, you will lure more bees (and the right ones!) by laying out the honey of a clear fundamental distinction.

Advertising "1.66 points per study" would prove a very sad attempt to lure buyers onto the car lot.
Just show them what is under the hood, in terms that a child can understand, and many happy customers will return.
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(102) Posted by Uri Avner [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 04:18]; edited by Uri Avner [13-04-24]

That’s a very interesting topic of discussion as it brings us back (or forward) to the philosophy behind the weights (viz. importance?) given to different genres of chess composition.
At the beginning of the Album (not so long ago), different quotas were allocated to different genres. Afterwards, when titles were introduced based on these Albums, higher weights were given to Studies over all other types.
Analyzing these various quotas and the weight for Studies, we can easily discern the main (or only?) criterion lying in the background. It was more straightforward than one may think, namely the proximity to our alleged origin: the traditional over-the-board game.
This means that not only the formal activity of chess composition was under the auspices of the FIDE, as PCCC, but also chess composition itself was subordinate to the game of chess.
This was only a natural stage in the evolution of chess composition toward autonomy.
The fully autonomous status of chess composition was never taken for granted neither by the chess world, nor by us for that matter.
However, a significant step toward such autonomy was made when we abolished the different treatment given to different genres regarding the Album.
Nowadays, the only “survivor” left as a reminder of the old order is the preference given to Studies in the allocation of titles.
To abolish this last reminder proved too much of a burden on the PCCC at the ideal time when these changes toward autonomy were made, not necessarily because of rational reasons but due to all political pressures coming from certain directions. So, the idea of equality between genres was partially put aside, who knows for how long. Apparently, we are doomed to live with this amount of counter-autonomy until the end of time...
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(103) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 04:27]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-13]


I very much appreciate just being able read your wisdom, here (in this wonderful forum!), on this subject.
You have framed the issue better than anyone else could: it is all a matter of autonomy.
That is the elephant in the room: all these years, I have been preaching that problems are in no way subordinate to the game of chess; but, I never quite expressed it so succinctly...
Now that you have provided me the words (in post #102!), I do hereby openly insist upon revolution.

...either within the WFCC, or without the WFCC (we can go above their heads, if necessary, and take it to the people).
I would much prefer the former -- WFCC is a democratic organization.
Just let people to decide for themselves: do they want to suffer continued subordination (in the interest of maintaining a fictional title equivalence to chess players, under the false auspices of luring applause from a wider audience), or are problemists now ready to accept full autonomy over our own art form?

Viva la Caissa? No thanks -- my hero is Thesus (who fitted Procrustes to his own iron bed)!
Replace a few outdated wooden planks in the Ship of Thesus, and WFCC will obtain a completely autonomous vessel.

If only it were so simple... if only WFCC was not dependent upon FIDE's money.
It always comes down to money, doesn't it?
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(104) Posted by Vlaicu Crisan [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 10:05]

Kevin, I am afraid that for many WFCC delegates will be NOT a simple decision to start the revolution.

Please consider the case of Romanian composers: we have two GMs who earned their titles mostly through the "unfair" number of points allocated to endgames. Do you think anyone being Romanian delegate to WFCC with common sense would vote for changing the system? This is just an example of political (or emotional) pressure.

However, I totally agree with Kostas and Marjan: if we want to change something, it is indeed the titles system reform. It is a pity the FIDE Album and the international titles are connected - I think it would have been better they would have been totally disconnected.
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(105) Posted by Sergiy Didukh [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 12:37]

I see things like that. Chess problems and chess studies are not subordinate to the game of chess. In fact, the game of chess is just an application/program which demonstrates some basic ideas from studies.
Chess problems don't have such an application at their disposal. The game is not their servant because the game is about winning or drawing, not giving mate in a number of moves.
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(106) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, Apr 13, 2013 13:26]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-13]


I certainly do not advocate rescinding any title awarded.
Those titles are earned, under the system of the day, and should be fully honored.
The system was unfair -- no title earned under it should ever be considered less than fully worthy.

I would encourage the Romanian delegation, and indeed all delegates, to consider what is best for the integrity of problem chess competition, first and foremost.
It would be a profound shame if we all continue to position ourselves for political advantage, at the expense of an honest competition.
Everybody deserves a fair system -- already, there are a growing number of composers who refuse to compete, because of the corruption in the title process.
If they are willing to put aside their own best interests, in a concerted effort to protest for fundamental fairness, we all have an obligation to take their cause seriously.

Those who put their own best interests first are likely to lose, anyway.
Just ask them to provide a logical explanation for the points system they would continue... ask for a fundamental definition for the album divisions -- they can not manage to come up with any explanation for it.
How are they possibly going to explain their vote to continue such a corrupted system?
What if their children ask them -- are they going to explain how their own special interest must come first?

