The Checker Maven

The World's Most Widely Read Checkers and Draughts Publication
Bob Newell, Editor-in-Chief


Published every Saturday morning in Honolulu, Hawai`i


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The Joker

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It's been a while since we featured a Chris Nelson problem. Mr. Nelson was a checker analyst and composer who lived in that one-time hotbed of checkers, Brooklyn, New York.

Today's problem gets its name from Tom Wiswell, who says it has fooled many an expert with a "joker" or false solution. Mr. Wiswell continues, "We doubt that you will get it the first time."

BLACK
20150404-dajoker.png
WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W26,K10,K7,5:B28,K21,17,1.

Don't let the joke be on you. When you think you've got it, check twice and see if you've really solved it. Then click on Read More to see that it really wasn't that hard after all.

Or was it?20050904-symbol.gif

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04/25/15 - Printer friendly version
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Capers on the Kelso, Part 5

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Now that's quite a caper!

Today we feature the fifth in an ongoing series on capers in the Kelso opening, taken from Willie Ryan's classic Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard. There's a lot of action in this one and we think it's as good as the dance caper shown above.

Here's the runup, without commentary. (Annotations are presented in previous columns in this series.)


1. 10-15 22-18
2. 15-22 25-18
3. 6-10 29-25
4. 11-15 18-11
5. 8-15 25-22
6. 4-8 21-17
7. 9-13 23-18
8. 7-11 26-23
9. 5-9 30-25
WHITE
20150330-ttscp5.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W32,31,28,27,25,24,23,22,18,17:B15,13,12,11,10,9,8,3,2,1.

Black has a loose double corner, but there's definitely a draw here, though it's not so easy to get it. Can you find the right move and then correctly play out the rest of the sequence? Willie found one drawing move, but there are actually two--- not that that helps very much.

Don't dance around; jump right in and find the solution, then leap to Read More to see Willie's answer and commentary.20050904-symbol.gif

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04/18/15 - Printer friendly version
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Researching Macindoe

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The Macindoe Research Facility is a state of the art establishment focusing on digital literacy. It's part of the Presbyterian Ladies' College in Croydon, New South Wales, Australia. We don't know which Macindoe the facility is named for, but by all accounts this is a leading research center not just in Australia but in the world.

Would there be any relationship to checkerist J. B. Macindoe, who lived something like a century and a half ago in Montreal, Canada? It's possible, we suppose. Do they study checkers and draughts at the Macindoe Research Facility? While we'd like to think so, we're not sure it's part of their mission, but we can always hope.

Today's Checker School entry, certainly, is worthy of serious study by serious students. Here's the position.

J. B. MACINDOE
WHITE
20150329-fp159.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W23,22,21,20,19:B14,13,12,7,6.

A textbook ending? Indeed it is. Do your own research--- mentally, of course--- and see if you can solve it. Then, click on Read More for the customary detailed notes, solution, and sample games.20050904-symbol.gif

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04/11/15 - Printer friendly version
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The Fastest Speedster Ever

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The fastest speedster in the world is supposedly the Hennessey Venom GT, which reached a measured speed of 270.49 miles per hour in 2014, although there's one little hitch. It didn't go into the record books because the run was made in only one direction; apparently, an official record for a production car requires the averaging of two runs in opposite directions. You can buy one of these, by the way, for around a million dollars.

Today we present what is probably the easiest problem we've ever published in the more than ten year history of The Checker Maven. Naturally, we're offering it as a speed problem, and here too there's one little hitch.

We're giving you just three seconds to solve it. But at least it won't cost you anything.

If you're an expert player, you'll get it in a fraction of a second. The rest of us might need a couple of seconds. And even if you don't get it in three seconds, you'll get it before long.

Click on the link below when you're ready, and keep your eyes wide open! Come back and click on Read More to verify your solution.

April Speed Problem (Very easy, three seconds)

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04/04/15 - Printer friendly version
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How Bad Can It Get

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The famous expression is "The money runs out before the month does." At times, it can get really bad. We've probably all known the feeling.

But can it get even worse? No, we're not trying to drive our Checker Maven readers into depression. There are times, though, when the only thing to do is sit back and have a good laugh.

Here's a checker position in which the idea is to make things as bad as they possibly can get. Not just a little bad, but really bad.

BLACK
20150129-howbad.png
WHITE
White to Play Worst Possible Move

W:W30,28,26,22,18,17,14:B19,16,13,12,6,2,1.

Today's challenge is to pick out the worst possible move on the board. Believe it or not, there's a move here that's so bad ... well, you'll see. (Optimists take note: you can also go ahead and find the best move if you wish.)

Find the worst move and then click on Read More to find out how bad things can be. You're bound to get a laugh, and you're certain to realize that, whatever your own problems may be, they likely have a solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/28/15 - Printer friendly version
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Fifth Position

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If you're a ballet student of any standing, you've certainly encountered "fifth position," as shown above. It's one of the basics that every aspiring ballet dancer must learn.

