The Checker Maven

Uncle Ben's Porch

Tommy was doing well this year. Having won a spot on the varsity team in his middle school, he had moved up during the course of the year from fifth board starter--- an entry level position--- to third board starter. And now the Florida State Team Championship Tournament was coming up in just a week.

Tommy visited Uncle Ben nearly every Saturday morning, rain or shine, for his checker lesson from the kindly retired master. But Tommy was extra sure to be up on time and on his way to Uncle Ben's porch this week. He needed to be as sharp as possible for next week's tournament. Not only did he want to do his best for the school team, but how he played would determine his placement for the next school year. And taking over one of the top two slots would be no easy thing.

Uncle Ben knew about the big tournament, of course. He greeted Tommy with a smile and a bit of his usual advice. "You've done very well this year, Tommy, and I know you're wanting to do even better and get one of those higher board slots next year. But you can't think about that during the tournament. You've got to focus on each game and each move, without distracting yourself. You'll move ahead when you're ready, no sooner and no later. Coach Hovmiller will know when it's the right time.

"I've noted that you still seem to be a little impatient with some endgames. Would you agree with that?"

"Yes, sir," replied Tommy, "sometimes I just want to get the game over ..."

"Ah, Tommy, I've seen that. But it's the same thing: the game will be over when it should be, not sooner and not later, and if you try to rush things, you could lose an important couple of points for your team. So today, I want you to look at the position I've set up on the board, and take your time. Even if you think you see how it's done, I want you to spend a full five minutes thinking about all the possibilities."

Tommy agreed, but before he could turn to the board, Uncle Ben smiled and said, "Of course, a glass of lemonade will help your concentration, don't you think?" And having said this, he reached for the lemonade pitcher.

The position Tommy faced was the one shown below.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W23,27,31,32:B9,11,15,20.

Tommy thought for a while, and after a couple of minutes started to say, "I've got it--- oh, wait a minute---" and went back to studying the board.

Can you solve this one yourself? Don't go for the first move that comes to mind; be patient and take the full five minutes that Uncle Ben recommends. Then click on Read More to see the solution, a sample game, and 17 additional related problems.



Solution

Five minutes had elapsed. Uncle Ben turned to Tommy and said, "Ready?"

"Yes, sir," Tommy said, "and I'm sure glad I took the extra time! Here's the solution."

23-19, 15-24, 32-28, 9-14, 28-19, 14-17, 19-16, 11-15, 27-23, 17-22, 16-11, 22-25, 11-7, 25-30, 7-2. White Wins.

Uncle Ben and Tommy were both all smiles. "I think you're ready for the tournament," Uncle Ben said with a wink and a twinkle.

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

A---30-26, 3-7 or 11-15. Drawn.

1. Dr. T. Brown, No. 56, The Dre. Brd. 1869, No. 389 L. P. Bk. No. 112, Gould's Prob. Bk. As in the story above.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B9,10,11:W17,19,26.

2. M. H. C. Warden, No. 116 The Drs. Board 1870. 9-14, 17-13, 14-18, 13-9, 11-15, 19-16, 10-14, 9-6, 14-17, 6-2, 15-19, 2-6, 18-23.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,10,18:W17,19,26.

3. Dr. Brown, No. 106, Gould's Prob. Bk., the Xmas Cross. 2-6, 19-16, 6-9, 17-13, 9-14, 16-11, 10-15, 11-7, 15-19, 7-2, 14-17, 2-7, 18-22.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B9,11,20:W23,31,32.

4. W. Jordan, No. 25, Wendemuth's Comp. 32-27, 9-14, 23-19. Same as No. 1 at 5th move.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B10,13,19,24:W26,28,30,32.

5. R. Atwell. No. 72 W. P. Bk., No. 231 Atwell'e Sc. Drs. 26-23, 19-26, 30-23, 24-27, 23-18, 27-31, 32-27.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B5,6,10,14,15,19:W13,17,21,24,26,28.

6. F. Dunne, No. 608 L. P. Bk. 26-23, 19-26, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19, 14-18, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 26-31, 19-15.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B5,12,15,19:W20,24,26,28.

