The Checker Maven

Ein Feste Burg (A Mighty Fortress)

No, we're not talking about the well-known Lutheran hymn, based on the beautiful aria from J. S. Bach's cantata, BWV 80, "Komm in mein Herzenshaus," although that too would make a wonderful topic if this were other than a checker column.

Instead, we're talking about a "checker fortress" as featured a little while back in Brian Hinkle's challenging Bear Claw problem (click here to review). This problem genre was once treated by Ben Boland (are we surprised?) in one of his many books.

Today, armed with the knowledge gained from Brian's problem, see if you can break into the fortress by solving these three problems. Perhaps you might wish to play some of Bach's immortal music in the background, for the purpose of relaxation, as solving these will be anything but easy.

Problem 1
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W5,6,9,10,11,14,25:B3,4,8,12,15,18,19,23,24.

Problem 2
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:WK3,10,11,12,14,15,16,19,20:B2,4,5,13,17,18,21,22,23,24,25,K29.

Problem 3
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W9,12,13,14,15,18,20,26:B17,19,K21,24,K25,K27,28,K32.

When you've crashed through the ramparts, click on Read More for solutions, notes, more examples and illustrations, as well as some history on this type of problem.



Solutions

Here are Ben Boland's solutions and detailed notes. Ben called this "Dr. T. Brown's 'La Pucelle - The Virgin Fortress.'"

No. 1: 25-21, 18-22, 11-7, 22-25, 21-17, 25-30, 17-13, 30-26, 6-2, 26-22, 9-6, 22-18, 13-9, 23-26, 5-1, 26-30, 1-5. Drawn. Diagram A. No. 158 Draught Board, Dec. 1870. See History below.

No. 2: 10-6, 2-9, 11-8, 4-11, 16-7, 23-27, 14-10, 27-31, 10-6, 31-27, 15-10, 27-23, 19-15, 23-19, 20-16, 24-27, 16-11, 19-16, 6-1, then 3-8. Drawn. Diagram C. Glasgow Weekly Herald, July 7, 1883, captioned "La Pucelle" and "The Highland Fastness."

No. 3: 9-6, 25-30---A, 15-11, 30-23, 6-2, 17-22, 18-15, 21-17, 14-10, 17-14, 2-7, 23-18, 12-8, 19-23, 20-16, 23-26, then 16-12. Drawn. Diagram C. Dec. 7, 1903, and Draughts Review, Vol. 3, Oct. 1927. See other examples below.

A---27-31, 14-9, 31-22, 9-5, 32-27, 13-9, 27-23, 18-14, 23-18, 15-10, 18-15, 20-16, 19-23, 12-8, 15-19, 16-12, 19-15, 8-3. Drawn. Diagram B.

The Following Positions Illustrate The Above Theme:

H. Richmond, No. 529 New England Checker Player, Vol. 6, Jan. 1881. Black---3, 4, 12, 20, 24, 26, 27, Kings-28, 32. White---5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 18, King-6. White to play and draw. 11-7, 26-30, 6-2, 30-25, 9-6, 25-22, 18-14, 22-18, 13-9. Drawn.

E. Childs, No. 865 Leeds Mercury, June 28, 1890, colors reversed. Black---14, 19, 20, 22, 25, 26. Kings-13, 21. White---6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 27, 28, King-2. White to play and draw. 28-24, 19-28, 27-23, 25-31, 23-19, 31-26, 19-15, 26-23, 16-11, 23-19, 2-7, 13-9, 6-1, 19-16, 8-3. Drawn.

"Drummond," Providence, No. 348 Providence Journal, Feb. 18, 1894. Black---4, 13, 16, 17, 24, 27, Kings-28, 32. White---6, 11, 15, 18, 23, Kings-1, 7. White to play and draw. 18-14, 27-31, 14-9, 32-27, 23-18, 27-23, 18-14, 23-18. 15-10, 31-26, 7-2, 18-15---A, 11-7, 26-22, 1-5, 22-18, 5-1. Drawn.

A---4-8, 11-4, 18-15, 2-7, 15-18, 7-11. Drawn.

E. Cox, No. 223 Problemists' Guide, 1901. Black---4, 8, 11, 15, 19, 20, 24, 27, 28. King-31. White---5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 18, 22, 26. White to play, what result? 26-23, 19-26, 22-17, 15-22, 13-9, 26-30, 17-13, 31-26, 6-2, 26-23, 9-6, 23-18, 13-9. Drawn.

W. Doyle, No. 1635 Draughts World, Vol. 33, May 1909. Black---3, 4, 12, 15, 23. 24, Kings-21, 22. White---5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17. White to play and draw 13-9, 22-13, 7-2, 12-19, 11-7, 21-17. 5-1. Drawn.

Diagram A

Double Corner Draw
Diagram B

Double Corner Draw
Diagram C

Single Corner Draw

H. O. Robinson, Draughts Review, Vol. 3. Oct 1927. Black---5, 12, 13, 18, 19, 25, 28, Kings-23, 30. White---7, 8, 15, 17, 20, 21, 22, 24, 27. White to play and draw. 15-10, 23-32, 22-15, 13-22, 20-16, 32-27, 24-20, 27-23, 21-17, 23-18, 16-11, 18-14, 17-13. Drawn. Robinson also published a few more, No. 2136 G. W. H. Aug. 1900, and No. 2205 Bristol Mercury, Aug. 1900, see Draughts Review, Vol. 3, Mar. 1927.

P. Feagan, No. 13 Jensen's Forced Checkers. Black---2, 17, 20, 24, 25, 26, 28, Kings-16, 27, 29. White---5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15. 19, 23. White to play and draw. 5-1, 27-9, 8-4, 16-23, 4-8. Drawn. Captioned "A single corner castle."

O. V. Mills, Mt. Sterling (Ky.) Advocate, Dec. 21, 1937. Black---Kings-5, 9, 17, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30. White---6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16. White to play and draw. 7-2, 17-14, 11-7, 14-18, 16-11, 27-23, 8-3, and see-saw 3-8, 8-3 from now on.

Through an error, Dr. Brown's Position No. 1 above, was credited to J. Burns, No. 323 Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette, May 13, 1871.

In the May 27 issue Dr. Brown wrote: "The study in question was composed by me from original idea which, in various forms, was communicated with other matter, more than five years ago, to personal friends somewhat interested in this scientific pursuit. As regards priority of conception, however, your correspondent (through the courtesy of Mr. Hedley), has been informed that such must be assigned to Mr. A. Lanci, since a different structure of similar strategic character is to be found in his work on 'Theory and Practice, 1' and which conception, I imagine, was the more liable to result from a member of the Italian School, in that his code negatived the capture of a superior piece by an inferior."

The following is No. 12 Dunne's Guide, Italian checkers, rule: A single piece is not empowered to capture a king. Black---Kings-5, 10, 12, 17, 21, 25. White---11, 14, 19, 22, 30, 31, 32, King-28. White to play and draw. 11-7, 10-3, 32-27, 17-10, 27-24, 26-17, 30-26, 12-16, 26-23, 16-20, 31-27. Drawn.

Note that in our game it takes seven men to build a fortress, while in the Italian game only five.

06/09/07 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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