The Checker Maven

Shearer's Cleaver

This week we return to our popular series taken from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, a true all-time classic of checker literature. We feature a setting called Shearer's Cleaver in which Willie shows us how, after a misstep by the Black side, White mercilessly chops him down. Let's let Willie narrate the tale.

"The masters often get into spirited controversies over who was first to show a particular line of play or shot. This Bristol Cross trap is a case in point. D. G. McKelvie, of London, England, claimed he was first to show it, but H. F. Shearer, of Scotland, published it first in 1892 and received credit for it. If an analyst has in mind a certain new play or analysis, but does not publish it, he has no legal claim of authorship or priority to it. It has been demonstrated time and again that champions often independently discover the same play and 'cooks,' but wishing to use these discoveries in future matches and tournaments, they keep their play under cover. More than one champion has yelled 'foul' when another has published a play or received credit for an analysis that he thought nobody else knew!

This is the way you start:


11-16 7-10 5-14
23-18 22-17 29-25
16-20 9-13 3- 7
24-19 27-23---A 31-27
10-14 13-22 7-11---B.
18-15 25- 9 See the
diagram.
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W32,30,28,27,26,25,23,21,19,15:B20,14,12,11,10,8,6,4,2,1.

A---An alternate trap can be set here by 26-22. Now 5-9, 30-26, 2-7, 27-23, 7-11, 32-27, etc., will end in a draw; but if after 26-22 at A, black replies with 2-7, white explodes with: 19-16, 12-19, 27-24, 20-27, 32-16, 10-19, 17-10, 7-14, 22-17, 13-22, 25-2, and white wins. H. F. Shearer.

B---Starts the stroke. Black's only draw move is: 1-5*, 25-22, 20-24*, 27-20, 7-11, 22-17 (not 22-18, 6-9, 15-6, 11-16, 20-11, 8-31, black wins), 11-27, 32-23, 6-9, 17-13, 10-15, 19-10, 14-17, 13-6, 2-9, 21-14, 9-27. D. G. McKelvie vs. James Searight."

Can you find the winning method, or will this problem take a slice out of you? Take a cut at it, and when you've hacked out the answer, click on Read More for the sharp and incisive solution.



Solution

"Continue: 21-17*, 11-18, 26-22, 14-21, 23-7, 2-11, 19-16, 12-19, 27-24, 20-27, 32-7, and white has a winning end game."---1

1----The win is long, but White has a commanding position. The computer solution (from KingsRow; many variants are possible) is worthy of careful study, to see how White presses the advantage: 8-11 7-3 11-16 28-24 16-20 24-19 20-24 22-17 24-28 25-22 28-32 19-16 32-27 16-11 27-23 11-7 6-10 7-2 10-15 2-7 15-19 7-11 23-27 17-13 19-23 22-18 27-31 18-14 23-27 11-15 27-32 14-9 32-27 15-10 27-24 9-6 24-19 6-2 19-23 2-7 31-27 13-9 1-5 10-14 27-31 7-11 31-27 3-8 27-24 9-6 24-27 14-17 27-24 6-2 5-9 17-22 9-13 2-7 24-27 7-10 27-31 8-3 23-19 3-7 19-24 11-15 31-27 7-11 24-28 10-14 27-31 14-18 31-27 22-26 27-24 11-8 4x11 15x8 24-19 8-3 19-24 3-7 28-32 7-10 24-27 26-31 27-24 18-23 32-28 10-15 28-32 23-19 32-28 31-26 24-27 15-18 13-17 26-31 27-24 19-23 24-20 30-26 20-16 18-22 16-11 22x13 and White, now a man up, wins easily.

12/20/08 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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