The Checker Maven

The World's Most Widely Read Checkers and Draughts Publication
Bob Newell, Editor-in-Chief


Published every Saturday morning in Honolulu, Hawai`i


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But Is It Worth Your Job?

In 1892, John T. Denvir was working at a lucrative $2,000 per year job. During the lunch hour, he would go to his checker club to play a few games in the space of the one hour lunch period. One day, he played a rather brilliant game against Lucius S. Head, which however caused him to return to work an hour late. He fully expected to be fired, and considered himself very lucky indeed to have gotten off instead with a stern scolding.

Here's the runup to the critical position:

11-16 23-18 10-14 18-15 16-19 22-17 7-10 24-20 9-13 26-22 5-9 30-26 8-11 15x8 4x11 27-23 2-7 23x16 12x19 32-27 11-15 20-16

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win
If you can solve it, you certainly have excellent visualization skills. Check your solution against our animation, which includes the whole game.

A brilliancy indeed, but is it worth your job?

04/30/05 - Printer friendly version
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The Masked Man is Back in Town

Continuing our monthly "Masked Man" series, this month's offering is perhaps the most difficult to date. Can you identify the problemist pictured above (posing with his daughter), and then solve the problem below?
BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw
Forces are even, but White's freedom of movement seems limited... can you pull off the draw? No less than four "star" moves will be necessary.

Check your solution, and learn the identity of the composer, by clicking on Read More.

[Read More]
04/27/05 - Printer friendly version
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Crime Does Not Pay

A little while back we lamented the presence of computer-using cheaters on the major online play sites. We recently came across an article published over 80 years back in the Morris-Systems Checkerist magazine that highlights a similar problem, and how one cheater got what he had coming. We've reprinted the article below.

Illegal Move Proves Boomerang
Falls Into Graceless Trap After Double Move
The desire to win in any form of competitive sport is a very human one. Facing a man who is a degree stronger or more skillful, and submitting to defeat after defeat is a test of character, temper, fortitude--or, reduced to one word, a test of sportsmanship. Occasionally we encounter an individual for whom the hunger of victory is so intense that while he would probably shrink from attempting an unfair or unethical move in other walks of life, he has but meager scruples as to the management of his game, and in order to gain the upper hand resorts to illegitimate tactics. The number of such is of course infinitely small compared with those who would rather be riddled to pieces than surrender their principles of good sportsmanship; but even the insignificant number of sly-hand movers is to be regretted.

Not always, however, is it profitable for the sly-hander to make his moves unseen, and the man who thinks he is "getting away with it" will find now and then that he has dug a pit for himself too deep for escape.

We happened into a rather amusing demonstration of this not long ago while watching a player of good repute in a park exhibition where he was handling a number of boards simultaneously. As the exhibition player went from board to board we noticed that one of his opponents near us advanced a piece as if to test the position, then glanced up to see if he had been observed. When the exhibition player appeared at this board again the opponent made his regular move, but the piece he had advanced a minute before remained where he had placed it. The exhibitionist was plainly surprised. Evidently he had remembered the earlier position. We saw him eye his man with a keen glance, but said nothing, made his move and then went on to the next board.

Later, in the end game, the position on the board was as shown (below).

Exhibition Player--White

"Double Mover"--Black
The exhibition player had the white side. As he passed down the aisle to other boards, the "double mover," seeing himself pursued by the white king, made another illegitimate move, going from 5 to 9, with the thought of preventing white from playing 8-11 (which would then lose to 20-16 --Ed.). He scratched his head as if wondering whether his conscience would stand for it. When the checker performer returned to the board he caught the situation at a glance. He raised himself to a straight posture and looked squarely at his man, puzzled for words, but unwilling to embarrass the other while the crowd stood by. Nevertheless, his steady, searching look told the "double mover" he was discovered. Here is a picture of the board after the illegitimate move:
Black--"Double Mover"

White--Exhibition Player
White to Move and Win
Studying the situation carefully the exhibition player smiled inwardly as he became aware that his opponent had unwittingly entangled himself in the coils of a binding trap.

Had the "double mover" been content with his first illegal move he might have gained a draw, but when he repeated his offense, he apparently aroused the wrath of the checker g-ds and brought himself to swift and sorry doom.

How did the Exhibition Player give the "Double Mover" his comeuppance? Solve the problem and click on Read More for the solution.

[Read More]
04/20/05 - Printer friendly version
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The Lancashire Checker Newsletter

You've read in our companion article about competitive over the board play and excellent beer at the Manchester Draughts Club. The "rest of the story" is the Lancashire Checker Newsletter, published on alternate months, also by Dr. John Reade. This is a professional quality twelve page printed newsletter, with feature articles, news items, commented games, and challenging problems.

The best of this is that the newsletter is available by subscription to anyone who wants it; the annual cost is just 10 pounds in the UK, 15 euros in the rest of Europe, and $20 in the USA. Dr. Reade offers the first two years for the price of one at initial signup. He may be reached by email at sue.reade@virgin.net. Trust us; you won't want to miss out on this fine publication.

Dr. Reade has given us permission to feature a problem from the February 2005 newsletter. It is by American problemist Will H. Tyson, who lived from 1865 to 1928.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Move and Win
You will find this of approximately intermediate difficulty, with a nice theme, an instructive solution, and a great opportunity for less experienced players such as the editor of The Checker Maven to go badly wrong. As usual, click on Read More to check your answers.

