The Checker Maven

Razor Thin

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"Razor thin" --- the words describe something so narrow as to be nearly invisible. We're told in recipes to slice our onions "razor thin." Perhaps a basketball team wins by a single point; we say the margin of victory is "razor thin."

In checkers, we refer to "razor thin" advantages and "razor thin" wins or draws. Today's column, part of our Checker School series, asks us to find a "razor thin" draw. Have a look below at a position attributed to the great Wyllie himself.

J. WYLLIE
BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W13,14,18,19,20:B5,7,11,12,K26.

It may be hard to believe, but White can save the draw here, though it will take "sharp" playing to do so. How "sharp" are you? Can you shave away Black's seeming advantage? Try it out, then cut your mouse over to Read More to see the solution, several sample games, and a collection of explanatory notes.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

Lettered notes and other commentary are from Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. Numbered notes are by the Editor, using Ed Gilbert's KingsRow computer engine with a 10-piece endgame database.

13-9---A, 26-22---B,1, 19-15, 22-17, 15-8, 17-10, 18-15---2, 10-19, 8-3---3. Drawn.

Game: 11-15, 21-17, 9-13, 25-21, 8-11, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 6-10, 22-17, 13-22, 26-17, 15-18, 24-20, 1-6, 29-25, 3-8, 28-24, 18-22, 25-18, 11-16, 20-11, 8-22, 32-28, 4-8, 24-20, 6-9, 28-24, 9-18, 23-14, 8-11, 27-23, 2-6, 23-18, 10-15, 17-13, 22-25, 30-21, 15-22, 24-19, 22-25, 31-26, 25-30, 26-23---C, 30-26, 23-18, 6-10, 13-9, 10-17, 21-14. Forms above position after first move. J. Wyllie in his “Switcher Book," 1881, Var. 73.

Game: 11-16, 24-19, 9-14, 22-18, 8-11, 18-9, 5-14, 25-22, 11-15, 29-25, 15-24, 27-11, 7-16, 22-18, 16-19, 18-9, 6-13, 23-16, 12-19, 25-22, 10-15, 32-27, 4-8, 27-23, 8-12, 23-16, 12-19, 31-27, 2-7, 27-23, 3-8, 23-16, 8-12, 21-17, 12-19, 17-14, 7-11, 14-9, 11-16, 30-25, 16-20, 25-21---E, 1-5, 9-6, 5-9, 6-2, 9-14, 2-7. Forms above position. colors reversed. H. McDiarmed vs. J. P. Moore.

Game: 12-16, 23-19, 16-23, 27-18, 11-16, 22-17, 16-20, 24-19, 9-14, 18-9, 5-14, 25-22, 8-11, 26-23, 11-15, 32-27, 15-24, 28-19, 4-8, 17-13, 8-11, 22-18, 10-15, 19-10, 6-22, 30-26, 2-6, 26-10, 6-15, 27-24, 20-27, 31-24, 3-8, 23-19, 15-18, 21-17, 18-22, 17-14, 22-26---F, 29-25, 26-30, 25-22, 30-26, 22-18, 1-5, 13-9, 8-12, 24-20. Same as above position after 1st move. Kear’s Encyclopedia, Var. 2H, Page 45, 3rd Ed.

A---19-15, 26-22, 15-8, 22-15, 8-3, 15-10. Black Wins.

B---7-10---1, 14-7, 5-23, 7-3, 23-27, 3-8. Drawn.

C---H. Henderson vs. J. Stenhouse in the Scottish Tourney, 1902, played 26-22, 30-26, 22-18---D, same as above.

D---In the 5th American Tourney, Game 369, A. Iordan lost to Asa Long by 21-17, 26-30, 22-18, 6-10, 20-16, 11-20, 18-15, 12-16, 15-6, 16-23. Black Wins.

E---This position first appeared in the “Weekly Times," Melbourne, 1905, a State Championship End-Game between McDiarmed and J. P. Moore. It later became No. 123 in Kear’s Encyclopedia, also No. 9, Page 30 “Familiar Themes."

F---Referred to in the Ency. as “The Old Coup,” but no author; 8-12, 13-9, 22-26, 29-25, 26-30, 25-22, 11-16, 19-15, 1-6*, 9-2, 30-26, 2-20, 26-28. Black Wins. S. Hudson.

1---7-10 is the line preferred by the computer but the result is the same.

2---This is the only move that will do. Black now has to jump 10-19 or give up his King.

3---Setting up the two for one which gains the draw. Play would continue 5-14 3-17 19-15 17-14 and White draws with the move. The whole sequence garners a razor thin draw for White. Could you have found it over the board, with the clock ticking?

In the above diagrammed position, if it were Black's turn to move, 12-16 would be the only drawing move, continue: 12-16, 19-12, 26-22, 12-8, 22-15, 8-3, 15-10, 3-8, 10-17, 8-15, 17-22, 20-16, 22-26*, 16-12, 26-23, 12—8, 7-11. Drawn G. M'Kee and "Khaki," Page 30, “Familiar Themes."

05/14/16 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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