The Checker Maven

Checker School: Cowie's Position

While the photo above certainly depicts an interesting position (although one which we're most unlikely to attempt ourselves), our title, and today's lesson in our ongoing Checker School series, refers to a position of a much different nature.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK12,K15,21:B13,14,K31.

It's three against three, but White has two kings and seemingly the upper hand. But the twists and contortions necessary to score the win will require much flexibility of thought. See if you can master this surprisingly intricate position; but don't get tied up in knots; clicking on Read More will definitely ease the strain by bringing you the full solution, a sample game, and Ben Boland's detailed notes and commentary.



Solution

12-16, 31-26, 16-20---A, 26-22, 20-24, 22-26, 24-27, 13-17---B, 27-31*---C, 17-22, 15-10, 14-18, 21-17---D, 26-30---E, 10-14, 18-23, 17-13, 30-25, 14-17, 23-26, 17-21, 26-30, 13-9, 25-29, 9-6, 29-25, 6-2, 25-29, 2-6, 29-25, 6-10, 25-29, 10-15, 29-25, 15-19, 25-29, 19-23, 29-25, 21-17. White Wins.

Game: 11-15, 22-17, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 24-15, 10-19, 25-22, 9-13, 17-14, 8-11, 22-18, 3-8, 27-23, 8-12, 23-16, 12-19, 32-27, 6-9, 27-24, 11-15, 18-11, 7-16, 24-15, 9-18, 15-11, 1-6, 29-25, 6-10, 31-27, 10-15, 26-23, 18-22---G, 25-18, 15-22, 30-26, 22-31, 23-18, 31-24, 28-12, 5-9, 12-8, 2-6, 18-15---H, 9-14, 8-3, 14-18, 11-8, 4-11, 15-8, 18-23, 3-7, 23-26, 8-3, 26-31, 3-8, 31-26, 8-11, 6-9, 11-15, 9-14, 7-11, 26-22, 11-16, 22-26. Forms above position at 2nd move. Alec Battersby.

A---If 16-19 then 13-17 draws; and if 15-10, 17-22, 10-17, 26-30. Drawn.

B---26-22, 27-23 13-17, 15-10, 22-18, 23-27, 18-22, 10-6, 22-18, 6-9. White Wins.

C---If 15-19, 26-22* and White must go back 19-15 to win. If 19-23, 22-18, 23-19, 17-22, 19-23, 18-15*. Drawn.

D---Here Cowie corrects Lyman who gave; 10-14---F, 26-23, 21-17, 22-25, 17-13, 25-29*, 13-9, 29-25*, 9-6, 25-21*. Drawn.

E---26-23, 10-15*, 23-26, 17-13, 26-23, 13-9, 23-26, 9-6, 26-30, 6-2, 30-26, 2-6, 26-23, 6-9, 23-26, 9-14, 26-23, 15-19, or 14-17. White Wins.

F---10-15, 26-30, 21-17, 18-23, 15-18, 23-26. Drawn.

G---P. Thirkell pointed out the following to draw: 16-19, 23-16, 18-23, 27-18, 15-30, 28-24, 5-9, 30-26, 29-25, 26-23, 25-22, 23-19, 22-18, 24-20, 18-14, 11-7, 2-11, 16-7, 14-10, 7-3, 9-14, 19-16, 14-18, 16-11. Drawn.

H---The above game was played between E. L. Benson and J. W. Jacobson, Game 1198, Draughts World, Vol. 16, Nov. 1900. Here they only played 8-3 to a draw. Battersby under the pen name X. Y. Z. continued to show where the win was missed. His play was the same as Lyman's. But in the Dec. Issue T. Cowie points out the error and refers to his No. 727, see Note D above.

We first found the position by H. D. Lyman as No. 319, in the New England Checker Player, Sept. - Oct. 1879, Vol. 4. This in turn was taken from Turf Field and Farm where it appeared as No. 1014. The Black Man on 31 was on 27, with the caption "Black to Play and Draw."

It wasn't until twenty years later that Thomas Cowie found the correct play and gave it as Problem No. 727, in the Draughts World, Nov. 1899, Vol. 14. See Note D above. Cowie gave it to correct No. 924 in Gould's Problem Book, but of course it is No. 226 in Lyman's Problem Book too. It is strange that when the position was copied into Lyman's Problem Book, the correct caption was attached, but this was a typographical error and a label was made with the word "Draw" pasted over win. And in Duffy's Standards, Part 2, the reverse will have to be done.

The notes are by Ben Boland.

04/28/07 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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