The only difficult issue here, quite frankly, is money.
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(107) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Sunday, Apr 14, 2013 03:11]

I’m glad you added some new and important questions:

“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.”

At first, this proposal sounded very good to me. It may still be better than existing system. I see only the problem of different criteria and generosity of different judges. You may not remember this, but already the first Album with new rules, 1980-82, proved how judges strongly influence the numbers.

“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.”

This may be a very important crossroad of our views, depending on how we define originality. In my eyes, there are still endless resources in the fields with the longest tradition. Even in the well explored orthodox #2, I see so many new possibilities and challenges that I hardly need any other genre.
Fairy chess is certainly more in the spirit of our fast-food time, but I don't see it as a source of originality and quality. It is a fun to jump over the tradition to a new genre - without a history, or the set criteria. This may be attractive for new composers, but how to detect originality and quality in a just invented genre? And, how to value these problems for titles, without any great achievement in the field to compare with?
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(108) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Sunday, Apr 14, 2013 22:59]

"...but that we are running out of new problem ideas..."

The only limit for chess composition is the human mind.
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(109) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, Apr 14, 2013 23:36]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-15]


It's no real tragedy that you want to dismiss every single problem involving rules other than FIDE Chess, as "fast food."
I find the prejudice laughable.

You want to be a FIDE Chess enthusiast, exclusively? That's fine -- be that thing.
Most of us in the problem community, I think, see ourselves as problem enthusiasts, first and foremost.
And, we are happy to make room for you.
But, if you can't find the beauty in something, that's your own challenge to deal with.

Actually, I can relate -- I do not appreciate strawberries; the difference is, I accept that I would be richer, if I could.
Do I have license to declare, "all strawberries are junk food?"
Certainly not -- enjoying strawberries is my personal challenge -- no well read child would dismiss them as "sour grapes."

I try hard to appreciate those problems which strike me as designed for the unsophisticated palette.
Cyclic #2 problems, for example, I have studied in considerable depth (though their charm would seem quite superficial, if not arbitrary and artificial).
I find that the genre still needs more refinement (it happens to be much newer than fairies, in fact -- and less well considered)!
But, I do greatly admire some aspects of these problems -- especially the original idea (which is something you just can not copy, no matter how many ways the same mechanism can be reused).

The point is: if I want to be a good food critic, it's not enough to rant how much I detest the strawberry -- something so many find so appetizing. I would be compelled to sample a considerable number of strawberries, until I can appreciate what it is that others do enjoy (perhaps the flavor), and pinpoint what it is that I detest (perhaps the texture) -- only then could I hope to say something meaningful about strawberries.

Is it not possible that the best Study composer might not be a Grandmaster in composition?
There are master chefs who specialize in a single dish, but generally, customers expect them to please a broader palette!
Even iced cream would be a terribly dull experience, if vanilla was the only flavor available (even if you like vanilla).
If anything is fast food, it is the silly notion that problems should cater to only the flavor of the POPULAR AUDIENCE (chess players).

If you lack the palette to appreciate problems which do not exactly conform to the most recent rule book of the FIDE Player Organization, that's a huge tragedy for you -- you are missing out on a whole universe of great problems (something much, much bigger than one strawberry).
There are so many good flavors to choose from -- why insist upon giving artificial subsidies to the vanilla creamers?

I don't mean to laugh at your inability to appreciate fairies (a biased form of color blindness, at best), but I can't help but find it funny that anyone would want to boast it.
Imagine me boasting that I detest strawberries (and telling you how wrong you are to enjoy such "junk").
I think you'd laugh, too.
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(110) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Monday, Apr 15, 2013 07:54]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [13-04-15]

Gentlemen, please calm down. Don't let bad emotions guide you.

Now one question I have. Since studies get 1.66 points but fairies get 1.00 points, what should fairy studies get? 1.00 points for being fairies? 1.66 points for being studies? 1.33 points for being both?

(I imagine they currently get 1.00 points for being fairies, but is that fair?)
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(111) Posted by Sergiy Didukh [Monday, Apr 15, 2013 18:21]

Fairy studies or any other problems which bring additional conditions to FIDE Chess are worth 1 point. It's a fact, not my imagination.
If 1.66 points for studies seems unfair to you, you are a Communist! :-)
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(112) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 03:23]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-16]


If you are going to base the extra points on orthodox chess rules, then several genres (#2, #3, #n, h#n, s#n, etc) deserve more points.
If you are going to base the extra points on the win/draw stipulation, then fairy studies deserve more points.

You're trying to base it upon "pure orthodoxy" -- meaning both -- but, this is a falsehood.
Studies are NOT orthodox chess -- studies are either problems (therefore not analysis), or they are analysis (therefore not problems).
Do you want to call studies pure chess game, or do you want to call them a form of problem stipulation?
Time is running out... make a move.

