The Checker Maven

Marvin and the Academic

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Dr. Hillary Silverfish

Dr. Hillary Silverfish stared and pointed at Marvin, the intensity of her gaze frightening and chilling. Close-cropped dark hair added to the effect. This was one tough customer.

"Prepare to die," she hissed.

Marvin J. Mavin, sitting across the checkerboard from Dr. Silverfish, pretended not to be intimidated, but if the truth be known, he was terrified. Even though Marvin was team captain for the Detroit Doublejumpers and one of the National Checker League's top players, Dr. Silverfish was a formidable opponent, and her patented stare was one of her most feared weapons.

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Marvin J. Mavin

The Doublejumpers were playing an exhibition match with San Diego Liberal Artiste University's faculty team. Dr. Silverfish, not surprisingly, was head of the Psychological Arts Department, and lead the checker team. She often boasted about how she could have been a top pro player, "but I have a Ph.D., you know, and it's really my duty to teach the next generation of students."

"Ph.D., Schmee-h D.," Marvin had remarked, with characteristic impoliteness, when the local press asked him what he thought about his opponent, "You still got to make the right moves to win the game." At that point Marvin excused himself and went off to find himself a beer, which in San Diego wasn't particularly difficult.

But once again, Marvin had found himself not just a beer, but a few beers, and so at the start of the match he was, shall we say, at less than a hundred percent, and Dr. Silverfish was not one to fail to exploit a weakness.

"Who you starin' at, Silverfish?" said Marvin in his most irritating tone. "We'll see who's going to die, you old bookworm!"

Dr. Silverfish cleared her throat. "I don't respond to comments by inebriated louts," she said. "I just crush them, like this."

To Marvin's amazement, Dr. Silverfish picked up the empty soda can sitting at her left and, with one hand, squeezed it until it split along the seams.

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Marvin repressed a shiver, hoping Dr. Silverfish hadn't seen. But she didn't miss much.

"You should be scared, maggot," she said, but before she could go on, the referee blew his whistle, signalling the start of the match. Marvin lead off with the Black pieces, and Dr. Silverfish had the White.


1. 11-15 23-19
2. 9-13

"Your tricks don't fool me," Dr. Silverfish said. "I know a poor move when I see one."


2. ... 22-18
3. 15-22 25-18
4. 10-15

"Drinking doesn't help you play better, little man."


4. ... 18-11
5. 7-23 27-18
6. 12-16 29-25
7. 5-9

(This is the end of of the KingsRow opening book. White has an advantage due to the odd line played by Black.)


7. ... 25-22

(Good, but 32-27 would have been really strong here; White still has a definite edge.)


8. 16-20 24-19
9. 6-10 18-15

(30-25 would have been hard to draw against. White now has just a narrow advantage.)


10. 1-6 22-18
11. 8-12

(10-14 loses after 28-24.)


11. ... 26-23
12. 3-7

(A poor move allowing only the narrowest of draws. 4-8 was correct.)

Dr. Silverfish smiled. "Your poor play continues," she said, "and now I will finish you off."

Indeed, Marvin was fidgeting in his chair, as he always did when he was in a tough spot.


12. ... 30-26

(32-27 would have kept the lead. The game is now even.)

Marvin exhaled. "Well, there, Silverfish, you ain't as good as you think you are. You missed your chance and you ain't getting another, not against ole Marvin."

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W32,31,28,26,23,21,19,18,15:B20,13,12,10,9,7,6,4,2.

How will Marvin save the game? Can you stand up to Dr. Silverfish's terrifying stare and find the solution? Don't panic; work it out and then click on Read More to see the solution and the conclusion of our story.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution and Conclusion


13. 9-14

Dr. Silverfish sat up in her chair. "Are you insane?" she asked. "I'm a psychological artiste, and I can diagnose insanity very quickly."

"Yeah, you got one a them Pee-H-Dees, ain't ya?" Marvin said, grinning.


13. ... 18-9
14. 13-17

"You are clinically certifiable," Dr. Silverfish said. "No one sane would possibly make such a move."

Marvin said nothing.


14. ... 21-14
15. 6-13

"I'll have them take you away after this is over," Dr. Silverfish said. "You're obviously in danger of harming yourself."


15. ... 15-6
16. 2-27

"Oh..... oh....." Dr. Silverfish said. "Oh .... "

"Crazy, am I?" Marvin said. "I'll show ya crazy!"


16. ... 31-24
17. 20-27 32-23
18. 13-17

Drawn.

"I don't believe this. It's a draw. How could you possibly have ...." Dr. Silverfish paused, mouth wide open, staring at the board. Then she slumped down in her chair, apparently unconscious. The match was now over and San Diego had lost by a score of 3 1/2 - 1 1/2.

The San Diego coach signalled for the medics. Soon, Dr. Silverfish was on a stretcher, being borne off by four sweating paramedics. "This happens sometimes," the coach said sheepishly. "When things don't go her way, she loses it. But don't worry, a week or two on Prozac and she'll be better."

Marvin, somehow, didn't look very worried.

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01/31/15 - Category: Games - Printer friendly version
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