The Checker Maven

The Zephyr

Today's problem, a Tom Wiswell gem provided to us by Harold Schneider, was titled Zephyr by Mr. Wiswell, though we're not sure quite why. After all, the word Zephyr has various meanings such as the west wind (after Zephyr, the Greek deity of the west wind); a gentle breeze; a soft, light fabric; or something airy, insubstantial, and passing.

Surely, though, there is nothing airy or insubstantial about our featured problem. Perhaps the title was inspired by the mighty passenger trains of a bygone day that took the name Zephyr. We really don't know; we simply invite you to partake of a cool summer refresher while basking in gentle westerly breezes, as you work out the solution to this challenger.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
W:WK20,K11,K3:BK12,10,K4.

It would seem that White's position is on the superior side and that the win should be rather easy. Appearances are often deceptive, though, and it will take your best efforts to bring about a White victory.

When you've come up with your answer, breeze on over and click Read More to see how it's done.

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07/29/06 - Printer friendly version
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Mac Banks, Sportsman and Champion

Recently Mac Banks, the postal play World Champion, defended his title against Canada's Bill Carter. As reported here earlier, the match was played not with traditional postcards and stamps, but on the Internet at the turn-based Wyllie site.

Mr. Carter proved a most formidable opponent, and the match ended in a deadlock, with all 24 games being played to a draw. Mr. Banks retained his title by virtue of this undecided match.

But Mac is no ordinary champion, much as he is no ordinary player. Mr. Banks took the unprecedented step of offering Mr. Carter an immediate rematch. The return engagement will be played in September, also on the Wyllie site.

And Mac didn't stop there. As he stated in a note on the Wyllie site, "I have decided to be a playing champion and not just wait the two years that I am allotted to do." So, even before Mac has his rematch with Bill Carter, he will play a match with Irish challenger Tommy Canning. Tommy finished second in the world qualifiers and is a winner of the British mail title, and is a tough competitor by any measure. Mac adds, "If I still am champ I will play Bill Carter on or about 15 September." The match with Tommy will start on July 31.

That's three, count them, three title defenses in as many months!

It takes a real champion and a man of courage and character to step up and take on all comers without hesitation, fear, or delay. We can't help but recognize that Mac plays the game for its own sake, believes strongly that the best player should be the champ, and backs up his beliefs with action.

In doing this, Mac Banks proves himself to be a true sportsman and a champion for the ages. We applaud and admire him.

07/29/06 - Printer friendly version
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Demolition

As we delve further into Willie Ryan's famed Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, we come across still more interesting and useful positions. This month we look into A Scotsman's Scoop and Denvir's Demolition. Listen up as Willie himself explains.

A Scotsman's Scoop

I am unable to find the appended trim snare recorded by any previous connoisseur of the stroke art. It was shown to me by Paul R. Semple, of Martins Ferry, Ohio, who reports he got it from an old Scotsman. Old or new, it's a practical example and belongs in every checker enthusiast's notebook. Move:

11-15 23-18 9-14 18-11 8-15 22-17 4-8 26-23 7-11 23-19 5-9 30-26 9-13---A. See the diagram.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W17,19,21,24,25,26,27,28,29,31,32:B1,2,3,6,8,10,11,12,13,14,15.

A---This is where black bites the dust. The following moves will bring about a draw: 15-18, 19-15, 10-19, 17-10, 6-15, 27-23, 18-27, 32-7, 3-10, 26-23, 8-11, 25-22, 9-14, 29-25, 2-6, 22-17, 15-18, 24-19, 18-27, 31-24, 11-15, 24-20, 15-24, 28-19, 14-18, 17-14, etc. Wm. F. Ryan.

Denvir's Demolition

9-14 22-18 5-9 25-22 11-16 24-19 8-11 27-24---A 16-20 31-27 11-16 29-25 4-8 19-15 10-19 24-15 7-11 22-17

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W32,30,28,27,26,25,23,21,18,17,15:B20,16,14,12,11,9,8,6,3,2,1.

The stage is all set for a startling stroke, leaving white hopelessly beaten. This clever whirligig is generally credited to the late John T. Denvir of Chicago, but it was probably known and shown by other champions before he was born.

A---A losing move often made by beginners, after which there is no scientific salvation. Either 22-17, 30-25, or 28-24 will draw.

After trying the problems, you don't need to be a Scotsman to demolish all difficulties by clicking on Read More for the solutions.

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07/22/06 - Printer friendly version
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Bowen and Lyman's Double Play

We hope you managed to turn last month's Triple Play but if not, here's a chance to make a double play instead, as our lessons in Checker School continue with a pair of related positions.

In the first problem, White is a man up but Black is going to quickly even the count. How is White to pull off a win?

In the second problem, forces are even, but the White king is pursuing the lonely-looking Black men. Can you show how Black can save the draw?

R. E. BOWEN
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W13,19,20,30:B7,11,12.

H. D. LYMAN
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,20,K7:B19,18,10.

Whether it's short to second to first or some other way, turn the double play before clicking on Read More to see if your solution is "safe."

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07/15/06 - Printer friendly version
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White to Move and Draw, Again

Last time we presented a less usual "move and draw" stroke problem, and we liked the concept so much, we're presenting yet another of the same ilk. At least subjectively, though, we think this one is a bit easier, but you'll have to draw your own conclusion.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Move and Draw

W:W14,22,24,25,27,28,K32:B3,11,15,18,19,20,26,K29.

Sketch your solution, and don't erase it until you've clicked on Read More to see if everything is in line.

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07/08/06 - Printer friendly version
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Fourth Of July Race

Fourth of July, coming up in a few days from the date of publication of this article, is of course the Independence Day holiday here in the US. It's invariably celebrated with fireworks, picnics, and games.... including many a Fourth of July race.

Can you win the race against our relentless clock and solve our July speed problem? Click below to show the problem and start the clock. Our problem is a bit on the easier side, so that you'll have more time to spend at the picnic.

July Speed Problem (easy)

When you have your solution, don't lose time; click on Read More to check your answer.

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07/01/06 - Printer friendly version
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The Wild Bear Is Still On The Loose!

Brian Hinkle's ferocious bear remains on the loose (click on the link to see the problem again) with the large reward as yet unclaimed. And so, Brian is increasing the bounty one last time, to a whopping $100, to which The Checker Maven will add a free copy of the WCC Platinum computer programs, delivered to your door on 13 CDs (a $25 value).

This is your final opportunity to trap the bear and win the reward! If you have the solution, send it to Brian at once. By the first weekend of September, if there is no winner, the reward will go unclaimed. Don't let that happen! Solve the problem and trap the bear right away!

The prize will be awarded at the sole judgment and discretion of Brian Hinkle, whose decision will be final and not subject to appeal. The Checker Maven does not offer or guarantee the cash portion of this prize. Offer void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. Staff and relatives of staff of any of the Mr. Fred Investments group of companies are not eligible to participate.

07/01/06 - Printer friendly version
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