december 16 2008

Click in the right part of the chessboard to move forward, left to move backward...
or directly on the move in the solution

for this last lesson of the year, space is given to the fairy chess as it should be.
In addition to the core group, the audience was completed by 3 talented creators, including 2 Grand Masters in composition (what an assembly !).
An electronic complement of the Master is following this report, thanks to him.
The theme of the evening is the Circe rule which celebrates its 40th anniversary.

We begin with something light and very pleasant

1 - h#2 Circe 3 solutions
: Black play and helps White to mate them.
: the captured piece reappears on its original square if this one is free, otherwise it disappears.
3 solutions : there are 3 different ways to meet the statement

Markus MANHART & Franz PACHL
Diagrammes, 1994

white Qa1 Rc2 Kb2 Bf2 black Pd4h5 Kh6 Rc1 Sg6h1 Bg5d1
h#2 Circe(4+8)
3 solutions
To help you a little, there are 3 black pieces on the 1st row at the precise point of rebirth of the 3 white pieces.

Master's words


Helpmates for Daniel : an h#2 with 6 (!) solutions, in the format of three pairs. An h#5 easy, an h#4 rather difficult.

A #2 great style for Christmas, a strategic #3. A very linear (and therefore easy) #10, and finally a strange s#4 with "apparent play": this means that if White could do nothing, on each black move there would be selfmate in three. But it will be necessary to upset everything.

Another last-minute helpmate, of which Guy is co-author. A special feature : the "special problems" engine of Fritz 9 only half solves it ! One solution out of two. Will you be able to do better ?

The fairy session was largely reserved for Circé's 40th anniversary. Why on earth was this name chosen, instead of the correct term "phoenix" (or "reborn chess", as proposed by J.-P. Boyer)? Who sees himself, like the companions of Ulysses, transformed into a pig? Where is the daughter of the sun? Mystery. The name comes, it seems, from Pierre Monréal. Perhaps a simple confusion? However, problem composers have the reputation of being more informed than the "simple" players... Unless it is a "poetic shortcut"?

The master greffier will tell you about a few other oddities. I am only joining you the h=4.

Merry Christmas and see you on January 6th, God willing.



A superb McLeod to follow

2 - #2 Circe

Feenschach, 1989
2nd Prize

white Bd2d5 Ka8 Qa7 Pb2c6e3f4f5 Sh4d4 Rg2g8 black Qg1 Pa2b5h7 Kd1 Rh6h5
#2 Circé(13+7)

Great art with a few false leads that seem to conclude

a #8 from the great HP Rehm

3 - #8 Circe

Hans Peter REHM
1er T.T. Rex Multiplex, 1983
1st Prize

white Kh1 Bc1 Sd3 black Pb3a4c6d7f6g6h2f3 Ka3 Ra2d8 Sb2e7 Ba1b7
#8 Circé(3+15)

A very nice pattern for the following problem

4 - h#2 Circe 5 solutions

Gabor CSEH
Diagrammes, 1996
4th HM

white Pg2h2 Kb7 Be6 Sd1 Rh8 black Bb8 Ke1 Qb3 Pb4f7d2 Sc7f4 Rc6e5
h#2 Circe(6+10)
5 solutions
To help you : Be6 is 5 times "en prise" and there is 5 solutions

When you have one of the solutions, others will naturally follow.

A very nice exploitation of the Circe rule in the following problem

5 - h#2 Circe

1er Mémo. M. Grudzinska,1999
1st Prize

white Pd7e3h5 Kc7 Rh6 Sd6b7 Bc8 black Bg3 Ka6 Qh1 Pb3e4f3h3 Sf5d8 Ra8a7
h#2 Circe(8+11)
b) ♞d8-->e7


2 problems from the same thematic tourney
the first one to begin

6 - h#2 2 solutions

: the capturing piece reborn on its original square if it is free, otherwise the move is illegal.

Pays-Bas - SAXE, 2007
3rd Place

white Pa4c3d4g7 Ke4 Bb2 black Pe6b4d2d6f7 Kb3 Rg5e8 Sa5 Bh6h5
2 solutions
a) Circe
b) AntiCirce

The second one for the main dish.

7 - h#2 2 solutions

Gerard SMITS
Pays-Bas - SAXE, 2007
1st Place

white Pf3e4g4h7g7g6f6 Kd7 Bg2 black Bg5b3 Kf4 Qe5 Pd6b2e2 Se3c7 Rg3c4
2 solutions
a) Circe
b) AntiCirce

and now, to turn you (turnbull?) the neuron, a little TurnBull

8 - s#2 immun chess (a kind of Extreme Circe) royal pawns and non-royal king (!)
: White plays and forces Black to mate them.
(or Extreme Circe): a piece cannot be captured if its renaissance square is occupied.
: pawn with royal attibutes

The Problemist, 2000

white Bf3 Rg1 WEg7 white Royal Pf2 black Sf1 black Royal Pg2
s#2 Immun(4+2)

♙f2, ♟g2: Royal Pawns
🨞g7: non royal King
The royal pawn g2 is not taken by ♗f3 because it can not be reborn on g7

A little walk with roses.

