[Retros] Building a complete and friendly retro library

andrew buchanan andrew at anselan.com
Mon May 19 06:20:37 EDT 2008


When I wrote '"best of" RML', it was intended as a throw-away line. My
inverted commas were intended to suggest that I was not literally
talking about elitism here, nor denying aesthetic subjectivity etc etc.
I just didn't want to get bogged down in a more lengthy explanation.

Here is that explanation. RML like France-Echecs, is more of an "oral"
medium than the magazines. Quite often there appears here a sequence of
compositions of increasing soundness and accomplishment, which is work
in progress towards a "final" representation. Would one want to
tediously capture all the intermediate steps, which are often from the
same composer, over a period of a few days? I think not. That's all I
wanted to get at. There is a necessary editorial role.

Magic. Sometimes I've mused about listing for my own entertainment (I
doubt anyone else would be interested) 64 metaphors for chess problem
composition. Magic is one. Others might include: hill-walking, music
composition, driving, birdsong, story-telling, clock-making,
love-making, hunting, choreography, juggling, detective fiction,
addiction, exploring /harvesting the rain forest, lying on one's back
as a small boy imagining walking on the ceiling, and those mechanical
puzzles where you have to get 12 little silver balls to rest
simultaneously in 12 little indentations. I would welcome other

I would *love* to learn the Plaksin terminology.


--- afretro <afretro at yandex.ru> wrote:

> Dear Roberto, dear all,

> The idea of a retro-wiki is highly inspiring. Indeed, we should start

> with something relatively simple. As to records – surely chess

> composition is more than “merely” art; traditions of

> mathematics-related records date back to many decades ago; it would

> be ill-advised to impose a ban on them. There is nothing wrong about

> people wondering e.g. what is the shortest way to mate with a bishop

> in a SPG. As to the word “best” – this one is quite suitable

> for being banned, as far as any esthetic aspect is involved, no

> matter how small or trivial it may be. Retroanalysis is, in a way,

> magic; and we won’t try to determine the best magician among us,

> will we?

> One of the issues to be dealt with consists in differences in

> terminology. For example, Nikita Plaksin came up with dozens of terms

> back in the 1960s-1980s which are widely used in Russian and

> Ukrainian publications and which often do not have direct analogues

> in the West. I included explanations of a lot of such terms/concepts

> in the Dictionary of Chess Composition Terms published by Mark

> Basisty; unfortunately, that book remains in Russian only.

> Yours,

> Andrey

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