[Retros] Questions on Coloring Problems

Kevin Begley kevinjbegley at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 22:34:48 EDT 2011

Thanks Henrik.

That does considerably clarify the situation.
Though, I would expect having some men pre-colored might yield greater
achievements -- so, besides satisfying solvers more, composers may find
greater prestige in this direction.
Time will tell.


On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 4:10 AM, Henrik Juel <hjchess at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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