The Checker Maven

Don't be a Square


"Don't be a square" is probably an expression you haven't heard much lately, as it's long out of date. It actually originated with jazz musicians but by the 1980s, it was starting to sound old-fashioned.

Our use of this phrase to title our column is for two reasons. The first is the shape seen in the problem diagram.

Black to Play and Win


The second meaning derives from the solution itself. You might see what we're getting at when you solve it. It's not overly difficult. Don't be a square--- try to work it out. When you're finished, click your mouse squarely on Read More to see the solution and an explanation.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
08/27/16 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

The Crocodile Position


There's been a lot in the news in recent months about alligators attacking humans, sometimes with tragic results. But crocodiles, particularly the South Pacific varieties, can also be very dangerous.

The differences between crocodiles and alligators are many, even if they seem to be similar creatures. For instance, they have different jaw shapes, and crocs are more tolerant of saltwater environments.

The position below, an entry in our ongoing Checker School series, could be either crocodile or alligator. In fact, as you'll see in our solution notes, it's been called both at various times. But regardless of name, it's quite ferocious.


White to Play and Win


Don't get caught up in the jaws of this one; work it out and then snap your mouse on Read More to see the solution, sample games, and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
08/20/16 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

Publication Times


The Checker Maven originally appeared each Saturday at 2:02 AM MST (GMT-7). When our offices relocated from Santa Fe, NM, to Honolulu, HI, our publication time changed to 2:02 AM HST (GMT-10).

Now, many of our readers are on the east coast of the United States and look for the latest column early in the morning. With our present publication time, the week's offering isn't available until 8:02 AM EDT. That's later than we might like, and so effective at once we'll be moving to a publication time of 00:02 AM HST, or two hours earlier than the current publication time.

We hope this time change makes access to The Checker Maven a little more convenient for our readers.20050904-symbol.gif

08/14/16 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.



Your editor, many years ago, went hiking and climbing in southern Mindanao in the Philippines. Locals referred to the area where we went as "delicado" --- delicate --- due to the sometime presence of rebel militia. Being young and foolish, we were not deterred from what turned out to be a dangerous undertaking. Fortunately, nothing went wrong.

Today's checker problem is "delicado" in a different way, and there's nothing foolish or dangerous about it at all. Your solution may go wrong, but if you work at it, you'll get it, and you may learn some technique in the process.

White to Play and Draw


There's no need to carry arms or keep a lookout, and checking your solution is as easy as clicking on Read More.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
08/13/16 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

August Heat


August in the Northern Hemisphere can be pretty darn hot. Sometimes extraordinary measures are required, as shown in the photo above.

Your editor is scheduled to be visiting in far off New York City on the date this column is due to be published, and August in New York is just about always hot and humid.

So we picked out a rather hot stroke problem (please, no heat stroke jokes) for this month. It looks complex but it's actually one of the easier ones, and it's filled with action.

White to Play and Win


Don't overheat your brain; you'll see the solution if you can visualize well (just keep the sweat out of your eyes). When you've solved it, click on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
08/06/16 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.