The Checker Maven

Checkers: Apps for the iPhone

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The telephone above is most definitely not an iPhone, but it does seem to pretty well represent the state of the art when it comes to playing checkers on an iPhone.

This article is the first of two on smartphone checker apps. Ed Gilbert, author of the world-class KingsRow checker engine and companion 10-piece endgame database, has graciously given of his time in order to evaluate a group of checker apps for the iPhone. A future article will look into checker apps for Android-based phones.

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Ed Gilbert
Photo Credit: Carol Gilbert

Ed's article is extensive and includes large graphics, so it merits its own web page. You can find it here, but we'll give you Ed's bottom line right away: there's not much out there that has merit for the serious player. That's indeed regrettable, because from what Ed shows us, we can't help but conclude that the iPhone app authors could have done much better without a lot of additional effort. Unfortunately, most checker program authors think they are producing toys rather than serious game-playing programs, and that's just what they end up doing.

Let's look at a sample game that Ed ran between the iPhone checker apps "Teeny Checkers" and "Fantastic Checkers".

Black Fantastic Checkers
White Teeny Checkers


1. 11-15 22-17
2. 9-14 17-13

25-22 was better.


3. 8-11 ....

15-19 would retain the advantage.


3. .... 25-22
4. 4-8 ....

Very weak. 11-16 is best.


4. .... 22-17

23-19 would have given a large advantage if not a win.


5. 15-19 24x15
6. 11x18 ....

10-19 was much better and is in fact a book move.

White now has a simple move that very likely leads to a win. Can you spot it?

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W32,31,30,29,28,27,26,23,21,17,13:B18,14,12,10,8,7,6,5,3,2,1.

We'll give you the answer and find out how the game progressed when you dial your mouse to Read More.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution and Conclusion

29-25 looks like the most natural move in the world, and it's the right move, very likely good enough for a win. But that's not what happened.


6. .... 23-19

The win is missed and all the advantage dissipated.


7. 7-11 ....

Loses (again). 18-22 was fine.


7. .... 26-23

Blows away the win (again). 29-25 is still right.


8. 11-15 ....

Correct, but it's too late.


8. .... 29-25

Finally!

The rest of the game is presented with only brief annotation. After a few more back and forth inaccuracies by both sides, as the count of pieces on the board declines, Teeny plays a lot better, first setting up a nice triple jump and then seeing a way to finish off the game by sacrificing a few men.


9. 15x24 28x19
10. 2-7 32-28
11. 10-15 19x10
12. 6x15 17x10
13. 7x14 28-24
14. 3-7 13-9
15. 8-11 30-26
16. 14-17 23x14
17. 11-16 24-20
18. 16-19 27-23
19. 19-24 23-19
20. 15-18 9-6
21. 1x10 26-22
22. 17x26 31x6

A nice triple by Teeny.


23. 7-11 6-2
24. 24-28 2-7
25. 28-32 7x16
26. 32-27 16-11
27. 27-24 11-15
28. 24-28 20-16
29. 28-24 16-11
30. 24-28 11-7
31. 28-24 7-2
32. 24-28 2-6
33. 28-32 19-16
34. 12x19 15x24
35. 32-28 6-10

Teeny sees victory through sacrifice!


36. 28x19 10-15
37. 19x17 21x14

White Wins.

02/25/12 - Category: Programs - Printer friendly version
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