The Checker Maven

Win One For Uncle Ben

It was Saturday morning, the time of the week that Tommy would head over to Uncle Ben's porch for a checker lesson and some of Uncle Ben's famous lemonade.

But Tommy wouldn't be doing that today. Yesterday, Uncle Ben had been taken to Community Memorial Medical Center.

When Tommy heard the news, he was absolutely determined to pay his beloved checker mentor a visit at the hospital. There were just two problems with that. The biggest problem was that Tommy was still thirteen, and the minimum visiting age was fourteen. Second, Tommy's mother didn't exactly approve of him "bothering poor Uncle Ben while he's ill." Well, she didn't quite tell him he couldn't go ... and so, before she could actually utter those irrevocable words of prohibition, Tommy was on his bicycle, pedalling furiously downtown, making the trip in near-record time.


Tommy Wagner

The ward nurse, of course, asked Tommy about his age. Tommy was not one to tell lies, so he told the nurse that he was "almost fourteen" and kind of didn't say the word "almost" in quite as loud a voice as he said the word "fourteen." The nurse told him that she'd let him visit, but he'd have to keep it to ten minutes.

Uncle Ben was sitting up in his bed when Tommy went into his room. "Ah, what a nice surprise!" he exclaimed with a smile when he saw his young student. "I didn't expect to see you this morning! How ever did you get past the head nurse?" he asked, but then added, "Oh ... no matter. You're a resourceful checker player, after all."

"How are you doing, sir?" Tommy inquired.

"I'll be just fine, Tommy," Uncle Ben said, "I had a bit of a fall and they are just keeping me a little longer for observation. No real harm done. But I'm afraid we won't have any lemonade this morning."

"Oh, no, sir, I didn't come for a checker lesson. I just wanted to see how you were, and let you know that our school team has a big match this week against our rivals, Sunshine Middle, and I'll be playing second board!"

"Oh, you'd better practice up, then," replied Uncle Ben. "Second board --- I see Coach Hovmiller has moved you up rather quickly. You'll not have an easy game, but I'm sure you'll be ready." Uncle Ben turned to reach for something on his bedstand. "Here," he said, "I've got just the thing for you to try out."

Uncle Ben handed the object to Tommy; it was a sheet of paper with a hand-drawn diagram of a checker problem!

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,9,14,K8:W21,23,17.

"Now, I know you didn't expect a lesson, nor will they let you stay here much longer, so how about you just take this problem home and practice with it?"

Tommy was all smiles. How could Uncle Ben have guessed that he would visit? But just at that moment, the ward nurse stuck her head through the door and said, "Time's up, young man!"

"Thank you, Uncle Ben," said Tommy as he turned to leave. "I'll surely study this problem carefully. And," he went on, "I'm going to win my game this week ... just for you!"

Now it was Uncle Ben who was all smiles. But the ward nurse had an insistent look. "Get well soon!" called Tommy as he left. "See you next week!"


Can you win one for Uncle Ben? He's counting on you! Solve the problem and then click on Read More to see the solution, a sample game, and no less than seventeen additional examples.



Solution

The featured problem is solved below as No. 18. The sample game and additional examples and notes are from Ben Boland's celebrated Familiar Themes in the Scientific Game of Checkers.

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

A---The wrong way to capture; 2-11, 23-18 or 21-17. B. W. H. E. Moore.

B---8-12, 9-13, 12-16, 15-19, 22-18. 19-12, 18-9. Drawn. P. H. Ketchum.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,21,K11:WK3,K14,K22.

1. J. Sturges, His Crit. Sit. 1808, No. 39. 22-17, 21-25, 17-13, 25-30, 14-9, 6-10, 2-7, 11-2, 9-6.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B13,20,22:W30,K28,K29.

2. O. H. Richmond, No. 140 Terry's Ckrist, Dec. 1887. 28-32, 20-24, 32-28, 24-27, 28-24, 27-32, 24-19, 32-27, 30-25, 22-26, 19-23, 27-18, 25-22. This Pos. was given in poetry form by Richmond. Was an ending between Robinson and Gurley, played 1883. May also be found, Steam's Port. Vol. 1, Pg. 61.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B14,K30,K31:WK21,K22,K24.

3. J. Lees, No. 25, Lees Guide. D. W. Vol. 4, Pg. 530. 24-20, 31-27, 20-16, 27-24, 16-11, 24-19, 22-17, 14-18, 11-15, 19-10, 17-14.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B10,28,K12:W26,K3,K30.

4. J. T. Hennigan, No. 130 H. P. Bk. 3-7, 10-15, 7-11, 15-19, 11-16, 19-24, 16-20, 24-27, 20-16.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B23,28,K1:W31,K4,K30.

