The Checker Maven

Uncle Ben's Porch

As I made my way down the sidewalk, a trace of early morning coolness still lingered in the air, but the temperature was on the rise and I knew that another hot and humid Florida day was ahead. But it was still, in every respect, a fine Saturday morning, a day free from school and a morning free of chores; and on many a Saturday morning such as this one I would make my way over to Uncle Ben's porch.

He would always be waiting for me there, usually with an ice-cold pitcher of fresh-made lemonade or sometimes sweet tea. And his checkerboard would be set up and ready.

It was no different this morning. I called out a greeting to him. "Mornin', Uncle Ben!" Of course, he wasn't really my Uncle, but we all called him that. We didn't know all that much about him, just that he had lived in the New York City area until his retirement, and that he was a famous checker expert who had written a lot of books.

"Mornin', Tommy," he replied. "Ready for a little checkers today?" Uncle Ben had that wry grin that told me he was expecting me this morning and that he was ready with something new to challenge me.

"Sure am", I answered as I climbed up the old stairs to the porch. Uncle Ben had been teaching me checkers and he told me I was making good progress. I thought so, too, judging by the number of games I was winning in the schoolyard, but then Uncle Ben would always encourage me to learn more and do better.

"What do you think of this one, Tommy?" he asked. I pulled up a chair and looked at the checkerboard. Uncle Ben had set up this position:

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W32,15,14:B6,7,12.

"Can you work it out, Tommy?" Uncle Ben inquired of me, "It isn't as hard as some others, you know!" Uncle Ben's idea of "hard" was a little different than mine, I can tell you, but I wasn't going to quit without giving it a good try.

Well, I sure had to spend a few minutes thinking. After a bit, Uncle Ben asked, "Would a glass of lemonade help?" He didn't wait for my reply but went ahead and poured me a tall, brimming-full glass of his delicious, cold lemonade. He always seemed to know just the right time to offer refreshments or give a hint. He was a natural-born teacher and I often wished my teachers at school had his ways.

I took a few sips, thought a little more, and suddenly the idea came to me. Another few moments and some additional mental effort convinced me that I was on the right track. Finally, I offered, "Yep, Uncle Ben, I think I'm ready."

"OK, then, young man, show me how it's done!" he exclaimed.

"Well, here's my idea," I said, as I started to shift the checkers.....

What solution would you have proposed to Uncle Ben? Unfortunately, you'll have to make your own lemonade, but when you're ready, click on Read More for the solution, commentary, a sample game, and over two dozen fully-diagrammed additional examples of this common and important checker theme.



Solution

Editor's Note: Uncle Ben's Porch is a fanciful setting inspired by the late Ben Boland, one of the greatest checker writers in the history of the game. Mr. Boland lived most of his life in the New York City area, but spent his retirement in Florida. We don't know if he actually had a porch, much less if he took on young students, but we're certain that checkers played a part in his retired life. The positions we show in this article are taken from Mr. Boland's Familiar Themes in the Game of Checkers, and the solutions and commentary are his as well. It is our long-term ambition to produce electronic editions of many of Mr. Boland's classics.

Game---11-15, 23-19, 9-13, 22-18. 15-22, 25-18, 7-11, 19-15, 10-19, 24-15, 5-9, 29-25, 12-16, 26-22, 16-19, 21-17, 9-14, 17-10, 19-24, 28-19, 13-17, 22-13, 8-12, 15-8, 6-29, 27-23, 4-11, 23-18, 2-6, 31-27, 11-16, 18-14, 16-23, 27-18. 1-5---A, 18-15, 3-7---Forms No. 1.

A---6-10 Draws.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
W:W32,15,14:B6,7,12.

1. R. Martins, Jan. 185432-27, 12-16, 27-23, 16-20, 23-19, 20-24, 15-10. Surplus men removed. Goulds Match Bk. Game 15, Pg. 21.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw.

B:B10,11,12,13,21:W18,19,20,22,26.

2. J. Drummond, S. D. P. 3rd Ed. 1861: M. P. Sing. Cor. Var. 45 at F. B. D. 21-25 forms idea: Drummond Drs. by 11-16 and F. Dunne, No. 52 E. D. P. Vol. 1, 1878. Draws by 12-16 in No. 8 "Boys of the World" 1876. R. D. Yates, then editor, gave Pos. as a B. win. Col. Rev. Broughton won it from him. Also see A. C. R. Vol. 1, 1888, Cross Game No. 56: D. R. Vol. 2, Nov. 1926.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win.

W:B6,11,12,13:W20,23,24.

3. I. Barker, No. 3 F. Barkers A. C. P. 1880. 24-19, 6-10, 23-18.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win.

B:B3,19,18,K29:W30,26,27.

4. F. Allen, No. 277 Lyman's P. Bk. 29-25, 30-21, 3-7, 21-17, 7-10, 17-13, 10-14.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W19,20,23,30:B6,11,12,17.

