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MatPlus.Net Forum General Misusing Terminology
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(1) Posted by Steven Dowd [Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013 20:02]; edited by Steven Dowd [13-06-19]

Misusing Terminology

There is an interesting discussion at P1102038 in the PDB regarding the use of the term "aimless promotion." Wilfried Neef was kind enough to send me an article he wrote on this and I have to say it simply reinforced my opinion: there is no reason to use incorrect terminology in the description of a theme. He cited convention and its use in the Encylopedia, but I simply cannot accept this. There are some absolutes and this is one of them. Many years ago, Rudolf Spielmann in his famous book on sacrifice praised problemists for their accurate delineation of terms, and I think we should maintain this standard.

I was quite relieved to see John Rice's review of the Encyclopedia in the recent Problemist, since it echoed many of my concerns, many of which I hesitated to voice in public since it would be seen as disparaging, especially to Milan, an individual I admired greatly, as well as Kari, whom I have always found to be both an excellent problemist and person.

I took on a similar project once in my professional life, hoping to save a publisher who had already invested nearly half a million dollars in a project that the first editor could not bring to fruition. It did not end well for me or the book, and if anything it made me sympathetic to Milan and Kari's effort and hesitant to publicly criticize the work. Because when you know how badly criticism stings, it makes you unwilling, if you have heart and soul, to inflict that on anyone else. You could read that same sort of reluctance in John's review.

But back to the main issue - I believe we need to correct any incorrect uses of terms as we find them. I don't know how anyone can justify the use of "aimless" in problem chess - there is always an aim which is of course to fulfill the stipulation. But certainly the opinion of the entire problem chess community is greater than my one lone voice, and I welcome any discussion on this topic.
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(2) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 00:51]; edited by Siegfried Hornecker [13-06-20]

Themes & Terms: A ↑promotion that does not affect the position and the solution(s) in any way, but which the side on the move must do according to the laws of chess. Nevertheless, the piece which the Pawn promotes to must be selected carefully.

In my understanding, an unique promotion as waiting move.

One of the examples given in T&T (the only orthodox one):
(= 8+3 )

Erich Zepler
3. hm Dresdner Anzeiger TT 1930
Mate in 3
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(3) Posted by Steven Dowd [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 02:08]

Siegfried said, quoting the Encyclopedia:

A ↑promotion that does not affect the position and the solution(s) in any way

But it does affect both the position and solution by allowing the stipulation to be fulfilled.

Actually an aimless promotion would work *against* the position and solution by ruining the solution. When a chess *player* plays in an aimless fashion, he loses the game. When an aimless promotion is made, the solution is not realized.
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(4) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 14:44]

I think that somebody writing a book like the encyclopaedia must be eager to set definitions and themes that have not been definded yet. Kari and Milan did so (at least when it comes to twomovers while they didn't care at all for selfmates...) and it is just natural that they did not always find the right words while not being native English speakers.
Maybe the term of the "aimless promotion" can be improved or should be renamed or even both. I think that it should be something like a unique promotion where the promoted piece does not play a role in the further course of solution (i.e. removing the piece after promotion would not affect the solution).

Most of Johns criticism indeed does not affect the efforts of Kari and Milan but the editors' who obviously did not engage a lector who should have prevented at least some of the flaws mentioned by John.
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(5) Posted by Steven Dowd [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 16:01]

Sven Hendrik, I do agree to a point and perhaps part of the problem is calling the work "Definitive" when it should be called "Seminal" - after all, no one had attempted such a monumental task before!

Unfortunately, I am getting a number of responses per mail on this rather in the forum and they divide into two categories -

1. Terminology will always be confusing in chess problems due to a number of factors, mainly because problemists cannot agree. And I shouldn't take all this so seriously.

2. Those who want to know how or why I dare criticize Milan and Kari's work.

Both sadden me, especially the second. I only wished to show that the first such work of its kind was bound to have flaws and that simply because the term "aimless promotion" was in the book, we should not accept its continued use. And even their use of the term was not a flaw per se- they simply repeated a convention.

There are also several terms that still need definition in one of our other major sources, for example:

which is given as "Königslenkung" without definition in the PDB, and it needs a definition, especially for English- and French language users. And it is just one of many such terms.

