Fairy problems are as old as chess itself. Even the early arabic manuscripts show losing problems (modern selfmates) and special conditions
(pawns don't move, mate only with a given piece, etc.). A larger and thematically consistent production has only been born in the early
The following list is a short summary of the kind of problems popular today with some considerations and a first rough idea of Eteroscacco's plans for
Orthodox direct mates and endgames
Never on this site, by definition!
Fairy direct problems
A popular and interesting type. We will have formal and thematic tourneys. To remember Eteroscacco historical merit
I present of the very first Madrasi problems. The author is A. J. Karwatkar who invented
Madrasi chess, the problem was published in Eteroscacco at the end of 1979.
A. J. Karwatkar Eteroscacco 8 Ott-Dic 1979
This is a twin problem with an uncommon discriminant i.e. the type of chess. Twin a) is an orthodox 3-mover,
whose solution is 1. Ra3, a4 2. b:a4+ Ka5 3. Bb4#. Twin b) is another 3-mover but using the Madrasi condition.
Solution is 1. Rb4+! a:b4+ and now White can defend with 2. a4!. The two pawns are now paralysed
for half a move. 2... Ka5+ (now Pb4 gives check!) and 3. Bb4#. The orthodox solution does not work because
2. b3:a4 is illegal in Madrasi. The en-passant rule is not really logical (2. a4 doesn't check but King must move out of check!) and
is mostly used for amazing stalemate position.
a) #3 (orthodox) b) #3 Madrasi
Another example, taken from the early issues of Eteroscacco, is of direct Progressive chess problem.
Progressive problems are a not so explored field but really interesting. After the two thematical tourneys of twenty years ago, they are
at all effects disappeared. Pigheaded as we are, we're going to propose them again.The classical example from the first tournament by the late Adriano
A. Chicco 1° TT Eteroscacco - 1 prize
1. h3! threat N:b4 Nd5 Nc3#. As the key and the mating move are of different length the key
carries a threat and is a waiting move at the same time! Black defences are:
2. Bc5 B:d4 (controlling c3) 3.S:a5 K:b4 Sc5# (d:c5? B:c5? illegal for selfcheck)
2. Sf7 Se5+ 3. f:e5 d5 Bf5# 2. Sd7 Se5+ 3.d:e5 f5 Bd5# (using self-pin of Rh4)
2. Rh5 R:g5 3. Sd8 Sf7 S:g5#
This an almost virgin land and it's probably worth exploring. Very few examples, among which
Klüver and Fabel's is very well known.
Hans Klüver, Karl Fabel Fairy Chess Review 1947
1. Ke4! Qd8 (after any other move the white King put itself en prise)
2. Kd4 and wins
Presently the most popular type, normally considered completely orthodox; for the time being we're not dealing with them,
when the editorial staff will amount to dozens of people ... we'll see!
Also very popular, we will organize thematic tourneys or long helpmates tourneys (twomovers are really overworked!).
Let's start with one of the most popular type today: a variation of Circe
known as anticirce, in which it is the capturing piece that is reborn.
The example below is by an old friend that has left us.
Luigi Vitale The Problemist Supplement 1997 - commend
This a field less and less popular, unfortunately. Twomover is almost dead; good problems are today from 4-moves on.
Also not so popular, we will try and find something interesting.
and all the rest!
Obviously this is an unlimited field. since its birth Eteroscacco proposed new variations or variation that are by far more
popular as OTB play (like Losing Game, Progressive chess etc.). In recent years the Japanese composers propose a new variation
at the PCCC meetings. In 2005 in Eretria the new type was Southern Chess: when a piece has one of the same color behind, it
takes the movement of that piece (and loses its own). A pawn cannot move to its first rank and a piece on the third with a pawn behind
can't make a double-step move. Behind means one rank less on the same column.
Uri Avner Sake TT - Eretria 2005 - 1° prize
1. Rd2! threats 2.Bh3+ (Bd3 moves like Rd2 and check comes from Ph4 that moves like Bh3)
that can be defended only by 2 ... g6:h4# (mate by the Bh7).
Black defends by moving Sg7 (that moves like a Queen) so that after 2.Bh3+ the Pg6 could not take Ph4.
1. ... S:f6 2. Qa6+ R:a7#
1. ... Sh6 2. Sc3+ S:d2#
1. ... Sf8 2. Se3+ Kf3#
A masterpiece to be thoroughly analyzed to fully understand the mechanism of this new variation.
s#2 Southern Chess
Today it's better to divide into two areas; classical retroanalysis (unfortunately less common every day) and proof games
(more and more popular). The example below is by a composer who published his first fairy problems in Eteroscacco and is
now the only Italian International Master and world vice champion in helpmates.
Mario Parrinello Probleemblad 1999
1. e3 b5 2. Se2 b4 3. Sec3 b3 4. Ke2 b:a2 5. b4 a:b1=Q 6. b5 Q:a1 7. Sb1 Qe5
8. c3 Qg3 9. h:g3 f6 10. Rh4 Kf7 11. Ra4 Ke6 12. Ra1 The problem shows Ceriani-Frolkin theme (a pawn promotes and is later captured) and
the inversion of two pieces (Ra1 was originally in h1 and Sb1 was originally in g1).
We will give attention to retroanalysis of our games (e.g. Losing Game, Progressive etc). I'll try to revive
the column EteroRetro that I started so many years ago.
The first example is an amusing reworking of a classical orthodox retro by Michel Caillaud using
Andernach chess where a piece (not a king) that captures change its color (or better
takes the opponent color).