7. W. R. Barker, No. 959, G. P. Bk. 5-9, 20-16---A, 15-18, 24-15, 12-19, 15-10, 9-14, 10-6, 14-17.

A---26-22, 9-14, 20-16, 19-23, 16-11, 23-26, 11-7, 26-30. B. W. This Pos. was an endgame with J. Wyllie, see Lees' Guide, "Centre" Note X off 6.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B8,9,14,16:W21,24,26,28.

8. C. Adamson, No. 224, G. P. Bk. 14-18, 24-20---A, 8-11, 21-17, 9-13, 17-14, 16-19, 14-10, 11-15, 10-7, 18-23, 26-22, 23-26, 7-3, 26-30, 3-7, 30-25, 7-11, 25-18, 11-16, 19-23, 28-24, 23-27, 16-19, 27-32, 19-10, 32-28.

A---21-17, 16-20, 24-19, 9-13, 17-14, 13-17, 19-15, 8-12.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W28,23,19,17,13:B16,12,10,6,1.

9. Fred Allen, No. 510, L. P. Bk. 10-15, 19-10, 6-15, 13-9, 1-5 and 23 is lost.

Corrects 16th game in Wyllie-Martins Match 1872. Wyllie played 10-14 which only drew. Allen then pointed out above win. See D. W. Jan. 1896. Also Pg. 95 Gould's Match Book.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,9,21:W25,28,30.

10. T. Hedges, No. 4, It's Your Move. 25-22, 9-14, 28-24, 1-6, 24-19, 6-10, 22-17---A, 14-18, 30-26, 21-25, 26-22.

A---In Vol. 5, A. C. R., No. 66, L. S. Head played 30-26 against Bouton which only draws.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B10,11,15:W18,23,24,31.

11. C. Hefter and T. Hedges, No. 23, It's Your Move (Inter-Ocean about 1900). 18-14, 10-17, 31-26. 17-21, 23-19, 15-18, 24-20, 21-25, 26-22, 18-23, 22-18. At 3rd move if 24-20. Black draws and forms No. 27 in B. D. Clipper by R. Sallaway.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B11,13,15:W24,27,31.

The idea without the pitch. 27-23, 13-17, 31-26.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B6,9,10,16:W18,21,23,25.

12. C. H. Freeman, No. 241, World's Prob. Bk. 21-17, 9-13, 17-14, 10-17, 25-21, 17-22, 18-14, 22-26, 23-18, 26-31, 18-15, 13-17, 14-10.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,15,18:W30,31,32.

13. H. Jacobs, No. 70. Horsfall's Prob. Bk. 30-26, 7-11---A, 32-27, 11-16, 26-23, 18-22, 27-24, 16-20, 23-18, 20-27, 31-24.

A---7-10, 31-27, 10-14, 26-23.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,10,12,20:W17,19,31,32.

14. W. G. Leggett, No. 29, B. D. Clipper. 31-27, 7-11, 32-28, 11-16, 27-23, 20-24, 23-18.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B15,21,K29:W24,30,K22.

15 W. Taylor, No. 4, Problemists' Guide. 22-17, 29-25, 17-14, 25-29, 14-10, 15-18, 30-26, 29-25, 10-14.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B9,18,22:W30,31,32.

16. A. H. Barnes, No. 40, Woods Study No. 6, Chicago News, No. 294. 31-27, 9-13, 32-28, 13-17, 28-24, 17-21, 24-20, 22-25, 20-16, 25-29, 30-26.

AVOIDING THE STEAL
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B9,10,11,12:W18,20,27,32.

Unknown, No. 88 World's Prob. Bk. 32-28, 10-15, 20-16, 12-19, 27-24. R. Sallaway is given credit of bringing Pos. out of game. See Ency., page 451, note x. For like idea, see P. S. Nicol, No. 307, W. P. Bk.

Uncle Ben's Porch is an entirely fictitious account of the retirement years of great checker writer Ben Boland, and utilizes material from his seminal work Boland's Familiar Themes in the Scientific Game of Checkers. This is an ambitious project and errors are bound to arise. Please let us know if you find mistakes in the text or diagrams. Write to us at unclebensporch@checkermaven.com.

04/30/11 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with comments on this article.