What Makes a Good Chess Construct?

Chesthetica Composing Chess Constructs
  1. White (i.e. the winning side by convention) has equal or less material than Black (yet still wins).
  2. Ideally, there should be no check, capture or promotion in the key move.
  3. If White has more material than Black, there should be no pawn advances to the 7th rank either in the key move; this would be seen as an ‘obvious march’ toward a pawn promotion.
  4. If White has even more material than Black, there should be more necessary/relevant pieces, in total, on the board as this usually means a more sophisticated or complex composition.
  5. Underpromotions that are not necessary should be avoided; for instance, checkmate by promoting to a rook or bishop when a queen, obviously, would have also worked.
  6. Compositions that feature White sacrificing material (at a minimum, equivalent to a minor piece or three Shannon points).
  7. Dense or ‘cluttered’ positions, such as this one; the closeness of the pieces adds perceived complexity.
  8. Positions where White may have more material than Black but has fewer pieces; these at least tend to look like Black has a better chance of surviving.
  9. Where the next winning line is at least three or more moves longer; for example the shortest mate in the position being four moves and the next shortest mate being seven or more moves away (ideally, no other move mates at all, or even more ideally all other moves lose).
  10. If possible, there are no duals in the main/chosen line of the solution (more a preference than a strict condition); so if there is more than one white move for each black move, there is a dual.

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Artificial intelligence researcher and senior lecturer at College of Computing & Informatics, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia.

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Azlan Iqbal

Azlan Iqbal

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Artificial intelligence researcher and senior lecturer at College of Computing & Informatics, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia.