The Checker Maven

Canadian Checker Class

20170301-fraser.jpg

Professor W. R. Fraser was a Canadian champion who also published books and studies on checkers, mostly notably The Inferno of Checkers, in which he used Dante's Inferno as a metaphor. We won't delve further into that interesting literary area today; instead we'll emphasize Prof. Fraser's academic side, by presenting one of his studies from a group Tom Wiswell included in a small collection that Mr. Wiswell called Canadian Checker Class.

BLACK
20170301-fraser1.png
WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W31,30,28,26,25,20,18,14:B17,16,13,12,11,7,5,2.

We'd rate this one as fairly hard, though short of infernal. If you get the first move right and figure out the theme, you'll be able to solve it. Treat this as a professorial homework assignment rather than a descent into Hades, and see if you can get it, then burn your mouse on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
04/29/17 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

Schaefer is the ...

20170301-onetohave.png

Was checkerist A. Schaefer in any way connected to the famous, and once family owned and New York based, F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company? It's one of those things that are possible, but doubtful. In any case, Schaefer, like all New York City breweries, left the city many years ago, and is now owned by Pabst, who still operate the brand.

Schaefer used to advertise itself as "the one beer to have when you're having more than one." In all honesty, The Checker Maven doesn't think "having more than one" is always a good idea (we ourselves choose not to drink alcoholic beverages). If you've "had a few" as the saying goes, you're not likely to be able to solve interesting Checker School problems such as the one below.

A. Schaefer
WHITE
20170301-brooklyn.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W28,27,26,22,20,14:B19,15,13,7,5,3.

Black actually looks like he could lose if he's not careful. How is he supposed to win? But there is a way, and it's subtle and pleasing with a key move at a key moment. You won't need "more than one" checker problem today, as this one is very satisifying. Give it a try and then click your mouse --- just once --- on Read More to see the solution, sample games, and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
04/22/17 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

The Tax Man

20170228-april15.jpg

This column appears on April 15, 2017. April 15, in the United States, is the infamous day on which income tax returns are due, along with any money you might still owe. Checker Maven staff get hit pretty hard every year; we certainly hope that you do better, regardless what country you call home.

We have a slight reprieve, as when April 15 falls on a weekend, we're ever so generously allowed until Monday to pay up. So, let's enjoy a checker problem before we face the music two days hence.

BLACK
20170228-taxman.png
WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W31,28,27,24,22,K1:B20,14,13,12,10,7,2.

White is a piece down and it's not looking so good. Would you say it's kind of like the way the tax man hits us with a big bill when we can least afford it? But in this case, White can beat the tax man and break even (try to do that with the IRS)--- no cheating required.

Tax your brain instead of your wallet. The solution is elegant and pleasing, if every bit as hard to find as enough cash to pay that tax bill. See how you do, then file your return by clicking your mouse on Read More to get your refund--- or if not exactly a refund, a look at the solution and some explanatory notes.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
04/15/17 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

Without

20170215-without.jpg

The picture above dates to World War II, when many did without in support of the war effort. Luckily, today, in the free world we generally don't have to do without, as a minimum, the basic necessities.

In checkers, there is "doing without" as well; in today's study, the winning side has to make do without "the move." This is called in textbooks, logically enough, "first position without."

We know that first position is a win with two kings against a king and a man, as long as the side with two kings has the move. But checkers is full of subtle twists, and there are wins in some of these positions without having the move on the stronger side, hence the name "first position without." There are supposedly twenty or so of these exceptions to the general rule. Below you'll find one of them.

WHITE
20170215-without.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W22,K5:BK15,K6.

There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on how White plays. One of them is as proposed decades ago in Dr. Call's book of "Midget" problems. Another line is preferred by our KingsRow computer engine.

Can you find the win here, or will you have to do "without"? See how you do, and then "without" hesitation, click on Read More to see the solutions.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
04/08/17 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.

April 1, 2017

20170209-aprilishere.jpg

March is over and April has come around again, as it always does, with perhaps a promise of spring. This column is being first published on April 1, 2017, and you might do well to bear that in mind as you take a look at today's checker problem.

BLACK
20170213-2in.png
WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W22,K18,K17,14:BK32,K27,21,13.

We rate this one as very easy. You can solve it in seconds if you get the idea. But it's almost surely impossible if you don't see what's going on.

Are you sharp today? Don't fool around; puzzle it out and then click your mouse on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

[Read More]
04/01/17 - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with your comments on this article.