The Checker Maven

A Plethora of Names

Today, as we present another offering in our Checker School series, you might think we're asking you to memorize the telephone book instead of learning something about checkers. Ben Boland, in his solution to the problem below, seemed intent on including the names of as many top checkerists as would fit on the page.

It's all to the good, though, as we'll see several additional settings of the theme along with a sample game and explanatory notes. But first, we ought to look at the diagram:

F. Allen

Black to Play and Win


The position is attributed to F. Allen, though as we'll see, plenty of other checkerists get a mention.

Can you name the winning moves? In any event, clicking on Read More will bring you to the full directory.

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08/25/07 - Printer friendly version
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Barker's Bounce

As each month we continue to republish Willie Ryan's masterful Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, we can't help but notice that the situations presented are, at least in a general sense, increasing in difficulty.

But no matter. We have Willie at our electronic side to explain it all. Here's one he calls Barker's Bounce for reasons that we'll let him explain for himself.

"This useful study shows how Champion G. F. Barker gave the bounce to James P. Reed in their stubbornly fought American Championship battle of 1891. Ever since that time, the losing move at A has been carefully sidestepped by all alert generals of the board.

12-163- 8 15-19---A
24-2026-22 20-11
8-1211-15 8-15
28-2420-11 23-16

forming the diagram.


White to Play and Win


A---This is where Reed took the road to ruin. The only move that will produce a draw is: 5-9*, 20-11, 15-18, 22-15, 10-26, 30-23, 8-15, 17-10, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 10-7, 2-11, 25-22, 11-15, 31-26, 4-8, etc. Willie Gardner."

Will this problem give you the bounce too, or will you rebound and solve it? In any case you can roll along to Willie's solution just by clicking on Read More.

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08/18/07 - Printer friendly version
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A Crowd Scene

We must admit that we're not all that fond of crowds (leaving aside baseball games, of course), preferring the tranquil solitude of the prairie, the desert, or the open sea. But at times, it's just impossible to avoid jostling with massed humanity as we go about our business in one urban environment or another.

Today's problem presents us with a crowd scene of a different sort, as we view a checkerboard situation where the White forces are a full three men up on the Black side, yet a win seems elusive. This unexpected turn of events is due to some severe single-corner crowding, where a lone Black king is holding three White pieces completely at bay.

Here's the position:


White to Play and Win


White doesn't seem to have a single decent move, yet the game can still be won, though it's every bit as difficult as making your way along Kalakaua Avenue on a Saturday evening.

Try to solve the problem, but if your thoughts become overcrowded, relieve the congestion by clicking on Read More to see the solution.

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08/11/07 - Printer friendly version
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Fine Summer Days

This time of year it is our wont to observe that in the Northern Hemisphere the days are long and hot, and folks are out enjoying summer. So our August speed problems this time are most definitely on the easy side, and solving them won't cut into your pool or picnic time.

In fact, just to be sure that you have plenty of time for the summer pursuits of your choice, we're setting the time limit for these problems to a mere ten seconds. Don't blink twice, you may be too late! Click on the links below to show the problems and start the clock on your ten second solving time.

August Speed Problem One (very easy)

August Speed Problem Two
(very easy)

Check your solutions by clicking on Read More, and then go back to your enjoyment of a fine summer day.

Editor's Note: To our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, who are mired in the depths of winter, we can only point out that in less than six months the tables will be turned.

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08/04/07 - Printer friendly version
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