The Checker Maven

The Fugitive King

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Perhaps the most famous royal fugitive, King David, is to be found in the Scriptures. He spent 15 years in exile, fleeing from King Saul. Strictly speaking, David wasn't yet a king during his fugitive years, but he is nevertheless often referred to as "The Fugitive King."

Today's entry in our Checker School series deals with a checker-related "Fugitive King" theme. This problem is reminiscent of the "Fortress" situations that we've covered in several earlier columns, although here if Black plays correctly the White king will find no refuge.

J. ROBERTSON
WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W25,22,21,17,K5:BK23,K19,K16,13.

The problem requires very precise play and the solution is not short. We certainly have to rate this one as quite difficult. But don't go on the lam; try to solve it! When you're finished, run your mouse over to Read More to see the solution, a sample game, and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/24/12 - Printer friendly version
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Thanksgiving 2012

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Thanksgiving, our favorite all-American holiday, is soon upon us, and we hope you enjoy the celebration as much as we do. Family dinners, such as the one shown above, are a holiday tradition. Can you recognize the family in the photo?

As usual at this time of year, we turn to our favorite all-American checker problemist, Tom Wiswell, for today's selection.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W25,22,21,17,K7:BK19,10,6,5,K3.

Add a few moments of checker enjoyment to your holiday. Solve the problem after your main course and before dessert. Then have a second helping of turkey and a slice of pumpkin pie. Mr. Wiswell describes this problem as "more amusing than difficult." While it requires precise play, it certainly isn't as difficult as some of his others.

When you've found your solution, click on Read More to verify your moves.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/17/12 - Printer friendly version
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Lieber's Catapult

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You're likely to see catapults similar to the one shown above in many an epic movie set in the Medieval period. They were fearsome siege devices; they would sling heavy rocks or other projectiles over a substantial distance in an effort to breach the defenses of the targeted castle.

In today's entry from Tricks, Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, Willie Ryan's classic, we present an aptly-named catapult in our game of checkers. Here's Willie's run-up and very brief description.

9-14, 22-18, 5-9, 24-19, 11-16, 26-22, 7-11---A, 22-17, 16-20---2, 30-26---B

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W32,31,29,28,27,26,25,23,21,19,18,17:B20,14,12,11,10,9,8,6,4,3,2,1.

A---"A somewhat inferior line of play---1, but the trap at B is well concealed.

B---Caught!"

1---We're not really sure why Willie calls this move inferior, as it seems to be the best move, with the computer evaluating 10-15 as slightly worse---Ed.

2---Definitely inferior to 11-15. Perhaps Willie misplaced Note A and meant to put it here---Ed.

Can you take the leap and solve this one? While you're finding the winning Black move, spring back and correct White's losing play at 30-26. This isn't a shot in the dark; it's scientific checkers at its best. When you're finished, fling your mouse to Read More to see the solutions and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/10/12 - Printer friendly version
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Really Easy

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Some problems definitely fall in the "really easy" category; they're as simple as two plus two equals ... how much was that again? Oh, right, four--- in any integer arithmetic of base five or higher, to be a little more precise. (One could argue that two plus two equals four even in arithmetics of base four or base three, but the symbol "4" wouldn't exist. And in base two, the symbol "2" wouldn't even exist. We'll stop there!)

In checker terms, today's speed problem is also really easy even if it's a cut above the trivial. You won't need much time for this one; ten seconds is way too long but because of our innate generosity, we'll give you ten seconds anyhow.

When you're ready, click on the link below, solve the problem, then come back and click on Read More to check your solution.

November Speed Problem (very easy)

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11/03/12 - Printer friendly version
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