The Checker Maven

Taking On The Champ, Part 2


Last month we presented the first game of Watson's exciting match against Alex Moiseyev, which ended in a draw. This month we'll look at the second game of the round. Will Alex come roaring back?

Watson says: "This game I took the white. I actually like the white side in this opening. We began the game. No unexpected moves. Again, I felt good about the game."

1. 11-15 24-19
2. 15x24 28x19
3. 8-11 22-18
4. 10-14 25-22
5. 11-16 29-25

22-17 or 27-24 should be played here instead.

6. 6-10

Loses the advantage; 16-20 would have retained it.

6. ... 27-24

Watson thinks this is a key moment: " ... the turning point in this game came at move 12 (27-24). This set up was what my Dad used to play all the time against me. He liked it. I never thought much about it. However, when this move came up, I was thinking my Dad was watching. I could almost hear him saying, 'Move there, Watty.'"

7. 1-6 31-27

32-28 is considerably better.

8. 16-20

7-11 was better. The game is now back in the KingsRow opening book.

8. ... 32-28
9. 4-8 19-15

Watson now thinks the game is decided: "The next move to change the game in my opinion was 19-15 exchange. To me, this was the winning move. He never recovered."

10. 10x19 24x15
11. 9-13 18x9
12. 5x14 22-18
13. 6-9 15-10
14. 8-11

May lose; 12-16 was correct. But let's let Watson describe what happened:

"The next key move, in my opinion, was 15-10 ... By this time, Alex was in serious trouble ... I did not see a single good move for Alex. I saw my win. I was happy. I think Alex saw no way out.

14. ... 28-24
15. 11-16

11-15 was a little better.

15. ... 24-19

"I do not know why, but it seemed like someone was nudging me. The voice was saying 'offer the draw.' I was thinking the game is almost over. I have it ... But I kept thinking I needed to offer (the) draw. I cannot fully explain why I offered the draw except to say at that point, I was very happy to get a draw against the World Champion. I knew three things. It had been a long day and I was tired. I knew that Frank and Mary (the hosts) had been very patiently waiting for us to finish. I knew I had a 700 mile trip ahead of me that day ... So I said to Alex, 'Would you like the draw?' Alex looked up at me, surprised. Alex could see it was over. He smiled and said, 'Yes, I would. Thank you.' We shook hands and that was it. It was a very good feeling for me."


Black to Play; What Result?


What do you think? Should Watson have taken the draw, or is there a White win? What is Black's best continuation? Is there a way for White to go wrong and allow a Black win?

Take on both Watson and Alex and see what you can come up with, then click on Read More to see what might have happened had the game gone on. And be sure to read Watson's full story here.null

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10/28/17 - Printer friendly version
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A Couple of Surprises


Surprise! Some surprises are good, some others are not, but in today's Checker School entry, we think you'll find a nice surprise ... two of them, in fact.

White to Play and Draw


We found this study very interesting in that the game is played quite flawlessly on both sides, yet White ends up with a draw that could prove difficult to find over the board, requiring two "surprises."

Will you find the solution or just be surprised? Either way, it's no surprise that clicking on Read More will show you the solution, a sample game, and some explanatory notes.null

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10/21/17 - Printer friendly version
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A Trap With a Tale, Part 3: An Easy Tale


"It's easy when you know how" could also be the theme of today's little study, but we think the deeper truth is found in another adage: When someone makes something look easy it's because they've worked hard.

We're continuing with one of the final chapters of Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps and Shots of the Checkerboard with a problem that's easier than usual, "An Easy Tale" if you wish; at least, it's easy if you've worked hard enough at your visualization skills.

Let's begin with a run-up that we've already seen a couple of times, so no further commentary is required.

1. 11-16 24-19
2. 8-11 22-18
3. 16-20 25-22
4. 9-13 29-25
5. 11-15 18-11
6. 7-16 22-18
7. 20-24 27x11
8. 10-15 19x10
9. 6x29 28-24
10. 29-25 32-27
11. 1-624-19

Recall that Willie said this move draws, but last time we showed that if Black plays the odd-looking 25-29, Black would have actually won. However Willie gave this as the next move:

12. 6-9

which only draws (even if the White draw is very narrow). We'll follow that path further next time, rather than stopping here with "White to Play and Draw." Instead, we'd like to look at what happens if White makes this seemingly feasible move:

12. ... 23-18

resulting in the position below.

Black to Play, What Result?


We're pretty sure you know what the outcome will be, but can you show it? It truly isn't all that difficult, but it's definitely a lot of fun. Tell the tale and then click on Read More to verify your solution.null

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10/14/17 - Printer friendly version
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Medium Problem


No, we don't mean that kind of "medium" and we don't expect you to divine the solution to today's checker problem; rather, we consider it "medium" in difficulty. It's a nice setting sent to us by Toronto's intrepid checkerists, Lloyd and Josh Gordon.

Black to Play and Draw


The stars tell us you'll be able to solve this one, as long as you keep your thinking channels open. It won't take a seance, though, to check your solution; all you need do is wave your mouse on Read More to see how it's done.null

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10/07/17 - Printer friendly version
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Increased Hosting Costs for Checker Maven


When we launched The Checker Maven years back, web hosting costs were a lot lower. But with the passage of time, costs have risen and now our web hosting alone runs well above $200 a year, and we haven't even begun to tally other costs, nor do we wish to.

The Checker Maven is free, and free from outside advertising, and always will be. We will never charge for our content and we will never accept advertising from anyone. Period.

However, we will advertise our books, as print versions do generate a small profit. And we are considering a change in our policy on accepting donations. Right now we won't accept them even if offered, but at some point we might.

Thank you for being a reader of The Checker Maven and for your understanding.

10/03/17 - Printer friendly version
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