The Checker Maven

4th of July Special

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Every year we say the same thing: we love celebrating the Fourth of July, America's birthday. We are proud to be American patriots, and invite our American readers to celebrate along with us.

Similarly, every Fourth of July we turn to a man who served America with honor and distinction, Mr. Tom Wiswell. This year, we present a situation from one of his matches with Millard Hopper, yet another patriot and, like Mr. Wiswell, a champion go-as-you-please player.

Here's the situation.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W32,30,27,25,24,22,17,14:B18,15,10,8,7,5,3,2.

It's quite a complex situation but the draw is there and you can work it out with some effort. Find the solution and then celebrate by clicking on Read More to check your answer and to see the transcription of the full game.20050904-symbol.gif

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06/28/14 - Printer friendly version
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Bristol Broadside, Part 2

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In this month's installment from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard we continue with his exposition on the 11-16 Bristol opening. For the run-up to the play below, see our previous column. The notes are in Willie's own words.

Variation 1

"14-18---A 27-23---E 18-27 32-16 7-10 31-27 10-19 16-12 (see diagram)

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,29,28,27,26,25,21,20,12:B19,9,8,6,5,4,3,2,1.

A---In the Stewart-Banks world's title match of 1922, Stewart tried 19-23 here and brought about a draw. This line is very old and was widely used before Champion Stewart appeared on the scene. It may be rightly classified an American innovation, as W. R. Barker was the first to play it, in a match with Wyllie in 1874. Two decades later, Willie Gardner sprang it on Wyllie in the second England-Scotland team match of 1894, winning with the black pieces. The following model play will assist the student in securing a working knowledge of the feature points of the 19-23 line:


19-23 25-22 9-13 25-22 13-17 drawn.
26-19 6-10 22-18 11-15 21-14 Robert
7-11 27-23---C 8-11 30-26 10-17 Stewart
15-10---B 11-15 18-9 15-24 23-19 vs.
6-24 32-28 5-14 22-18 24-28 Newell
28-19 15-24 29-25 3-7 19-16 Banks.
1-6 28-19 4-8 18-9 17-21;

B---An excellent alternative for the draw, and one that we consider equal to the text is: 28-24, 11-18, 19-15, 2-7, 30-26, 7-10, 32-28, 10-19, 24-15, 3-7, 27-24, 9-13, 26-22, 5-9, 24-19, 18-23, 19-16, 8-11, 15-8, 4-11, 16-12, 23-26, 12-8, 26-30, 28-24 (8-3, 14-17*, 21-5, 30-21, 3-10, 6-15, will earn the draw), 7-10, 8-3, 11-16, 20-11, 14-18, 22-15, 10-28, etc. James Lees. Again at B, we tried the Lees' way (28-24) against Arch Henshall, a strong amateur from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and almost lost when Henshall made a three-point landing in our king row like this: 28-24, 11-18, 19-15, 9-13 (Arch didn't know Lees' play, but his 9-13 looks good), 24-19, 5-9, 27-24, 18-23, 15-10 (if 25-22 is used, 8-11 is correct), 6-15, 19-10, 14-18, 25-22, 18-25, 29-22, 9-14, 20-16, 14-18, 22-15, 23-27, 32-23, 8-11, 15-8, 3-28, 23-19, 28-32, 19-16, 32-28,16-11, 28-24, 10-7, etc., a draw.

C---Safer for a draw than 19-16, 11-15, 16-12, 8-11---D, 27-23, 3-7, 12-8, 14-18, 23-14, 10-26, 30-23, 11-16, 20-11, 7-16, 8-3, 15-18, 23-14, 9-18, 21-17, 5-9. Willie Gardner.

