The Checker Maven

The Laboring Gardener

The gardener in the photo above is doing things the old-fashioned, laborious, long and hard way. Sometimes that's the only way to get the job done; in life and in checkers alike there isn't always a short-cut and there isn't always an "easy" way.

Today's lesson in our Checker School series is attributed to a Mr. W. Gardner (not "Gardener" although it's close enough for us). There are actually two solutions to the problem; there's the originally published solution, and an alternative. The alternative is long and tough, but the main solution is only a little less so. In short, this one has to be done the hard way, with much patience, effort, skill and perseverance. Here's the situation.

W. GARDNER
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK16,13,K8,5:BK14,K7,2,1.

If you think this isn't an easy position to win, you're right, but it can be done. Stick with it, work at it, hoe away until the ground is cleared; then rake your mouse over Read More to see the original solution, a new solution, two sample games, detailed notes and a special sidebar about a checker-playing robot.



Solution

The main solution, sample games, and lettered notes are taken from Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. Numbered notes are by the Editor using the KingsRow computer engine.

2-6---A, 8-11, 7-2, 11-15, 14-10, 15-11, 10-7, 11-15, 7-3, 16-19, 2-7, 15-18, 7-10, 18-15, 3-7, 15-18, 7-11, 19-23, 10-15, 18-22, 11-7, 23-18, 15-11, 22-17, 6-10, 18-23, 10-15, 23-27, 15-19, 17-22, 11-15, 22-26, 15-18, 27-32, 18-23, 26-31---B, Black Wins.

Game: 12-16, 21-17, 16-20, 17-13, 11-15, 25-21, 8-11, 23-18, 4-8, 26-23, 8-12, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19, 9-14, 18-9, 5-14, 22-18, 14-17, 21-14, 10-17, 18-14, 11-16, 29-25, 7-11, 25-22, 17-26, 31-22, 11-15, 19-10, 6-15, 14-9, 16-19, 23-16, 12-19, 32-28, 3-8, 27-23, 19-26, 30-23, 8-11, 23-19, 15-24, 28-19, 20-24, 22-18, 24-27, 9-5, 27-31, 19-15, 11-16, 18-14, 31-26, 15-11, 26-23, 14-10, 23-18, 10-7, 18-14, 7-3, 16-19, 11-8, 19-23, 8-4, 23-26, 4-8, 26-31, 8-11, 31-26, 3-7, 26-23, 7-3, 14-10, 3-8, 23-18, 8-3, 18-14, 3-8, 10-7, 11-16. Forms above position. R. Atwell vs. J. Alexander, Dunne's Praxis.

The following game runs into a similar ending, but the move is different, and colors reversed.

Game: 11-15, 24-20, 8-11, 28-24, 9-14, 22-18, 15-22, 25-9, 5-14, 26-22, 4-8, 22-17, 11-15, 30-26, 15-19, 24-15, 10-19, 23-16, 12-19, 17-10, 6-15, 29-25, 8-12, 25-22, 19-24, 27-23, 24-28, 23-18, 7-11, 18-14, 15-19, 22-18, 3-7, 21-17, 1-6, 17-13, 19-23, 26-19, 11-16, 20-11, 7-23, 14-9, 12-16---D, 18-15, 16-20, 15-11---E, 6-10, 11-8, 10-14, 8-3, 14-17, 9-6, 2-9, 13-6, 17-22, 3-8, 23-26, 8-11, 26-30, 11-15, 22-25, 15-19, 25-29, 6-2, 29-25, 2-6---F, 25-22, 19-23, 22-17, 6-9, 30-25, 23-26, 25-21---G, 26-30, 17-22, 9-14, 22-17, 14-18, 17-13, 18-22, 13-9, 30-26 (31-27 also wins here. N. H. Clark), 9-13, 26-23 (again 31-27 wins. N. H. Clark), 13-9, 23-18, 9-5, 18-14, 5-1, 31-27, 1-5, 27-23, 5-1, 23-18, 1-5, 18-15, 5-1, 15-10, 1-5, 10-6, 5-1, 6-2, 1-5, 2-6, 5-1, 6-9, 1-5, 14-17. White Wins. P. Thirkell and J. E. Green, Draughts World, July 1911.

A--7-3, was played and only drew: 7-3, 8-11, 14-18, 16-19, 2-6---C,1, 19-24, 18-23, 24-28, 23-18, 28-24, 6-10, 24-19, 10-14, 13-9, 14-17, 19-15, 18-14, 15-19, 17-22, 9-6, 1-10, 11-15. Drawn. Atwell vs. Alexander. Black fails to grasp the idea, and takes a wrong course; the above (2-6) appears to force the win. The position is a very interesting study, and caused considerable discussion among the experts who witnessed the termination of the game. Notes by Willie Gardner, revised by Frank Dunne.