5. "P. B." No. 65 D. W. Vol. 1. 1892. 4-8, 1-6, 8-11, 6-10, 31-26, 23-27, 11-15.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

6. W. Hardie, No. 137 H. P. Bk. 12-16, 4-8, 16-19, 8-11, 30-25, 22-26, 25-22, 17-21, 19-15.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,19,K22:W14,29,31,K28.

7. R. Bush, Gem No. 92 D. W. Vol. 6, 1895. (No. 28 Northern Gossip Newcastle.) No. 3 Terry's Ckrist. Vol. 2, No. 11, 1888. 29-25, 22-29, 31-27, 29-25, 27-24, 19-23, 14-10, 6-15, 24-19.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B11,19,K30:W31,K3,K18.

8. W. J. Perrett, No. 125, D. P. Weekly B. 3-8, 11-16, 18-15, 19-24, 8-12, 16-20, 31-26, 30-23, 15-19.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:BK11,K15,K30:W22,K3,K29.

9. R. Holding, No. 128 H. P. Bk. 30-25, 22-17, 25-21, 17-13, 15-18, 13-9, 11-7. "P. B." in No. 1718 D. W. Vol. 35, Mar. 1910. Shows this dual: 30-26, 22-17, 26-23, 29-25, 23-19, 25-22, 11-7, etc.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B4,15,18,20:W12,26,30,K21.

10. W. W. Horsfall, No. 429, H. P. Bk. 21-17, 18-22, 26-23, 22-26, 17-22, 26-31, 30-25, 31-27, 23-18, 15-19, 12-8, 4-11, 18-15.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B9,K28,K29:W22,K17,K20.

11. O. H. Richmond, No. 37 D. P. W. M., Vol. 1, 1885. 17-21, 9-14, 20-16, 28-24, 16-11, 24-19, 22-17, 14-18, 11-15.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,13,15,24:W11,27,32,K20.

12. J. Beecot, Gem 12, D. W. No. 371, H. Prob. 27-23, 24-27, 20-24, 27-31, 32-28, 31-26, 23-19, 15-18, 11-7, 3-10, 19-15.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,12,23:W24,31,K29.

13. M. H. C. Wardell, No. 63 A. C. R. Vol. 1. *24-20, 1-6, 29-25, 6-10, 25-30, 10-15, 31-26, 15-19, 20-16, 23-27, 26-23, as game above.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play, Black to Win

W:B2,13,18,K15:W20,21,22,K16.

14. R. Holding, No. 656 Nott. Guard, Aug. 18, 1894. 16-11---A, 15-8, 22-15, 8-3---B, 15-10---C, 2-7, 10-6, 13-17, 21-14, 7-10.

A---16-19, 15-24, 22-15, 24-19, 15-11, 1915. B. W.

B---8-12, 15-10, Dr.

C---15-11, 2-6, 20-16, 6-9. B. W.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,5,K13,22:W6,10,14,21,K15.

15. J. Drummond, No. 39 S. D. P. 3rd Ed. 15-18, 22-15, 21-17, 13-22, 14-9, 5-14, 6-2, 15-6, 2-25.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,28,K12,K25:W6,30,K7,K21.

16. E. E. Cresswell, No. 1137 D. R. Vol. 5. 30-26, 1-10, 21-30, 10-15, 7-11, 15-19, 11-16, 19-24, 16-20, 24-27, 20-16.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:B19,23,K5:W6,31,K25.

17. W. G. Thomas, No. 1004 D. R. Vol. 5. 19-24, 25-30, 5-1---1 6-2, 24-28, 2-7, 1-6, 7-11, 6-10, 31-26, 23-27, 11-15.

1---24-28, 6-2, 5-9, 2-7, 9-14, 7-11, 14-18, 11-16, 18-15, 16-20, 28-32 B. draws, CCC p. 1623 Apr-June 1960. The original terms of this problem were Black to Play, White to Win.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,9,14,K8:W21,23,17.

18. P. H. Ketchum, No. 47 in Des Moines Register, October 1922. 8-3---1, 17-10, 9-13, 23-18, 2-7, 18-14, 13-17, 10-6, 7-10. See D. R. Vol. 1, 1924-5: Compare No.13.

1---Variations are possible but they all lead to much the same thing. An interesting alternative solution is 9-13 17x10 8-3 23-19 2-7 10-6 13-17 21x14 7-10 14x7 3x1 19-16 1-6 16-12 6-10 12-8 10-15 8-3 15-11 Black Wins---Ed.


Uncle Ben's Porch is a purely fictional rendition of the retirement years of the great checker writer and teacher Ben Boland. The project is ambitious and labor-intensive, and errors do creep in despite our best efforts. Please help us by sending corrections to unclebensporch@checkermaven.com.

10/30/10 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with comments on this article.