The Checker Maven

Sturges the Great

Joshua Sturges was one of the early great teachers in the world of draughts; he published his "Guide to the Game of Draughts" in London, in 1800, and for nearly half a century it was the draughts primer. Even to this day, online bookseller Amazon lists the title in their catalog as Joshua Sturges's guide to the game of draughts: In which the theory and practice of that scientific recreation are clearly illustrated including one hundred and seventy-two critical positions. They list the date as 1881, for some reason (there were apparently numerous later editions and reprints), and note that the title is not currently available, and is not expected back in stock!

Information on Mr. Sturges isn't all that easy to come by, but we did find this historical record of a London jury that convened in July, 1801.

In the listing of jury members, a Joshua Sturges is shown as a member of the "Second Middlesex Jury." We don't know if this is the same Mr. Sturges of draughts fame, but given the date and location, it is certainly quite possible.

But today, in our continuing Checker School series, we're asking you to be both judge and jury of the following Sturges "situation."

J. Sturges
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK19,K22,30:B12,21,K27.

Certainly, White is better off here, but demonstrating the win makes all the difference, and it will certainly require care and attention.

Weigh the evidence and come up with the verdict: can you prove that White wins or will there be a hung jury? After you've given it your best effort, click on Read More to see the solution, notes, and several example games, as provided by Ben Boland.



Solution

Here is the solution, notes, and games as given by Ben Boland in Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers.

30-26, 27-23, 19-15, 23-30, 15-19, 21-25, 22-29, 30-26, 29-25, 26-31, 19-23, 12-16, 25-22, 16-20, 23-19, 31-27, 22-18, 27-32, 18-23, 32-28, 23-27, 28-32, 19-23, 32-28, 27-32, 28-24, 32-28. White Wins--- the tail end of first position.

Game: 11-15, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 8-11, 29-25, 4-8, 24-20, 10-15, 25-22, 12-16, 21-17, 8-12, 17-13, 7-10, 27-24, 9-14, 18-9, 5-14, 32-27, 2-7, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19, 10-15---A, 19-10, 6-15, 22 18, 15 22, 26-10, 7-14, 13-9, 14-17, 23-18, 16-19, 9-6, 1-10, 18-15, 11-18, 27-23, 19-26, 31-6, 3-8, 6-2, 8-11, 2-6, 11-15, 6-10, 15-19, 10-14, 17-21, 14-18, 19-24, 18-15, 24-28, 15-19, 28-32---B, 20-16, 32-28, 16-11, 28-32, 11-7, 32-28, 7-2, 28-32, 2-7, 32-28, 7-10, 28-32, 10-15, 32-28, 15-18, 28-32, 18-22, 32-27. Forms above position. R. Martins, American Draughts Player. See also Lees' Guide, single corner, Page 131, Var. 7, Note †

Game: 9-14, 22-18, 5-9, 24-19, 11-15, 18-11, 8-24, 28-19, 4-8, 25-22, 8-11, 22-18, 11-16, 29-25, 7-11, 18-15, 11-18, 21-17, 14-21, 23-5, 16-23, 26-19, 3-8, 25-22, 8-11, 27-23, 11-15, 32-28, 15-24, 28-19, 10-15, 19-10, 6-15, 23-18, 15-19, 18-15, 19-24 15-11, 24-28, 11-8, 28-32, 8-3, 32-28, 3-8, 2-7, 22-18, 28-24, 18-14, 24-19, 31-26, 1-6, 5-1, 6-10, 14-9, 19-15, 8-3, 7-11, 9-6, 10-14, 6-2, 14-18, 3-7, 11-16, 7-10 15-6 1-10, 18-23, 26-19, 16-23, 10-15, 23-27, 15-19, 27-32, 2-7, 32-27, 7-11, 27-32, 11-15---C, 32-28, 15-18, 28-32, 18-22, 32-27. Forms above position. J. Smith vs. J. P. Reed, March 1887, Gould's Match Book, Page 209.

Game: 11-15, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 8-11, 29-25, 4-8, 25-22, 12-16, 24-20, 10-14, 27-24 8-12, 24-19, 7-10, 32-27, 9-13, 18-9, 5-14, 22-18, 1-5, 18-9, 5-14, 19-15, 11-18, 20-11, 18-22, 26-17, 13-22, 11-8, 22-25, 8-4, 25-29, 4-8, 2-7, 23-19, 29-25, 27-24, 14-18, 21-17, 25-22, 17-13, 18-23, 8-4, 10-14, 24-20, 22-18, 4-8, 18-22 20-16, 22-18, 8-11, 7-10, 11-7---E, 6-9, 13-6, 23-27, 31-24, 10-15, 19-10, 12-19 24-15, 18-9, 28-24---F, 14-18, 24-19, 18-23, 19-16, 9-14, 10-6, 23-27, 6-1, 14-10, 30-25, 27-31, 25-21, 31-26, 16-12, 10-14, 1-5, 26-23, 5-1, 23-19, 1-6, 19-15, 6-2 (this allows 15-18, the 2 for 1), 15-11, 2-6---G. Forms above position colors reversed. J. Sturges, in his Guide, 1800.

The above game shows four of the hundred and fifty Sturges' Positions. It is probably the first recorded game leading to "First Position."

A---14-17, 13-9, 6-13, 22-18, 10-14, etc. Drawn. Martins.

B---Forms End Game No. 2, American Draughts Player, 1860.

C---Reed misses the win and plays; 11-16, 32-28, 16-20, 28-32, 20-24---D, 32-28, 24-27, 28-32, 19-23, 32-28, 27-32, 28-24, 23-18, 24-19, 32-28, 12-16, 28-32, 16-20, 30-26, 21-25. Drawn. The above win was pointed out by Argus, April 1889, in the International Draughts Player.

D---J. McFarlane gave the following to correct Reed; 19-23, 32-28, 23-26, 28-32, 26-22, 32-27, 30-26, etc. White wins. American Checker Review, Game 122, Page 291, Feb. 16, 1889, Vol. 1.

E---This is now Sturges' Position No. 134.

F---This Sturges' Position No. 44.

G---Now Sturges' Position No. 2. Sturges continues, holds the man on 21 (12), and forms his position No. 1, which is really W. Payne's "First Position." First Position got its name by being the first position in Sturges' and Anderson's works.

The above position may be found as Situation 2, in Sturges' Critical Situations on the Game of Draughts, 1808. The Footnote: The men are in this situation in the original 20th Game (His Guide, 1800), 9th Variation, and 29th move.

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