The Checker Maven

The Long Crooked Trail

We've published a number of fine compositions by master problem composer Ed Atkinson, and today we have one that Mr. Atkinson calls The Long Crooked Trail.

Ed tells us, "The first part is original then it runs into old published play as credited in the notes. This ending is a study in the opposition and its changes."

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W20,28,K5:B7,12,21.

Ed continues:

"I think of The Long, Crooked Trail as an endgame lesson, rather than as a problem to be solved, except, perhaps, by experts ... However, it seems instructive for a wide range of players."

We certainly agree, although we think it's worthwhile for you to think about the position and see if you have any ideas about the solution, even if you're not yourself an expert player. That will make the actual solution more meaningful when you do look at it later, by trailing your mouse on Read More.

10/27/18 - Printer friendly version

Three Wrongs, One Right

Two wrongs don't make a right, we're told, and if so, surely three wrongs don't, either. A third wrong will only lead to even more trouble--- or in the case of our game of checkers, a loss--- and that leads us to this week's four-fold problem.

We'll look at a published game from years back, in which three wrongs weren't counterbalanced by a right (until today, at least).

 1 11-15 22-18 2 15x22 25x18 3 12-16 29-25 4 10-14 24-19 5 8-12 26-22 6 4-8 18-15 7 16-20
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W15,19,21,22,23,25,27,28,30,31,32:B1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,12,14,20.

At this juncture, White played 23-18, and annotator Gary Garwood called it a weak move. He suggested instead 31-26 or 22-18. But these moves are just as bad. All three of them lose. Three wrongs, no right. But in fact there is a right move and White can obtain a draw here.

Can you find the correct move to draw for White, and then (for extra credit, if you will) show the Black wins for all three incorrect moves? It's a tall assignment, but one that will give you quite a bit of checker insight.

When you're right (and you know it, as the saying goes) do the right thing by clicking your mouse on Read More to see the solutions.

10/20/18 - Printer friendly version

Double Down

Doubling down: You're playing Blackjack at some fabulous Las Vegas casino and you think you've got two great cards. So you "double down" --- double your bet in the hopes of doubling your winnings.

Alas, it's not that simple. While under the best circumstances your chances of winning are almost 2 out of 3, most of the time you'll just double your losses. Those bright lights and free drinks are paid for by someone.

So, how does "doubling down" apply to this week's Checker Maven column? Read on.

Our Checker School columns for the last few months have featured "gem" problems by G. M. Gibson. Today we bring you the concluding entry in the G. M. Gibson problem series, and it's a practical one.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W10,20,30,31,32:B2,12,17,18,19.

There are two ways to for White to win this. If this were found in a problem competition, that would be kind of a bad thing; dual (or "double") solutions are frowned upon.. But as a teaching position, doubling down (or should we say doubling up) can be instructive, and we're asking you to find both winning lines. Can you double down and do that? Can you find at least one solution? They're closely related, and if you find one, you might just find the other.

Try it (at least twice), and then--- wait for it--- double-click your mouse on Read More once to see all the answers.

10/13/18 - Printer friendly version

Double Action

We know little about firearms, but we've read that single-action arms have a longer and smoother trigger pull than double-action arms, which are reputed to be at least somewhat safer but perhaps less accurate. We're sure one of our readers could clarify this easily, but we won't even try.

Returning to checkers: regular contributors Lloyd and Josh Gordon of Toronto sent in this position from one of their nightly games, and it's a position that is surely not safe for the Black forces, if White engages in accurate play.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W15,18,21,27,28,30,31,32:B3,6,7,8,13,16,19,20.

It's not hard at all, and the title of today's column gives you a huge hint. So take a "shot" at it and after you've solved it, pull your mouse trigger on Read More to check your solution.