Sunday, March 23, 2008

OTB chess vs compositions

There are two worlds in chess: The one is over the board (OTB) chess, which includes all that is relevant with chess games. The other world is the chess compositions, which includes all that is relevant with composing and solving chess problems.

The chess games are the OTB chess.
In a chess game there exists a "regular chessboard", on which "regular chessmen" are arranged (one king and one queen and two rooks and two bishops and two knights and eight pawns, for each of the two armies), and two opponent players, seeking the victory, play alternately, first the White and then the Black, possibly under certain time constraints, until someone wins (or until the game is a draw). We study openings, middle game tactics, and endings.

The players know much about previous games and try to avoid moves that lead to defeat. If a game is similar to any previous game, it is quite acceptable. Innovations in moves are seldom.

The error moves made by the players during a game, are acceptable part of the game.

The players are ranked depending on the result of the game, (ELO rating), in national or international level.

The chess problems are chess compositions.
For every chess problem there is
(a) the composer, who creates on the chessboard an original position with various chessmen and publishes the problem with a stipulation “what the solver must do” and
(b) the solver, who tries to find the solution of the problem (probably trying to spot the theme of the problem and appreciate if the theme is beautifully incorporated in the solution).

The composers know much about previous compositions and try to avoid imitating their positions. If the problem is not original (anticipated) or if it is somehow defective (cooked), then it is considered totally useless. Innovation is the rule.

Consequently, the essence of chess compositions is not the competition between two players for victory, but the joy of creation of a unique beautiful puzzle from the side of the composer, and the joy of discovery of the solution from the side of the solver. The perfection, the originality and the beauty are the elements of the chess compositions.

The moment, when a solver tries to find a solution to a problem, can be centuries after the publication of the problem.
In a solving contest the quicker solver wins. There is also ELO rating for solvers.
The conditions that are in effect in a chess problem can be very different from the conditions in OTB chess games. (There may be various other chessmen, other chessboards, the players may be not playing alternately, the objective of the problem may be other than winning). Nevertheless, knowledge of the techniques used in chess problems, especially in studies, can be valuable for an OTB player.

In this blog I will deal only with chess compositions.

[This Post in Greek language]

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