Clapham Common is part of the Clapham area of south London, but more importantly, at least to us, is that it was the home of the Clapham Common Draughts Club.
While an inquiry to the community booster group called "Love Clapham" went unanswered, former member David Harwood informed us that the club used to meet near Clapham Common's famed bandstand (shown above in its original form in the late 19th century). As far as Mr. Harwood knows, the club hasn't met in at least 20 years, and most of its members have regrettably passed on.
The club, though, will be remembered forever in all of checkerdom for The Clapham Common Draughts Book, a tutorial for beginners through intermediates that focuses on tactics and tactical themes. As with Reisman's Checkers Made Easy, diligent study of this book can't help but significantly improve your play.
The book was written by one G. E. Trott in 1947, but wasn't published until years later. Sometime in the 1960s, it was serialized and (we presume) printed in a newpaper. A little later on the Club published it in booklet form.
Today, we're pleased to offer a newly typeset electronic edition, designed and edited by Mel Tungate. It features clear color diagrams, an easy to read typeface, and Mel's additional notes and commentary. It's a really fine effort and The Checker Maven thanks Mel for putting this together. You can download it here or from a soon-to-appear link in the right-hand column.
Naturally, this week's problem is taken from the book, and it's a nice one. We'd say it's at an approximate intermediate level of difficulty.
We'll give you a tip: In many of the situations in the book, the obvious move is not necessarily the correct move.
When you've come up with your solution, "Trott" your mouse to Read More to verify your line of play.
26-23---A 18-22 3-7--B 11-16 7x14 * White Wins.
A---Did you play 3-7 right away? Amazingly, this reflexive forking move only draws: 3-7 18-23! 26x19---C 11-15 7x14 15x31 14-18 31-27. Drawn.
B---Now White can safely fork and obtain the win.
C---27-18 same idea, and 7-16 or 7-14 lead to obvious draws.