[Retros] Response to Volet II
kevin_begley at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 9 06:08:30 EDT 2002
Your legal analogy is bad. Almost criminal.
If the legislative branch defines exposing your toes on television to be a crime today, it is true that you are not punishable for yesterday's transgressions; however, REpublishing those transgressions will put you in hot water.
It is the standard for REpublishing old problems which is of concern. Let philosophers worry about whether the problem was ever sound -- nobody cares.
The questions which matter are:
Is it sound under the current conditions?
If not, what minimal deviation should be amended to correct this problem?.
Your reply to Ryan ("only if the solver did not know when the problem was published!") , implies that you expect solvers to deduce the rules (of even fairy conditions they may never have seen before) based upon the time (and place?) of publication. Do you actually believe that solvers should be expected to memorize the entire history of rules for fairy conditions (forced upon them by the composer), along with the dates in which specific rule changes took place?
I invented a fairy chess piece -- would you care to solve some of the problems I composed prior to finalizing the rules for it? I will, of course, provide the exact time each problem was composed, along with an assurance that the problem WAS sound at the time of publication. If that's all you need, I wish you luck solving!
Chess problems should not be an exercise in the trivial history of a game's rules and conventions. The rules of the game are part of the specification of the problem (not something to be deciphered from original date/location of publication). These definitions of fairy conditions are customarily republished (along with the problem) for good reason -- the objective of the problem should be explicitly stated (especially for solvers unfamiliar with even the PRESENT rules -- nevermind the chronological history of them).
The specification of the problem is NOT something the solver should have to decipher. Trivial knowledge of the history of fairy chess rules deserves no part in problem solving contests.
There's good reason you do not see ancient problems republished today with our normal chess pieces -- fairy chess pieces are used to make the problem specification clear to solvers, so they can apply themselves to the task at hand, rather than to the task of deciphering what is the question being asked of them (from analysis of the publication date).
Can you provide examples of problems (published in reputable problem journals) which demand of the solver have historical/chronological knowledge of a fairy condition's rule changes, and infer which rules apply based upon the publication date?
As for the 50-move rule... If today it changed to 250 moves (for problems, as well as the game), a great many problems would clearly become uncorrectable (Plaksin's masterpiece #3, as noted by Ryan, is but one gem which would cease to be sound under the new "orthodox chess rules," and it is, no doubt, impossible to correct for 250 moves). Historically, the way to save such a problem is to merely stipulate (customarily below the diagram) whatever deviation from the present rules is necessary for solving (in this case, state that a "50-move rule applies"). With this simple deviation from "orthodox" stated, Plaksin's masterpiece is sound, and can be enjoyed by countless generations of new solvers (who might consider this only a 2D variant of their "orthodox chess" anyway).
Now, allow me to make concrete a hypothetical posed by Ryan:
Say that you compose a new problem which aims to challenge the interpretation of the rules.
Suppose, hypothetically, that the en-passant stalemate possibility of madrasi (a well established rule today -- see http://members.tripod.com/~JurajLorinc/chess/madrep.htm#uloha5 for details) had been a special-case which has always been overlooked, until you discovered this possibility, today. You are not embarking to change the rules, rather you are bringing to light a special case that was not fully considered in the present rules, which may result in multiple interpretations. In short, you are exposing a glitch in madrasi's rules, and perhaps endorsing which interpretation should be adopted. Just because problemists might have failed to notice this idea in the past does not make their interpretation better; and this interpretation should not be dismissed simply because it destroys some previous works which did not consider it.
Would you honestly consider it a good idea to publish your problem with an additional condition spotlighting the very issue you seek to challenge, thereby nullifying any challenge you could make of the stand-alone condition? If it is the rules of madrasi alone which are in dispute, it makes no sense to publish the problem as madrasi plus a "special en-passant stalemate" condition. Plus, why give away the intent prematurely? A punchline rarely succeeds before the joke!
ps: If this discussion has degraded into a debate about the semantics of what "sound" means, pardon me for not noticing it sooner. I don't care what "sound" means in relation to time. Providing problems which are unsound under the current rules are published with correcting conditions, I am happy. Any problem journal which does not adhere to this principle will simply lose my support (and that of many other enthusiasts, no doubt).
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Retros