Now I see the problems Kevin Begley faces when he asks for consistency in definitions in fairy chess. I am already tired of it. How in the world, Kevin, do you tilt at windmills with such force and vigor? :)
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(6) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 16:05]

I can't argue about the nuances in English, but if 'aimless' could mean 'purposeless' or 'without intention', the term 'aimless promotion' appears as quite suitable for the mentioned problems.

A move by wP has the purpose of a pure tempo-move without any intention of promoting. But when wP arrives to 8th rank, it MUST be promoted, regardlessly of White's intentions. The PROMOTION itself has no purpose but since it is unavoidable, White chooses a specific PROMOTION INTO A KNIGHT with the intention to avoid the stalemates.
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(7) Posted by Steven Dowd [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 17:14]

Thank you for your always cogent input, Nikola, but I must disagree. No, the aim and the purpose and the intent of the promotion is to fulfill the stipulation. Thus, the move cannot be purposeless or without intent. In fact, it is quite purposeful and with great intent. Purposeless moves would not fulfill the stipulation by definition, they have no purpose.

One writer mentioned to me the paradox involved often in problems, and that such promotions were sometimes paradoxical, at least at first glance (although I cannot find that some, like immediate stalemate, have much paradox). My suspicion is that the term started with someone using the term "apparently aimless promotion," and that "apparently" was left off of later uses.

I thought initially I could go along with the use of "sham" as in "Sham sacrifice" (Scheinopfer) but the more I thought about that one the more it seemed that would simply confuse the issue as well. Again, since "waiting move" is so well established in general chess nomenclature, and it is already used thus in German, I still think "waiting move promotion" makes the most sense.
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(8) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 19:19]


the aim and the purpose and the intent of the promotion is to fulfill the stipulation.

The aim and the purpose and the intent of the promotion is to play a move which avoids interfering with reaching the stipulation, solely because you're required to make a move. As Tim Krabbé wrote in Schaakcuriosa when talking about the Zepler composition: "De naam voor die promotie is aimlesspromotion; een promotie welks enige doel de volmaakte doelloosheid is. Net als in dat dubbele helpmat van diagram 29 zou promotie tot een wolkje lucht even zinvol zijn geweest", which roughly translates to "The name for that promotion is aimlesspromotion; a promotion whose aim is the perfect aimlessness. Just like the double helpmate of diagram 29, promotion to a fluffy cloud would be as useful." (diagram 29: 7k/8/8/8/8/4K1R1/3Bpp2/5B2, Fadil Abdurahmanovic, Europe Echecs 1959)

And another orthodox aimless promotion:
(= 10+7 )

#3, O. Nerong, Schweizerische Schachzeitung 1929
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(9) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 19:50]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [13-06-20]

"Tempo promotion" is a much better term than "aimless". After all the promoting move has an 'aim' ie. lose a Tempo ! Even the promoted piece (the #3 in post 8) has a purpose, which is to lose another tempo !!

By the way, that #3 has a twin - move a7 to d7 !
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(10) Posted by Steven Dowd [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 21:17]

Thank you. That is the point I have been trying to make.

It has another twin - -WPa7, sh#2!

The "fluffy cloud" line is great prose but poor exposition. What would be the next move then after 1. a7=FC 2. Kxg8 FC??? How exactly *does* this piece named "fluffy cloud" move?
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(11) Posted by Joost de Heer [Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 22:10]

For some reason I'm suddenly thinking about 'Freewill' (Rush):

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

FWIW: A fluffy cloud doesn't move since there's no wind on the board.
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(12) Posted by Steven Dowd [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 00:02]

FWIW: A fluffy cloud doesn't move since there's no wind on the board.

OK, so then after 1. a8=FC Kxg8 2. Zugzwang, and White must move the king or rook, and the stipulation is not fulfilled. 1. a8=L avoids zugzwang by giving White another move that does not disturb the mate. Avoiding zugzwang strikes me as quite a good aim. And thus the FC promotion is the one that is by definition, aimless. The prose Krabbe uses is interesting (one could even call it - ahem - fluffy) but it is the sort of thing that sounds clever without being explicative. You could even call it - get ready now - aimless.

To get back to being at least somewhat serious, if someone wants to contend that the move is *apparently* aimless - that is, it looks like it does not fulfill any logical goal, but paradoxically, is the one move that will fulfill the stipulation, I can live with that. Then you enter the realm of such themes as the Berlin, where what looks like the key actually ends up mating White,and he has to reduce the mate to a harmless check.