9 - #2 with Roses
: Extended Knight in a circular way (don't be afraid, there will be an explanation after the énoncé).

James QUAH
The Problemist Supplement, 2008

white Bc7 Kb1 Qa3 Pd4d2f7 Sd6 Rf2h8 WRd1c2 black Bf8 Ke7 Qh1 Pe6a7g4 Sc6 Re1 BRf5
󼎜d1, c2, 󼎝f5: Rose

The black move Rxd1+ or any other less spectacular move of the Re1 is illegal cause of ROc2-e1-g2-h4-g6xe7

A rule that does not receive too much consensus : Variable piece

A didactic example of C.Poisson from 1993 to start with

10 - #1 with Variable pieces
Variable Piece : piece of unknown nature ("prove it by doing it" R.Turnbull)

Christian POISSON
Phénix, 1993

white Kg3 Ob2 black Kh1
b) =1

a) Vb1 mat. Indeed, this move can only be played by a R or a Q.
b) Vd4 stalemate. This move is only playable by an B or a Q.

This is the ultimate problem with Variable pieces.

11 - ser-=7 Variable Pieces
series stalemate 7 moves : White plays 7 moves in a row after which Black is stalemated.


W.: Vc5, e1 et h1
B.: Va4, a7, b5, f4, g2 et g3

and now, to relax a little bit, a great task of Unto Heinonen

12 - h=4

StrateGems, 2007

white Pb7e7f7g7 Kh8 black Qa1 Kd7 Rc8 Sb8e8 Ba3

To help you, a little, there are 4 white pawns

A small incursion into sentinels and Chinese pieces

13 - h#2 sentinels with Pao and Vao
: each move of a piece defecates a pawn on the starting square of the move
: Bishop can only capture if he has a hurdle at his disposal
: Rook can only capture if he has a hurdle at his disposal

The Problemist, 2006

white Pe4 Kf2 PAe7 VAc7 black Pf7d7g5 Ke5 Bd8
h#2 Sentinelles(4+5)
b) ♟d7=♝
🨵e7: Pao
🨶c7: Vao

In the restaurant part of the lesson, our friend Guy presented some of his compositions which, of course, are not yet in the public domain and which must therefore be removed from the report.

Finally, there are 2 problems presented by the Master

14 - hs#3 mirror Circe
: white plays and black helps him, and then, with their last move, white forces black to checkmate him.
: the captured piece reborn as if she have change color.

The Problemist Supplément, 2007
3rd Place

white Pa7g3f7 Kf2 Sf1 black Pg2d3d4e4 Kh8
hs#2 Circé mirroir(5+5)

Un digestif très léger

15 - h#2,5 2 solutions with Royal Grasshopper
: Piece with the characteristics of the Q and needing a hurdle to move. It lands just behind the hurdle if the square is free or occupied by an opponent's piece.
: piece with the Grasshopper march and royal attributes

The Problemist, 2007
3rd Place

white Pb2h3 Ka1 black Royal gh5
2 solutions
🨥h5: Royal Grasshopper

That's all for this session.
Good reading to all
There are certainly some typing problems, the greffier being a bit shaky in the hand.
See you soon.

Yours sincerely


Various hairs (or winter hairs)

after some technical problems with my mailbox, here are the Master's remarks (quite justified, of course; thank you to him)

New statement of the 1

1 - h#2 Circe 3 solutions
helpmate : Black plays and helps Whites to checkmate them.
Circe : the captured piece reborn on its original square if this one is free, otherwise it disappears
3 solutions: 3 different ways to respect the statement

W.: Kb2, Qa1, Rc2, Bf2
B.: Kh6, Rc1, Bd1 and g5, Ng6 and h1, pd4 and h5

In the 13, there is no f78 square on this chessboard, otherwise it would be known!

13 - h#2 sentinels with Pao and Vao
sentinels : each move of a piece defecates a pawn on the starting square of the move
Vao : Bishop who can only take if he has a hurdle at his disposal.
Pao: Rook that can only take if it has a hurdle.

W.: Kf2, pe4, Pe7, Vc7
B.: Ke5, Bd8, pd7, f7 and g5

(a) the text
b) pd7 = Bd7

As for the non-royal King, this is the most economical way (which I have only taken from the article, as the formula seemed to me to be appropriate) of presenting the thing.
No university in sight, therefore, the lack of precision on the pRf2 of 8 being redhibitory.

Good end-of-year festivities to all and see you next year.

Yours sincerely
The Greffier


blind hairs


I have not kept most of the fairy positions, but I guarantee the accuracy of the 3, 4, 5, 8 and 12 and I think that ...

1: wasn't there a PNd4?

8: it is necessary to specify that the royal pawn f2 can be put in check (although on its renaissance square)

13: the 2nd Black pawn is in f7.

I appreciate very much the Rnr (non-royal king) of the master-greffier. Which seems to me particularly clear in his explanations. Will he open a fairy university ?

Have a good time.

Add a comment