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This tournament is the third in the series of finding the longest series help-stalemate with a specific final position. The first two were held by Jean-Marie Choreïn (with the assistance of Michel Caillaud for the first one).

The first's homepage being:

- [...],

the second one doesn't yet have a summary homepage, the rules can be found at:

- [...],

and the results at:

- [...].

These kind of composition tournaments where one has to maximize or minimize some specific values are among my favorites. Up until now I participated in just 3, the two above, plus the excellent Problem-Online TT1:

- [...]

Jean-Marie and Michel did a great job in the series help-stalemate tournaments. It was such fun to participate, very tough competitions though. Many competitors spent nights on them, I am not sure that it is so great for their families, friends, jobs, and social life in general, but who can resist a good challenge?! Not me at least... :-)

Thus I thought for some time about orchestrating such a tournament myself.



The tournament will last for 2 months.

Start: 1st of June @ 00:00 (GMT+1)
End: 31st of July @ 23:59 (GMT+1)

No exceptions. If one sends a solution on the 1st of August, at 00:00 (GMT+1), it will not be accepted.



- 150 to the 1st in Category A.
- 150 to the 1st in Category B.
- 100 to the first competitor who surpassses my records for both Category A and B.


The Rules

The rules are more or less the same as the previous ones, although in french, they should not be too hard to understand (please follow the links above):


The goal is to reach a certain position in the longest number of moves with the series help-stalemate rules. That is, black plays n moves, then white plays one move, and the resulting position is a stalemate for the black king. The solutions must be unique.


In the Initial position: the kings cannot be in check, no prise en passant capture, or castling is possible.


Only orthodox pieces are accepted. 8x8 board only.


If there is a unique solution in exactly n moves, there cannot be solutions in less than n moves (it is possible, yes!).


Here are the categories:

a) a category for the best solution with promoted pieces.
b) a category for the best solution without promoted pieces (in the initial position that is, one
can promote during the course of the solution).
c) a category for the best solutions without promoted pieces (again, one
can promote during the course of the solution), for each total number of pieces in the initial position. That is, this category will have as many rankings as there are possibilities of number of pieces ending in the final position.

All initial positions must be legal under the rules of chess.


To decide the ranking of the different solutions, here is the order of preferences:

a) More moves, the better.
b) Less total pieces (white + black), the better.
c) Less promoted pieces, the better (category A).
d) Date of sending the solution.
e) In the very improbable case where all are the same, one gives a number to the position as follow: pawn=1, bishop & knight=3, rook=5, queen=9, and the less is the better.
f) A pistol duel like in the old times... :-) just kidding, just kidding, it will hopefully not get to that...


On the 1st of June at 00:00, I will present the position which must be attained.


Before that date, I myself try to find good answers for each category. During the tournament, I will just say if a solution found by a competitor is better, equal, or worse than what I found (I will not search anymore after the 1st of June). I thought at first to give all my results, but that would give too many clues I think, and we (I) do not want that... ;-) Thus, just the clues of knowing how it compares with my findings, this would permit me to participate virtually, and tougher for you to find. Of course it means I will receive much more mails, but ok, I accept that...


In order to figure in the ranking of the category A, one must attain at least 35 moves, for category B, 30 moves.



Computers Implication


Computers are only allowed in order to test the validity of a solution, that is to make it C+. Programs like Popeye and WinChloë are ok.


During the course of the tournament, computers are not allowed to be used for composing (that is, to "solve" or find good solutions). It is only allowed after the tournament, even being desirable in order to see what was missed by the humans.


I will only accept C+ solutions. As this kind of problems are fast to check with the computer, it should not pose a problem to do so. The only exception is if one does not have a computer. The reason being that I may well get flooded with solutions (the first tournament had hundreds of solutions sent to Jean-Marie and Michel) and I do not have time to check them all.



In order to ease the "logistic" side, I would like as much as possible the following template to be used for responding:

My email: i_faybish(AT) (replace (AT) by @, mandatory anti-spam measure...)

Subject: Series Help-Stalemate Tournament

Number of moves:
Number of pieces:
Number of promoted pieces in the initial position:
Position in FEN (English pieces):



The Position


Short Tutorial

So what is it exactly we are talking about? Let's start with a very simple position:

Ok, let's suppose this is the final position I give you. Let's analyze it a little bit for the case of a total of 3 pieces, thus we do not add any. Then, as white must make the last move, we know that one of the white pieces is not on its initial position, in our tries. Let's move the knight at e7 to c6. Then we can move the black king to c5 giving:

We see that black king will have to make the route: c5-d6-d7-e8-f8-g8-h8, thus we have found a 3 pieces, 6 moves solution. Notice that if the black king was on d5, the solution would not be unique, he could move either to d6 or e6 on his way to h8.

Did we have to move the knight initially? No, it could very well be the king, let's move him to f2, giving a passage for the black king. Now let's move the king far away, such that its route to h8 be unique. We can move him to c1 as follow:

and again the solution is unique, and takes 7 moves to complete. Is it the best given the king at f7, and a total of 3 pieces in the position? No it is not, and as an exercice, try to find a better solution. 

Now what programs to use? I know of two such programs WinChloë and Popeye. WinChloë I have not yet used, although I heard it is very good. It is not freeware though. Popeye has the advantage of being free, it is very powerful and fast, but it has quite a complex syntax if one uses it through the command line (WinChloë has a UI built in). The best would be to use a UI program that interfaces with Popeye. I use Fancy, great tool. Its site is:


Popeye can be downloaded from various sites on the internet, but if someone knows the official page, I would very much be interested. I put in on my site in order not to take anybody's else bandwidth:


To use fancy is very simple, when you start it you have:


notice that I have written ser-h=7, this is the stipulation we are interested in. That is a Series (ser) Help (h) Stalemate (=) in 7 moves. The stipulation will always be the same, only the number of moves will have to change. Do not worry about putting more moves than truly required, it is ok.

Then you click on Popeye.

There you click on "Copy item from Fancy", then "Try Popeye", and finally "View solution". This would give you the result above, confirming our suspicions that it was correct. If you get a "command box" with lots of solutions defiling fast, after clicking on "Try Popeye", you can stop it immediately and click on "View Solution". This may give you many solutions for many number of moves, but the only interesting thing is that the one of least moves is unique.

Very easy stuff, and very fast too!


Last but not least, good luck to all, and hopefully we will have a great tournament!

For any question, you can send me an email at: [...] (replace (AT) by @, mandatory anti-spam measure...)

For some of my problems: [...]