The Checker Maven

Tommy Meets Marvin

It was a Saturday morning in the Florida fall, and as was usually the case, Tommy had rushed over to Uncle Ben's porch for his weekly checker lesson. Of course as you know by now, Uncle Ben wasn't really his uncle, but calling the kindly old gentleman "Uncle Ben" just seemed like the right sort of thing to do.

"So, Tommy, you must tell me all about it!" exclaimed Uncle Ben from his comfortable seat on the porch's outdoor sofa.


Tommy Wagner

Tommy couldn't wait to tell Uncle Ben his news--- Tommy had met professional checker star Marvin J. Mavin in person, and had played against him in a simultaneous exhibition at Tommy's grade school!

Marvin J. Mavin, as our regular readers are aware, is the team captain of the Detroit Doublejumpers, in the American Conference of the National Checker League. Marvin is well-known for his work in schools with the up-and-coming checkerists of the next generation. Marvin is also known as being, shall we say, somewhat of a character.

"Yes, Uncle Ben, I got to play in the simul against Marvin!" said Tommy excitedly. "First he gave a lecture to all the students and then workshops for our teams and ..."

"Whoa, slow down a bit, Tommy!" asked Uncle Ben. "That's rather a lot at once! Tell me first, what kind of impression did Marvin make on you?"


Marvin J. Mavin

"Well," replied Tommy, "he knew everything about checkers and there wasn't any question he couldn't answer! I'd sure like to be a great checker player like Marvin some day, although...." Here Tommy hesitated a little.

"Go on, Tommy," urged Uncle Ben.

"It's just that his hair looked like he ought to maybe, you know, wash it? And he did kind of smell a little like beer..."

"Ah yes," said Uncle Ben, "in my own professional playing days, we took a little more care with our image and the impression we made. Marvin is a fine checker player, but you'd be best advised not to imitate some of his, shall we say, less desirable characteristics. But enough of that; it's great that you got to play in the simul, so tell me about it."

"I got to play because I'm Captain of the Junior Varsity this year," said Tommy, "and that gave me a table at the simul. Would you care to go over the game with me?"

"Of course, Tommy," said Uncle Ben. "I imagine Marvin won? It would be tough even to get a draw against a seasoned professional."

"He did win," said Tommy, "and I don't feel bad about that at all. I was just happy to have a chance to play. Still, at one point I thought I might have gotten a draw. Here's how the game went."

11-15, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 12-16, 29-25, 9-13, 26-22, 16-20, 24-19, 5-9, 21-17, 8-12, 25-21, 4-8, 30-26, 1-5, 28-24, 8-11, 32-28, 11-16, 19-15, 10-19, 24-15, 16-19, 23-16, 12-19, 27-24, 20-27, 31-24, 7-10, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 2-7, 15-11, 7-16, 24-15, 3-7, 26-23, 16-20, 23-19, 20-24, 15-10, 6-15, 19-3, 24-27, 14-10, 9-14, 18-9, 5-14 (diagram)

"Look at this, Uncle Ben!" Tommy went on. "I had lost a man, but I thought that it still wasn't so easy for Mr. Mavin to win. But he played this great series of moves..."

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B13,14,27:W28,22,10,K3.

"That's what makes him a top player," said Uncle Ben, "not missing an opportunity to bring home the win. But this is a familiar theme that is worthy of further study. Do you know where you went wrong, and do you understand now how Marvin was able to win?"

"Yes, sir, I do," said Tommy. "I know which was my losing move, and here's how Mr. Mavin got the win."

Are you as good as Marvin J. Mavin, and can you find the winning moves in the position shown below? Can you find and correct Tommy's losing move?

Give it some study, and when you've come up with your answer, click on Read More for the solution, a large selection of additional examples of this theme, and the conclusion to this week's story.



Solution

Tommy's losing move is shown and corrected at Note A in and below the game listing. The solution to the diagrammed position is given in example No. 2. The notes and additional illustrations are taken from Ben Boland's classic Familiar Themes in the Game of Checkers.


Game---11-15, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 12-16, 29-25, 9-13, 26-22, 16-20, 24-19, 5-9, 21-17, 8-12, 25-21, 4-8, 30-26, 1-5, 28-24, 8-11, 32-28, 11-16, 19-15, 10-19, 24-15, 16-19, 23-16, 12-19, 27-24, 20-27, 31-24, 7-10, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 2-7, 15-11, 7-16, 24-15, 3-7, 26-23, 16-20, 23-19, 20-24, 15-10, 6-15, 19-3, 24-27, 14-10, 9-14---A, 18-9, 5-14---No. 2.

A---27-31, 18-15, 9-14. Drawn. Maize---Richmond.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K22:W14,17,K10.

