The Checker Maven

The Squeeze

We haven't published one of W. T. Call's delightful miniatures in quite some time, so this week we provide a long overdue selection. Miniatures provide much more of a challenge than their simple settings imply; they are as much a test of visualization skills in their own way as stroke problems are in another way.

The little problem that follows relies, as you might guess from our title, on a "squeeze" theme. You'll see what that means when you've solved the problem.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W31,26:BK7,3.

See if you can squeeze out the solution, and when you've extracted it, press Read More to check your answer.

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09/29/07 - Printer friendly version
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Symmetry

Checker School today brings us a problem that exhibits a certain form of symmetry; not the perfect symmetry of our photo, to be sure, but nevertheless an appealing geometric pattern. The position is credited to a Mr. Brooks, and looks like this.

A. Brooks
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W13,11,K3:BK10,5,K2.

As it turns out, reflecting our theme of symmetry, Black has not one but two ways of winning. Can you find them both?

Reflect on this for a while, but if you can't mirror the winning thought process, a simple click on Read More will flip to the solution page, which contains the answer to the problem, a sample game, and detailed notes, all courtesy of Ben Boland.

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09/22/07 - Printer friendly version
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Wyllie's Switcher Swindle

Once again it's time for an installment from one of the greatest checker books of all time, Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard. This month Willie takes us back in checker history, to a stratagem employed by Scotland's legendary James Wyllie. Willie tells us all about it in his own well-chosen words.

"It is impossible to record the historic stratagems of the world's great draughts players without including the hallowed name of James Wyllie of Scotland, father of modern checkers and the game's first full-time professional. Here we review one of the wily Scot's best-known thunderbolts:


11-15 6-10 4-8
21-17---A 22-17 29-25
9-1313-22 11-15
25-21 26-17 30-26
8-11 15-18 6-9---B
17-14 24-20
10-17 2-6
21-14 28-24

forming the diagram.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

A---The Switcher opening; weak for white. Champion Wyllie was first to use and develop the gambit, and despite its inherent weakness, he doomed many a master with the white pieces.

B---Caught! White now ends all organized resistance with a neat double-action bust-up. The correct play at B is: 15-19, 24-15, 10-19, 23-16, 12-19, 27-23, 18-27, 32-16, 6-9, 26-22, 9-18, 22-15, 8-12, 16-11, 7-16, 20-11, 3-7, 11-2, 1-6, 2-9, 5-30, ending in a draw."

Will you too be swindled, or can you find your way to the solution? Try it out, but be sure to count your change before clicking on Read More to see how it's done.

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09/15/07 - Printer friendly version
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Be a PAL

The Police Athletic League (PAL) is a venerable institution with chapters all across the United States. The idea is at once simple and brilliant: to bring police and kids together in a positive, partnership-building environment, which fosters mutual trust and respect. Of course, basketball and similar sports are prominently featured, but other activities such as homework help and board games are also on the agenda.

Once upon a time in New York City, legendary checkerist Kenneth Grover served as a PAL checker instructor. In his PAL chapter, the following Tom Wiswell problem was a big favorite. It's not too hard, not too easy, and as simple and brilliant as the PAL concept itself.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W11,13,29:B2,4,22.

Forces are even but the White man on 11 is rather exposed, and Black is about to get a king. Can you save the game for the White forces?

As always, solve the problem and click on Read More to view the solution. And, we urge you to be a PAL yourself. Support the work of your local PAL chapter and help build better communities.

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09/08/07 - Printer friendly version
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Labor Day Festivities

It's Labor Day weekend in the United States and elsewhere, and festivities of all sorts are taking place. As our photo illustrates, such celebrations have been going on for a very long time, and that's a good thing, for honoring the work of the regular guy is an important thing to do.

We'll join in ourselves by giving you a special Labor Day checker problem. After all, the regular working guy has his very own mind sport: checkers! Here's the problem:

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W26,K25,K15,K2:B24,21,19,K9,6.

White is a man down, but there is a very workmanlike draw available--- if you can find it. Labor away, and then stop for a break; clicking on Read More will take you to the very pleasing solution.

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09/01/07 - Printer friendly version
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