The Checker Maven

Thanksgiving Weekend 2016


We've always written about how we love the Thanksgiving holiday, a holiday that unites everyone. No matter what your race, religion, color, or political leanings, giving thanks is an American tradition that we can all support.

On this wonderful weekend we usually try to feature a problem from a great American composer or great American players. Today we'll look at a position that arose in a match game between two of the all-time greats, Walter Hellman and Maurice Chamblee.

Black to Play and Win


Black is a piece up, and you'd think he should win handily. But it isn't as easy as all that. Can you find the right line of play that will carry Black to victory? You may be surprised!

Find the way to the laurel wreath, and then click on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/26/16 - Printer friendly version
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A New Approach


We often look for a new approach, a new way to do things. Sometimes that new way is better, sometimes not; and sometimes, it doesn't really make any difference. Is it an improved way or just another way? The answer is not always clear.

In today's installment from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, we continue looking at situations arising from the Kelso opening. Here's the run-up, without additional commentary.

10-15 22-18 15x22 25x18 6-10 18-14 10x17 21x14 9x18 23x14 1-6 29-25 12-16 26-23 16-19 24x15 11x18 28-24 8-11 24-19 4-8 31-26 6-9 19-15 11-16.

White to Play and Draw

To make this a little easier (as the ensuing play is complex), we'll note right away that Teschelheit's classic Master Play gives a line with 15-10 for White to draw. Willie says he has something new, and gives 26-22 as the only move to draw. And so we simply pose the question: Who is correct? Willie, Teschelheit, both, or neither?

We urge you to explore the play for a while, and then take the old approach of clicking on Read More to see the different lines of play and the answer to our question.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/19/16 - Printer friendly version
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And The Winner Is ...


This column will appear just after the U.S. Presidential election, but the time of writing (eight weeks in advance of publication), the polls made it too close to call, so we can't even guess who won.

But that lead us to the idea of publishing one of those highly irritating "What Result?" problems (but not even close to matching the irritation caused by the just-concluded political season).

White to Play, What Result?


Were you able to call the election? Can you find the result of this problem, and identify one candidate with White and one with Black?

Give it a go and then click on Read More. We think you'll find the solution both satisfying and appropriate.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/12/16 - Printer friendly version
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Get Out and Vote


In the United States, the Tuesday after this column appears is election day and Hillary and Donald are going head to head with the White House as the prize. We're writing this column some weeks in advance, so we don't know the current state of the polls, but we can safely say that this is the most, um, unique presidential election in many a year.

We urge you to get out and vote for the candidates of your choice. The right to vote is also a responsibility. Please do cast your ballot as your conscience dictates.

In checkers, going "head to head" over the board can also be quite a contest, although even as checker enthusiasts we have to admit that the stakes are somewhat lower, thankfully, than those in a Presidential election. No polls, no talking heads doing endless analysis of incredibly fine points, and, hopefully, no rancor, but instead just the enjoyment of the game.

Here's an actual "head to head" game, played long ago by Berry Mitchell and Chas. Hefter. (The actual players are not depicted below.)


1. 11-15 23-19
2. 8-11 22-17
3. 4-8 17-13
4. 15-18 24-20
5. 10-15

11-15 is better; White now gets an edge.

5. ... 19-10
6. 7-14

6-15 may be the better choice of jumps.

6. ... 26-23
7. 11-15 28-24
8. 8-11

Loses. 2-7 is correct.

8. ... 30-26
9. 2-7

6-10 is better; Black's situation is now even worse.

9. ... 26-22
10. 3-8 23-19
11. 7-10
White to Play and Win


The win isn't terribly hard to find; would it be that all the problems the next President will face were as easy! Elect your best line of play and then vote with your mouse on Read More to verify your solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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11/05/16 - Printer friendly version
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