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Problem 289: Alexey Oganesyan - Helpmate

oganesyan(14.12.2013) Helpmate which the author named "Benefit of Bishops". Welcome to Alexey Oganesyan from Russia!


1.b1B Bc1 2.Be3 Bxe3 3.Bf5 Bxf5 4.Bd3 Be6#  

The name of this problem is Benefit of Bishops! It includes:

- Black underpromotion (in bishop of course!);

- Both white bishops take black bishops;

- Interesting replacement the blocking bishop d3 on another bishop via


Model mate.




+1 #1 seetharaman 2013-12-14 05:24
Is this also called the Phoenix theme?
+2 #2 Alexei Oganesyan 2013-12-14 15:28
It called "anticipatory phoenix" - at first there is a pawn's promotion in some piece (bishop in this case - 1.b1B) and then this piece disappeared from the board (3...Bxf5).
+2 #3 Vitaly Medintsev 2013-12-14 17:23
I suppose that there is no Phoenix theme since underpromotion is performed before capturing
+1 #4 Kostas Prentos 2013-12-15 09:02
A few years ago, in his award for the Good Companion proof games tourney, Gianni Donati used a lovely new term for this sort of "anticipatory" phoenix: Prenix.
+5 #5 Nikola Predrag 2013-12-15 15:37
Shouldn't Phoenix arise from its own ashes? Here it is first a kind of cloning and later the annihilation of the original prototype.
"anticipatory" phoenix might sound well to someone but ignoring the essence, downgrades the very point of a concept.
+3 #6 seetharaman 2013-12-16 08:25
Quoting Nikola Predrag:
Shouldn't Phoenix arise from its own ashes?

You are right Nikola and Vitaly. Should not mix up this with Phoenix.
+2 #7 Kostas Prentos 2013-12-16 21:19
I do not see why not. It certainly is not Phoenix, but there is a formal relation between the promotion and the capture of the original piece of the same type. Whether it is something important or not, it is a different story. I dare say that Phoenix itself is not a very important feature. For this type of effect, I like the term Prenix, which does not contain the word Phoenix, anyway; it only plays with it.
+2 #8 Nikola Predrag 2013-12-17 00:52
I do see why not "anticipatory phoenix", at least. Because it's wrong! Phoenix is already imprecise enough but at least it keeps the idea of a rebirth of the same (not duplicated) spirit in a new body.
I don't like Prenix exactly because it reminds on Phoenix, but I can adjust to it just as to any meaningless word used for a name.
Sell a house and for that money you buy a new one, that's Phoenix. Buy a new house on credit and pay it back when you sell the old one, that's Prenix - a loan (promotion). Well, there's obviously no difference, we are so very (mis)used to live on credit :-)
+4 #9 Kostas Prentos 2013-12-17 20:29
Nikola, for the sake of argument, let's ignore the {mythologically} charged word of Phoenix and say we have a sequence of events A and B. When A takes place before B, we have a specific theme, called X. How would you call the reversed sequence (B happening before A)? Anticipatory X (or reversed X) sounds like a good try to me.

Now, suppose you have the term anticipatory X. How would you describe its meaning in relation to theme X? A reversed order of events would be the best guess.

Anticipatory Phoenix does not mean much as a term or as a theme, but people would pretty much understand what it is, or what you are trying to describe if you use it.
+3 #10 Nikola Predrag 2013-12-18 02:53
Kostas, misuse of the words is lesser evil. Misuse of the concepts is the danger. Nowadays, people became "familiar" with too many words with tragicomic misunderstanding of their true meaning.

Place a glass under a faucet (A) and outpour 2dl of water (B). Call it filling a glass with water (X). How would you describe the term "anticipatory" X. I hope not the "anticipatory" or "reversed" filling a glass with water.

Sacrifice and promotion can be reversed just as placing of a glass and pouring the water. But when there is a strict relation cause-result (or some purpose), the possible reversibility must be carefully questioned. Phoenix burns out to be reborn just as a glass is placed before the water is poured if you want to fill it.
+3 #11 Kostas Prentos 2013-12-18 18:14
The glass example is not right, in this case. It requires an act and a consequence: The glass will be filled only if you do it in the right order.
In the case we are discussing, we have two separate events: The promotion to a certain type of piece and the capture of a different piece. This can be done in either way. The term Phoenix, requires a specific order, but both ways are possible.

What I am saying, is that if instead of Phoenix and its special meaning from mythology, we had a different name (say, Predrag), it would be easier to accept the rest. My whole argument is that both sequences of events are possible, and a name for the reversed order of Phoenix is acceptable. Whether we give it any value or not is a different story. My evaluation of the two (Phoenix and "Prenix") is not far apart; maybe a small edge in favour of Phoenix. Given a choice between naming the reversed order of Phoenix, or not. I would choose the former. Other than that, we agree.
+2 #12 Nicolas Dupont 2013-12-19 21:09
Note that it is more than a "Prenix", as the promoted Bishop goes to the square occupied by the original one. It looks better like a Pronkin and there is no more difficulty concerning the terminology as, in a Pronkin, the original piece can be captured after the promotion!
+2 #13 Nikola Predrag 2013-12-19 23:55
So, Phoenix is not the intentionally chosen word (because of the known concept) but only a meaningless sequence of letters which mark the particular theme. Therefore I propose the sequence of letters "xineohP" for the reversed order of things.

f,i,l,l,i,n,g,a,g,l,a,s,s ,... is reversible too :-)

(hm, something like "anticipatory" firing of a battery is already in use, so I give up)
+1 #14 Sven-Hendrik Lossin 2013-12-30 21:59
An interesting display. Pity that the effects are that expensive. The author must have fought a hard fight with the whole scheme.

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