Award of 25th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 5.5.2009
by James Quah
The idea of unpinning and re-pinning of a unit in the course of a chess problem solution seems to be
an old one, and it is not difficult to find examples. In this contest, being a theme tourney, the
unpinning and re-pinning had to have some meaning. A variety of problems of different types took
part, but the nature of the theme depended really on the length rather than the fairy condition or
stipulation. It was rather unusual to judge types problems that have almost always been kept apart,
but I have declined to separate them into sections as each can be judged as though it was in a
tourney of its type and then given an appropriate award that can be fine-tuned later. Length would
normally have been an advantage since more instances of the theme could be shown, but shorter
problems that did a decent job of it could also do well.
There were two #2s which were not interesting, and did not feature in the award. I think composers
should have looked at some traditional pinning and unpinning themes and tried to come up with
examples of these, possibly using fairy conditions.
There were eight H#2s (one with Anti-Circe). For the theme to be meaningful in H#2, I decided
(after looking at the problems) what determined if a problem was properly thematic, and came to
When it is applied to black, the unpin must make the black self-pin possible and the mate
must make use of the pin. This requirement was generally "complied with", and two such problems
entered the award.
When it is applied to white, there seem to be two possibilities. One is that the unpinned unit
unpins another white unit by arriving on the same line, then the unpinned unit moves off the pin line
(and pins the first unit) to deliver mate. The two problems attempting to show this were thematically
pure in one solution (the only reason for the first move is the unpin) but not the other (guarding a
flight square), and could not be rewarded. A successful problem showed the other possibility - a
white unit that needed two moves to checkmate, and had to be unpinned twice.
Of the longer helpmates, there were three H#3 and two H#n (1 Circe Parrain with fairy pieces).
Only one H#3 showed the theme meaningfully, but unfortunately it used an unacceptable condition
that the mate could not be a capture, and could not enter the award.
There were two #n, and one S#n (anti-Circe). All of these showed a unit toggling on and off a
square, which was fine, but nothing special. At least they got into the award.
The two series-help-stalemates (one with Circe) were the most successful, receiving the top two
awards. The stipulation fits the theme quite well, and in fact many examples of this were quoted in
the CCM pages (and even more were not). It may have been difficult to achieve originality, but
fortunately they compared well with those others I have seen. The use of Circe was a good way to
find a way to absolutely pin a line-pinned piece with the consequence of illegal self-check through
rebirth of the pinning unit.
Of the remaining problems, one was a "last five moves" retro, which was good but with probably
little originality and not much theme, one was a proof game, and the remaining one asked for a
shortest game to show the theme (not really a problem). The proof game entered the award.
Having looked at the entries for the tourney, I think the theme was probably rather general, and most
composers did not try to find something new. We would surely have liked to see something
strikingly original that would stand out, but this did not happen. It was, though, an educational
experience to judge it as I had to decide what was or was not in the spirit of the theme, especially in
the case of the H#2. Thanks to Juraj Lörinc for giving me this opportunity to judge the tourney, and
congratulations to the composers whose problems have entered the award.
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