Award of 28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

(by Juraj Lörinc)

Ecto-battery is a novel concept only as far as my try to define it theoretically goes. It was in fact present e.g. in fairy problem by Duncan Pirnie in 1944 and possibly already in some orthodox problem with en passant already before 1900. But it was regularly called either as specific battery or anti-battery, while it clearly does not share the most important effects of departure from or arrival to a line.

Therefore I was quite excited when I finally managed to formulate the idea in more-or-less precise terms in correspondence with Chris Feather, in 2009. (Well, now it is clear the formulation of ecto-battery definition is not yet precise enough in a vast fairy land.)

Anyway, the Marianka 2009 tourney dedicated to ecto-battery was successful and the present tourney seems to be successful too, at least in my opinion. Its announcement, a communication with authors and preparation of award have proved there is still good deal of unexplored space and many borderline cases. Surely even more methodological and systemical approach than mine would be necessary.

Here are the awarded problems:

[...] (see below)

Interesting tidbit realized only after finishing the award: all four prizes were taken by previous TT CCM winners. Well, it might be not so interesting after all, as there already quite a few closed CCM TTs and there were already many winners.

Finally, let me give my congratulations to all winners.

Juraj Lörinc, International Judge for Chess Compositions - fairies
Bratislava, 10/2010-1/2011

Dmitry Turevsky
3rd Commendation
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

1.Gg2+ Kf2 2.Gxe2(Ge8) Ge1+ 3.EQc1 Gb1 4.EQg3 Kf3 5.Gg4 Kxg3(EQg1)#

Ecto-battery is just a small final point here, the triplet of round-trips being in the center of the content.

h#5 (2+3)
1+1 grasshopper, 0+1 equihopper

Brian Stephenson
2nd Commendation
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

1.f3! th. 2.fxe4#
1...Qe2 2.TRxe4-e3# (2.NExe4-d3+?, 2.TRxe4-d4+?)
1...Qc2, Qb1 2.NExe4-d3# (2.TRxe4-d4+?, 2.TRxe4-e3+?)
1...Qc4 2.TRxe4-d4# (2.TRxe4-e3+?, 2.NExe4-d3+?)

There simply should be a direct problem in the award, shouldn't be? Besides the ecto-battery mates also the dual-avoidance mechanism merits an attention. White has to arrive on the line Qxx-e4 to prevent reblocking of e4.

#2 (11+6)
2+0 triton, 2+1 nereide

Pierre Tritten
1st Commendation
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

1.Sg3 Qe4 2.Kg4 Rxd1(Rh1)#

1.Qc1 Rg4 2.Ke4 Qxh1(Qd1)#

In spite of a quite simple position it is not so simple mechanism. There are moves by white pieces over squares entered by bK. Two Circe square are vacated reciprocally, once by departure of a black piece, once by ecto-battery. 1.Sg3 is blocking move, while 1.Qc1 is a move with no positive arrival motif, with choice motivated by negative motifs elsewhere.

h#2 (3+7)

Bojan Basic
Special HM
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

White starts
1...Sd6 2.exd1 Qxc7(d1R)##
1...f8 (Sc5?) 2.e1 Qxe5(e1B)## (3.Rxe5(f8Q)??? Qxe7!)

Black starts
1...Bd3 2.fxg8 Bxf4(g8S)##
1...e1 (b3?) 2.f8 Bxc3(f8Q)## (3.Rxc3(e1B)?? Bxd2!)

Single box type 2 pawns on the promotion rank could be a very special type of ecto-battery. Is it ecto-battery or not? If we compare that to the joker scheme, we can seen that here it is irrelevant which piece makes final move, it is rather the nature of the captured piece determining the new movement of the pawn. Even if borderline case again, I would tend to see this as ecto-battery. Of course AUW.

h##1,5 (11+11)
Single box type 2
2.1.1, duplex

Mario Parrinello
3rd HM
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

a) 1.RLxd2-d3+ Kc5 2.RLxd6-d7 Nd6 3.BLxb6-c7+ Kd5 4.BLxd6-e5+ Qxd7#

b) 1.BLxf2-e3+ Kd5 2.BLxb6-a7 Nb6 3.BLxd6-c7+ Kc5 4.BLxb6-a5+ Rxa7#

The first out of four very good Mario's hs#s in the award and it was indeed difficult to order and rate them as they are very close to each other as far as ecto-battery and overall content is concerned. The merit of this position is in the double ecto-battery use in both the 3rd and 4th white moves - but not in the mate. (Naturally) echo diagonal-orthogonal.

