[Retros] Questions on Coloring Problems

Henrik Juel hjchess at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 07:10:23 EDT 2011

I agree with your suggestions, Kevin.

When I was retros subeditor at the now defunct Thema Danicum, we always
printed the diagrams for 'Color the men' problems with neutral men.

You ask why we do not see problems with some men already colored, asking
'Color the neutral men'. I think the reason is that this is an
extra condition imposed on the problem, presumably making it easier for the
composer, and carrying less prestige. To compare, the stipulation 'Add men'
is preferred to 'Add two men', which is preferred to 'Add two black men' or
'Add two men on a1 and h8'. But composers should think less of prestige and
more of solver satisfaction.

Henrik Juel

Den 30. jun. 2011 08.30 skrev Kevin Begley <kevinjbegley at gmail.com>:

> I enjoy solving retro-coloring problems, but why do the diagrams employ

> (exclusively) white units?

> It makes good sense to use neutrals, and stipulate: "color (all) the

> neutral units (to either white or black)."


> Obviously, some no-fairy journals, with publishing inadequacies, are slow

> to iimprove.

> Must a republication incur the inadequacies of the original, or aren't we

> obligated to higher standards)?


> Yes, some journals have, long ago, changed to neutral-coloring problems

> (e.g., Thema Dancium, Die Schwalbe, and others)...

> But, so far, I have found no evidence that they fully understand why this

> choice is more than an aesthetic improvement...

> That is: by changing the stipulation to "color the neutral units,"

> composers are free to use *some* known units (white and black), in

> conjunction with the unknowns (the neutrals, to be colored).


> What I don't understand is: why do composers of coloring problems seem to

> avoid (like the plague) partially-colored diagrams?

> It would seem that this combination would have so much more to offer...

> Yet, virtually every problem composed in this genre employs a "fully

> uncolored set."

> Why?

> Could it really be true that these composers are simply unaware of this

> (mixed) possibility?

> Or, maybe it somehow considered unaesthetic?


> I'd appreciate if anyone can provide an explanation (perhaps some examples,

> too).


> Thanks,

> Kevin.


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