1. J. Lawrie, No. 74, L. P. Bk. 17-13, 22-17, 13-9, 17-13, 10-6, 13-17, 14-10, 5-14, 6-9, 14-18, 9-14.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B13,14,27:W28,22,10,K3.

2. C. F. Barker, No. 267 in Horsfal's Prob. Bk. 3-7*, 27-31, 7-2, 31-26, 2-6, 26-17, 6-9. White wins. This was the 43rd game in the match between Reed and Barker, 1889. Can be found as game 703 Draughts World, Vol. 9.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,15,K26:W10,21,23,K2.

3. J. T. Hennigan, No. 137 A. C. R. Vol. 2. 2-7, 26-19, 7-11, 15-18, 11-15. 3-7, 15-24, etc.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:B11,22,23:W6,19,20.

4. F. Dunne, No. 39 Dunne's Praxis: 22-26, 6-2, 26-31, 2-7, 31-27, 7-16, 27-24.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B2,11,K31:W10,12,19.

5. J. Yates, No. 243 Horsfal's Prob. Bk.: 12-8, 31-27, 8-4, 27-24, 10-7, 24-15, 4-8, 2-6, 7-2, 6-9, 2-7.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B4,10,K30:W18,32,K12.

6. J. R. Yoeman No. 246 Horsfal's Prob. Bk.: 30-26, 12-16, 26-23, 18-15, 10-19, 32-28, 4-8, 16-12, 8-11, 12-8, 11-16, 8-11, 16-20, as No. 1.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play, Black to Draw

W:B15,22,27:W23,30,K2.

7. R. Sallaway, No. 36 B. D. C, Oct. 1913. 2-7, 27-32, 7-11, 22-26, 11-18, 32-27, 30-25, 26-30, 25-21, 30-26. Pos. was left as W. W. In game 3816, Var. 1, New London Globe above was then shown in the Free Press, 1913. Opposite side, No. 5.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B2,6,12,19,20:W14,15,18,22,28.

8. Fourth American Tourney Book, Pg. 47, Paisley Game: 22-17, 19-23, 17-13, 23-26, 14-9, 26-31, 18-14, 31-26, 14-10, 26-23, 10-1, 2-7, 1-6, 23-18, 15-10, 7-14, 6-10.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B10,24,K26:W6,11,18

9. N. W. Gillespie No. 330, Banks Checker-is t, July 1925.: 11-7, 26-22---A, 7-3, 22-15, 3-7. Dr. A---26-23---B, 6-2, 23-14, 2-6. Dr. B---24-27, 7-3, 26-23, 6-2, 23-14, 2-6. Dr.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B3,7,K31:W6,15,23.

10. E. A. Jones No. 3860 Melbourne Times and 5489 R. C: 23-18, 7-10. 15-11. Same as No. 7 at start, colors reversed.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B2,11,13,K25:W5,6,19,21,23.

11. K. L. Johnston, No. 5477 R. C: 5-1, 2-9, 1-5, 9-14, 5-9, 14-18, 23-14, 25-22, 9-6, 22-26, 6-10, 26-23, 19-15, 11-18, 10-15, 18-22, 15-18.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play

W:B9,10,11,12,14,17:W18,19,20,21,23,24.

If Cowan's coup were wrongly played this idea appears: 19-16, 12-26, 24-19, 14-23, 21-7, 9-13 (a waiting move), 7-2 (7-3 correct), 26-31, 2-7, 31-27, 7-16, 27-24. B. W.

AVOIDING IDEA

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B12,K9,K18,K19:W15,20,K3,K11.

J. Sturges, No. 70 His Crit. Sit. 20-16, 19-10, 11-7. This is relative to "Circling the Sq." Page 22 (in Familiar Themes).

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:BK23,K26:W18,K14,K15.

A. Sinclair, No. 71, L. P. Bk. L. and Lady, Var. E. 15-11, 26-22, 18-15, 22-18, 14-9, 23-19, 15-10, 19-15, 9-14.

For another fine game leading to this theme see Game No. 798 D. Review, Vol. 4, 1928.


"Well then, Tommy, that's a good Saturday workout!" said Uncle Ben, as they completed study of the last example of the theme. "How about a nice glass of lemonade before you head back home?"

Uncle Ben definitely made the best fresh lemonade anywhere, Tommy thought as he gratefully accepted a tall, icy-cold glass. "Thank you, Uncle Ben," Tommy said politely. A quizzical look came over his face, and Tommy added, "Uncle Ben ... I'm sure glad you don't drink beer!"

Uncle Ben merely chuckled softly as he and Tommy sipped from their glasses, the young student and the old master together enjoying the fine Florida morning.

Uncle Ben's Porch is a purely fictitious rendition of the retirement years of the great checker writer and teacher Ben Boland. The project is ambitious and errors do creep in. Please assist by emailing us your corrections; we can be reached at unclebensporch@checkermaven.com.

11/22/08 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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