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(1) Posted by Kevin Begley [Friday, May 8, 2009 11:00]

Saving Paper

In response to Milan's editorial, I'd like to offer a paper-saving suggestion (which might benefit everybody, if everybody would pitch in):

Cut out all the usual fairy definitions. In fact, cut the unusual definitions too!
Virtually nobody reads these, and just consider how much paper is wasted on them, issue after issue.
Other journals have made efforts to address this very issue, but the solution is never ideal...

And, I know what people are going to say -- definitions of unusual fairies are vital, right? The irony is that the unusual fairy elements somehow never make it to print. In the recent issue, despite my having provided an extensive definition of Circe Contre-Parrain (with my proofgame), no definition was included. You will find definitions for circe, circe parrain, acirce, of course (in virtually every issue!). Might just as well give the definition of helpmates in every issue.

I know what's coming next -- fairy definitions are still vital for those solvers who are new to fairy problems, right?
How many honestly depend on these printed definitions? Full disclosure: when I discovered an unrecognized fairy element in the recent issue, I actually googled the definition (didn't even think to search the pdf).

I propose the following:

Build a coalition w/ other journals, programmers, experts of specific variants, variant gamers, and anybody who wants to help:
1) make one (printable) webpage with precise definitions (covering all special cases) for all fairy elements,
2) address special cases, and provide sample problems which clearly illustrate the nuances of each element,
3) use a version management scheme to provide sub-types, and address debates over ambiguities rules.
4) allow for translations.

Yes, I know... huge undertaking, right? So what, everybody pitches in, we all save, and there is harmony in the world.
Probably does require some oversight from PCCC (or whatever).
Every few years, print this as a book (official rules of fairy chess, or whatever), and use the revenue to offset costs incurred.
Throw up some advertisements on the webpage (should get a huge number of hits) -- use that revenue to offset costs incurred.

Eventually all journals will be paperless, and fairy rules will be just one click away.
There will be thousands of pages with fairy rules, and thousands of disputes about which have "the official" rules.
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(2) Posted by Sarah Hornecker [Friday, May 8, 2009 11:27]

This is another thing I have always suggested, to make an official definition for all fairy conditions and publish it on PCCC website as annex of the codex.

So I fully support your idea!
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(3) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Saturday, May 9, 2009 01:04]

Kevin, this is just what Wikipedia is for, if you give up the ads.

1) make one (printable) webpage with precise definitions (covering all special cases) for all fairy elements

There you go.

2) address special cases, and provide sample problems which clearly illustrate the nuances of each element

No problem.

3) use a version management scheme to provide sub-types, and address debates over ambiguities rules.

Oh yes! Checked.

4) allow for translations.


Every few years, print this as a book (official rules of fairy chess, or whatever), and use the revenue to offset costs incurred.

That's OK with Wikipedia regulations AFAIK.

Great idea, really. Pitching the guys in - that's a challenge.
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(4) Posted by Sarah Hornecker [Saturday, May 9, 2009 01:16]

It is no need to use Wikipedia, one could create an own wiki. The MediaWiki software is available everywhere and I doubt the (German at least) Wikipedia will accept a list of all fairy conditions. I feel, however, that it must be available in all languages, not only english.

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(5) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Saturday, May 9, 2009 01:33]

True. Wikipedia volunteers in charge are very picky about what is significant enough to have its own article. I can host a new mediawiki, no problem, but having a separate project will just make it tougher to attract the contributors.
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(6) Posted by Kevin Begley [Saturday, May 9, 2009 10:59]; edited by Kevin Begley [09-05-09]

Yes, the more languages the better, but translations must flow (in all directions) with prestine technical accuracy.

As for Wiki: this should be rejected -- this needs to be official (e.g., PCCC's Online Fairy Chess Codex), oversight is required (to settle disputes), version management is required for sub-types, to say nothing of how combinations of fairy elements should be handled...

I would also encourage using thematic tourneys to address specific legal ambiguities, which could conclude prior to making official decisions on any number of contested legal questions.

For years problemists have been throwing stones at FIDE's official chess rules, but when it comes to the glass house of fairy chess, everybody shuffles feet and explains why this collaboration cannot be done (we already know the reason: poor leadership).

Fairy enthusiasts must demand that the PCCC, at the very least, BEGIN addressing this need; otherwies grant somebody the authority to "officially" do their job. Until then, I'm busy gathering up good throwing stones...
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(7) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Saturday, May 9, 2009 14:14]

As far as I would welcome such a project, please remind
that there are still <GASP!> people without Internet ;-)

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(8) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Saturday, May 9, 2009 18:25]


So, basically, you suggest that instead of making the Fairy Codex people should focus on demanding one from the organization which efficiency and future has been related to a major controversy lately, right?

I must be missing something important, but if you have A Real Good Fairy Codex then turning it into PCCC Approved Fairy Codex shouldn't be much of a problem, or should it? Or you can't make a good one without the PCCC ("to settle disputes")?
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(9) Posted by Kevin Begley [Sunday, May 10, 2009 12:39]; edited by Kevin Begley [09-05-10]

A Real Good Fairy Codex is an interesting proposition.
I do fully realize that I may have to start this project myself...

