The Checker Maven

The Return of Mr. Sturges

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Scare easily?

No, that's not the ghostly apparition of our recent short story; we don't expect Mr. Sturges to return in person any time soon--- or at all, for that matter. But the name and work of such a great player of yore is bound to turn up again and again, and this week is one such instance. Here's a study in our Checker School series which is most unusual, and it's credited to the man himself.

J. STURGES
WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W29,17,13,K7:B21,K19,15,10,6,5.

You might ask, where's the challenge, with Black up two checkers? Well, he's going to lose one of them right away, and he really needs to watch his step. Certainly, Black has a win, but as is the case in all over the board play, you need to show it.

Phantom moves won't do it. You'll have to play real, solid checkers to save the win. Are you up to the task, or will you be scared off? Don't be afraid; you can always click your mouse on Read More to see the solution, a sample game, and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

As is our usual practice, numbered notes are by the Editor using the KingsRow computer engine and 10-piece endgame database. All other material is taken from Ben Boland's timeless classic, Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers.

19-23, 7-14---1, 21-25---2, 29-22, 15-19. Black Wins---3.

Game: 11-15, 23-19, 8-11, 22-17, 4-8, 17-13, 9-14---4, 27-23---5, 15-18---6, 32-27, 11-15, 26-22---A, 7-11, 21-17---8, 14—21, 23-7, 3-10, 27-23, 5-9, 31-26, 9-14, 24-20, 15-24, 28-19, 11-15, 19-16, 12-19, 23-16, 8-11---B, 9, 16-7, 2-11, 22-17---C, 10, 15-19, 25-22, 1-5, 26-23, 19-26, 30-23, 11-15, 20-16, 21-25, 16-11, 14-21, 22-17, 25-30, 11-7, 30-26, 7-3, 26-19---D, 3-7. Forms above position. J. Sturges, from his “Guide,” 1800---11.

A---25-22, 18-25, 29-22, followed by either 7-11 or 8-11---7 draws. “Fife News," in Janvier's corrections to Walker’s Sturges.

B--8-12, 16-11, 14-17, 11-8, 10-14, 8—4, 15-19, 20—16, 19-23, 26-19, 17-26, 30-23, 21-30. Black Wins. J. Wyllie, in Janvier's corrections.

C---26-23, 11-16, 20-11, 15-18, 22-15, 10-26, 30-23, 21-30. Drawn. Sturges.

D---Left in the books at this point, but in the position colors reversed 3-7 is already made.

1---The threats are either a fork by 14-10 or a 2 for 1 by 14-9.

2---Did you see this surprising move?

3---The men are even but White doesn't have a safe move, for instance 22-18 6-10 14x7 23x21 Black Wins.

4---A rather poor move; 15-18 is much better.

5---An even worse reply, giving Black a strong advantage. 25-22 was correct and holds White's advantage.

6---Three bad moves in a row. 5-9 holds the edge. The game is now a probable draw.

7---Actually, 7-11 is a probable Black win.

8---31-26 is better here. After the exchanges Black stands much better and has a probable win.

9---Black throws away the win. See Note A.

10---A terrible losing blunder. See Note C.

11---Overall, we'd have to say that this game wasn't played especially well, although it did result in an interesting problem position.

The above position may be found as No. 86 in “Sturges' Critical Situations on the Game of Draughts," 1808. It is colors reversed, probably due to the White Men playing on the lower numbered squares.

The game is Game 20, Var. 1, Note A, in Walker's Sturges, 1835. Also Var. 97 American Draughts Player, and Var. 80, Janvier's Sturges.

Compare to Janvier's Position, Page 167.

06/11/16 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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