The Checker Maven

A Thanksgiving Feast

We've often said in these columns that Thanksgiving is far and away our favorite holiday. It's distinctly American (and we're unabashed patriots), non-sectarian in celebration (even if not in origin), and a wonderful family event which we greatly enjoy each year.

As a special Thanksgiving treat to accompany your turkey and pumpkin pie, here's a checker problem that we found to be fascinating, in that it has two solutions: one very ordinary and prosaic, and one surprising and snappy. Take a look if you will:

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
W:W13,5,K3:BK2,1.

White is a man up and ought to win, but can you find the way that gets you to that second slice of pumpkin pie the fastest? Feast on our problem for a while, then click on Read More for your dessert, in the form of the surprising solution.



Solution

Here is one way that White can grind out a win (there are of course variants on the theme).

3-8 1-6 5-1 6-10 13-9 2-7 9-6 10-15 6-2 7-11 8-3

after which White goes on to a very typical, and long, three kings vs. two kings win, perhaps as follows.

11-16 1-6 15-19 6-10 16-20 10-15 19-24 2-7 24-28 7-10 20-24 15-18 28-32 10-15 24-27 15-19 32-28 3-8 28-32 8-12 32-28 19-23 27-24 23-26 24-27 26-31 28-24 12-8 27-32 18-23 32-28 8-11 28-32 11-15 24-20 15-19 32-28 23-27 28-32 27-24 20x27 31x24 32-28 24-27 28-32 19-23 32-28 27-32 28-24 32-28 24-20 23-18 20-16 18-15 16-20 15-11

and White has finally won, but by this time the coffee is cold and the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie is sagging.

But White can win much more easily in this way:

13-9! 1-6 3-7! 6x13 7-10 13-17 10-14 17-22 5-1 2-7 1-6

and it's a clear and quick win for White, having "the move" on both of the Black pieces.

Now, go ahead --- enjoy that nice, fresh, second piece of pie. And we at The Checker Maven wish you a wonderful, happy, and safe holiday weekend.

11/29/08 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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