Some of the problems and study material presented in our weekly columns are, to say the least, somewhat challenging for the average player. But we've always tried to a make a point of having something for everyone, so, once again, we're "taking a break" from the really hard stuff and presenting a problem that is interesting, practical, and not so difficult.
Black is a man up, but not for long. Still, there is a very nice win on the board. Can you see it? We'd rate this problem as no higher than "intermediate" in difficulty, and we're sure the more experienced players will call it "easy." Whatever it may be, can you solve it? The truly easy thing about it: clicking on Read More will lead you right to the solution.[Read More]
Our offices are closed until at least mid-summer; we'll be checking email from time to time but may not be able to respond as quickly as usual to your correspondence. Of course, our Saturday morning publication will continue without interruption, so you can count on a fresh new column every weekend, the same as always. Just look below for our latest article.
"Fourth Position" as practiced in the art of ballet is obviously very elegant, but appears a little uncomfortable to hold on to for any period of time. The ballerina above carries it out with great grace and skill, but we'll venture a guess that she might be a little tired and sore by the end of class.
Fourth Position, featured today in our ongoing Checker School series, doesn't need to be tiresome; it certainly seems easier to master than, for instance, First Position.
Or is it?
The three variants below show that there may be more here than meets the eye. Subtle changes to the position cause completely different end results. Maybe there's something to this after all!
White to Play and Draw
Black to Play and Win
In any event, it's all very practical, as four to three endings of this type come up quite often in cross-board play. Try to work out the solutions and understand why small changes make big differences. Then glide your mouse over to Read More to see the solution, sample games, and detailed explanatory notes.[Read More]
The wicked-looking instrument in the photo above is known as a "Jackson Pulverizer" and when someone is wielding it, perhaps it is best to stand clear.
There are pulverizers in the game of checkers too, as this month's installment from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard will clearly demonstrate, and they're no less fearsome than the steel variety. Let's see what Willie says about this.
"Now the stage is all set for a ripping cul de sac, which American Champion Matty Priest sprung on James P. Reed in 1878.
A---If white tries 27-24, black goes 10-14, 20-16, 14-23, 24-20, 7-10*, 16-7, 2-11, 31-27, 8-12, 27-18, 19-24, 28-19, 15-24, and white's draw, if any, is problematical.
B---If black presses 10-14, white gets a winning game by 26-23---3.
C---This is where Reed took the wrong road. The following is correct to draw: 9-14, 18-9, 5-14, 22-17, 11-16, 20-11, 7-16, 29-25, 2-7, 24-20, 8-11, 27-23, 15-18, 32-27, 19-24, 28-19, 11-15, 20-2, 15-31, 2-9, 18-27, 9-18, 31-15, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14. James Lees."
3---We're not really sure where Willie was going with this, as the computer definitely thinks this line is drawn. Perhaps over the board it's difficult to play---Ed.
Can you pound your way through this position, or will you get pounded? We think you should give it a smashing good try before clicking your mouse on Read More to see the solution.[Read More]
Some things need to be done quickly, but they also need to be done correctly. In the photo above, our high-hurdlers need to be sure to clear the barriers, but they have no time to lose. Needless to say, these two requirements are not always compatible and can cause considerable stress.
This month's speed problem allows for a quick solution, but making a move without a little thought can lead to trouble. So, do it fast, but do it right--- we think 15 seconds is enough time for what seems like a simple 2x2 ending. Click on the link below to display the problem and start the clock. Then come back here and click on Read More to see the solution and notes.
May Speed Problem (not so hard)