Chasing With Your King Can Cost You The Game!

Can This 3 x 2 Gem Arise From A Real Checker Game?

by Brian Hinkle

Many checker players have enjoyed this elegant 3 x 2 problem:

BLACK

WHITE
Black To Play And Draw
Diagram 1

Black is a man up so this should be easy, right?

You may know the pretty solution that avoids First Position (if you're not familiar with the problem or don't find the solution, it's here).

But can this position arise from actual play? Probably not. But one of the natural (and losing) variations can. If Black moves

6-10?

then after

... 17-13
9-14 13-9
14-18 9-6
10-14 6-9*

we arrive at a position that can be reached from a number of openings:

BLACK

WHITE
Black to Play; White Wins
Diagram 2

The trunk line below shows how you can win with the weak side of 11-16 23-19 and the notes demonstrate several 'Go As You Please' openings where Diagram 2 can occur.

(You can download a PDN file with the trunk line and variations here.)

1. 11-16 23-19
2. 16x23 26x19
3. 8-11 27-23
4. 9-14 24-20 (A)
5. 11-15 22-18
6. 15x24 28x19
7. 5-9 25-22
8. 4-8 32-28
9. 8-11 28-24
10. 1-5 29-25
11. 9-13 18x9
12. 5x14 22-18
13. 13-17 18x9
14. 6x13 21x14
15. 10x17 25-22
16. 17x26 31x22 (B)
17. 7-10 30-25
18. 3-7 25-21
19. 13-17 22x13
20. 10-14 13-9
21. 7-10 9-5
22. 11-15 5-1
23. 15-18 1-6
24. 2x9 21-17
25. 18x27 17-13
26. 27-32 13x6
27. 14-18 6-2
28. 10-14 19-15 (C)
29. 32-28 24-19
30. 28-24 (it is natural to chase the pieces but it loses) 15-10
31. 24x6 2x9 White Wins, same as Diagram 2.

A - A new defense that arises from

1. 11-15 24-19
2. 15-24 27-20
3. 9-14 23-19
4. 8-11 26-23 ... same

and in further analysis Alex Moiseyev and I looked at

5. 11-15 22-18
6. 15x24 28x19
7. 4-8 18x9
8. 5x14 25-22
9. 10-15 (Alex's idea to control the center) 19x10
10. 6x15 31-27! (a solid move by KingsRow and Alex agreed it is sound)

B - Into a landing from the Defiance played by Yates, Wyllie, Martins and Barker in the 1870s from

1. 11-15 23-19
2. 9-14 27-23
3. 8-11 22-18
4. 15x22 25x9
5. 5x14 29-25
6. 6-9 25-22
7. 9-13 24-20
8. 11-15 32-27
9. 15x24 28x19
10. 4-8 22-18
11. 1-5 18x9
12. 5x14 26-22
13. 14-17 21x14
14. 10x26 31x22
15. 8-11 27-24 same.

C - Alex Moiseyev (White) took the natural 2-6? against Ron King (Black) at move 27 in game 6 of their title match in 2000:

1. 11-15 23-19
2. 8-11 22-17
3. 4-8 25-22
4. 9-13 27-23
5. 6-9 23-18
6. 9-14 18x9
7. 5x14 26-23
8. 1-6 30-25
9. 15-18 22x15
10. 11x27 32x23
11. 13x22 25x9
12. 6x13 29-25
13. 8-11 25-22
14. 11-15 24-20
15. 15x24 28x19
16. 7-11 31-27
17. 3-7 27-24
18. 13-17 22x13
19. 10-14 13-9
20. 7-10 9-5
21. 11-15 5-1
22. 15-18 1-6
23. 2x9 21-17
24. 18x27 17-13
25. 27-32 13x6
26. 14-18 6-2
27. 10-14 2-6
28. 14-17 6-10
29. 18-22 10-14
30. 17-21 19-15
31. 32-28 24-19
32. 28-24 20-16
33. 21-25 16-11
34. 25-30 11-7
35. 30-26 7-2
36. 22-25 14-18
37. 25-30 2-7
38. 24-27 King won.

Alex lost because he chased with his king at 27. ... 2-6? when he should have moved 27. ... 19-15 and given Ron the chance to chase with his king and lose as shown in Diagram 2!

The same theme can arise from the Double Corner as well.  Here is one of several examples found in Ben Boland's Famous Positions on p.162:

1. 9-14 22-18
2. 5-9 25-22
3. 1-5 29-25
4. 11-15 18x11
5. 8x15 24-19
6. 15x24 28x19
7. 4-8 22-18
8. 8-11 27-24
9. 9-13 18x9
10. 5x14 24-20
11. 11-15 32-28
12. 15x24 28x19
13. 7-11 19-16
14. 12x19 23x7
15. 2x11 25-22
16. 6-9 26-23, same.

Do you know of any other transpositions into this classic 3 x 2 ending or its branches?

If so contact me, Brian Hinkle.

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed investigating this subtle ending where chasing with your king can cost you the game.

Credits for help with transpositions and analysis:

  1. Hans L'Hoest's Open Checkers Archive.
  2. Martin Fierz' Checkerboard software (also used to make the diagrams).
  3. Ed Gilbert's free checker engine King's Row (which runs on CheckerBoard).
  4. World Champion Alex Moiseyev.


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This page last updated 03/30/05.


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