And perhaps you and others were stressing this *apparent* aimlessness and I didn't catch that.
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(13) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 01:52]

Any pure tempo-move by White might only appear as aimless but it is surely not. It obviously transfers the right/obligation to move to Black. And in fighting genres like direct or self-mates, it is not accidentally just because White must play something to obey the rules. White actually takes the advantage of the rules - if White could say: "I play nothing", Black could answer: "I also play nothing", so the aim of a pure tempo move is not to merely obey the rules but to utilize them.

Aimless promotion is a complex case in which the very promotion is completely aimless. In Zeplers problem, h7-h8 has a tempo-purpose but the aim is not a promotion, it is forced by the rules. But the rules do not demand a particular piece, so White can choose a particular piece. That particular choice has an aim.
The complex has 3 parts: h7-h8=tempo, obligatory promotion into any of 4 pieces=aimless, specific choice h8S=stalemate avoidance.
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(14) Posted by Joost de Heer [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 07:13]

FWIW: A fluffy cloud doesn't move since there's no wind on the board.

OK, so then after 1. a8=FC Kxg8 2. Zugzwang, and White must move the king or rook, and the stipulation is not fulfilled.

No, 2. Fluffy cloud keeps floating above a8.

Nikola described it perfectly: The promotion itself has no aim, the specific choice of piece has one.
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(15) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 11:49]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [13-06-21]

All tempo moves have aim, which is to escape from zugzwang. Actually, the title of this topic should be "Misnaming Terminology" as there is actually no misuse !
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(16) Posted by Joost de Heer [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 15:18]; edited by Joost de Heer [13-06-21]

Again, the tempo move isn't aimless, the actual choice for promotion to a certain piece isn't aimless (has to be chosen carefully to avoid e.g. stalemates), but the promotion itself is aimless. There is no need to promote, but because a promotion is forced by the rules it has to be done.
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(17) Posted by Steven Dowd [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 16:20]

"the promotion itself is aimless. There is no need to promote, but because a promotion is forced by the rules it has to be done"

Sorry that just doesn't cut it. If a promotion is forced by the rules then it fulfills the aim of conforming to the rules.

A promotion without aim just doesn't exist unless it violates some aspect of the problem. And then the stipulation remains unfulfilled.

For my own part I am going to leave the discussion here, because I think we have reached - or at least I have reached - the level at which we won't come to any sort of consensus. But thanks to all of you for engaging me in this fashion - I respect all of your opinions, whether I find I can agree or not.

Take care, my friends!
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(18) Posted by Nikola Predrag [Friday, Jun 21, 2013 17:10]

>If a promotion is forced by the rules then it fulfills the aim of conforming to the rules<
Yes, and if that is the only aim, it is defined and called the 'aimless promotion'!

Is there any use of the word 'aimless' which would have the meaning of absolute aimlessness? Perhaps the word should be terminated from English language??

Walking aimlessly? - there is some reason why we don't 'sit aimlessly', so the walking surely has an initial aim. Would it mean 'walking without a goal(destination)'? Without having some goal, we would still have the aim to avoid trees, walls, gaps etc.

What is a practical use of the word 'aimless' in English?
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(19) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 05:06]

(on topic, but another instance: 3 - P1229994 is not (sic) "cooked" - - there's a 'dual', yes, this can be a 'flaw' (maybe) - but "cooked" should be a term reserved for ... say: more severe defects ... (I'm assuming this is some form of 'Cyborg' remark - of course in a #h or #s the same dual is always an a bad feature, but in a #, is different. ps: yet another insight here
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(20) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 15:13]

I definitely am for "waiting promotion" ("tempo promotion" is more ambiguous,
"tempo" can always refer to win OR loss of a tempo).
To me it's obvious that "aimless promotion" can't exist. If the aim is nothing
than fulfilling your obligation to move, then you can barely get away with
calling it aimless (say a waiting move Ba1-h8 when everything else interferes),
but in case of a promotion, you by definition must choose QRBS, and there must
exist a motive to choose the right one, usually stalemate and Seebergerian
trouble of the promoted piece.


P.S. The only "aimless" promotion (in the above sense - purely waiting) would
be if all promotions except one would be illegal due to fairy rules. I refrain
from hallucinating up a proper example since the problem would then be silly
anyway :-)
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Misusing Terminology