The Checker Maven

What's Your Call?

In the world of sports, sometimes a play is a really close call and quite an argument about it takes place. Today's checker problem surely falls into that category. Take a good look at the position below, with White to move. How would you call this one? White win, Black win, or draw? Show it to your checker friends and you're bound to generate a lot of, shall we say, animated discussion (we'd hate to accuse checker players of having heated arguments, after all).


White to Play, What Result?


Make the call, and then do an "instant replay" to demonstrate the correctness of your decision. We'll just give you a bit of fair warning: this one isn't so easy, and just may surprise you. What do you say?

There's one call, though, we can always make without error: it's a certainty that clicking on Read More will bring you to the solution.

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01/26/08 - Printer friendly version
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A Paisley Shocker

Our popular series of extracts from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard continues this month with a shot flashy enough to be worthy of the great Bronx Comet himself. Here is how Willie describes it.

"The idea shown in the adjoining example occurs in several mid-game structures, and belongs to the vast family of in-and-out strokes. The first move in some coups is so startling and unexpected that players have been known to fall out of their chairs in sheer surprise! This one has unseated quite a few staunch sitters!

11-16 28-24 10-17
24-19 8-12 21-14
8-11 31-27 2- 6
22-18 6- 9 18-15
4- 8 26-23 9-18
18-14 1- 6 23-14
9-18 25-21 3- 8
23-14 16-20 25-22
10-17 30-26 16-19
21-14 11-16 22-18
16-23 32-28 12-16---A
27-18 6-10 See the
12-16 29-25 diagram.

While to Play and Win


A---Gone with the wind. Black's proper play for a draw is: 19-23, 26-19, 7-11, 19-16, 12-19, 14-10, 6-9, 10-7, 19-23, 7-3. Sam Levy, Manchester, England."

Can you solve this one, or will you get zapped instead? In either case, clicking on Read More will charge on over to the electrifying solution.

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01/19/08 - Printer friendly version
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On the Edge

In today's Checker School installment, we have a position that is literally "on the edge" with nearly all of the pieces starting out on the edges of the board. It's yet another instance where you think the win ought to be clear; after all, Black seems to have real superiority here---- or does he?

We certainly don't call this an easy problem. The win is fairly long and involved and concludes with an elegant tableau, and it might be a bit of a challenge for you to find the solution. Here's the position.


White to Play, Black Wins


Can you edge your way to victory, or will you go over the edge instead? There's no need to worry; clicking on Read More will take the edge off your anxieties by bringing you a detailed solution with copious notes, and a sample game as well.

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01/12/08 - Printer friendly version
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The Bizarre World of Strokes

We haven't run a "stroke" problem in a little while, though it's something we like to do for the sake of variety on the first Saturday of some months. Today we return to that theme, and present a problem that was considered "easy" by the author.

Much as the photo above represents the bizarre side of architecture, stroke problems are certainly the bizarre side of the world of checkers. You either love them or hate them, and we think that depends in no small measure on whether you're able to solve them. Stroke problems call upon your ability to visualize long, forced series of moves. They are an excellent test of your skills, but seldom, if ever, an exercise in practical play.

So here's our so-called "easy" problem.


White to Play and Win


Could you find your way through, or is all simply too bizarre? Whatever your result, click on Read More to see the "easy" solution. Did we say "easy"? You may or may not agree!

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01/05/08 - Printer friendly version
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