The Checker Maven

An Oktoberfest Contest

It was about five in the afternoon on a fine Sunday in October, and Marvin J. Mavin was sitting in the Biergarten on the Detroit Oktoberfest grounds. Marvin, as you probably know by now, is team captain of the Detroit Doublejumpers, a leading team in the National Checker League. The Doublejumpers were off today, and Marvin had just finished playing a simultaneous exhibition in the Oktoberfest's Main Halle. Marvin took on no less than 48 other players, all at once, in a benefit for disadvantaged city youth, a cause that Marvin often proudly volunteered to support. Marvin, in true championship form, won 46 games, drew two, and lost none at all.

The problem was, Marvin decided that such a performance was worthy of a beer. Or maybe, beers. So after the exhibition, he had gone right to the Biergarten, and for the past hour had been enjoying the atmosphere perhaps a little too much, and, well, things like that don't usually turn out for the best...

Marvin, in a bit of a reverie, suddenly sensed someone standing in front of him, talking rather loudly. Blinking his eyes and looking up, he realized it was none other than Dmitri Tovarischky!

Now, if you recall our earlier story (found here), a little while back Marvin had gone with his girlfriend Priscilla (who was at the moment in England on business) to a champagne party, and had played to a rather tense draw in an impromptu challenge game with Russian champion Dmitri. Marvin's less than star-like behavior had led to quite a row with Priscilla, and Marvin ended up taking the bus home instead of riding in Priscilla's Mercedes.

"Checkers Boy! What you doing here!" Dmitri exclaimed. "Should be home practicing!" Dmitri accompanied the last statement with a bit of a snort.

Marvin looked up, and it was obvious that he wasn't pleased to see Dmitri, let alone listen to his remarks. "Hey Russki, I played an exhibition and won 46 out a 48. You couldn't a done that! You ain't good enough!"

"Dmitri would be winning all games, Checkers Boy! Dmitri does not drink bad American beer and get funny in head and play poor game of checkers!"

"Hey, I didn't ..." Marvin started, but Dmitri immediately interrupted him.

"You and I, we play game now, da?" And before Marvin could even reply, Dmitri had opened up a little briefcase, took out a folding board and a set of checker pieces, and had started to set up for a game. "Checkers Boy will take Black pieces," Dmitri stated when the board was ready for play.

"No dude, they're Red pieces. Red, get it, like you!" Marvin chuckled at this remark but Dmitri glowered at the impolite comment. Not receiving a reply, Marvin began the game, and it played out as follows.

Black: Marvin
White: Dmitri

1. 11-16 23-18
2. 16-20 24-19
3. 9-14 18x9
4. 5x14 27-23

"Kind of a bum move, Russki!" exclaimed Marvin.

5. 8-11 22-18
6. 6-9

"Is now your bad moving," Dmitri said.

"Will ya keep quiet and play!" Marvin, replied with some annoyance.

6. ... 25-22
7. 2-6

"American beer drinker is cooked goose now!" Dmitri said, with glee.

7. ... 22-17

8. 4-8 30-25

"Ha, ya big loser, that move ain't so hot," Marvin threw across the table.

9. 11-16

"OK, Checkers Boy, Dmitri maybe make one mistake, but now you losing game for sure," Dmitri shot back.

10. ... 25-22

10. 20-24 32-27
11. 16-20 29-25
12. 8-11 17-13
13. 11-16

"You playing bad checkers when drinking American beer!" Dmitri said, repeating his earlier remark.

13. ... 22-17
14. 7-11 25-22
15. 3-8

"Now win is here," said Dmitri. "Game is over for Checkers Boy!"

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W31,28,27,26,23,22,21,19,18,17,13:B24,20,16,14,12,11,10,9,8,6,1.

15. ... 19-15
16. 10x19 17x10
17. 6x15 13x6
18. 1x10 21-17
19. 10-14 17x10

White Wins.

BLACK

WHITE
White Wins

"I told you, Dmitri is winning all games," Dmitri concluded. "Checkers Boy better take taxi to home and go in his bed and sleep until next day is coming." And in an instant, Dmitri had packed away the checker set and board and was gone.

"Wha...what..." was all Marvin could say, and in the background, he heard one of the small crowd of observers call out, "Yeah, better get 'em a taxi and send 'em home!" and then added, "His coach ain't gonna like it when he shows up for practice with a big headache!"

Can you correct the play at moves 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, and 15? Dmitri did make one large error, but Marvin made many. What would you have played instead? Analyze the game and then click on Read More for complete annotations and the game in PDN format.



Commented Game

[Event "Oktoberfest Impromptu Game"]
[Date ""]
[Black "Marvin J Mavin"]
[White "Dmitri Tovarischky"]
[Result "0-1"]
1. 11-16 23-18
2. 16-20 24-19
3. 9-14 18x9
4. 5x14 27-23
{Dmitri might have been better with 26-23 here.}
5. 8-11 22-18
6. 6-9
{Not as good as say 11-15. The game is going in a bit in Dmitri's favor.}
25-22
7. 2-6
{Loses; 3-8 would have stayed in the game.}
22-17
8. 4-8 30-25
{Dmitri gives away a lot of the advantage, whereas 26-22 would have held a clear win.}
9. 11-16
{But Marvin gives the win back to Dmitri. 12-16 was better here.}
25-22
10. 20-24 32-27
11. 16-20 29-25
12. 8-11 17-13
13. 11-16
{It's completely over for Marvin. 12-16 would have been, at least, a slower death.}
22-17
14. 7-11 25-22
15. 3-8
{The final mistake; 11-15 still loses but is better here. Dmitri has an immediate elegant forced win.}
19-15
16. 10x19 17x10
17. 6x15 13x6
18. 1x10 21-17
19. 10-14 17x10
0-1

Editor's Note: This game was published a very long time ago in Draughts Marvel and, even though not of championship caliber, it is a very interesting block win. Additional analysis was by Ed Gilbert's King's Row computer program with the 10-piece endgame database.

Checkers and drinking don't mix, but if you are of legal age and choose to drink, The Checker Maven asks that you do so in a responsible manner. Drinking and driving is a serious and dangerous crime; please don't ever do it.

10/13/07 - Category: Games - Printer friendly version
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