This column will appear on Memorial Day weekend; Monday will be Memorial Day, a time to honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much to defend America's freedom. As it is so often and so truly said, "Freedom is not free," and The Checker Maven adds its own salute in honor of the memory of the patriots who gave their all on our behalf.
During the Second World War, checker expert Millard Hopper visited our service men and women to entertain them with checker lectures, lessons, and exhibitions. Mr. Hopper gave some of his problem settings war-themed names, such as his "Solomon Island Slam." Some of the other problem names would today be considered to contain racially offensive language, but back then, America was at war, and we need to be more understanding than critical.
We never found the exact position for the "Solomon Island Slam" so instead we'd like to offer the problem below. There are two possible winning lines, depending on Black's choices, but in both cases White's key first move is the same. Can you find it?
When you've got the answer, click on Read More to verify your solution.
This one is interesting. White plays 18-15, and then Black has a choice of jumps. If Black takes 10-19 then White goes up a man with the immediate 24-8 and the win is routine, if a bit long.
The fireworks come when Black instead jumps 11-18, trying to avoid the shot. But after that move, just look at the lineup of Black pieces on 2, 10, 18 and 26. White takes advantage of this at once.
18-15 11x18 20-16 12x19 24x6 2x9 5x30 White Wins.
We hope you enjoyed today's little checker problem, but we hope even more that you'll take a few moments on Monday for silent tribute to America's heroes.
The Checker Maven staff are proud American patriots and make no apologies or excuses for it.