[Retros] Retros column in The Problemist

Mark Thornton Mark.Thornton at PapworthEverard.co.uk
Wed Apr 23 15:37:50 EDT 2014

Dear Kevin,

When I read the Retros columns in Die Schwalbe and Strategems, I like to see a mix of Proof Games and other Retro problems. Regular solvers in The Problemist tell me that they also like that kind of mix. Hence, I'd like to offer a "balanced diet" to my readers, in The Problemist.

In my pipeline of original problems, the ratio of PGs to other types has recently shifted from slightly above 1:1 to nearly 4:1. So I am asking for composers to send me original non-PGs. Composers may or may not respond to this request. Time will tell.

I am genuinely puzzled to find that my request upsets you, but apologise for unintentionally offending you.

Yours sincerely
Mark Thornton
Retros Sub-Editor, The Problemist
8 Wimbish Road, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3XJ, UK
e: Mark.Thornton at PapworthEverard.co.uk

----- Original Message -----
From: Kevin Begley
To: Mark.Thornton at papwortheverard.co.uk ; The Retrograde Analysis Mailing List
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Retros] Retros column in The Problemist

I always appreciate efforts to encourage greater overall diversity, even with respect to chess problems; but, it makes me cringe to encounter even the implication that a predetermined quota might be mechanically imposed upon a specific subset (e.g., when help-games are narrowly subjected to a faulty comparison, whereas the related subset of help-mates is kept immune from all similar restraints).

There is a growing misperception surrounding the traditional classification scheme.
The great folly is rooted in an inherently false presumption that optimal health depends upon a properly balanced ratio of chess problems, according to a carefully established set of divisions, and sub-divisions; in reality, the guidelines imposed by the traditional chess problem pyramid are unreliable, and were never informed by research (in fact, the genres were chiseled without any fundamental definition).

This is yet another indication that the classification scheme is no longer benign.
It has become twisted into a choking vine, to use a better metaphor, which deprives us all of fundamental stability, and healthy competition.

On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 12:21 PM, Mark Thornton <Mark.Thornton at papwortheverard.co.uk> wrote:

Dear Friends,

The Retros column in The Problemist has a healthy supply of Proof Games, but a dwindling number of "classical" Retros and other types of retro problem. Whilst I am always happy to receive originals, of any type, I would be particularly grateful to any composer who can help me to "balance my portfolio". Thanks in advance to all who respond.

Best wishes
Mark Thornton
Retros Sub-Editor, The Problemist
8 Wimbish Road, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3XJ, UK
e: Mark.Thornton at PapworthEverard.co.uk

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