The Checker Maven

The Masked Man Rides Again

We thought we were done with our Masked Man series, but we came across something just too good to pass up. Here's a photo of the subject of this article:

Now for the situation:


White to Play and Win


Our Hero's opponent made an egregious blunder a couple of moves back. The position in the diagram arose after a couple of forced trades. In the actual match, said Hero missed the win. Can you succeed where he did not? And while you're at it, can you name the man in the photo? How about his opponent? How about the year and location of the match, and the results?

We're asking a lot, so we won't tease you any further. After you've given this your best shot, click on Read More to see the solution, an animation of the complete game, and the answers to all of our questions.


The young man in the photo is Mike Lieber; the picture was taken in 1925 upon his victory in the Cedar Point tourney. But the game we've presented here was played in 1928, in Lieber's famous 40 game match with Samuel Gonotsky, played at Long Island, New York. All 40 games were draws; Lieber missed the win in this, the 9th game. According to the commentators this was the only missed chance, on either side, in the whole match.

In the diagrammed position, Lieber played 26-23 and missed the win with 21-17. Our commented animation shows the actual course of the game, including Gonotsky's very uncharacteristic blunder a couple of moves earlier.

Some of the commentary comes from Richard Fortman's Basic Checkers; the game itself is taken from Hans L'Hoest's Open Checkers Archive; and credit for additional analysis, and the winning line, goes to the KingsRow computer program.

01/28/06 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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