hs#4 (8+12)
1+0 rook locust, 3+0 bishop locust
0+2 nightrider
b) a5 -» e5

Mario Parrinello
2nd HM
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

a) 1.Kb5 BLxg5-h6+ 2.Sg5 Qa3 3.Lxe6-f7+ BLxg5-f4#

b) 1.Kb4 RLxd6-c6+ 2.Sd6 Ra5 3.Lxf4-g4+ RLxd6-e6#

Here we can see three moves by locusts in both solutions and all of them are a kind of ecto-battery. Well, at the first sight. But the main point of the first black move is to leave the nightrider line g2-d8 and an additional locust capture on the same square is expected. So we are back to two important ecto-batteries - but they are closer to hs# idea - white ecto-battery check is countered by black ecto-battery move. The place of a problem is finally decided by the quite static approach to attacking black king - net aroung him and the checking line including position of wN are unchanged. I admit it is quite minor issue - but let's see the following two problems...

hs#3 (9+9)
nightrider g2, 1+1 locust
rook locust e6, bishop locust f4
b) g5 -» d6

Mario Parrinello
1st HM
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

a) 1.Se7 BLxf7-e6 2.Sf5 BLxf5-g4 3.Bh5 BLxf3-e2+ 4.Bf3+ BLxf3-g4#

b) 1.Sd4 RLxf7-f6 2.Se6 RLxe6-d6 3.Bf7 RLxd5-d4 4.Bd5+ RLxd5-d6#

Every single black move opens the line by an ecto-battery (altogether 2x4). To set up the final one, White builds bridges on f5 and e6 for black locusts, temporarily additionally closing the future mating lines. That is quite thematical strategy and I like it a lot. However as a result we get somewhat dry play with series-mover feel.

hs#4 (12+8)
rook locust f8, bishop locust g8
b) f2 -» c4

Manfred Rittirsch
Special Prize
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

a) 1.Qe7 d4 2.dxe3(e2)+ Kxe4(Ke8) 3.e4 0-0#

b) 1.Qe7 Be6 2.dxe6(e2) Kxg4(Ke8) 3.e4 0-0-0#

If the special HM is a kind of weird, this problem must be super-weird. And it is!

What is the mechanism of the final four half-moves? The second white move (W2) is legal in spite of the visually apparent mutual paralysis of pawns as both potential rebirth squares are blocked. This also allows capture by bK in B2, as wQ cannot leave e7 due to Isardam. W3 is in both cases pawn double-step e4+ switching on the final mechanism forcing the castling. What happens after W3? There is no check to bK yet as white pawn on e4 would be paralysed if wQ has left e7. But any move B3 removes this paralysis and thus it would suddenly leave bK in check from wQ. So now what? The solution is: castling! This is the only move allowing bK to escape from check. And that's it. Weird enough?

But this is by far not everything. There are two more points worthy of mention. The first: where is an ecto-battery? It is there, but only in a special sense. The key lies in the official FIDE rules, saying that a castling counts as a single move of the king. So it is not the move of the rook, which is in fact moved only as a consequence - and thus we have the rook leaving corner by the way as a consequence of the king move. One might argue that it is ecto-battery de iure, even if it is battery de facto.

The second point: castling legality. It is questionable and it depends on the interpretation of orthodox terms in the fairy field. Loosely speaking, besides other conditions, castling is illegal in check and if the square passed by the king is attacked by opposite side. Is it this case? Surely it is arguable, as even the solving program (WinChloe) recognizes the move W3 as check (probably taking into account that temporary paralysis disappears by any move made after W3) - it is probably also the reason why WinCloe claims no solution to the problem. Also the attack on passed-by square could be questioned - just think analogously about white grasshopper on d8 - attacks f8 over Ke8, but does not prevent Kf8 - or white moa on d7 - does not attack f8 due to Ke8, but prevents bK from moving there. One might even say that Qe7 does attack f8...

