The Checker Maven

Our Reasoning Powers

Certainly, the game of checkers is a great exercise of our thinking abilities and a terrific way to develop our reasoning powers. The problem shown below, based on a game played by 19th century checkerist J. P. Reed, will definitely stretch and grow your thinking and reasoning skills. It's this month's entry in our ongoing Checker School series, and comes from Ben Boland's classic work, Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers.

REED-BURROWS
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,28,27,18:B22,20,10,9.

Black has a severely limited choice of moves, always a sign of trouble. Yet the position can be drawn, although that will require quite an application of our reasoning powers. Can you reason it out? Think it through, and then click on Read More to see the solution, a sample game, explanatory notes, and a special insert on reasoning powers in checkers.

Solution

Lettered notes are by Mr. Boland. Numbered notes are by the Editor, using the KingsRow computer engine.

REED - BURROWS
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W30,28,27,18:B22,20,10,9.

9-13*---1, 28-24, 13-17, 18-14, 10-15, 14-10, 17-21, 10-7, 22-26-A, 30-23, 21-25, 7-3, 25-30, 3-7, 30-26. Drawn---3.

Game: 11-15, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 12-16, 29-25, 16-20, 18-14, 10-17, 21-14, 9-18, 23-14, 6-10, 25-21, 10-17, 21-14, 1-6, 26-22, 8-11, 24-19, 6-10, 31-26, 10-17, 22-13, 4-8, 26-22, 11-15, 19-10, 7-14, 28-24, 8-11, 24-19, 14-17, 22-18, 17-22, 19-16, 5-9*, 16-7, 3-10, 13-6, 2-9, 32-28. Forms above position. J. P. Reed vs. J. Maize, Game No. 110, The American Checker Review, Vol. 1, 1888.

A---James P. Reed stars this move, but wouldn't 15-18, 24-19, 21-25, 30-21, 22-26, also draw?---2 Compare to: L. S. Burrows, No. 358 Horsfall's Problem Book, 1909; Black---3, 6, 9, 20 and White---13, 15, 18, 23. White to Play and Draw (colors reversed to Reed's position above), 15-11, 20-24, 23-19, 24-27, 19-16, 27-31, 16-12, 31-26, 18-15, 9-14, 12-8, 3-12, 11-7, 26-23, 7-2. Drawn.

1---10-14 (the only other plausible move) loses, though it takes a little while. One way is 10-14 18-15 14-17 15-10 17-21 10-7 22-25 28-24 9-13 7-3 25-29 3-7 29-25 7-10 25-22 10-14 22-25 14-18 13-17 24-19 25-29 18-15 29-25 19-16 25-22 16-11 22-25 11-7 17-22 7-3 25-29 3-7 29-25 7-10 25-29 10-14 29-25 14-17. White Wins. This "corner trap" arises often in over the board play.

2---15-18 does indeed also draw, and in fact is the computer's choice: 15-18 7-3 18-23 27x18 20x27. Drawn.

3---23-19 15-18 19-15 26-23. Drawn.

OUR REASONING POWERS

As a pastime and as a means of exercising the reasoning powers and extending the capacity for calculation and analysis, draughts is probably without a rival at the present time, and it is the happy blending of these characteristics which is the more likely to prove its value and lead to the most satisfactory results. The ordinary players having completed their game, forget all about it, and prefer to start another which is rattled through in the manner best described by its recognized appellation of "skittles;" but it is probable that they would have derived equal pleasure, and far more instruction, had they replayed the first game, analyzed together its possibilities and tried alternative moves at different parts — or they would find very good practice to replay their game and annotate it for publication so far as their ability allowed. By this means errors in the game would be discovered and their rectification attempted, by which more efficient analysis would be learned, and many useful lessons would be gained. Later on the players would derive no small amount of satisfaction from further study of their earlier games, and they would be surprised to find how valuable the lessons thus learned had become. The first step in this direction is to record one's games, no matter how simple they may be; to replay them and gain information from them are matters that will follow on in due time.---Sheffield Independent.

04/21/12 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version