[Retros] Comments on Messigny tourney results

Pascal Wassong pascal.wassong at free.fr
Fri May 27 07:20:56 EDT 2005

Hi Andrey,

I agree with you that we probably need stricter definitions. But I
totally disagree with you when you say that the SPG Thematic
Tournament held in Messigny emphasizes this.

First I'll describe the context.

Messigny is the annual french meeting for chess problem enthusiasts.
Many events take place during a long week-end, going from friday
evening to monday after lunch : french solving championship, a fairy
chess tournament, the general meeting of the AFCE (French Association
for Chess Composition), and many more. To me, one of the most
important aspect are discussions with other chess problem enthusiasts
that I only talk to by mail the rest of the year.

And it is in that context that there are Thematic Tournaments that are
organized. There were enough TT so that each participant tried to
compose something in at least one of them : fairy chess, orthodox #3,
studies, helpmates, joke problems and SPGs.

Now back to the SPG theme itself.

Laurent Riguet, the organizer of the meeting, asked me 3 weeks earlier
to chose a theme and judge the SPG tournament. I chose the theme for
the exact context that I describe above : it should not be a difficult
theme and it should also allow interesting problems.

I knew that I would prefer problems showing the theme in interesting
ways, rather than showing the theme many times in as few moves as
possible. And I didn't care about "objective criteria". This is not
sport, this is art.

My definition was maybe not clear enough. I tried to explain what a
line and an interception meant to me. I didn't care if it was not
completely clear, because the composers for whom the TT was organized
where present at the meeting and could ask me for clarifications.

I added the "definition" of interception because I wanted it to be
used. I didn't want an interception to be "used" only to avoid some

The example was just there to show that the theme could be easily
done. The problem is not interesting at all. I think that such an
example shouldn't be of very high quality, to encourage participants
to make more interesting entries. It was just that : an example.

Some composers asked for more details about the theme, even by email.
I accepted all the ways that the theme could be interpreted, so I
would have a maximum of entries. Of course, I preferred some kind of
interceptions over other. White pawn e2 intercepting a black rook at
e6 was at the borderline of the definition. I knew that I wouldn't
enjoy very much problems using such "interceptions". But why should I
"a priori" eliminate it ? Maybe someone composes an overwhelming SPG
using this feature ?

This is just my opinion. I understand that other people may have
different opinions. And this is also true for the judgment !

I hope to see you all, retro enthusiasts, next year in Messigny.

Best wishes,

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