Anyway, as we are clearly in the true gray zone, I am gladly accepting the author's intepretation of all questionable points. Truly unusual showing of ecto-battery!

hs#3 (7+11)
Isardam, Anticirce
b) turn the board 90 degrees anticlockwise

Mario Parrinello
3rd Prize
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

a) 1...RLxg4-h4+ 2.RLxe4-f4 Bb4 3.Lxc8-b8 Kc4 4.Lxb4-b3+ RLxf4-e4#

b) 1...RLxg2-h2+ 2.BLxe3-f2 Sb6 3.Lxc3-b2 Kc5 4.Lxb6-b7+ RLxf2-e2#

This helpselfmate by Mario is the best of four in my opinion. Ecto-battery against ecto-battery on the final moves - check. Dynamic mating nets of wK - even if symmetrical - check. Dynamic mating nets of bK - strong check. Note multiple exchanges of functions between both white (BL-RL) and black (RL-RL, L-BL, S-B) pieces. Also the economy of force is excellent.

hs#3,5 (8+10)
1+1 locust (h8), 1+1 bishop locust (a7)
1+2 rook locust
b) e4 -» e3

Michal Dragoun
2nd Prize
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

1.Lxd7-d8 ROLxc3-b5 2.hxg4 ROLxb3-c5#

1.Lxb2-a1 ROLxb3-c5 2.Ge2 Lxd3-d4#

1.Lxb6-b7 Lxd3-d4 2.ROLxg4-f2 ROLxc3-b5#

Three black locusts pin three white locusts on the 1st rank from behind the wK. One of them leaves in the first move, the other two are subsequently captured by the unpinned white pieces. This already gives two important thematical features: double ectobattery with regard to the 3rd rank (wGa3 gives check in mates) and cycle of white moves. The not yet mentioned second black move is simple blocking. Note the virtuous way of dealing with potential flights e2, e4, f2, g3 and g4 thanks to the geometry of rose locusts. The only reservation, perhaps too narrow, is the fact that ecto-batteries are repeating. (I have commited this "sin" in the past too...)

h#2 (12+9)
1+1 grasshopper, 1+3 locust
3+2 rose locust

Imre Kirchner
1st Prize
28th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 10.10.2010

1...NAe7 2.PAf7 PA6c7 3.NAd5 VAxf7(VAf8)#

1...PAc2 2.PAf5 VAb1 3.LEg3 NAxf5(NAf8)#

1...VAd5 2.PAf6 NAb4 3.VAd6 PAxf6(PAf8)#

Another cyclic idea. While there is only one ecto-battery in each solution, the clear advantage in comparison with the 2nd Prize is in the variety of ecto-battery lines. There is complete cyclic change of functions of three white Chinese pieces (mating, hurdle for mating pieces, hurdle for PAc8 by means of antibattery with rebirth after capturing ecto-battery) and a good deal of analogy in the black play - in B2 bPA arrives at the future mating line, while in B3 the moving piece utilizes line opened by bPA for move to a hurdle position for the mating move. I have been deliberating for a long time the order of two top problems in my view and finally I have decided to reward the ingenious way of construction of the three different ecto-batteries out of nowhere.

h#2,5 (10+8)
1+1 nao (h3), 0+1 leo
3+2 pao, 1+1 vao (a2)

Duncan Pirnie
The Fairy Chess Review 1944

1.Rc1! zz
1...Kc4 2.Lxc2-b1#
1...f2 2.Lxf2-f1#
1...Lxd6-e5+ 2.Lxe5-d5#

Three mates by one locust, the first one is a standard ecto-battery. Oh, those years of the first toying with unexplored basic fairy elements...

#2 (7+4)
1+1 locust

Juraj Lörinc
2nd Commendation
H.P.Rehm 60 JT 2003-04

1.Kd7! zz
1...e3 2.EQxd5(EQd8) A [th. 3.Kxc6(Ke1)# B] (2.Kxc6(Ke1)? NKf1! - block of wB circe square)
1...d4 2.Kxc6(Ke1) B [th. 3.Sxe4(Sb1)# C] (2.Sxe4(Sb1)? NKe2! - providing flight at b8)
1...c5 2.Sxe4(Sb1) C [th. 3.EQxd5(EQd8)# A] (2.EQxd5(EQd8)? NKxa6(NKa1)+! - check)

Example of now so called Reeves cycle in variations of a threemover. After the key there is no threat, White just waits for one of black pawns to move down. The idea is easy - two following captures on the long diagonal then activate bBg2 to the black king. However, the order of captures is important and the cyclic dual avoidance with varied motifs is brought into action. I still like it a lot and perhaps more than the judge - jubilee.

#3 (5+14)
Anticirce type Cheylan
1+1 equihopper, 0+6 nightrider kangaroo

Comments to Juraj Lörinc.
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