The Checker Maven

The New Year Rushes In

The Checker Maven wishes a Happy New Year to all our readers! The years surely seem to speed by as we get older. But let's rush into 2006 with a couple of 15 second challengers. Our digital clock, like time itself, gives no quarter. Can you beat it?

Click on a problem to display it; when you're done, click on Read More to check your solutions.

But above all, enjoy the New Year and keep on reading the weekly editions of The Checker Maven!

New Year's Eve Speedster No. 1

New Year's Eve Speedster No. 2

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12/31/05 - Printer friendly version
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A Holiday Puzzler

Whatever holidays you celebrate, The Checker Maven wishes you the best of the season and hopes you enjoy this special challenger, our holiday gift to you.

Black

White
White to Play and Draw

W:W5,9,11,15,20:B2,4,K17,K18.

White may be a man up, but Black has two kings and a strong position. Can you provide some holiday cheer for the White side?

In the spirit of giving, here's a hint: the natural-looking 5-1 loses. Can you tell why?

Click on Read More to unwrap the solution.

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12/24/05 - Printer friendly version
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Pretty Complex, But ....

This month's stroke problem, while complex enough, hopefully is a little simpler than Schrodinger's Wave Equation. But we'll let you be the judge.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

Can you make waves with your solution, or will quantum indeterminacy hide the answer? After you've tried out the problem, click on Read More to find out.

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12/17/05 - Printer friendly version
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Key Landings

With the kind approval of grandmaster Richard Pask, The Checker Maven is pleased to present an electronic reissue of Mr. Pask's classic, Key Landings. Dealing with 25 especially important mid-game landings, this book is suitable for the intermediate to advanced player.

The content of the reissue is unchanged from the original 1990 publication, although the electronic edition has been completely reset with large, clear diagrams and other typographic improvements. The book is available for free download; follow the Richard Pask link in the right-hand column or just click here.

Our thanks go to Richard Pask for permission to republish this important work. Additionally, during the course of 2006, watch here for new editions of Mr. Pask's Key Themes and Key Endings.

12/15/05 - Printer friendly version
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Can You Escape From The Growling Bear?

About a year ago, we presented a very difficult setting composed by Brian Hinkle, and just a few top players were able to solve it. This month, Brian has favored us with another of his offerings. It's of a very different nature than last year's, but it's a real teaser, and Brian has composed a little story to go along with it.

The amazing position shown below arose in the 40th and final game of the Go Where You Want World Title Match, played in the year 2012 at the San Francisco Checker Palace.

The match was tied 4-4 with 31 draws and the defending World Champion, Run Fora King (Black) only needed a draw to retain his title against his arch-rival Al X. Noisyev (White), better known as the "Growling Bear of Checkers" for his antics both on and off the checker board.

Early in this game, King played a gambit line in the Old 14th and The Bear responded by immediately giving back the man to obtain the best theoretical position--- at least in his view.

As the midgame progressed, the Bear offered Run a useless king in the single corner on square 29, which he accepted, being true to his name. In the late midgame, the Bear pitched a man in order to crown five White kings --- his patented "bear claw" tactic --- and place them on key squares, thus securing maximum pressure on the exposed Black pieces in the middle of the board.

Under extreme pressure and with the world title at stake, Run Fora King escaped with a draw in this difficult position, leaving the Growling Bear still hungry for the coveted and elusive GWYW World Title.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,28,20,K9,K6,K4,K3,K2:BK29,26,23,22,18,15,13,12,11.

Were you able to sight solve this or did you have to move the pieces around? How long did it take you to solve it by either method?

Please send your proposed solutions and solving times to Brian Hinkle at sbhinkle@charter.net. Brian's solution and commentary will be published in the columns of The Checker Maven in the first part of 2006.

Starting with this article, we're adding FEN notation to our diagrams, at the request of our readers. If you are not familiar with FEN and PDN, a good description can be found on Wikipedia.

12/10/05 - Printer friendly version
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One Year Old!

With this issue, The Checker Maven completes its first full year of publication. We're one year old today!

During our first year, we like to think we've done pretty well. Here's some of what we've been able to accomplish.


What lies ahead for The Checker Maven? Predictions are always a bit iffy, so we'll simply say that we hope to be able to continue to publish and please for a long time to come.

12/03/05 - Printer friendly version
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Jackpot

Here at The Checker Maven, we've long felt that we've "hit the jackpot" with our more than 2,500 weekly readers and the acceptance and welcome our webzine has received in its first year of publication. To celebrate, we've turned to who else but Tom Wiswell, for a nice problem which he himself has entitled Jackpot. It's not too hard (at least by Wiswell standards) but has a neat finish that you can't help but admire. The problem is co-authored by Jack Botte and looks like this:

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

When you've pulled the lever on your solution, click on Read More to see what Tom had to say.

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12/03/05 - Printer friendly version
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