Helpmates with twin by moving black king 3

Now it is time to look at arguments of other composers about such helpmates. Those, who didn't see Helpmates with twin by moving black king 1 (with opinion of Theodor Tauber) and Helpmates with twin by moving black king 2, can look onto them now.

Opinions of the following people are slightly edited, but I tried to avoid changing the meaning of their words as they appeared in e-mails.

CHP = Christian Poisson
MP = Mario Parrinello
JL = Juraj Lörinc

CHP: I am not a twin enthusiast because most of the time, a few (and sometimes a lot) pieces are useless in one of the positions. And it is of course the case when the twin consists to move the Black King. So this is a kind of swindle: it is said to make one change, but actually, there should have multiple changes.

Let's see the examples of the page Helpmates with twin by moving black king 1. In S. Seider, The Problemist 1967, 4 pieces are useless in a) (the pawns e2, e5, g5, h5) and 2 are useless in b) (Pa4 and Sc7). So, there are REALLY 7 changes between the positions a) and b) and not only one as it is stipulated.

In the last example (S. Seider, IRT 1985), 5 pieces are useless in a) (Rc3, Sd1, Pa2, c4, d4) and 4 are useless in b) (Sg5, Pd3, d4, g3). Pd4 is absolutely useless, but even without it, there are REALLY 8 changes between the positions a) and b) (and 9 with Pd4).

JL: Concerning useless pieces: almost the same is true for problems with 2 solutions - some pieces are needed only for one of the solutions - and sometimes there are the pieces not needed for solutions at all - weasels. I know it is a bit different, in fact I am weasels' fan and I agree that in more-solutions problems generally there are fewer pieces necessary for only 1 phase than in king moving twins. But it is all general matter of construction and the functions of ALL used pieces. Generally, more functions piece has, better. Of course, there are exceptions too.

CHP: It is not true : in twin problems (see the Seider for instance, but this is general), if we remove some useless pieces in each position, the problem remains correct, because there are only cook-stoppers for another position. In a (well constructed) problem without twin (and this is valid for all kind of problems, not only help ones), if a piece is removed, the problem is cooked.

Unfortunately, it is usually necessary to add pieces only to avoid cooks. If there is only one position, these pieces are useful. In twin problems, it should also be the case for each position...

Weasels are a different matter. In helpmates, weasels are usually white pieces, and, twin or not, all the white pieces must be useful in all the solutions.

MP: Let me express my point of view about helpmates with twin by moving black king. I must admit that I don't generally like them but one could object that is a matter of taste; so, we have to start from reliable parameters for judging such a kind of problems.They are:

1): is moving black king the idea of whole problem? If the answer is YES then we can not prejudicely dislike it and accept this work; in regard to that issue, I totally agree with Mr Tauber.

On the other hand, if the answer to the previous question is NO then we have

2): is moving black king not the idea of whole problem but only a technical mean for overcoming the composing difficulties? This is the most controversial point; in this case,in my opinion, we should downgrade that problem because of its artificial setting due to twin mechanism. We often see problems with such a twin by moving black king, when the composer could have composed it with two solutions or different twin mechanism.

As regards to my 2nd Place Summer Ty of Springaren 1997, this is the only work, as far as I know, showing the white cycle of moves and the so-called "Four corners theme" in a helpmate in two moves (see Feather's article Best Problems July-September 1997); this cycle can be composed only with twin mechanism by moving black king. The whole problem could appear rather mechanical, as you say, but the game is intrinsec and specific of the cycle and four corners theme and the Judge, who wrote "amusing cycle", and myself of course, liked it.

Comments to Juraj Lörinc.