For any relation f subseteq {0,1}^n x S and any partial Boolean function g:{0,1}^m -> {0,1,*}, we show that R_{1/3}(f o g^n) in Omega(R_{4/9}(f) * sqrt{R_{1/3}(g)}) , where R_epsilon(*) stands for the bounded-error randomized query complexity with error at most epsilon, and f o g^n subseteq ({0,1}^m)^n x S denotes the composition of f with n instances of g.

The new composition theorem is optimal, at least, for the general case of relational problems: A relation f_0 and a partial Boolean function g_0 are constructed, such that R_{4/9}(f_0) in Theta(sqrt n), R_{1/3}(g_0)in Theta(n) and R_{1/3}(f_0 o g_0^n) in Theta(n).

The theorem is proved via introducing a new complexity measure, max-conflict complexity, denoted by bar{chi}(*). Its investigation shows that bar{chi}(g) in Omega(sqrt{R_{1/3}(g)}) for any partial Boolean function g and R_{1/3}(f o g^n) in Omega(R_{4/9}(f) * bar{chi}(g)) for any relation f, which readily implies the composition statement. It is further shown that bar{chi}(g) is always at least as large as the sabotage complexity of g.