Behind the scenes
"Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it" - Salvador Dali.
It is not a coincidence I quoted one of my favourite painters of all time. But the triggering factor was not my admiration for his surrealist works or the perfectionism to which many of us, chess players, fall victim.
In fact, there is a very simple explanation. A couple of days ago, one of chessity's faithful members compared a position he solved to one of Dali's masterpieces:
White to play and win
Perhaps you have stumbled upon the above diagram in your pursuit of excellence. If that's the case, for sure the presence of the three black rooks didn't escape your attention.
The solution is beautiful (1.Qxh7+ Kf8 2.Qh8+ Kf7 3.Bg6+ Kxg6 4.Rg2+ Kf7 5.Rxg7 1-0), as our diligent member kindly pointed out, and yet, it still couldn't take away the strong discomfort he experienced, given by a middlegame position with an unnecessary extra heavy piece. Therefore, the inspired analogy he made with Dali's paintings is completely justified: "it is common that parts of the human body are present in the least expected places; the position above gives me the same feeling: the line is nice, but there is something unnatural in it".
This is where we come in, the chessity team. Besides creating, collecting, correcting the puzzles, we also interact with our members, since more eyes are usually better than just two. How else could we keep track of thousands and thousands diagrams?! Your comments, your opinions are not only creating a stronger community or helping you figure out the hidden moves you've missed. It is also a wonderful support for us, in our quest of delivering the best possible product to (who else?!) YOU!
We are humans, we make mistakes, so we do appreciate when you point out the errors! Just accept our apologies if your chessity rating has to suffer from time to time...but we are constantly working on it. In our defence, I will say just that : perfection has one grave defect - it is apt to be dull:)
Back to our chess discussion: I fully agree that either the rook on b8 or his partner from c8 should be kicked out (by the time I am writing this, the position has been already fixed!). After all, we want our positions to be closer to reality rather than to a dream or nightmare from Dali's visions. Probably it was a mouse slip or simply a blackout...
To fully comprehend why such mistakes occur, I will give you a small sample of how we constantly try to give you the best possible working material:
Black to move and win
After a quick look (or longer, it depends) you've noticed that 1.Qb1 is not working since White has the 2.f3 resource. This makes us move on to another attempt 1.Qc2! which is the correct solution. The line continues 2.Kf3 Qb1 3.Rg6 Qh1+ 4.Ke2 Qxe4 and Black should be winning, right?! This is what we initially thought as well but then Erwin came up with5.Rxg7+ Kf6 6.Rg4!
Is this a fortress?!
As surprising as it might be, it seems that Black cannot blow up Whites defence! Maybe we are wrong, we are still trying to go deeper and deeper...but we can already avoid this by placing the h6 pawn from the initial position to h5, taking under control the g4 square. The white rook will no longer have the outpost on g4 and probably this is enough for Black to win the game. This might be a proper moment to point out that Erwin and yours truly are here to make your life more 'miserable' by taking care of the hardcore exercises:)
In another train of thoughts, by placing one piece here or replacing one pawn there, we are trying to avoid additional winning lines, to have just one clear cut solution. And a natural one by the way, both solution and position alike! This is of course not always easy and it leaves room for errors but it gives you an idea how deep it can go, that we're not simply copy-pasting puzzles from different books. Every diagram is manually selected from our games, from your games, checked, re-checked, over-checked, until the final jewel is good enough and we can say: ok, it can be published. If it will have one, two or sixteen carats I cannot say, it also depends on everyone's taste. But we do aim for high quality!
Without false modesty, I will give you an example of frustration you might collect on different solving websites:
Black to move and win
Obviously, the winning move is 1.Ne3 when White would normally resign or capture the knight. But I bet on other platforms than chessity, the continuation will be 2.Qe4 or 2.Qxb7, moves which are not only ridiculous but also the first computers choices. And this is the reason why in so many different fields, from clothes production to wood carving, the magic words hand-made have such a resounding effect on the customers:) Quality will always sell.
I am not a dreamer, so of course I know we have to work hard, night and day...Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase it, don't we have a chance to catch excellence?!