The Checker Maven

A Small Change

We're making a small change to our publication schedule, partly in response to our recent reader survey. Readers thought our present once or twice a week publication schedule was fine, with most readers saying they visit the site more or less weekly.

So, in order to maintain consistency and predictability year-round, and to help manage our publication workload while still providing quality content, we're going to a permanent Saturday-morning schedule. We're dropping our Wednesday editions in favor of providing more on Saturdays.

This means that during summer and holiday periods, you'll still see a weekly Saturday article. During the regular parts of the year, you'll see at least one article and possibly two or three, as our time, energies, and backlog allow.

We hope this small change will prove pleasing, and invite your comments.

07/31/05 - Printer friendly version
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In the Grand Manner

We spent a pleasant interval at our Honolulu office, where we made quite a bit of progress on our "electronic classics" projects. But now we're back in Santa Fe, and, lo and behold! The Santa Fe Opera performance season is in full swing!

Along with the Grand Old Game, there is little that is as wonderful as Grand Opera, performed by a truly world class company such as we are privileged to have here in Santa Fe.

Red

White
White to Play and Win
To celebrate this summer's opera season, we turn, as one might expect, to Tom Wiswell, and a fine problem he captions In the Grand Manner. Give it a try and see if you don't think it, too, is world class. Then, click on Read More to verify your moves, and try out a thematically-related "bonus" problem.

Just a word of caution: today's problem is "grand" in terms of difficulty as well as content. If you solve it, congratulations --- you might wish to reward yourself with a front row seat at the Santa Fe Opera!

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07/30/05 - Printer friendly version
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The Checker Maven is Looking for Stringers

One of the most asked-for items in our recent user survey was annotated games from recent events. We've earlier remarked that delivering on this will not be easy, and so we're looking for volunteer "stringers" among our readership and elsewhere.

Now, we know that up-to-the-minute tournament results and standings are generally posted on the Checker Solutions BBS (see link at left), or on specific websites. We're not looking to compete or "double up" in this area, and we're not looking to publish games, play, or analysis without proper permissions and clearances. We know that in a number of cases, game scores are kept in reserve for contributors.

However, having said all that, if you're in a position to provide us with timely news, play, or commentary from checker events, and doing so wouldn't be in conflict with what we've stated above, your contributions would be heartily welcomed. Full credit would be given, and in return you can have any share you want of our subscription fees. (Let's see, we learned in school that any number times zero is ....)

We hope to hear from you!

07/27/05 - Printer friendly version
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Welcome to Checker School

Our May Checker Maven Reader's Survey demonstrated to us the popularity of our electronic republications of classic checker literature, and contained suggestions to publish more as time permits. In response to these requests, we're inaugurating a new series that we're calling Checker School. This will, over time, amount to new electronic editions of Ben Boland's classics Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers, and Familiar Themes. These are seminal works that prove as valuable today as they did when they were published over six decades ago. Now, these books contain much complex material, so a complete reissue will likely take many months if not years, but we're working at it!

Let's get started with a delicate endgame of a very practical nature. Class is in session!

N. Currie
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

Click on Read More for the solution, a runup to the position, and additional notes and quotes from Famous Positions.

(Editor's Note: the color diagrams will return as soon as we work through our article backlog.)

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07/23/05 - Printer friendly version
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Three Easy Strokes, Part Three

Here's the last of our "easier" stroke problems, at least in this series. Will you find this one to be a July cruiser, or something more? Solve it, check your solution by clicking Read More, and then prepare yourself --- next month's problem is going to be a summer scorcher.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
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07/16/05 - Printer friendly version
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Two Easy Pieces: Sixth Edition

Willie Ryan's classic Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, presented here in a new electronic edition, is up to the sixth installment. Here's what Willie has to say on page 16 of the book.

EXAMPLE 11
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
'The issue is clearly drawn in Example 11. The white king on square 22 has a strangle hold on black's pieces on squares 13 and 29, but the black king on square 1 is threatening to go 1-5 next, followed in order by 5-9 and 9-14, and then releasing his impounded pieces by squeezing 14-17, thus driving the white king on square 22 from its potent position. The proposition, therefore, is for white to maintain control of square 22 by preventing the black king on square 1 from effectively advancing up to square 14. This is artistically accomplished by the "shift and stem" principle. It's easy to master these tactical "killers" with step-by-step study.
EXAMPLE 12
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
And now we come to one of the most common of all tactical tricks--- the ever useful pinch play. As the term suggests, a pinch is a move that puts pressure on an opposing piece so that it cannot avoid capture, whereas in a "squeeze" play the threatened piece can avoid capture by moving to an adjoining square. All checker strategy is premised on force, carried out by tactical devices, and the pinch and squeeze are two of the most frequently employed weapons of the adroit tactician. Example 12 is a sparkling illustration of a delayed pinch, wherein white eventually forces black to lose a piece (and the game) by a perfectly timed pincer.'

You can check your solutions by clicking on Read More.

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07/09/05 - Printer friendly version
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Checker-Go-Round

Get on the Merry-Go-Round with this month's speed problems. How fast can you turn them around? The clock is running, can you solve these before your ride is over?

Click on Read More to check your solutions.

(We are always in need of speed problems. If you have any that you'd like us to publish, please contact us using the contact link in the left column.)

Problem 1. Very easy.

Problem 2. Easy.

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07/02/05 - Printer friendly version
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