I'm not the best qualified to lead this mission, so before I even consider this undertaking, I am obliged to petition the PCCC for leadership (and ask others to encourage PCCC).

The amount of input would be vastly reduced if I must begin this project myself (compared to PCCC asking for contributions for their official codex).

Furthermore, there should be discussions about changing (yes changing!) the default rules for some fairy conditions.
No individual is qualified to manage this in a vacuum.

Just take one simple example: several fairy conditions allowing pawns to appear on the first rank have different rules.
Most would agree there should be one default rule to govern this event, and others should require the added condition.
But, which rule has precedent? Which rule offers more interesting possibilities? Which is the most consistent?
I would favor Parrain Circe rules (pawns on the 1st are entitled a single step, can capture, can give check).
Others may favor Einstien rules (pawns on the 1st are also entitled to double-steps, and a bunch of en passant variations follow), or Equipollents Circe (also PWC) rules (pawns on the 1st are dummies, cannot move, capture, or give check).
Perhaps there are other interpretations...

I have made problems which rely on different interpretations. No matter what default is chosen, I want to save contrary problems.
Still, I recognize that some default must be chosen.

Such monumental changes can have a big impact on others.
Database conversion of older problems becomes necessary. Printed materials, and website require updating. There may be chess engines playing these fairy elements as games (consider Atomic Chess -- with rules botched beyond the capacity to be the default). What would be the impact on popeye/win chloe/alybadix/natch and other solving tools?

While I believe I can contribute a great deal to this project, it requires PCCC authority to do this correctly.
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(10) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Monday, May 11, 2009 12:32]


I'm not a native english speaker, so i'm not good at wording sometimes. When i said "can't you", it was more like "can't we" or "can't one", i didn't mean you personally or anyone alone doing it in the vacuum.

And i'm not a fairy expert (haha), but i'd really like to have this thing on my bookshelf or in my internet browser, so if you (or anyone) ever need some kind of assistance with it (something technical, perhaps) please feel free to consider me in. Thanks.
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(11) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Monday, May 11, 2009 12:59]


What you need seems more to be a kind of dictionnary, than a codex.

"Official" definitions of terms are, in general, of no use.
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(12) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Monday, May 11, 2009 14:52]

Yes, absolutely. I liked what Kevin has described in his opening post: something comprehensive with examples and controversy and bells and whistles. A common point of reference, maybe. It looks more like a dictionary or an encyclopedia (or a good book) than a codex, alright. As long as "official" or whatever status does not take value from it, it's fine.
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(13) Posted by Vladimir Tyapkin [Monday, May 11, 2009 16:31]; edited by Vladimir Tyapkin [09-05-11]

Petko Petkov and Mike Prcic are working together on a fairy chess problem book. Not sure if it's for the beginners or a more advanced audience. It should be available later this year, probably on the Congress at Rio.
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(14) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Monday, May 11, 2009 16:49]

you can find most many definitions here :
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(15) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Monday, May 11, 2009 17:38]

Thank you very much for the links. I generally don't have much trouble googling up fairy terms and actually i was aware of the Problemesis website, but thank you for bringing it up.

It's not about that really. See, when i read these definitions i always have a lot of questions. Not about the definitions themselves, they are all pretty clear usually, but about why they are there in the first place. Like "There must be some great problem based on this condition", or for example this is from "Rules by default" (reglespardef.html):

When a promotion by capture occurs, the promotion precedes the capture.

Why so? I believe there's a good reason for it, and it has to do with some conditions related to guarding and/or rebirth, but it is not obvious to me. Perhaps some good problem wouldn't work if capture was preceding the promotion? Etc.
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(16) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, May 12, 2009 01:09]

Nobody forbids you to change it !

Why not ?
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(17) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Tuesday, May 12, 2009 08:03]

Yes, of course, nobody forbids that, it says "unless otherwise stated". But the article about this rule doesn't address two natural questions:

1) With what fairy condition(s) does this rule make a difference? (It does not in normal chess, at least FIDE handbook is not specific about this precedence)
2) Why this (rather counterintuitive) order was chosen as the default?

And Kevin's suggestion, to my understanding, is about addressing such kind of matters.
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(18) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, May 12, 2009 13:09]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [09-05-12]

1) You can find it used in Anticirce, and in some other circe-like conditions
2) I don't know why it has be chosen, but ...
. 2a) it is not so counterintuitive, if you look carefully
. 2b) this option seems to be richer than the other (first take, and then promote if possible)
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(19) Posted by Dmitri Turevski [Tuesday, May 12, 2009 15:53]

Thank you very much, Jacques, for making this clear for me. Your statements make perfect sense.
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(20) Posted by Joost de Heer [Tuesday, May 12, 2009 16:05]; edited by Joost de Heer [09-05-12]

In Circe Clone, a piece that's captured by a pawn on the promotion tank is reborn as a pawn, not as the piece the pawn promoted to. So in this case, capture takes precedence over promotion.

I honestly can't think of any circe form that uses 'promotion before capture'. 'promotion before rebirth' is another case.

IMO the natural order would be: capture, promotion, rebirth.

@Kevin: So what *is* the definition of Circe contre-parrain? I have never heard of it.
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