Checkers, too, has Fifth Position, and it requires mental effort similar to the physical effort required for ballet's position of the same name. Yes, we've seen Fifth Position in our columns before, but perhaps not to quite the depth of today's lesson in Checker School.

Here's the basic premise.

WHITE
20150223-fp157.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W23,22,21,20,19:B14,13,12,11,6.

Even if you've done it before, it's worth another try. Solve it, then click on Read More to see the solution and the heart of this study: six sample games that lead to Fifth Position.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/21/15 - Printer friendly version
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Capers on the Kelso, Part 4

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During your school days, did you ever "cut a caper" like the kids above are doing? They seem to really be enjoying their dance class.

This week continues our equally enjoyable checker series, Capers on the Kelso, taken from Willie Ryan's famous Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard. We're deep into a variation off the main line in which Willie has highlighted an interesting problem-like position.

The uncommented run-up follows below. For complete notes, see the previous columns in this series.


1. 10-15 22-18
2. 15x22 25x18
3. 6-10 29-25
4. 11-15 18x11
5. 8x15 25-22
6. 4-8 21-17
7. 9-13 23-18
8. 7-11 26-23
9. 5-9 24-20
10. 1-5 28-24
11. 9-14 18x9
12. 5x21 23-19
13. 2-6 27-23
14. 3-7
BLACK
20150201-tts131.png
WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W32,31,30,24,23,22,20,19:B21,15,13,12,11,10,8,7,6.

White is a piece down, but the draw is there, although White will have to make a number of star moves and "toe the line" pretty closely.

Is this too big a caper to pull off, or can you do it? Give it a couple of turns, and then click on Read More to see the solution and notes.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/14/15 - Printer friendly version
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The Slowest Speed Problem

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We thought for a while before declaring today's offering a "speed problem." It's probably the "slowest" speed problem we've published to date, and the proposed solution time of 45 seconds reflects our view of its difficulty.

Now, some of you will undoubtedly see it right away and solve it in just a few seconds. But we think that for most players, a little thought will be necessary.

Click below to display the problem and start the clock.

March Speed Problem (45 seconds, difficult)

When you're done, come back and click on Read More to check your solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/07/15 - Printer friendly version
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The Single(s) Corner

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Not what you expected, was it?

No, The Checker Maven isn't about to write about dating sites or singles' bars.

Singles? Vinyl? 45 RPM? Anyone else remember those? We'll bet many of our readers do. There was the three-minute long "hit" on the "A" side and something obscure on the "B" side, which most of us didn't listen to more than once or twice.

Today we're scratching into, you guessed it, the Single Corner opening. Here's the run-up to the diagram below.

11-15 22-18 15x22 25x18 8-11 29-25 4-8 24-20 10-15 25-22 12-16 21-17 8-12 17-13 7-10 27-24 9-14 18x9 5x14 32-27 3-7 30-25---A 16-19 23x16 12x19 27-23 (see diagram)

A---Loses. 24-19 draws. If you want more of a challenge, stop here and show the Black win.

WHITE
20150128-singlescorner.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W31,28,26,25,24,23,22,20,13:B19,15,14,11,10,7,6,2,1.

Left at this stage, the problem isn't especially hard. As in traditional singles, it's the first move-- the "A" side, if you will--- that counts. Take a spin at it, then drop the mouse on Read More to see how your solution sounds.20050904-symbol.gif

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02/28/15 - Printer friendly version
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Traffic Jam

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Paradise has a price. A surprising fact is that Honolulu traffic is second only to Los Angeles in the United States. The photo above tells it all as we see an all too common jam-up on the H1 highway.

We've just given you a big hint, by the way, to the solution of today's Checker School problems. And here's another hint: solve the second one first. These aren't especially easy, so be patient and persevere, just as you would have to do in a traffic jam.

T. LEAR - T. POOL
WHITE
20150107-fp155-1.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W21,K15,13,12,K8:BK22,K16,14,6,3.

D. KIRKWOOD
WHITE
20150107-fp155-2.png
BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK28,17,12,K1:BK27,K18,K9,3.

Don't get yourself in a jam; solve the problems and then jam that mouse down on Read More to see the solutions, sample games, and explanatory notes.20050904-symbol.gif

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02/21/15 - Printer friendly version
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The Checker Maven is produced at editorial offices in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Original material is Copyright © 2004-2015 Avi Gobbler Productions, a division of Mr. Fred Investments. Other material is the property of the respective owners. Information presented on this site is offered as-is and bears no express or implied warranty as to accuracy or usability.The Checker Maven is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Bob Newell, Sr.

MAVEN, n.:

An expert or connoisseur, often self-proclaimed.


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