PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Discussion and analysis about certain positions.

Based on your own criteria, which problem do you consider to be the best?

Poll ended at Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:26 pm

Problem #A
1
14%
Problem #B
6
86%
 
Total votes : 7

PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:26 pm

Many years ago, there were lots of avowed checker problemists. Checker problem composing contests were not uncommon back then. The shortcomings of such contests were 1) they were slow because they depended on snail mail, and 2) judges were in short supply because most of them would rather compose than judge the work of other composers.

I believe there still are potential problemists out there who lack an adequate stage for demonstrating their skills and touting their wares. I also believe. in this computer age, we can run problem composing contests as fast as composers can generate problems, and, through the use of polls, there should be no shortage of judges.

Let's try an experiment. Assume I am the contest director, and two composers each send me an original, unpublished, setting to be used as an entry in a "problem composing" contest. Let the two diagrammed positions below serve as those problems.

Since this is not intended to be a "problem solving" contest, the solutions must be included when presented to the judges. (If you would like to try solving these two problems, try to avoid looking at the solutions, which I have tucked away at the end of this message.)

................#A.........................................#B.
Image ...... Image
......White to Play and Win ..................White to Play and Win

Here is how the contest might work. As contest director, I would try to verify that the problems are sound, dual-free, and unpublished. If they pass my limited scrutiny, I would post them on this forum in a message similar to this one.

I would take care not to divulge the composers' names initially, lest the judges be influenced by that information.

I would ask that the readers of this message be the judges by voting in the accompanying poll for whichever problem you consider to be the best. I would ask that you not be influenced by other voters, but that you establish your own criteria as a basis for your decision. I can't think of any previous panel of judges who could match you in numbers, diversity, and understanding of what collectively appeals to checkerists as a whole. Even the competing composers can vote. Voters can instantly see the status of the voting at any time.

Additional comments about the problems could be made on this forum, perhaps to explain why you voted the way you did. But there is no obligation to do so.

I would also ask you to consider entering future contests of this type at any time by sending me your entries at wjsalot@comcast.net . There would be no entry fee.

If you are, or are about to become, a composer, the book "SLOCUM STROKES" was written for you. It is free and downloadable at http://www.online-museum-of-checkers-history.com/ . On its Pages 441 through 467, there resides the collective advice of more than 20 composers from ages past.

About 2 to 4 weeks after launching each contest, I would close the poll and announce and record the name of the composers of the problems. Then a new contest could start.

One final note before opening the experimental poll on the above problems: To minmimize any incentive to cheat, there will be only a token prize to the winner of each contest. The token prize will be nothing more than the unofficial title of "World Champion Problem Composer in Contest # xxx". To retain the title, you must win every contest :P !!!

Please vote in the poll.

Bill Salot

Solutions to above two problems:

#A = *29 25, 26-31, *12 8, 3-12, *20 16, 12-26, *25 30, WW by 1st Position

#B = *29 25A, 30-21, *10 7, 21-25B, *22 17, 14-21, *19 15, 11-18, *12 8, WW

A - Not 10 7, *2-6, 7 2, *11-16, Draws

B - Now if 2-6, *22 17, WW
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Palomino on Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:05 pm

Bill,

This is something new to the forum and I like it!
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby liam stephens on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:35 am

An excellent idea Bill, and a great opportunity for problem composers to show their skills.
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Danny_Alvarez on Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:53 pm

great idea :)
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:11 am

Bill, "B" problem is better than "A" in my eyes.

For problem "B" variation "B" must be shown with small letter, not capital, because it is not thematical variation due to non economic final.

Variation "A" for the second problem must be shown under letter "Z" - false solution.

Bill, personally I like to compose 10x10 and even recently achieved FMJD grandmaster norm, but somehow due to rules and geometry of board, composing Anglo-American checkers problems didnt' grab my attention and enjoyment as much as 10x10.

Also - there is no compettion in Anglo-American checkers composing, fight, prices, norms etc

I greatly appreciate your efforts and will continue try to solve and judge all problems published in this topic.