5. W. Taylor, No. 335 Lyman's P. Bk. 23-18, 6-10, 31-26, 17-21, 26-22, 21-25, 18-15. See A. C. R. Vol. 1. Cross Game No. 39.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B2,11,13:W19,29,30.

6. M. H. Wardell. 29-25, 2-6, 25-22. 6-10, 22-18, 13-17, 30-26. Bos. Globe, No. 572. Jan. 6, 1880.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B3,11,14:W20,22,23.

7. F. Dunne. No. 10 His Guide 1890, Anon. Turf No. 1137, 1883. 11-15, 20-16, 3-7, 16-12, 7-11, 12-8, 15-18.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B10,11,13,K31:W18,28,30,32.

8. T. Barnes. 32-27, 31-24, 28-19. 13-17, 30-26. Yankee Blade, No. 53, May 5, 1883.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,9,10:W20,22,26.

9. I. Barker, 9-14, 20-16, 10-15, 26-23, 2-7. Bos. Globe, No. 1024, Mar. 11, 1884.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,9,10:W20,23,26.

10. J. Davidson, 10-15, 20-16, 9-14, 26-22, 2-7. D. P. W.M. No. 2 Aug. 1885.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,7,12:W15,17,26.

11. J. Connell, 17-14, 12-16, 26-23. Derry News No. 103, 1886.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,11,13,15:W22,23,28,30.

12. W. H. Tyson, No. 190 A. C. R., Vol. 1, 1888. 23-19, 15-24, 28-19, 7-10 as Dunne.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,11,14:W22,23,30.

13. W. H. Broughton, No. 38 D. P. Q. R. 1889: N. Y. Turf. 22-18, 14-17, 23-19, 7-10, 30-26. Turf No. 1566, Oct. 19. 1883.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:B6,7,8:W14,15,32.

14. C. Hefter, A. C. R., Vol. 2, 1889. Pg. 238. 7-11 was played to draw and 8-12 is No. 1. This was the 37th game of Reed-Hefter Match.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win.

W:B6,7,12:W14,18,26.

15. I. Barker, 1890. 18-15 as No. 1.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,11,13:W24,25,30.

16. M. Llewellyn, 24-19 as No. 6. Yankee Blade, No. 104, Dec. 1, 1883.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,6,7,20:W12,14,15,31,32.

17. J. Stewart, No. 64 Prob. Guide. 12-8, 3-12, 31-27, 12-16, 27-24.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,7,18,19:W12,14,26,27,31.

18. F. Dunne, No. 218 Atwell's Scient. Ckrs. 12-8, 3-12, 27-23, 18-27, 31-15, 12-16, 26-23.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,6,7:W12,14,15,31.

19. F. Dunne, see notes to No. 106 Ency. 12-8 as No. 1. Another setting is: B7, 14, 19. W21, 26, 27. B. W. 14-18, 21-17, 7-10.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,11,13:W19,27,30.

20. I. Barker, No. 57 H. P. Bk. 27-23, 13-17, 23-18, 7-10, 30-26.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,11,12,13:W18,20,28,31.

21. P. J. Lee, No. 250 his Prob. Bk. 28-24, 7-10, 24-19 as No. 5.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,5,6,12:W13,14,18,30.

22. P. J. Lee, No. 249 his Prob. Bk. 18-15, 3-7 as No. 1.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B7,10,11:W19,22,23.

23. R. Stett, 11-15, 19-16, 10-14. Family Hrld. No. 716, 1917.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,5,10:W20,21,22,32.

24. G. A. Rudolph, Am. Ck. Plyrs. Hndbk. 5-9, 32-27, 9-13, 20-16, 10-15, 27-23, 2-7.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win.

B:B1,3,18,19:W15,21,26,27.

25. W. Fostnaught, No. 356 A. C. M. Jan. 1938. 3-7, 21-17, 7-10, 15-6, 1-10, as No. 1. An ending with the late E. H. Stoddard played some 20 years ago.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,7,10,11,12,13:W18,19,20,21,23,31.

26. A. W. Haddleton, No. 5 D. R. Vol. 4, Pg. 143. 18-14, 10-17, 21-14, 13-17, 23-18, 7-10, 14-7, 3-10, 31-26.

For games to this idea see: Ency. page 240 Var. 13: Sixth Am. Try. Bk. Game 318 Ginsberg vs. Gonotsky. Also see Nos. 2 and 5, above, and D. W. Mar. 1896, Vol. 7, Game No. 3, Pg. 829.

Final Editor's Note: We hope you enjoy this new series. It is very ambitious, and as a result errors do creep in. If you find any miscues in the diagrams, the text, or the play, we'd be very grateful if you brought them to our attention. We'll make corrections as quickly as possible. Just write to webmaster@checkermaven.com. Much thanks in advance.

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