[Read More]
04/16/05 - Printer friendly version
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Hidden Beauty on a Draughtsboard

Our article title is the subtitle of Melvyn Green's Stroke Problems, a large and grand collection of original compositions by the Salford, England master of the art. Mr. Green has very kindly given us permission to publish one of what he terms the "easier" situations from his book.

Melvyn Green's Stroke Problems - #82
BLACK

WHITE
White to Move and Win
Well, easy is relative; try your luck on this entertaining and very pleasing offering. We're sure you'll be delighted, and will want to have your own copy of Melvyn's book; you can contact the webmaster for information on how to obtain it.

Oh, the solution? Click on Read More.... but only if you must!

[Read More]
04/13/05 - Printer friendly version
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Masterpiece

Here is an elegant problem by an unknown author, as originally published by Tom Wiswell. It is not easy but is worth the effort.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
Mr. Wiswell called it Masterpiece and we're sure you'll agree when you have it figured out. His solution can be seen by clicking on Read More.

What, indeed, makes a problem a true masterpiece? Is it an elegant solution, a deep or hidden theme, a surprise ending, or other factors? We'll combine today's problem with this short survey asking what you like most in a checker problem.

[Read More]
04/09/05 - Printer friendly version
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Yet Two More Easy Pieces

We continue our electronic republication of Willie Ryan's classic Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard with this, our third installment. But let's let Willie speak for himself.
EXAMPLE 5

White to Play and Win
'Like all other tactical schemes, the delayed smother play can occur on other parts of the board with varying arrangements of the pieces. Example 5 shows a natural-looking ending in which white can neatly bottle up black's pieces in just five moves, by a delayed double corner "jam." Examples 4 (published in a previous article --Ed.) and 5 illustrate but two types of the smother play; there are several other varieties including blocks, freezes, lock-ups, and the smother pinch. Indeed, checker ideas are as numerous as words, and each one has a meaning of its own, and a special adaptability in the course of scientific play.
EXAMPLE 6

White to Play and Win
The situation on the right (actually above --Ed.) is still another member of the smother family. To press home the win in Example 6, white must actually coordinate the germs of two different tactical ideas, employing the smother as the winning device and using the seesaw shift (as in Example 11) (to be published by July 2005 --Ed.) as the timing element by which the smother is executed. When two or more tactical ideas are woven into a procedure of force, we call it a "combination." positions are always popping up in play where it is necessary to grapple with a dozen or more ideas in order to force a scientific win, or obtain a delicate draw!'

Solve the problems and check your solutions by clicking on Read More.

[Read More]
04/06/05 - Printer friendly version
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Speeding Into Spring

Spring is here, it's April, and time for our more-or-less monthly selection of speed problems. Remember, the clock is running. How fast are you?

No. 1 (two ways to solve, easy and very easy)
No. 2 (easy to medium)

Click on Read More for the solutions.

[Read More]
04/02/05 - Printer friendly version
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Wednesday is 'Anything Can Happen Day'

At the suggestion of our readers, instead of publishing everything on the weekend, we'll be trying out the idea of dividing up our new articles between Wednesday and Saturday. Although we'll likely feature a problem on most Wednesdays, "anything can happen" so stay tuned, and be sure to let us know what you think of our revised publication schedule.

Now, on to this week's Wednesday problem. Originally published over 80 years ago, it was billed as a beginner's problem. And it's surely a case of "anything can happen" in that there were flaws in the original setting, clever though it was, and so we've made a few changes.

We start with this position, as originally published:




White to Play and Draw
The published solution gave 14-17 to a draw, and that is correct; however, computer analysis shows that both 14-10 and 14-9 will also draw. Too many solutions spoil the problem.

But in the diagram above, what is the move that comes to mind at once, and that a beginner in particular would likely choose? It's 14-18, attacking two Black men at once. Yet this move loses! Here's the position, and the challenge for you:

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

Did you get it? Click on Read More for the solution, and decide for yourself, though this is a situation a beginner might encounter, if this is truly a beginner's problem.

By the way, you get bonus points if you can recall where the idea of Wednesday being "Anything Can Happen Day" originally came from.

[Read More]
03/30/05 - Printer friendly version
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The 'Masked Man' Returns for March

We're pleased to present our Masked Man problem for March. The challenge is twofold; solve the problem, and identify the composer, who is pictured in the photograph above.

Here's the problem:

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win
We won't keep you waiting this time, so click on Read More to check your answers... but please do try the problem first, as it's a nice one.

[Read More]
03/26/05 - Printer friendly version
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Pages: «Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | ...| 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | Next»

The Checker Maven is produced at editorial offices in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Original material is Copyright © 2004-2018 Avi Gobbler Publishing. Other material is the property of the respective owners. Information presented on this site is offered as-is, at no cost, and bears no express or implied warranty as to accuracy or usability. You agree that you use such information entirely at your own risk. No liabilities of any kind under any legal theory whatsoever are accepted. The Checker Maven is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Bob Newell, Sr.

MAVEN, n.:

An expert or connoisseur, often self-proclaimed.


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