D---9-13, 30-26, 8-11, 27-23* (better than 26-23, 3-7*, 23-18, 14-23, 27-18,15-19,12-8,11-16, after which black is strong, though white can still size the draw with careful play), 2-6, 31-27, 4-8, 29-25, 5-9, 32-28, 15-18, 22-15, 11-18, 26-22, 10-15, 28-24, 8-11, 23-19, 6-10, 19-16, 3-7, 12-8, 18-23, 27-18, 14-23, 8-3, 9-14, 3-8, 14-17, 21-14, 10-26, 8-3, 7-10, 16-7, 26-30; a draw. J. Macfarlane.

E---Equally good for a draw is: 21-17, 9-13, 17-14*, 6-10, 15-6, 1-17, 27-24 (safer than 25-22, 18-25, 30-14, 2-6, 29-25, 8-11, 27-23*, etc., which also produces the draw), 19-23---F, 26-19, 8-11---G, 25-22,18-25, 30-14, 2-6, 29-25, 6-9, 25-21, 9-18, 20-16, 11-27, 32-14, 4-8, 19-15, 8-11, 15-8, 3-12, 31-26, 12-16, 26-22, 16-20, 22-18, 13-17, 18-15. Hugh Henderson vs. A. B. Scott.

F---A fool-proof safe line to a draw is: 5-9, 24-15, 17-22, 26-17, 13-22, 32-27, 8-11, 15-8, 4-11, 28-24, 7-10, 24-19, 3-8, 25-21, 9-13, 21-17, 11-15, 20-16, 15-24, 27-20, 8-11, 16-7, 2-11, 30-26, 11-15, 20-16, 15-19, 26-23, 19-26, 29-25. Melvin E. Pomeroy.

G---18-23, 31-26, 8-11, 19-16, 17-21! (Pomeroy notes this as a Chicago "special" that improves on published play by 4-8, 26-19, 8-12 etc.), 26-19, 13-17!, 32-27*, 2-6*, 16-12, 4-8!, 19-15, 11-18, 25-22, 17-26, 30-14, 6-10, 24-19, 10-17, 19-15, 17-22, 20-16, 22-26, 27-24, 26-31, 24-20, 7-11, to a draw. Melvin E. Pomeroy."

In the diagram above, can you find the move to draw? Willie showed one of them, but there are actually two. Can you find them both? When you're ready, click on Read More to see the solutions.20050904-symbol.gif

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06/21/14 - Printer friendly version
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Famous Shots VIII

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Our Checker School series continues its presentation of famous shots as set forth by Ben Boland in his classic Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. These are shots that experts should already know and hopefuls should learn.

There are a few questionable moves in the run-up to today's shot, but nonetheless this one is seen over the board from time to time.

11-15 23-19 8-11 22-17 9-13 17-14 10x17 21x14 15-18 19-15 4-8 24-19 6-9---A 15-10---B 13-17---C 19-15---D 17-21 28-24 11-16---E

A---6-10 is the "book" move here. 6-9 gives White a small advantage.

B---Very bad and might even lose; 28-24 was best.

C---Evens it up again; 11-16 would have kept the lead.

D---Loses. 10-6 was correct: 10-6 1x10 26-22 17x26 31x6 etc.

E---Seals Black's doom and loses quickly. 12-16 would have continued the fight longer.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W32,31,30,29,27,26,25,24,15,14,10:B21,18,16,12,9,8,7,5,3,2,1.

Can you find the winning moves, identify this shot by name, and perhaps name the "shot" at the top of our article? It may take some effort, but we think you can do it; when you're ready, click on Read More to check all your answers.20050904-symbol.gif

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06/14/14 - Printer friendly version
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An Untimed Speed Problem

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Today, instead of the usual timed speed problem with which we often open the month, we're presenting an untimed speed problem. It's one that can be solved fairly quickly, but which we think is best enjoyed without the pressure of our relentless Javascript clock.

The problem was sent to us by Lloyd and Joshua Gordon, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Lloyd and Josh are a father and son team who often send us interesting positions from their games.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W32,28,23,22,21,10:B15,14,13,9,3,1.

Can you slug this one out? Take as long as you wish and then smash your mouse on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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06/07/14 - Printer friendly version
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