The Checker Maven

Sullivan's Catch

We're not certain that the happy lady shown above is named "Sullivan" --- though that's entirely possible --- but we're most sure that she's made quite a catch indeed, and we can appreciate why she's smiling so broadly.

Of course, the real question for us should be, "Does she play checkers?" and although that's another thing we can't know for sure, it's definitely within the realm of possibility.

Today's column, though, is about a different Sullivan and a different kind of catch, one that is just as tasty as the catch shown above. It comes from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps and Shots of the Checkerboard, and Willie will tell us about it in his own words.

"When something new is found on an ancient opening like the Ayrshire Lassie, that's news. A few years ago, James Sullivan, a strong amateur from St. Louis, Missouri, hatched a new twist on the Ayrshire Lassie by 21-17 at the fourteenth move of the game below. He subsequently sprung it on Newell Banks and me, and, like two babes in the woods, we both fell for the sucker bait by 9-13 in reply. This trap is a 'natural,' and will catch even experienced players.


11-1515-18---A11-18
24-2022-1521-17---1
8-1111-189-13---B, 2, which
28-2426-22leads to the
4-87-11diagrammed
23-1922-15placements.
BLACK
20120309-tts92.png
WHITE
White to Play, Black to Draw

W:W32,31,30,29,27,25,24,20,19,17:B18,13,12,10,8,6,5,3,2,1.

A---If you want a short, fast game, play 9-13. Your opponent, no doubt, will reply 20-16, 11-20, 22-17, 13-22, 25-4, winning fast and leaving you short.

B---Newell Banks and Author Ryan slept here! Of course, the trap that follows this move is best avoided, but 9-13 does not lose, as erroneously claimed by Sullivan. The safest course for black at B is: 18-23---2, 27-18, 9-14, 18-9, 5-21, 32-28,10-15,19-10, 6-15, 31-27, 8-11, 27-23, 1-6, 25-22, 3-7, 23-19, 6-10, 22-18, 15-22, 19-16, 12-19, 24-8, 10-14, 8-3, 7-10, 3-8, 14-18, 8-11, 18-23, etc., consummating a draw. Wm. F. Ryan."

1---30-26 or 32-28 would be much better here. While not calling this necessarily a loss, the computer deems 21-17 as quite poor, giving Black a solid advantage---Ed.

2---After 9-13, the game indeed evaluates as a draw. After 18-23, as recommended in Note B, the game also evaluates as a probable draw, as Willie demonstrates. However, the computer thinks the correct move is instead 9-14, which preserves Black's substantial advantage, for instance KingsRow gives 9-14 17-13 2-7 31-26 7-11 27-23 18x27 32x23 3-7 25-22 14-18 23x14 10x17 29-25 5-9 19-15 11x18 22x15 9-14 and White is all but lost---Ed.

Now, as you try to resolve this position, we feel it only far to warn you: Just as Willie missed a trick or two at Notes 1 and 2 above, he also misses a trick in his proposed solution. So in one sense, we're asking you to do a little better than Willie; that's quite a demand to make. But this problem is well worth your time. Can you "catch" the solution, or will it be the one that got away? When you're finished, hook your mouse on Read More to see some detailed analysis.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

"Continue: 20-16!, 13-22, 16-11!, 8-15, 27-23, 18-27, 25-11, 5-9*---C, 32-23, 10-15*, 19-10, 6-15, 11-8---D, 12-16, 24-20, 3-12, 20-11, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 31-27, 9-14, 30-26, 14-18, 26-22, 18-25, 29-22, 1-5, 22-17, 5-9, 11-8, 9-13, etc., to a draw. Wm. F. Ryan.

C---The correct way to play it. If black moves 3-7---3, white will win like this: 3-7, 32-23, 7-16, 24-20, 10-15, 19-10, 6-15, 20-11, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 31-27, 5-9, 11-8, 9-14, 8-3, 14-18, 30-26, 1-5, 3-8, 2-7, 26-22, 18-25, 29-22, 5-9, 22-17, 7-10, 17-13, 9-14, 8-11, 14-18---4, 13-9, 10-14, 11-15, 19-23. P. Thompson.

D---If 29-25 is played, 9-14, 25-22, 12-16, 24-20, 1-6, will land the draw easily. If 23-19 is used, then 2-6,19-10, 6-15,11-8, 9-14*, 30-26, 14-18, 24-20, 1-6, 8-4, 6-10, 4-8, 12-16, 20-11, 3-12, 11-7, 18-23, 26-19, 15-24, 29-25, 10-15, 7-2, 15-19, 2-7, 19-23, 7-11, 23-27, 11-15, 12-16 will do the trick; drawn. Wm. F. Ryan."

3---3-7 draws, not loses, although 5-9 draws as well. See next note---Ed.

4---The losing move. Willie missed 14-17, which would have gotten Black the draw---Ed.

04/14/12 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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