The Checker Maven

Nice and Neat

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Shown above is a hotel room that is quite attractive because it's nice and neat, giving it plenty of appeal. At least based on the photo, you'd most likely be quite willing to stay there for business or vacation.

Checker problems can be nice and neat, too, with solutions that appeal and settings that draw you in. We think the problem below meets these criteria.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W30,29,14,K12:B20,18,7,5.

This problem is "nice" in that it has a very flashy solution which is reasonably well concealed. And the problem is "neat" in that the author's intended solution can be avoided, yet there is still a solid win which demonstrates practical technique.

Are you nice, or neat, or nice and neat? Don't be mean and don't mess it up! Solve the problem and click on Read More to see the solutions.20050904-symbol.gif

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07/29/17 - Printer friendly version
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A. Jackson, Duelist

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Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States, certainly wasn't the author of today's Checker School study; President Jackson passed away a good forty years before this position was first formally presented. But did President Jackson play checkers? It's been speculated by historians that he was a chess player, and it seems quite likely that, at the very least, he would have known how to play the game of checkers. But his favorite sport was apparently dueling; he is reported to have participated in some hundred duels!

Fortunately, a checker duel has far fewer permanent consequences than the type of dueling President Jackson did. Let's, for instance, look at the position below.

A. JACKSON
WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,23,21,20,19,18:B14,13,12,11,10,4.

"Play and Draw" has little application to dueling (unless you're drawing pistols), as obtaining a draw in a duel isn't the point. But here, getting a draw with the Black pieces represents a respectable achievement. Can you do it? No pistols or swords needed, just good over the board checker skills. Solve the problem and shoot (or stab) your mouse on Read More to see the solution, sample games, and explanatory notes.20050904-symbol.gif

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07/22/17 - Printer friendly version
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Hard Problem

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Hard Problem is actually the title of a play by Tom Stoppard that ran at the Scena Theatre in Washington, D.C., early this year. While the "problem" is about consciousness, not checkers, by all accounts it was a good show.

We hope we have a good show for you today as well, with a "hard problem" about checkers. Let's jump right in.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W23,19,18,15,14,11,9,K6,K2,K1:B28,K27,26,25,20,17,K13,12,5,3.

You'll need to maintain a high degree of consciousness to solve this one, and, regardless of possible metaphysical implications, you'll have to focus and apply solid over the board visualization skills. Try to solve it without moving the pieces; that will definitely be a mind-expanding experience. Then, when you're done, make a conscious decision to click on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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07/15/17 - Printer friendly version
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An Easy Problem

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How good are you at geometry? Does the problem above look easy to you? To us, it looked easy in principle, and we didn't need more than a minute or two to come up with a set of equations to represent the relationships in the diagram. Then we went to solve the equations for the desired variable 'x'. That too was just the work of a couple of minutes ... until we ran into what we'll call "a little snag."

Hopefully today's checker problem will be the work of a few seconds (not even minutes), just a brief summer interlude, with no hidden snag. Let's have a look.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK31,26,19:B21,13,K10.

You've probably already solved it, but we'll extend an extra incentive to click on Read More: We'll also give the answer to the math problem.20050904-symbol.gif

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07/08/17 - Printer friendly version
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4th of July: America United

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It's not often that The Checker Maven presents a political message or takes a political stand, but as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our great nation on our wonderful 4th of July holiday, we can't help but wish for unity among us.

In our Republic, Americans are free to differ and indeed we celebrate our differences. But the kind of divisiveness we've seen over the past year or so is good for no one. Why can't we agree to disagree about some things, but still unite for the sake of our nation?

The 4th of July is an appropriate time to reflect on the fact that we are one nation and one people, e pluribus unum, from the many--- one. Let's work together for the good of us all.

And for our checker problem today, we've simply got to turn to Tom Wiswell, that great problemist and great American patriot.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W31,28,19,16,14:B23,18,7,6,3.

Can checkers be a great unifying factor? Why not? Try out this problem and then click on Read More to see how to do it. The solution is one worthy of a master; maybe you might enjoy getting together with your checker friends--- regardless of anyone's political views--- to work it out.20050904-symbol.gif

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07/01/17 - Printer friendly version
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