B---Followed by 7-11---3, enabling Black to crown the man and force an exchange of Kings, after which the win is apparent.

C---There appears to be no forced win for Black after this move which places the King on 3 practically hors de combat, evidently an oversight on the part of Mr. Atwell---2.

D---6-10, 9-6, 2-9, 13-6 was left as a White Win by W. Veal, but P. Thirkell pointed out a draw was shown, Aug. 1910, Draughts World, Page 27, Criticism to Game 2401.

E---31-27, 23-26, 27-23, 20-24, 23-18, 26-30, 18-14, 2-7, 9-2, 30-26, 2-11, 24-27, 32-23,26-17. Drawn. W. Veal.

F---2-7, 25-22, was left as drawn by W. Veal, Game 2498, Draughts World, June 1911, Vol. 37.

G---25-30, 9-13, 30-23, 13-22, 23-19, 22-26, 19-16, 31-27, 16-11, 27-23, 11-15, 26-31. White Wins.

1---Actually the computer shows a long and complex Black win with 3-7 19-16 18-14 11-15 2-6 15-11 7-2 11-15 14-10 15-11 10-7 11-15 7-3 16-19 2-7 15-18 7-11 19-24 6-10 24-19 3-7 18-22 11-15 19-23 10-14 22-25 5-18 23-26 14-17 25-30 18-22 26-31 7-10 31-27 22-18 30-26 18-14 26-23 17-22 27-24 22-25 24-19 25-30 19-24 30-25 24-19 25-22 23-27 22-17 19-23 10-15 27-24 17-22 24-28 22-18 23-27 15-19 27-24 18-15 24-27 19-16 27-23 15-19 23-27 16-20 28-32 14-18 32-28 19-23 27-32 18-22 13-9 22-26 Black Wins. Notice the methodical process Black follows in pushing White first to the bottom of the board, then to the side, culminating in an elegant trapping of the White kings in the double corner. Many variants are possible; use your computer to explore this very instructive situation in more detail---Ed.

2---See note 1 in note A above---Ed.

3---7-11 31-27 23-18 32-28 19-23 27-24 23-26 28-32 26-31 32-27 11-7 27-32 18-23 24-20 7-11 20-24 11-16 24-20 16-19 32-28 23-27 28-32 27-24 20x27 31x24 32-28 24-27 28-32 19-23 32-28 27-32 13-9 23-19 Black Wins.


AJEEB, MAGIC BRAIN CHECKER PLAYER

Ajeeb, the magic brain checker player Robot, with glamour of triumphs over Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and King Edward VII of England, as well as Theodore Roosevelt, Sarah Bernhardt, O. Henry, Edgar Allen Poe, Christy Mathewson, and other world celebrities and expertly classed checker players, has been exhibiting in Newark.

It is now known as the RCA-Victor Checker Playing Robot. It has met and defeated 38 State champions. The owner is Frank Frain, Long Island, New York.

This master robot defeated over 25,000 players in U. S. the past few years.

The robot was conceived in 1769 by Baron Von Kempelen, a nobleman of Pressburg, Hungary. It came to America in 1835 as the subject of one of Edgar Allen Poe's essays. Since last September it has defeated many notables in checkers, one being Frank Marshall (former U. S. chess champion), and it drew two games with Nathan Rubin, 1934 runner-up to Edw. F. Hunt, who is present U. S. (1936) champion at checkers.

That any machine so remarkably efficient could have been invented in 1769, prior to mastery over electricity and radio, taxes the imagination; and that a human being could be found at the desired intervals through the generations to operate it in some mysterious manner, seems likewise inconceivable.

For 27 years the magic brain, Ajeeb, was exhibited in New York's Eden Museum. For 19 years it laid forgotten in the attic of a Mrs. H. Elmore of Brooklyn, where it was rediscovered by Frank Frain, who takes 7 to 8 hours to assemble the device prior to an exhibition.
The robot is about 6 feet 6 inches tall, 22 inches wide, and weighs 200 pounds. A gigantic imitation of a human figure, it sits cross-legged to play, its large right hand ponderously and sqeakily moving the checker pieces when it becomes its turn to play.

Whenever a smart aleck attempts to cheat, the automaton sweeps the board with the heavy arm, sending checkers scattering to the floor, while it tosses its massive head in derision and disdain.---Roseville Citizen.

07/16/11 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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