The Checker Maven

Thanksgiving Weekend

In the United States it's Thanksgiving weekend, bringing one of our favorite times of family, food, and celebration. In the spirit of the weekend, we'd like to bring you an especially elegant checker problem which we're sure will provide you with much pleasure. It's part of our Checker School series and looks like this.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK10,20,22:B1,9,28.

The problem is due to R. Martins, and while the solution is not overly long, it may surprise you; and, like Thanksgiving dinner, the problem is incredibly rich in content. Take your time, have a slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of coffee, and enjoy. When you're all done, click on Read More to see the solution, a sample game, and detailed explanatory notes.



Solution

Our solution, game, and notes come, as usual for a Checker School problem, from Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. We've supplemented Mr. Boland's notes with some analysis done with Ed Gilbert's KingsRow and the 10 piece endgame database.

10-15*---4, 28-32---A, 15-18---B, 32-27, 20-16, 1-6---C, 18-15---D, 9-14, 16-11, 27-23---E, 15-18, 14-17, 18-27, 17-26, 27-23, 26-31---1, 11-7. White Wins---2.

Game: 11-15, 22-17, 15-19, 24-15, 10-19, 23-16, 12-19, 26-22, 8-12, 22-18, 4-8, 17-14, 8-11, 27-24, 11-15, 18-11, 7-16, 24-15, 9-18, 28-24, 16-19, 24-20, 3-8, 21-17, 2-7, 25-22, 18-25, 29-22, 19-24, 22-18, 7-10, 17-14, 10-19, 18-15, 19-23, 14-10, 23-27, 32-23, 24-28, 10-7, 28-32, 7-3, 32-28, 3-7, 28-24, 23-19, 8-11, 15-8, 24-15, 30-26, 6-9, 8-4, 15-11, 7-16, 12-19, 4-8, 9-14, 8-11, 19-24, 11-15, 24-28, 15-10, 14-17, 26-22, 17-26, 31-22, 5-9. Forms above position. W. Beattie vs. R. Martins. Game No. 95 in the "American Checker Review," Vol. 3. Aug. 25, 1891

A---1-5, 15-19, 28-32, 19-23, 9-14, 20-16, 5-9, 16-11, 9-13, 11-7, 14-17, 23-26, 32-28, 7-2, 28-24, 2-7, 24-20, 7-10, 20-24, 10-14, 17-21, 26-30, 24-19, 14-18, 19-24, 18-23, 24-28, 22-18. White Wins---3. Dr. T. J. Brown.

B---Play thus prevents the Black King getting to the relief of his men, viz, Square 31, because if he makes the attempt White simply pins him by 18-23.

C---The expert may easily observe that this is the best defense. Black must evidently be pinned to the side, unless he now attempts to run the gauntlet: 27-24, 16-11, 24-19, 11-7, 19-16, 7-2, 16-11, 22-17, 11-16, 17-14, 9-13, 2-7, 16-19, 7-10, 13-17, 14-9, or 10-15, 19-10, 14-7, etc. White Wins. Dr. T. J. Brown.

D---In itself, this is not a bad problem.

E---14-18---F, 22-17, 18-22, 15-18*, 22-26, 11-7. White Wins.

F---27-32, 11-7, 31-27, 7-3, 27-31, 3-7, 31-27, 7-11. White Wins.

1---If 26-30 then 23-18 6-10 11-8 30-26 8-3 26-30 3-7 White Wins. (Ed.)

2---The Black man will be able to crown on 29 or 30, but will not be able to reach the double corner on the opposite side, and White will win with "the move": 6-9 7-3 9-14 3-7 14-17 7-10 17-22 10-15 22-25 15-18 25-30 18-22. White Wins (Ed.)

3---The win is rather interesting. Essentially the Black king on 28 can't do much except shuttle back and forth, but if the Black men try to advance one of them will be lost (for instance 13-17 30-26 21-25? 26-22 17-26 23-21 White Wins). So White will crown his man and bring the new king forward, working it to 22, where it holds off both Black men. Then the other two White kings go after the Black king in the double corner, and win. One line of play is 28-24 18-14 24-28 14-10 28-24 10-7 24-28 7-2 28-24 2-6 24-28 6-10 28-24 10-15 24-28 15-18 28-24 18-22 and now the White kings on 30 and 23 can hunt down the lone Black king. (Ed.)

4---This may not be the only possible winning move, and therefore may not rank as the "star" move; computer analysis gives other options, but the line of play found by the computer is essentially the same, differing only in move order. (Ed.)

The above position was first given as Prize Problem No. 19 in "Liverpool Weekly Mercury."

In the Mercury Competition, the late Eley Clark won the first prize of half a guinea, and a copy of Dunne's Guide was awarded to Dr. T. J. Brown, who dealt with the problem in a manner which excited the admiration of the author, Mr. Martins. Mr. Clark's solution, however, preceded the Doctor's by one day.

Correspondents to the number of 102 attempted the solution by at once crowding the man---20-16, 16-11, 11-7, 7-2; and the beauty of the problem lies in the fact that it cannot be solved in this, the most plausible way.

The editorial staff of The Checker Maven hope this problem has brought you as much enjoyment as your slice of pie and cup of coffee, and that your Thanksgiving weekend is the very best ever.

11/24/07 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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