The Checker Maven is pleased and privileged to present a new electronic edition of Grandmaster Richard Pask's instructional book, Key Endings. In its pages you will find a wealth of information including detailed play on 25 common and important checker endgame situations, as well as material on the opposition, parameters, and much more. This book contains essential knowledge for the developing checker player and an important summary and review for the established expert.
Together with the already-released electronic editions of Mr. Pask's Key Themes, Key Landings, and Key Openings, as well as the other books available on this site, the makings of a basic checker library are now easily and freely available, without cost, to checker players around the world.
You can download your own PDF-format copy of Key Endings here, or from the Richard Pask page, as linked in the right-hand column of our front page. The book is free, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Pask, in allowing us to republish it and offer it here for your education and enjoyment. Mr. Pask has also given us permission to republish his Solid Checkers, which we hope to accomplish sometime in the latter part of 2007.
Please bring any errors (for which we alone take full responsibility) in Key Endings to our attention, so that we may promptly correct them. Write firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, to get you started and spur your interest, here is a tough position presented in the book. Mr. Pask calls it the Skullcracker Ending as it arises from the difficult 3-move ballot known as, unsurprisingly, The Skullcracker.
If you can solve it, great! If you have trouble with it, download the book and study the theme. We won't give the answer to the problem here; you'll find it in the book!
It's no secret that here at The Checker Maven we invest in as many checker books as our funding allows. This week, we received a new book by Dr. Harold Schneider, with the unusual title Board Game Tournaments for the Fun, Profit, and Professionalism of the Public. (The associated web site is here.) It's a book that is every bit as unusual as the title, covering a wide variety of game-related subjects, but concentrating, of course, on checkers.
We'll publish a full review on our Book Review page in due course (though with our current large backlog, it may be some little while). But we can't resist transcribing a line from the back cover of the book, wherein Dr. Schneider gives us what is very likely the most quotable quip in the entire history of our game:
Excluding the game of romance between men and women, it is the number one fun game in the world.
Just try to top that one! We think, in fact, that Dr. Schneider is right on the money with his assessment.
We are pleased and privileged to announce the release of a new electronic edition of Richard Pask's classic Key Themes. You can download it immediately here, or else visit the Richard Pask page as linked in the right-hand column. The book is in PDF format for easy and universal access, and is yours for the taking, completely free of charge.
Key Themes presents 90 pages of critical mid-game knowledge, featuring 25 "key themes" which arise often in play. Study of this material by the aspiring player will provide untold benefits in improved playing strength.
This electronic edition is not just a set of scanned images, but a newly typeset edition, with large, clear diagrams and an attractive layout.
We plan to release an electronic edition of Mr. Pask's Key Endings toward the end of 2006; in 2007 we will begin the ambitious task of publishing electronic editions of all of Mr. Pask's landmark opus, Solid Checkers. Our continued thanks and appreciation go to Mr. Pask for his generosity in making his fine material available to the checker-playing public.
There is no second problem in today's edition of The Checker Maven as we invite you instead to download Key Themes and spend some time in pure enjoyment. (Full disclosure warning: hours are likely to speed by unnoticed!)
We recently received our copy of the International Checker Hall of Fame annual, Checkers 2006, and it's something not to be missed. Once again, Charles Walker and staff have put together over 300 pages of sprawling, rambling checker play, history, and lore, including, we modestly point out, a lengthy extract from our own web site.
To get a copy, send $30 for delivery to US addresses, or $40 for international shipping, to ICHF, Box 365, Petal,MS 39465. Be sure to order right away, before a sellout takes place.
We're delighted that, in spite of the challenges in his personal life, Mr. Walker was able to produce another book that checker fans everywhere will treasure. We know Mr. Walker now faces some dark days, and our thoughts are with him. We can only hope that these days soon will yield to a brighter future for a man who has done so much for our game.
We should have known better, but we upgraded our typesetting software and the inevitable happened: we ran into some serious problems which caused an unacceptable loss in diagram quality.
We've since resolved the issues, and the diagrams look better than ever, but the loss in production time set back our scheduled electronic release of Richard Pask's Key Themes from mid-April to sometime in May.
We apologize to our readers for this delay. We can only promise that the wait will be well worth it.