If you want people to evaluate problems - ask them to rate it by evaluation number: 1-10 - thats what we have in 10x10 and Russian checkers composition.

Respectfully,

Alex
Last edited by Alex_Moiseyev on Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:13 am

:idea:
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:25 pm

Pal, Liam, Danny, and Alex, Thanks for the encouragement.

Alex, I am not surprised that you are already offering good ideas for improving the contest. Let me follow up on them one at a time.

1 - I like the idea of having the variation identifiers linked to the type of variation. It would help in the technical evaluation of each problem. But the system you describe is new to me. Where can I find its rules, and who else uses them? Jay has recently posted my 481-page book on his web site, and apparently all of its variations are mislabeled!

2 - You call me Billy one more time, and I'll start calling you Alexy.

3 - True, "there is no competition in Anglo-American checkers composing". But we are trying to remedy that. I note that several well known checkerists contribute problems to the Missouri Checker Association Newsletter; to name a few: Gerry Lopez, Louis Cowie, and Anthony Bishop. Let's hope they get the word. Eventually even you may dive in after you check out the competition.

4 - You advised: "If you want people to evaluate problems - ask them to rate it by evaluation number: 1-10". I like that idea too. But I don't know how to do that with the ACF Poll mechanism. Can you tell me how to accomplish it?

Thanks for the input.

Bill Salot wjsalot@comcast.net
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:49 pm

Bill, thanks for update.

Interesting thing - in one place in my post I typed "Bill" and in other paragraph - "Billy" ... why so ? :lol: Anyway - I corrected it per your request but you are very welcome to call me Alexy if you like it :lol:

Here is another idea ... We can set some prices - problems which win contest can be published in ACFB ... how about this ? I am sure Jim Loy, editor, will only greatly appreciate it.

More later on rules and solution recording.

Alex
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:22 pm

Alex,

Yes, republications of contest-winning problems would be excellent prizes. Whether to republish them I think should be left up to the editors involved. They should volunteer rather than be pressured into it.

Slocum's two major prize-winning problems were voluntarily published 18 times and 17 times respectively. They are Problems #60 and #61 in my book. They also provided Slocum with substantial monetary rewards.

We can't promise anything like that. But I think it will be fun for all.

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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:31 pm

Bill Salot wrote:They should volunteer rather than be pressured into it.
Yes, of course no pressure ! But we can gently, softly, friendly :lol: ask them.
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Re: PROBLEM COMPOSING CONTEST PROPOSAL

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:15 pm

Colleagues: The 2-week poll closed today on schedule. The proposed experimental checker problem composing contest is over. It demonstrated the concept successfully. Seven (7) volunteer judges participated anonymously. That number compares favorably with the number of judges involved in similar contests conducted during years past.

Problem B won the contest by 6 votes to 1. It was composed by George H. Slocum and published in the December 1899 issue of Draughts World.

Prablem A, the losing composition, was also by George H. Slocum. It was first published in the April 24, 1897, issue of Chicago Inter-Ocean.

They are #91 and #81, respectively, in the SLOCUM STROKES book located at http://www.online-museum-of-checkers-history.com/ . I chose them because they seemed fairly equal in quality, difficulty, and appeal.

I don't disagree with the results, although mine was the lone dissenting vote in favor of Problem A. I was influenced by the fact that Problem A had been published in 9 different columns by 9 different checker editors, while Problem B had been published only once.

Of course if this had been been a contest between living composers, both problems would have been disqualified for having been previously published.

What we need now, in order to start a series of contests for living composers, is to get the following word out.

All active, dormant, and potential checker problem composers, at all skill levels, are invited to compete for the "unofficial current world checker problem composing championship", with "possible" worldwide publication of the accredited winning composition, and retention of the title until the conclusion of the next contest.

Contestants should send their best original, unpublished problems, with solutions, to me at wjsalot@comcast.net . As soon as there are at least two acceptable compositions in-hand, the next contest can start, following the format just demonstrated on this thread.

There is no deadline, no entry fee, and no travel involved. With most tournaments under wraps for the winter, this may be a good competitive substitute for us all. (I promise Mr. Slocum will not compete.)

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