The Checker Maven

Double Crossing

A very complex-looking double crossing is to be found in the model railway section pictured above. We wonder, though, if it's equal in complexity to today's checker problem, which, most appropriately, arises in a line of the Double Cross opening. The Double Cross, arising from 9-14 23-18, has a bit of shall we say a checkered reputation, with 23-18 being at best a weak reply to 9-14. Nevertheless, it's completely playable if you know what you're doing, but there's plenty of opportunity to go astray.

But for now, let's jump right into our position, in which White has indeed strayed from the narrow path.


Black to Play and Win


Can you find the Black win, or will you get all crossed up? Don't be cross about it; clicking on Read More brings you the solution, the run-up to the position, and the usual explanatory notes.

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03/28/09 - Printer friendly version
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Ferrie's Flourish

Fed by the clear, clean moisture of the beautiful waterfall shown above, flora in the area will certainly flourish. But in today's entry from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard we dwell on a different meaning of the word flourish, a checkeristic version which Mr. Ryan credits to James Ferrie. Here's Willie to tell us all about it.

"This time we'll look a a common mid-game trap by Worlds' Champion James Ferrie. This trap has been the stumbling block to more than a few great players. The situation reached at the diagrammed stage may be brought up in play from more than a dozen openings, and hence its practical value cannot be overemphasized. Now turn to the next page and let's examine a pretty coup by one of the old masters.


White to Play and Win


11-154- 89-13
15-227-111-5---A, 2,
25-924-20reaching the

A---No draw after this. The only move is 1-6*, 26-23 (18-14, 15-18, black wins), 6-9, 32-28, 10-14, 17-10, 7-14, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19,14-17, 30-26, 17-21, 19-15, 3-8,15-10, 21-25,10-6, 25-30, 6-1, 9-14*---B, 18-9, 11-15, 1-6, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19; a draw. Wm. F. Ryan.

2---The game is still in computer book play, with 1-6 indeed being the move to draw at this point. Other plausible looking moves such as 12-16 also lose, for instance 12-16 26-23 3-8 32-28 8-12 24-19 15x24 28x19 1-5 18-14 and Black is finished.---Ed.

B---Should black bring out his king 30-25, white scores with this surprise: 30-25, 18-15!, 11-27, 1-5, 25-18, 5-32, 8-11---C, 32-27, 11-15---D, 27-31, 13-17, 26-22; white wins by First Position.

C---13-17, 32-27, 17-21, 27-23*, 21-25, 26-22, 25-30, 22-17, 30-25, 17-14, 8-11, 23-18, and white wins.

D---13-17, 27-23, 12-16 (11-15, 26-22 wins), 23-18, 16-19, 18-23, 19-24, 23-18, 24-27, 26-23, 27-31, 23-19, and white wins."

Would you flourish in this situation? Look for the solution, but don't wither; the refreshing solution can be reached by simply clicking on Read More.

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03/21/09 - Printer friendly version
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Sixth Position

Yes, there is in fact a Sixth Position in classical ballet, going literally a step beyond the five positions known to the typical neophyte ballet student, and it's being demonstrated by our ballerina in the photo above.

In a previous Checker School installment about Second Position, we made a similar analogy to dance arts, and in making a like analogy with Sixth Position, we are just as certain as we were in our earlier installment that both ballet's standard positions and checkers' standard positions are quite unfamiliar (to say the least) to the general public.

But we would certainly never dare to lump in our loyal Checker Maven readers with the general public, so we are sure that many of you have at least some familiarity with the Sixth Position of checkers; and today, we challenge you to either demonstrate your mastery, review or relearn an old lesson, or gain new checker knowledge, all depending upon where you currently stand on the scale of checker erudition.

Here, then, is the classic Sixth Position.


Black Plays, White Draws


Demonstrate how it's done, and when you've finished, click on Read More for the solution, sample games, and detailed notes.

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03/14/09 - Printer friendly version
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Faster, Cheaper, Better

There's an old maxim well known in formal project management practice: "Faster - Cheaper - Better: Choose two." Or, in the words of that yesteryear Cambridge, Massachusetts salesman known simply as Cheap Al: "You can't have all the goodies for nothing."

This month's speed problem indeed calls upon two of the three attributes mentioned in our title, namely, faster and better. Although the problem is quite easy, you'll need to be fast and rather a better player to solve this one within the very brief allowed time. Of course, "cheaper" doesn't enter into the picture as The Checker Maven always has been and always will be a free publication. Sorry Al, but maybe you can have all the goodies for nothing!

Click on the link below to show our problem and start the unforgiving JavaScript clock.

March Speed Problem (very easy)

When you're done, clicking on Read More gives you a faster, cheaper, and better way to see the correct solution.

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03/07/09 - Printer friendly version
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