The Checker Maven

Irish Checkers

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This column will appear on St. Patrick's Day, the traditional Irish holiday filled with festivities such as parades, music, green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and much song and merriment. We wish all the celebrants the top o'the day.

We don't know if Irish Checkers will be part of any of the local celebrations, and in fact we have our doubts. Irish Checkers is a proprietary game reportedly created in 1957 by Sullins Manufacturing Company, a one-man operation in Galesburg, Illinois. The game, which is neither Irish nor checkers (and if it had been Irish, it would have been called "draughts'), looked to have been a combination of Halma and Chinese Checkers (which itself is neither Chinese nor checkers) with some dice added to create a strong element of chance. Intriguing, perhaps, but the game didn't last very long, perhaps only a year or so, and Sullins Manufacturing lasted little longer.

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Now, we wanted to publish a problem from an historical edition of the Irish Times but we quickly found that access to the Times archives comes with a steep enough price tag to earn an instant turn-down from our corporate accountant. So instead we'll publish a problem that, while not in itself Irish, might require "the luck o'the Irish" to solve.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK2,K3,K11,K22,30:B4,K16,K20,21,K29.

Will this problem make you turn green? Will you be reduced to boiled cabbage? Or will you employ a bit of Irish wit and wisdom, and find the solution? When you've given it a good Irish try, click your mouse on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

We thought this problem wasn't at all easy, though an advanced player should be able to solve it pretty readily. For the rest of us, it's a fine lesson in recognizing simpler, known positions that arise out of seemingly more complex ones, and knowing how to make the winning conversion.

2-6 16x7 3x10 4-8 10-15 20-24 6-10 8-12 15-11 24-20---A 22-26 20-24 10-15 24-28 15-18 28-24 11-15 24-27 26-23 27-32 18-22 12-16 22-26 32-28 15-19 16-20 23-27 29-25---B 27-32 25-29 26-22 20-24 19-16 White Wins.

A---Notice the similarity to First Position? But White doesn't have the move, and so something must be done.

B---28-32 won't do, as White just plays 19-15 and allows the exchange, winning easily: 32-23 26-19 29-25 15-18 25-29 18-22 and Black is finished. But the text move loses as well.

That was a lot of work, and we think you've earned a little St. Patty's Day cheer.

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03/17/12 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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