As I have already pointed out, win/draw is an impure stipulation (and a poor one, at that), for a problem.
And, similarly, Studies are an impure form of chess (if they were pure chess, the Lucena Position would count as a study).

You can't keep straddling the fence (between the game, and the problem), whenever it suits you.
Your argument for awarding them an unfair number of points is totally invalid.
Try again... the clock is ticking...

The only leg you have to stand on, would be to argue (as I suggested you might, long ago) that studies deserve an unfair favoritism, based upon a need to encourage more studies.
As I have already noted, this would require you to demonstrate some reason why studies (and ONLY studies) would deserve this special status, for life (the burden of proof is on YOU).
And, beyond that, you'd have to demonstrate that extra points actually DO encourage composers to create more studies (I see no evidence presented that this is the case -- again, the onus is on YOU).
Maybe such an argument puts too heavy a load on your shoulders... but you have nothing left to carry.
So far, you haven't managed to try making the lift -- the entire case for studies, thus far in this thread (after 112 posts), can be entirely dismissed as pure nonsense.
You do not have one clear argument for giving studies any advantage... and your flag is about to fall.

Do you want to count The Lucena Position as a study?
Or, do you want to provide a single valid reason why all problems with this stipulation should be given extra points?
If you can't accept either option, then your shot clock has expired.
So, there you are, in check... if you have a valid move, now's the time to make it.
Otherwise, game over. Flag or checkmate -- doesn't matter... either way, you have a losing case.

Why should studies be given 1.66 points in FIDE Albums?
Translation: why should Studies earn more points than all other problems which are based upon the FIDE Chess rule book, and more points than all other problems which are based upon the same stipulation (win/draw)?
If you want to pretend they are pure chess, why not allow all types of pure chess analysis (including Lucena)? And, explain why we should want to count pure chess analysis in a FIDE Album of CHESS PROBLEMS (which was never intended to consider -- nor award -- pure chess analysis, based upon the latest version of an evolving rule book, written by a player organization).

The fact is, you don't care whether they are problems or a game -- you just think they are better, you think they deserve more, and you don't even understand that you are basing this all upon a purely personal preference.
Your opinion is noted... but, do not confuse this for constituting a valid argument -- it is not.

There is no value in debating this further -- the other side does not have a single valid argument for wanting to preserve an unfair system... they merely have a favoritism, and ask the delegates to side with their personal bias.
Further debate would likely only spiral into something unfortunate.

The rest of us are asking that the delegates finally remedy this unfair bias, and restore some integrity to the title competition. Otherwise, provide us with a valid reason for the imbalance.
With that, I rest my case... I would ask the delegates for their consideration of this matter.
And, I'd thank them for bringing wisdom to a thoughtful deliberation.
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(113) Posted by Yochanan Afek [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 08:26]

Finally! I thought this obsession would never come to an end!
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(114) Posted by Sergiy Didukh [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 08:48]

Studies are analysis = studies are FIDE chess.
The Lucena position counts as a study (no 395 in the HvdHIV base) = studies are a pure form of chess.
Studies should get more points in the FIDE Album because it's FIDE Album, not problems Album.
The WFCC can become independent of FIDE only if they refuse from studies, because studies and FIDE chess are together forever. in this case the WFCC will become independent of chess too. That's what Uri Avner wanted, the worst PCCC president ever!
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(115) Posted by Per Olin [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 10:44]

In the new situation between WFCC and FIDE, is it correct / smart to name the problem collection FIDE Album? Why not WFCC Album? Or WFCC Collection of best problems and endgame studies? Or WFCC Collection of best endgame studies and problems?
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(116) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 11:43]; edited by Kevin Begley [13-04-16]


It seems this entire debate is just an extension of the old toxic FIDE vs PCCC debate.
A war which started before any of us were born... which endlessly rages on, even after the battles are won.
Already, the mud slinging has restarted, as predicted.

Such a great treasure was this art... how could it come to this -- to be squandered by petty thieves?!


My obsession is now officially over; but, know this: what continues is a corruption (and no fellowship).
Someday, people will demand, that finally, this too must end.
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(117) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 16:23]; edited by Sven Hendrik Lossin [13-04-16]

"My obsession is now officially over..."

What a pity. I still have some popcorn here.
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(118) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 03:13]

It won't be over until the WFCC corrects the current injustice by awarding ALL FIDE Album selections 1.00 point, regardless of genre. End the bias!
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(119) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 19:34]

@ Sergei you said :

"The WFCC can become independent of FIDE only if they refuse from studies, because studies and FIDE chess are together forever. in this case the WFCC will become independent of chess too. That's what Uri Avner wanted, the worst PCCC president ever!"

Interesting ! may we have some details ???
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(120) Posted by Joose Norri [Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 21:30]

A novel thought that FIDE owns chess. For 33 years I've been thinking chess players (&mankind) owned it. (Well I have read Umnov.)
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Should studies be given 1.66 points in FIDE albums?