The Checker Maven

The Wyllie One

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Wiles, wits, and wisdom make up the toolkit of champion checker players. To be the best, skill and knowledge--- wits and wisdom--- need to be augmented by a special sense, an almost undefinable quality of wiliness, that makes the difference between the best of the best and the merely very good.

We all know of Edinburgh checkerist James Wyllie, "the Herd Laddie," who was a dominant force in checkers in the mid- to late-19th century, holding the world championship for no less than 40 years. He was indeed a wily one, and our Checker School position below is attributed to this great player.

J. WYLLIE
WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W28,23,22,21,20,19:B14,13,12,11,6,3.

How wily are you? We think that if you get the first move, you'll have little trouble with the rest. Test your wiles and then click on Read More to see the solution, sample game, and detailed notes.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

Solution, lettered notes and sample game are taken from Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. Numbered notes are by the Editor using Ed Gilbert's KingsRow computer engine and 10-piece endgame database.

13-17---1, 22-13, 3-7, 20-16---2, 11-20, 19-15, 12-16--A, 15-11, 7-10, 11-7, 10-15, 7-2, 6-10, 2-6, 15-19, 6-24, 20-27, 28-24, 16-20. Drawn---3.

1---Rather unexpected, but necessary. Look at the four seemingly plausible options:

3-8 22-18 6-9 19-15 13-17 15-10 17-22 10-7 22-25 7-2 25-30 2-6 30-26 6x13 26x19 18x9 White Wins.

3-7 22-18 6-9 19-15 12-16 15x8 White Wins.

6-10 22-18 White Wins.

6-9 22-18 13-17 19-15 3-8 15-10 17-22 10-7 12-16 7-3 8-12 3-8 White Wins.

2---White must give the man back. If 28-24 then 7-10 and White now loses two pieces and the game.

3---13-9 27-31 24-19 31-27 23-18 806 27-18 6-2 etc. Drawn.

Game: 9-14, 22-18, 5-9, 24-19, 11-15, 18-11, 8-24, 28-19, 4-8, 25-22, 8-11, 27-24, 11-15, 32-28, 7-11, 30-25, 1-5, 22-18, 15-22, 25-18, 9-13, 18-9, 5-14, 24-20, 2-7, 26-22, 14-17, 21-14, 10-26, 31-22, 7-10, 29-25, 10-14, 25-21. Forms above position. Game may be found in Lyman's Problem Book. J. Wyllie vs. W. H. Broughton.

A---7-10, 15-11, now 12-16 draws, but 10-15, 23-19, 15-24, 28-19, 6-10, 13-9. White Wins.

In the above diagram, if the man on 6 were on 2, we would have Edinburgh Game 118, Lewis vs. Jolly, Fifth American Tourney Book. The position is diagrammed with a brief solution: Black to move, 13-17, etc. Drawn. Note resemblance to the Harden position.

07/11/15 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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