Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What 's up, Doc?

Excerpts from the work "WHAT'S UP DOC?"
by Toma Garai (27.05.1935 - ??), Romanian - American Grand Master in composition 1996,
(published here : http://problemskak.dk/td100-tg.htm),
edited by Emmanuel Manolas.

"What 's up Doc?". This is the perennial question of Bugs Bunny, the Warner Brothers cute cartoon character. And could be the question of any solver facing a new chess problem.
What can be found in a given problem: a hard to crack solution, some rich strategic play, unexpected combinations, any carrots? Worth spending my time, Doc? Like when one intends to read a book, some guidelines may entice the reader to go ahead, or stop flat short. Bookstores and libraries group the books by categories and often, somewhere on the back-cover one may read a few lines about the content. Of course, not all love-stories are born equal, so to speak, but at least you will not open a cookbook when interested in sci-fi adventures, or yes, in cartoons.
Is there any similar help available for problem "readers"?
Certainly! - one may answer.

As the problems' popularity increased, from mid XIXth century, many startling combinations were unveiled, receiving the name of the authors, or geographical locations (none were named after their mother-in-laws, as it happened with hurricanes): Loyd, Bristol, Turton, Indian, Herlin, etc. "themes" and thereafter were quoted as such. They had linear solutions, focusing on the strategic relations between the moves (essential to the Logical school).
The XXth century began by focusing on a new strategic relationship, that between the variations (Strategic School). Many new ideas, impossible in linear solutions (i.e. Stocchi blocks, half-pins, etc.) started to flourish and by 1930s a virtual race to thematic name giving culminated in complex combinations and sometime more than one father's name for the same baby.
Why to rehash now these well known developments? In order to notice that such terms as "theme", "thematic", or "thematic requirement" were used basically to describe relations between strategic elements of the solution. Then, in 1950s came the famous Zagorujko "theme". Yet, this described only the need for
(a) set play (how we proceed if it is not white's turn to play)
(b) a try (the white move that can be parried only with a unique black move)
(c) not to be forgotten, a solution, (with unique key etc.)
(d) and in all these, for the same (at least two) defences of black, the mates must be different!
This in essence is not a theme, but a presentation requirement and there can be many requirements regarding a problem. The problem can contain some theme, its strategic content could be anything under the sun. In the first Zagorujko problem below (by Paz Einat) the theme is "changed and reciprocally changed mates" and in the next Zagorujko (by Milivoj S. Nesic) the theme is "Grimshaw".

Paz Einat
The Problemist 1983
#2  C+  11+5

Mate in 2

Set play
1…Sxd2 a 2.Qc3# C
1…Kc5 b 2.Qb4# D
1…Ke5 2.Sd7#

1.Se3? [threat 2.Qd5#]
1…Sxd2 a 2.Sd7# A
1…Kc5 b 2.Sxe4# B
but 1…Rd7!

Actual play
Key 1.Sc7! [threat 2.Qd5#/Sxe4#]
1…Sxd2 a 2.Se4# B
1…Kc5 b 2.Sd7# A
1…Sc3 2.Qxc3#

The two black defences, always the same, are noted [ a, b ], in three phases of the solution (set play, try, actual play after the key). The changed mates are noted [ CD, AB, BA ]. This is a presentation frame Zagorujko 3x2. The Theme of the reciprocal change of the mates [ AB, BA ] is shown between try and actual play.

Milivoj S. Nesic
1 H.M., Boletin da Uniao Brazileira de Problemistas, JT U. Castellari-50, 1963-64

h#2        C+           8+13


Helpmate in 2

1.dxc2 Qxc2 2.Re3 a Qf5# A
1… … 2.Be3 b Qe4# B

1.dxc3 Qxc3 2.Re3 a Qf6# C
1… … 2.Be3 b Qc6# D

1.Sxb3 Qxb3 2.Re3 a Qf7# E
1… … 2.Be3 b Qd5# F

1.Rxa3 Qxa3 2.Re3 a Qf8# G
1… … 2.Be3 b Qa8# H

The solution can be notated : four first moves and on the third move two continuations, because there is a Grimshaw intersection (Bishop / Rook) on e3 (thus the theme is Grimshaw). We also see four solutions with two variations, thus it is a frame Zagorujko 4x2.

When we categorize a problem under a title, for example "white unpins", we may be unfair regarding the effort of the composer because we may hide the complexity of the composition.
We will see two problems with common theme "white unpins", but each problem contains another theme or the theme is functioning in multiple levels.
Finally, if Bugs Bunny asks "What 's up, Doc?", when we write a "theme" to help the "readers", we all must recognize that sometimes more than one idea can share the spotlight on equal footings, and when we will master this art, he will get easier his answer.
Something for Docs (simple solvers or Judges of composition contests) to think about.

Daniel Meinking
1 Pr., Chess Life, 1986

h#3  4 solutions  C+  3+5


Helpmate in 3

1.Rh4 Bd3 2.Qh2 Rb3 3.Kh3 Bf5#

1.g5 Bc4 2.Qg3 Rb4 3.Bf3 Be6#

1.Qh2 Re6 2.Rh4 Bd7 3.Kh3 Re3#

1.Qg3 Re6 2.g5 Bd7 3.Bf3 Re4#

The bRh5 leaves its place or the bPg6 makes a step, for the wBb5 to be unpinned. The bQc7 leaves its place, for the wRb6 to be unpinned. Up to this point we have "white unpins".
But the white pieces construct two batteries with Bishop as front piece, and two batteries with Rook as front piece, thus we have seen the task of construction of 2+2 batteries with same B and R!

Toma Garai
2 Pr., Thema Danicum, 1999

h#3  twin b) bPd5  C+  6+11


Helpmate in 3

1.Bxd5 Bxe4
2.Kc6 Bf3
3.Qd7 Rc4#

b) wPd5->bPd5
1.Re5 Rxe4
2.Qe7 Re2
3.Ke6 Bf5#

If we simply say here "white unpins", we lose the actual theme in a higher level. Let us watch closely the dance of the pieces, which the language somehow awkwardly describes : (How the unpinned piece pins its unpinner and then is self-pinned to unpin a pinned friendly piece, which makes a pin-mate! And this is mutually happening!).
First solution  (with wPd5): The bBc4 unpins wBd3. The wBd3 captures bPe4 to open the line of the (pinned) wRf4 and to "preventively" pin bBd5. The bK goes to c6 and the bBd5 is now pinned. The wBe4, maintaining the pinning of the bB, goes to f3 to unpin wRf4. The bQe6 blocks its king on d7. The wR mates from c4 (from where started bBc4) and it cannot be captured by the pinned bBd5.
Second solution  (with bPd5): The bRf5 unpins wRf4. The wRf4 captures bPe4 to open the line of the (pinned) wBd3 and to "preventively" pin bRe5. The bQe6 "preventively" blocks its king on e7. The wRe5, maintaining the "preventive" pinning of the bR, goes to e2 to unpin wBd3. The bK goes to e6 and the bRe5 is now pinned. The wB mates from f5 (from where started bRf5) and it cannot be captured by the pinned bRe5.
The solutions have pieces which exchange roles and they are named homo-strategical solutions.

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