The Checker Maven

Mulholland Drive

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We had a little more trouble than usual with today's Checker School theme.

There was a very famous engineer, William Mulholland, but the surname's spelling isn't the same as the name in our theme. Mr. Mulholland designed and directed the construction of the 233-mile long Los Angeles aqueduct, which opened in 1913. Mulholland Drive and other places around Los Angeles are named after him. His career had an unfortunate ending after the deadly collapse of the St. Francis Dam in 1928.

But what about Mr. Lucas? The name is common enough, and we uncovered numerous engineers and engineering firms bearing that name.

There is at least one modern-day person named Lucas Mullholland, with that exact spelling, but for privacy reasons we won't publish a photo or travel any further in that direction.

Of course, there's the famed 2001 Mulholland Drive movie, as shown above.

What has all of this to do with checkers? We don't know, but it's almost a certainty that William Mulholland at least knew how to play the game.

Today's study consists of two problems based on a single diagram. It all comes down to who moves first.

LUCAS - MULLHOLLAND
WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw
White to Play, Black Wins

B:W28,26,22,21,19:B14,13,12,11,10.
W:W28,26,22,21,19:B14,13,12,11,10.

This is an excellent and subtle study, and it's well worth your time. See if you can engineer the solutions, then click on Read More to see notes, commentary, analysis, and sample games.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

Lettered notes and other commentary are by author Ben Boland, in Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. Numbered notes are by the editor, using the KingsRow computer engine and 10-piece endgame database.

White to Play: 26-23---5, 11-15, 28-24, 13-17, 22-13, 15-18, 13-9, 18-27 9-6 27-31 6-2, 31-27, 24-20---C, 27-24, 2-6, 24-15, 6-9, 14-18. Black Wins. S. A. Lucas.

Black to Play: 13-17*---1, 22-13, 14-18, 19-16*---2, 11-20---3, 13-9, 10-15, 9-6, 15-19, 6-2, 20-24, 2-7, 24-27, 7-11, 19-24, 28-19, 27-31---4. Drawn. J. Mullholland.

Game: 11-15, 23-19, 7-11, 26-23, 9-14, 22-18, 15-22, 25-9, 5-14, 29-25, 11-15, 25-22, 8-11, 30-26, 4-8, 24-20, 15-24, 28-19, 2-7, 22-17, 10-15, 19-10, 6-15, 17-10, 7-14, 26-22, 15-18---A, 22-15, 11-18, 27-24, 18-27, 32-23, 8-11, 24-19, 1-5, 31-26, 3-7, 26-22, 7-10, 22-18, 5-9. Forms the above Lucas position, at 3rd move, colors reversed. Game by F. Tescheleit, diagrammed, Page 143, British Draughts Player.

Game: 9-13, 23-18, 5-9, 24-20, 10-14, 18-15, 11-18, 22-15, 7-10, 27-24, 10-19, 24-15, 3-7 28-24, 1-5, 25-22, 14-17, 21-14, 9-25, 29-22, 7-11, 30-25, 11-18, 22-15, 5-9, 32-27, 13-17, 25-21, 9-14, 27-23, 2-7, 26-22, 17-26, 31-22, 8-11---B, 15-8, 4-11, 24-19, 7-10, 22-18, 6-9. Forms above position, at 3rd move, colors reversed. S. A. Lucas, Master Play of the Draughts Board, Part 1.

Game: 11-15, 23-19, 8-11, 22-17, 4-8, 17-13, 15-18, 26-23, 9-14, 24-20, 10-15, 19-10 6-15, 28-24, 2-6, 31-26, 15-19, 24-15, 6-9, 13-6, 1-19, 23-16, 12-19, 26-23, 19-26, 30-23, 5-9, 25-22, 18-25, 29-22, 7-10, 27-24, 3-7, 24-19, 11-15, 32-28, 15-24, 28-19---D, 7-11, 22-18, 8-12---E. Forms above position by Lucas, colors reversed, at 3rd move.

A---3-7* Draws. Tescheleit, B. D. Player.

B---7-11, 22-17*, etc. Drawn. W. Okell, Master Play.

C---2-6, 27-20, 6-15, 20-24. Black Wins.

D---Forms No. 34 by J. A. Kear, Draughts Board, Aug. 1871, Page 73, New Series, Captioned "Black to Play and Draw."

E---Continue: 20-16, 11-20, 18-15, 20-24, 15-6, 24-27, 6-1, 27-31, now Kear leaves the position as drawn. Then in the Nov. 1871 issue, a letter to the Editor, dated Oct. 7, 1871 by C. W. Flower who continued; 1-6, 31-27, 6-13, 27-18, 13-9. White Wins. This was also pointed out by G. Whitney, same page.

1---Both 11-15 and 11-16 lose. Try them and see.

2---White has no choice but to give the man back, as both 28-24 and 21-17 lose.

3---The alternate jump 12-19 also draws.

4---We think this is a misprint in the original book, as this move obviously loses: 27-31 11-16 31-22 16-14 White Wins. Correct is 27-32 11-16 18-23 26-22 32-27 22-18 27-24 18-15 24-20 16-11 23-26 etc. to a draw.

5---28-24 also wins in a similar manner.

Dr. A. Schaefer in comments and corrections in Stearns' Worlds Problem Book, Page 2, Part 2, credits the position to Dr. Lucas, but does not give any source. The authorities on the game followed in Dr. Schaefer's footsteps. On looking through the Draughts Board I found the above game by Kear (also see notes). Dr. Lucas was a contributor to the Draughts Board, and put no claim on the position. I believe the Doctor had this position in mind; Dr. S. A. Lucas, No. 685 Gould's Problem Book. Black on 5, 9, 12, 13, 14, and White on 16, 18, 19, 21, 23. White Plays, Black Draws: 16-11, 13-17, 11-7, 17-22, 7-2, 22-26, 2-6, 26-31, 6-13, 31-27, 18-9, 5-14 (now in the above Lucas position it is Black's turn to play, thus: 27-18, 13-9), 13-17, 27-18, 17-10, 18-15. Drawn.

J. Mullholland's position may be found as No. 740 in Horsfall's Problem Book.

05/09/15 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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