Hapless theoretician-3

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Part 3. Delimitator of logic

Foresight effect, verifying plan, fictive logical try, refutations.

Absence of a logical combination in a problem or a study is seen through its logical try.

Here are the typical cases discussed in theoretical articles:

1) there’s no logical try (no basic plan, attack);
2) logical try is fake (it does not perform its function – it doesn’t show the obstacle);
3) logical try has several refutations (no purity of aim of the safeguarding plan).

Eilazyan surprised many people by another his “discovery”: there is no logic in option combinations! He also explained that an option combination should be called foresight effect: “Logical studies, built in the form of option, violate one of the fundamental principles of the Logical school – the principle of purity of aim of the decisive move. This conclusion gives another reason not to call logical studies with the foresight effect in the form of an alternative option.” (E.Eilazyan “Masterpieces and tricks”, part 3, p.5)

A hedgehog in the fog. People have the right to think what they want, but I should warn you about Eilazyan’s intolerance. Just keep in mind that if you call such a study logical Führer Eylazyan will downgrade your composition because of “untrue declarations.”

You have probably heard a popular stereotype that a line can be called logical try only if it is equivalent and more natural at first glance than the solution. Please, don’t confuse qualitative virtues of the logical try with mandatory requirements it has to satisfy. The task set here is not to evaluate a logical combination in the study, but to check if it is there at all.


Criterion of absence of a successful logical try (basic plan) was introduced by H.Grasemann after he doubted for many years of the presence of logic in a number of chess problems he did not want to call logical: «For more than thirty years I have been preoccupied with the question of the precise whereabouts of the red dividing line between a logical and a non-logical chess problem. I get a little red myself too, when I confess that for years I knew of no satisfactory answer to this question, although it is a vital one for the new-German school. Yet, I kept on talking and writing about “logic” and “logical problems”, even though my conscience was not exactly clear on the subject». (H.Grasemann, H-P.Rehm, S.Eisert “A Cleric’s idea which made History” 2014, p.85-86)

Now Grasemann’s views are shared by many modern problemists, but there are those who don’t agree. Look at the following problem and try to decide which group you belong to.

For Rehm and Eisert this is not a new-German problem, because “although the line clearance is pure in aim, there is no basic plan underlying it, because attempts such as 1. Rc4? or 1. Ra3? are meaningless (they have no chance of success) and thus count only as verifying plans.” (H.Grasemann, H-P.Rehm, S.Eisert “A Cleric’s idea which made History” 2014, p.109)

A footnote at the same page reads: “Some are satisfied with fictive logical try 1.Rc4? 2.Kxg3 Qc7# ?? “.

This verifying plan, called in the footnote “fictive logical try” has little to do with Eilazyan’s concept of “fictive logical try”. Rehm and Eisert write: “The basic plan without safeguard is the logical try. The basic intention, which is often not playable and does not make sense on its own, is a verifying plan.” (p.105) “Logical try (showing the obstacles) and verifying plan (establishing purity of aim) have quite different conceptual functions and should therefore be distinguished by terminology too.(H.Grasemann, H-P.Rehm, S.Eisert “A Cleric’s idea which made History” 2014, p.109)

Personally, I am not surprised that there are composers who do not see a sense in additional term verifying plan. They consider it a logical try, and the problem is logical for them. I think that a verifying plan also shows the obstacle. Don’t you see it? I do. Moreover, in order to detect it, you don’t need “imaginary thought-experiment”, as Rehm and Eisert write. The obstacle is indicated by the real impossible move (Qc7).

In general, it was not convincing.


In 2002, Andrei Vysokosov in his article “Try in the artistic chess study” (magazine “Shakhmatnaya kompozitsia”) drew attention to fake tries in cooperative (his word) studies: “It is about such a construction of a chess study, when it’s Black who starts a subtle thematic play, and all their subtleties are necessary only to show the author’s idea intended for White. In this case, if Black plays at the critical moment a more natural move, the study’s solution is the same, but without a certain subtlety in the white play, which, in fact, is the main idea of the author.

The white logical combination in this study cannot be counted as realized because there is no need to calculate the logical try till the obstacle in order to understand that it’s a wrong line. The calculation was done before, when the lines of the black logical combination were analyzed (logical try – Kb2, solution – Kb1). Black’s logic is fine. And its scale is even a few moves longer than the white combination. So, is it important which side plays the logical combination in the study, when it is shown anyway? The thing is that if all the most interesting ideas in the study’s content are performed by Black, we remain uncertain aesthetically that White deserved his victory. In most cases, the decision to carry out a combination in the black play, sacrificing White’s logic, seems unreasonable, wrong.

A little later Eilazyan introduced the term “fictive logical try“. The just shown case of the “black logic” is only one of several others where we don’t need count till obstacles. Alas, he also considers as fictive logical tries with small duals, not realizing that they (order of moves, dualistic route of a piece, intermediate moves, loss of time, etc.) do not harm the logic, since they don’t introduce an additional motivation, that is, they don’t spoil the purity of aim. As a result, Eilazyan mixed up in one term real and fake logical tries. What kind of ficus is it and what do composers have to do with it?

Eilazyan assures that it has nothing to do with a houseplant: “Replacement of incomprehensible phrases by a familiar word exclusively on the principle of consonance is a feature of creativity of preschool age children. Children of school age include in this process also a semantic component. In this case, S.Didukh could rise at least to the latter’s level and, for example, come up with a slang word “fixa” (= substitute, surrogate) which is in tune with the fictive logical try”. (“Masterpieces and tricks”, part 3, p.23)

If I add a semantic component as Eilazyan wants, his term will have to be called Hank’s ass:

“If you kiss Hank’s ass, he will give you a million dollars, and if you don’t, Eilazyan will kick the shit out of you.”


The presence of two or more refutations in the logical try before the key position means that the safeguarding plan has been carried out without purity of aim. This is a well-known rule, although it should be applied carefully – maybe it’s not an additional refutation but just a permissible dual, not a destructive one.

In the study by Arestov we can see two refutations in the try (8 … Kh3 and 8 … Rd2), two obstacles (9 … cxb3R and 10 … cxb2R) and one safeguarding plan (3.Rb7), shooting two hares at the same time.

«If a safeguarding plan removes several obstacles shown up by one and the same logical try, then in order to obtain economy (purity) of aim each of the obstacles must be proved necessary in determining this safeguarding plan. This is achieved by means of different lines of play in which each of the obstacles in turn is the only one not to be removed, and thus the single reason why that line fails». (H.Grasemann, H-P.Rehm, S.Eisert “A Cleric’s idea which made History” 2014, p.109)

This condition is not fulfilled in this study. The hapless Eilazyan has probably never heard of it.

The border of pure logic was close. The refutations in the following two studies are permissible dualistic paths leading to the only obstacle – it is shown by one move.

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