The Checker Maven

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

We have to admit that last month's Fausto Dalumi problem was well into the "difficult" category. So this month, we'll feature a problem that is a little less strenuous. It was originally published under the theme "The Devil and the Deep" and we think you'll see why when you arrive at the solution.


White to Play and Win


We don't think this problem will sink you, but if you find yourself bedeviled, just click on Read More and the solution will surface.

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02/23/08 - Printer friendly version
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Overlooked by Mail

Roughly once a month, we present an excerpt from Willie Ryan's undisputed classic work of checker tactics, Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, and it's proven to be one of our most popular ongoing features. This time Willie turns to the world of postal play with a surprising game. Here's how Willie describes things.

"The similarity of formation and procedure between the preceding example (a Paisley Shocker) and the one ultimately reached in the accompanying game can be identified readily by comparing the two positions at the diagrammed stages. If there is any doubt in the reader's mind that champions are constantly overlooking winning strokes in their play, consider the circumstances in the case at hand. Two of America's foremost mail-game exponents--- Victor Davis, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and George W. Bass, of Eaton, Colorado--- played this game by mail. When the diagrammed situation was reached, both contestants muffed the killer, the game ending in a draw.

10-15 27-20 1-5
24-19 4-8 30-25
15-24 17-13 3-8
28-19 2-6 22-17
9-14 31-27 14-18
22-18 8-11---A 17-14
5-9 29-25---B 11-15
25-22 10-15* 20-16---C
6-10 25-22 8-12
22-17 15-19 21-17---D.
11-15 23-16 See the
18-11 12-19 diagram.
8-24 32-28

Black to Play and Win


A---Of course, 10-15 loses immediately by the in-and-outer via 21-17, 14-21, 30-25, 21-30, 20-16, 12-19, 23-16, 30-23, 27-2, 8-12, 16-11, 12-16, 29-25, 16-19, 32-27, etc., and white wins. Again at A, if black moves 1-5, white will win with: 23-18, 14-23, 27-18, 8-11, 29-25, 10-15, 26-22, 7-10, 21-17, 12-16, 32-27, 3-8, 30-26, 8-12, 18-14, 9-18, 26-23. Wm. F. Ryan.

B---23-18 would be no good now. For example: 23-18, 14-23, 27-18, 10-14, 26-23, 7-10, 29-25, 10-15, 25-22, 12-16, 32-28, 15-19, 30-26, 3-8, 18-15, 11-27, 20-4, 1-5, etc., and black wins. Wm. F. Ryan.

C---A safer route would be 21-17, 6-10*, 13-6, 19-24, 28-19, 15-31, 26-22, 8-12, 22-15, 10-19; a draw.

D---This is where Bass bogged down in the morass of formation. The move taken allows the thunderbolt that follows; but instead of 21-17, try 16-11*, 7-16, 26-22, 19-23, 14-10, 23-32, 10-1, 9-14, 22-17, for a draw. Wm. F. Ryan."

Don't get buried yourself. After you've tried to solve the position, dig your way out by clicking on Read More to see the solution.

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02/16/08 - Printer friendly version
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Saving the Game

In this month's lesson in our ongoing Checker School series, we learn a valuable lesson in saving the game; in other words, looking for a way to draw even when our position doesn't appear to have too many chances. Here's the position:


Black to Play and Draw


This situation, attributed to a J. Cornock, does indeed look tough for the Black side, who have little mobility and a very narrow choice of moves. Yet, one of them is good enough to save the draw. Can you find it?

Give it a try but don't forget, you can always save time and frustration by clicking on Read More to see the solution, with detailed notes and a sample game.

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02/09/08 - Printer friendly version
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Faster Than Greased Lightning

Our first set of speed problems for the year are truly worthy of the title. They both fall decidedly into the "easy" category, but as we know our readers enjoy a challenge, we're setting the time limits at record lows--- five seconds for the first problem and ten seconds for the second! We think this should satisfy everyone. Advanced players can try to sight-solve the problems in the rather strict time limits allotted. Less experienced players can simply look for the solutions and ignore the clock (well, yes, that is easier said than done).

Are you ready? Click below to start each problem--- faster than greased lightning!

February Speed Problem No. 1 (five seconds)

February Speed Problem No. 2 (ten seconds)

When you're finished, slide your mouse over and zap Read More to see the solutions.

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02/02/08 - Printer friendly version
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