The Checker Maven

SQL Injection

The Checker Maven was subject to another cyberattack: our checker postcard site was mildly defaced. It seems that, unknown to us, the postcard software we use had a certain flaw which allowed a type of attack called "SQL injection." We won't bore you with all the technical details; suffice it to say that we've restored the site to normal and patched up our software to hopefully avoid such problems in the future.

More importantly, we do need to (someday!) redo our postcard site. While we think it's a great feature, it relies on the postcard recipient clicking on a link to our site to see their postcard. Unfortunately in today's world, clicking on links to sites that are unfamiliar (and we admit that not quite everyone knows about our site, at least not yet!) can be very risky. So when we redo the site, we'll provide a postcard mechanism that won't require anything more than opening your email.

02/28/07 - Printer friendly version
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Ace in the Hole

Today we bring you a checker problem that's a little bit easier than some others; it's called "The Ace in the Hole" and is by E. A. Jones. It's really more in the nature of a study or a lesson.

In the position below, forces are even, but the Black king seriously threatens the two White men. To get a draw, White will indeed need an "ace in the hole." If you were a betting person, which side would you take?

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:WK3,17,22:B1,5,K30.

Find out for yourself by solving the problem; is there an Ace in the hole or just a losing low card? A sure bet, though, is clicking on Read More; that's guaranteed to bring you the answers.

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02/24/07 - Printer friendly version
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Always Read the Fine Print

Preparing articles for our ongoing Checker School series is something we find fascinating, if a bit time-consuming; the hours rush by almost unnoticed. We first find an interesting classic position, usually, as is the case today, from Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. Then we work through the position, games, and notes, knowing that if we ourselves can understand the play, the average checkerist will easily do so as well. Finally we check the solutions with the computer--- interesting discoveries are often made that way--- and add our own explanatory notes, amplifying on those things which Mr. Boland found obvious but we, with our far lesser skills, did not.

The offering below is one of those in which you really must read "the fine print" to benefit fully. Mr. Boland's notes were a bit less complete than usual, and there is much worthwhile play and answers to puzzling questions in the variants and branches. Let's look at the problem:

E. McMILLAN
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W29,14,K2:B8,5,1.

White clearly has the upper hand, but how to stop the Black man on 8 from crowning and evening things up--- without releasing the men in the double corner? Finesses abound in this position and it takes precise play to gain the win.

Solve it yourself, and then be sure to read the fine print, easily accessible by clicking on Read More.

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02/17/07 - Printer friendly version
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ACF Announces Five Thousand Dollar Youth Prize

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It's been said that practically no one has made a living at checkers, and those few that did found that living to be pretty slim.

We're not saying that this has all changed now, but thanks to the great generosity of an anonymous donor, Big Money has come to youth checkers!

This year's Arther Niederhoffer Youth Tournament, to be held in Las Vegas at the Plaza Hotel on July 21 and 22, offers a five thousand dollar first prize to the winner of the top section. That's no misprint; the top prize is five thousand dollars in the "Expert Youth" group, intended for ages 16-21. Clocks will be used and games recorded, just like they do uptown.

If you're in the age range listed and have what it takes (or you know someone who qualifies), you won't want to miss this incredible event, with a cash prize the likes of which youth checkers has never seen.

More information can be found on the American Checker Federation website.

02/17/07 - Printer friendly version
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The Block Game

It's been a little while since we searched our admittedly disordered and dusty library for a Tom Wiswell gem, and we've frankly missed the pleasure and enjoyment that his problems infallibly deliver. Finally, this week we did a little reorganizing of our offices, and we happily came across a fine (and long-overdue) example of Mr. Wiswell's incomparable art.

Here, then, is a situation which is based on actual play.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK21,28,31:B4,19,K32.

The title of our article, which is congruent with Mr. Wiswell's title for the problem, is a pretty obvious hint. But nonetheless, the problem isn't necessarily all that easy.

Spend a little time trying to stack up the solution, but if your mental processes are blocked, clicking on Read More will cause the answers to tumble into your lap.

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02/10/07 - Printer friendly version
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Two Little Cuties

For our February speed problem offerings, we present two little cuties; a pair of rather easy problems with charming solutions, at least in our humble opinion. We hope you agree. Give them a try; but remember, our relentless timer won't allow you to solve them at a crawl! Fifteen seconds each is all the time you have.

Speed Problem One (rather easy)

Speed Problem Two (easy enough)

However, if you don't solve them in time there is no need to do a diaper change--- clicking on Read More will bring you the solutions without fuss, muss, or mess.

[Read More]
02/03/07 - Printer friendly version
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