It's a Wednesday evening, and you've just finished a day at one of the editorial offices of The Checker Maven. You're in the mood for a good game of checkers and you wouldn't mind a beer as an accompaniment.
If you're at our Santa Fe office, you might head out to your favorite cantina for chips and salsa, and a Dos Equis Amber to go along with them, but the only checker competition you'll find is on the internet.
The club was created to provide a venue for casual cross-board play, as a welcome alternative to correspondence play, which had been the only local option for nearly a decade. But under the inspiration of Frank McDonald, the club soon introduced competitive play, which quickly rose to a high level of skill and achievement.
Internally, the club sponsors both 3-move and go-as-you-please (freestyle) leagues and knockout tournaments. Winners from these competitions qualify as challengers for the Lancashire 3-move and freestyle championships each year. As of this writing (April 2005) Frank Bednall is the reigning 3-move champion, while Donald Oliphant holds the freestyle crown. In addition, the club puts on two open tournaments each year, in memory of two former Lancashire players: the Arthur Jones 3-Move Tournament, played in the spring, and the Ronald Bumby Freestyle Tournament, played in the autumn.
To be sure, chips and salsa in Santa Fe is fine fare, and the sunset show on the beach in Waikiki is a great experience, but compared with quality over-the-board draughts play and a few pints of Robinson's, you know what our choice would be.
Grandmaster Richard Pask has completed his supplement to Derek E. Oldbury's classic Move Over, and has very kindly allowed us to offer it here for download.
Be sure to read Mr. Pask's latest work, which is as much a fine tribute to a great player as it is a superb elucidation of a classic text.
Note: the download at the moment is in "Word" format, meant to be printed on A4 paper, and requiring Jim Loy's checker font to render the title page illustration correctly.
The Checker Maven has reported on the exciting U.S. vs. Great Britain match being played on It's Your Turn at this very moment (April 2005). It's Your Turn is a correspondence style site; players take turns making their moves, just as you would do if you were truly playing by mail.
The following is the score between an English team captained by D. Bryant, and an American team lead by Ray Kemmerer. It will be noted that some of the players have "crossed the bar" since starting the match a few years ago.
Great Britain --- U. S. A.
R. J. Allen 0; A. J. Schmutz 0 drawn 4
D. Bryant 1; A. R. Dosset 2; drawn 1
W. Dixon 0; A. J. Lemense 0; drawn 4
C. Probert 0; W. E. Steere 0; drawn 4
J. Hawks 0; H. D. Kaufman 0; drawn 4
D. Exeter 0; A. Jensen 0; drawn 4
C. McKean 0; F. E. Potts 1; drawn 3
F. F. Smith 1; J. Tonkin 0; drawn 3
Total -- America 3, Great Britain 2, drawn 27. The heat between J. M. Roberts and J. L. Westenberger is not reported as yet.
Today's match is being played in "internet" time and all should be over in weeks, not years. And we certainly hope that no one "crosses the bar"!
The same issue of The Morris Systems Checkerist is full of articles about the 2nd live U. S. - G. B. match, which was in preparation at the time. It makes for interesting reading, and, while today's internet match continues, we'll reprint a few of those old columns here over the next few weeks.
But for the moment, keep up with all of today's action, in internet time, at the official tournament site.
This form calculates the estimated changes in an ELO rating,
for a single game, using the exact, not the approximate, USCF formulas. The rating is still estimated, though, because the USCF calculations consider an entire tournament at once, is done in two passes and requires the complete tournament cross-table.
If an event is half-K, check the appropriate box; likewise if all of your
prior tournament games were wins or losses, check the matching box.
But, very recently on the time scale of a full century, the internet has come on the scene and has offered all sorts of opportunities for checker play, of every type and quality (see our site reviews for a rundown on this). Last year, a team match called USA vs. the World was played out at the It's Your Turn play site (the games are documented and annotated at Jim Loy's web site). The teams were ad hoc and the level of play varied widely, but it was a great match overall.
Now, the historic US-Great Britain rivalry is about to be taken up on the internet, and for this matchup, the teams are staffed with top notch, championship grade players. The US team, captained by Yunior Lopez, will have in its lineup stars such as world champion Alex Moiseyev and living legend Richard Fortman. Not to be outdone, the British team, captained by Lindus Edwards, will field players of the caliber of mail-play champion George Miller, and special guest Jan Mortimer, who this fall will challenge Patricia Breen for the women's world championship.
The match begins at the It's Your Turn site on April 4. The games will be 3-move restriction and played postal-style with three days allowed for a move. Complete details can be found at the official web site for the match, and you can follow the results there as they come in.
This promises to be a history making, not-to-be-missed match. Put a few tall ones in the refrigerator and tune in at the official web site!
If you've read much at all of Tom Wiswell's writing on the art and science of checkers, you'll find gems of wisdom sprinkled liberally among the pages. A long-term friend of Tom's in New York City collected thousands of these pithy proverbs, and many of them can be found at the following two web sites:
If you haven't visited these web sites yet, you really owe it to yourself to go there and learn a few new lessons of checkers and life from someone who mastered the art and science of both.
The feature problem for February was The Little Fooler by Tom Wiswell and Jimmy Ricca. Did it fool you? Click above to go back to the problem and see the elegant solution.
Also in February we started our Masked Man series. Could you identify the problemist and, just as importantly, solve the problem? Again, click above to go back, take one last look, and find out how well you did.
Didn't solve them all this time? Take heart. Last month's lean and mean two-by-two problems were harder than you might have expected. But don't give up. Try out this month's problems and watch your skills improve.
That said, feel free to browse the calendar and as always send us your comments and suggestions.
Through the history of the game, many books have been written and many authors have tried their hand, some with great success and others with less spectacular results. And so, we'd like to ask our readers a question: who is your favorite checker book author?
In this survey, we've listed a few of the most prolific and well-respected authors. Which one do you enjoy reading the most? Enter your vote and then compare it with the choices of other readers.
We'd like to introduce you to Marvin J. Mavin, the hero of this webzine and the Captain and First Board player for the Detroit Doublejumpers, one of the leading teams in the Central Division of the National Checker League.
Marvin was a top player on his grade school and high school teams, being named to the All-State squad three years running in his home state of New Jersey. He moved on to collegiate checkers, receiving a full-ride scholarship from the prestigious University of Champions in Mississippi. Following college he was a first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Switchers, who started him out with their Triple-A farm club, the Louisville Leapers of the Southeastern Checker League.
Marvin made the "big show" within a year, moving up to the Switchers, but became a free agent after his two-year contract expired, as he and the Switchers were unable to come to terms, with Marvin asking $12 million a year and the Switchers capping their offer at $8 million. The Doublejumpers then signed him on for $10 million per year plus performance based bonuses. The rest, as we all know, is history.
Join us in the columns of The Checker Maven later this month (March 2005), as Marvin pays a visit to a Detroit grade school and gives a lesson (or perhaps gets a lesson) on the "Fun Shot" in the Single Corner opening.