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MatPlus.Net Forum General Fairy Chess Records: sand castles for Captain Kirk...
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(1) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 00:59]; edited by Kevin Begley [11-10-18]

Fairy Chess Records: sand castles for Captain Kirk...

This thread came spinning out of another, where I questioned the value of Cornel Pacurar's application of the term "record" in an unorthodox "A->A in exactly n.5" problem.
Some fairy element is responsible for the diagram position (showing 58 black units -- essentially, orthodox + 50 black pawns/promotions).
Cornel claimed this set "the move-length record for the A=B subset" (A->B problems, where B=A).

The significance of such a record proved a difficult question -- none of the guidelines required to surpass this feat could be provided.

We might presume this record spans all fairy problems -- but this could be trivially surpassed (we require little more than a bigger board).
Thus, it can not be significant as a record spanning the breadth of fairies, because if anybody cared, they could easily extend this to infinity.
And, if nobody cares, how can it possibly be considered at all significant (as a record)?

Nor can it span all fairy problems on an 8x8 board (fairy boards can have holes, grids, they can grow dynamically, etc).
Even with an orthodox 8x8 board, we're not yet finding the significance of this record (a new fairy stipulation always grants one more ply: "1->B->move altered B").
So, if this record is significant, it can not employ fairy aims, or fairy stipulations (other than what is already used: "A->A in exactly n.5").
Similarly, we must exclude extraneous fairy pieces, and fairy conditions (other than the one which provided black 58 units).
Already, the record is so constrained, and so concocted, that it becomes apparent that virtually any fairy problem can concoct such a record.
And, if every problem can make such a dubious claim, there can be no special significance for the claims attached to this problem.

Fairy records are no more than sand castles -- only because the tide is low, and the sky is clear, can they so proudly stand, to mock the fair wind.
In good time, they'll all be swept away... unto infinity.

The only way to define significant records in fairy chess would be on a strict, element-by-element basis.
However, even then, the pursuit of records leads to sub-optimal value -- where lesser aesthetic results are always presumed new heights.

The good news is, it's not too late to appreciate the humanity which can still be found in fairy chess problems.
Just look beyond simple quantities, and known themes... why ever would anyone have bothered to learn such things, if not to see beyond them?


>"I could show you a task problem of mine which is exactly guilty as accused by you - dumb, mechanic, cheating."

None of these are my words, Hauke.
If you are suggesting that I consider Fairy Chess to be a cheat, you could not be more wrong.
On the other hand, I do see fairy elements misused, sometimes for what I consider unredeeming purpose -- is this your point?

Task/Record problems have more than a healthy share of mechanical/symmetrical/boring problems (dumb is the wrong word)...
That's the nature of a pursuit which devalues aesthetic beauty; but, I don't find them guilty -- wrong word, again -- I'm not the jury for fairy problems.
Yes, sometimes I am a critic... that's still permitted, right?

>But I could as well show stuff I'm really proud of.

You are the best judge of your own work, Hauke.
I'd be glad to see any problem that you are proud of.
If you think I would not share your high regard, so much the better.

>Everest - because it's there. Same for tasks.

I do agree with the sentiment; but, Sir Edmund did not scale the highest mound he could find in the 64-km^2 of Boise Idaho, under strict conditions of an all-potato diet.
In this discussion, we are not even standing on the planet orthodox!

In the infinite space of the fairy universe, there is no highest peak to climb.
Your mission here is to explore new worlds (fairy elements), to seek out new life and new civilizations (humanity, beauty), to boldly go where no man has gone before (originality).
We didn't travel this far to measure sand castles on some remote beach, with a bent ruler.
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(2) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 11:09]

Agreed, non of these were your words, but as that special task
WAS dumb, mechanic and cheating, and it was my problem, I took
the liberty to call it so :-)
I agree (?) with you on that records must be judged on a case-to-case
basis. Given the 33000-mover, I would say it's a bit of a cheat
(whether you use pawns or holes makes not much of a difference -
but see Jacques' comment), it surely has mechanical elements (it doesn't
matter how long the Q snake extends), but it's definitely not dumb
(it would take quite some time to dissect the mechanism of tempo loss,
although Jacques said it's relatively simple).

And always remember a Special Prize is the polite way to tell
somebody to bug off :-)

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(3) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 13:16]; edited by Kevin Begley [11-10-18]

Jacques' analysis (in the other post) is, I think, very good.

>1) ...this problem has been made without any computer.

For me, this would not change the value of the problem, either way.
I didn't sense a computer here... but it's interesting to note.

>2) The mechanism is relatively simple, but the exact reckoning of the moves needs concentration.

I'd give the mechanism here a little more credit -- a brief study shows this is non-trivial.

>3) The solution has been published in Rex Multiplex with some intermediate diagrams.
>4) The author aimed a problem as long as possible with as much orthodoxy as possible. He kept the following conditions :
>- 8x8 board
>- no fairy pieces, no fairy condition
>- no pawn on the 1st or the 8th rows

He certainly did use a fairy condition -- how else did he realize 58 black units?
But, I agree with the main thrust -- the author imposed specific self-constraints upon himself (that is admirable).

Good point about pawns on 1st/8th ranks -- proves that the "record" is even more constrained than I'd already suggested, here.
Plus, [I would assume] you can't use more than one King each.

And, as previously noted, you can't use a fairy aim/stipulation (other than the one currently employed here).

I look at this and say: the author chose good elements to express his idea, and he does not resort to any unnecessary fairy elements.
That's something I admire.
The mechanism is nice, too.
I like the problem.

And, it does suggest a highly specific challenge -- there is no denying that.
But, don't call it a record -- because it would only obscure any real value here.
There is nothing significant, per se, about such a concocted record (which is highly tailored around the challenge presented by this problem).

And, in general, fairy records will not last a Winter of serious challenge.
So, if we value them only for being atop some heap, we then must devalue them when somebody finds an easier/unaesthetic path to the top.
This is an unhealthy appreciation for chess problems, which encourages composers in the wrong direction.

>5) To look at such a problem represents certainly a (small) investment, so everyone has to evaluate if he is interested or not.
>6) it seems till now to be the longest problem ever published - far longer than the longest theoretical game (with the 50 moves rule)

Exactly -- spot on! -- this is the ideal way to characterize this problem.
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(4) Posted by Kevin Begley [Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011 13:33]


>And always remember a Special Prize is the polite way to tell somebody to bug off :-)

Haha! Don't even get me started on the "Special" prefix in awards...
I'll set phasors to maximum setting, 'cause this term is much worse than even the highly notorious "fairy record."
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Fairy Chess Records: sand castles for Captain Kirk...