The Checker Maven

Cornered

This installment of Checker School is one that we really enjoyed working on, as it's got a lot of good, practical playing instruction in it.

We have a situation in which, though the White forces are well-advanced down the board, they seem to have been pretty well cornered by the Black team. It's a tough predicament to be in, but there is a very clever draw for White---- if you can see it. This one is well worth learning, as we're sure you'll see similar themes in many of your own games.

J. F. BREMMER
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:W13,5,K2:BK14,10,1.

Can you find White's way out of the box? One wrong move and it's curtains! But don't despair. Try to find the answer, but if you've still got your back to the wall, clicking on Read More will lead you safely to the solution, along with a sample game and some deep and detailed analysis.



Solution

2-7---i, 10-15, 13-9*---ii, 15-19, 9-6---vii, 1-10, 5-1, 10-15, 1-6, 14-18---iii, 7-11---iv, 19-24, 6-10, 15-19, 10-15, 18-22---v, 11-16---vi. Drawn.

Game: 11-15, 23-19, 8-11, 22-17, 9-14, 17-13, 11-16, 24-20, 16-23, 27-11, 7-16, 20-11, 3-7, 28-24, 7-16, 24-20, 16-19, 25-22, 4-8, 22-17, 8-11, 26-23, 19-26, 30-23, 11-15, 32-27---I, 15-18, 29-25---II, 5-9, 31-26, 12-16---III, 20-11, 18-22, 25-18, 10-15, 17-10, 15-31, 10-7, 31-24, 21-17, 24-27*, 23-18, 27-23, 17-14, 6-10*---VI, 14-5, 23-14, 7-3, 10-15, 11-8, 15-19, 8-4, 14-10, 3-8, 10-15---IV, 8-11, 15-8, 4-11, 19-23, 11-15, 23-26, 15-18, 26-30, 18-23---V, 30-25, 23-19, 25-22, 19-15, 2-6---A, 15-11, 22-18, 11-7, 18-14, 7-2, 6-10. Forms above position. J. A. Finn, Game No. 2662, Draughts World, Vol. 40, Sept. 1912.

A---Black could have preserved the win here but lost the thread one final time: 2-7, 15-19, 22-18, 19-16, 18-15, 13-9, 15-11, 16-19, 11-8, 19-15, 8-3, 15-18, 7-11, 9-6---viii, 1-10, 5-1, 10-15, 18-23, 3-7, 23-27, 15-19. Black Wins. J. A. Finn.

I---29-25 would have been better. After 32-27, 2-7 might have won for Black, but he missed it. KingsRow.

II---Loses without a doubt. 23-19 would have stayed in the game. KingsRow.

III---18-22 would also be a clear win. KingsRow.

IV---This move only draws. Black should have played 19-24. KingsRow.

V---Another subtlety in this most subtle of games. This move loses; White could have drawn with 18-15.

VI---Boland gives this as a "star" move, or the only move to win, but actually 23-19 is also a surprising win with play along these lines (variations possible): 14-5, 19-15, 7-3, 15-8, 15-22, 3-8, 22-17, 8-12, 6-10, 12-16, 10-15, 11-8, 15-18, 16-19, 18-22, 8-3, 22-25, 19-15, 25-30, 15-10, 30-25, 3-8, 25-21, 10-15, 17-14, 15-19, 21-17, 19-16, 17-22, 16-19, 22-18, 8-12, 14-10, 12-16, 2-7, 16-12, 10-6, 12-8, 7-10, 19-16, 10-14, 16-11, 14-17, 11-7, 6-2, 8-11, 17-22, 7-10, 22-26, 10-15, 18-23, 15-10, 26-31,10-14, 23-19, 14-17, 31-26, 17-14, 26-23, 14-10, 23-18, 10-7, 19-15, 7-3, 15-8, 3-12, 2-6, 12-8, 18-15, 8-3, 15-11. Black Wins. This long endgame, calculated mostly by KingsRow, is very instructive and practical and well worth the time it takes to play it through.

i---2-6 loses. The quick way is 2-6, 10-15, 6-9, 15-18 Black Wins. Taking the longer route, the play might go 2-6, 10-15, 6-2, 14-10, 2-6 10-7, 6-9, 15-19, 9-14, 19-24, 14-18, 24-27, 18-14, 27-31, 14-18, 7-10, 18-23, 10-15, 13-9, 15-11, 23-18, 11-7, 18-14, 31-27, 14-17, 7-2, 17-14, 27-23, 14-17, 23-18, 17-13, 18-14. Black Wins. KingsRow.

ii---7-11 loses here, for instance: 7-11, 10-15, 11-16 (certainly not 11-15, 14-17 15-22, 17-26 Black Wins), 18-23, 16-19, 23-27, 19-23, 27-31, 23-19, 31-27, 19-16, 14-10, 16-11, 10-6, 11-7, 27-23, 7-2, 6-10, 2-6, 10-15, 6-2, 15-11, 13-9, 1-6. Black Wins. KingsRow.

iii---Alternative tries for Black also only draw:

19-23 or 19-24, 6-10. Drawn.
15-18, 6-10, 14-17, 10-15. Drawn.

iv---6-10 also draws here.

v---18-23, 11-16, 24-28, 15-24. Drawn.

vi---19-23, 16-19 cinches the draw.

vii----Would you have seen this astounding winning move in over the board play?

viii---If 18-14, 3-7 and now: 14-17, 7-2, 17-13, 1-6; or 14-18, 7-2, 18-14, 1-6. Black Wins.

The above position by J. F. Bremmer, may be found as No. 117 in Lyman's Problem Book, 1881.

A story going the rounds of checker circles relates of an interested beginner at checkers who quit the game when he asked an expert how he should play to win or draw his games. And this is what the expert gave for a reply . . . "Keep your stuff to the center, never place your stones on side squares, swap your gadgets off if the move is against you. Pitch a piece when you get a cramp on your single corner. Block up your double corner to keep it intact and don't be afraid to break your King row. Keep out of Bowen's Twins, and avoid First Position. Play orthodox games, but be careful of Cooks and Strokes. Stay away from the two move restriction until you know the go-as-you-please, and Dyke your formations whenever possible." ---The New Checkergram

Solution and notes are from Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers, with additional analysis and notes by KingsRow and your editor.

10/28/06 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with comments on this article.