The Checker Maven

Without

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The picture above dates to World War II, when many did without in support of the war effort. Luckily, today, in the free world we generally don't have to do without, as a minimum, the basic necessities.

In checkers, there is "doing without" as well; in today's study, the winning side has to make do without "the move." This is called in textbooks, logically enough, "first position without."

We know that first position is a win with two kings against a king and a man, as long as the side with two kings has the move. But checkers is full of subtle twists, and there are wins in some of these positions without having the move on the stronger side, hence the name "first position without." There are supposedly twenty or so of these exceptions to the general rule. Below you'll find one of them.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W22,K5:BK15,K6.

There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on how White plays. One of them is as proposed decades ago in Dr. Call's book of "Midget" problems. Another line is preferred by our KingsRow computer engine.

Can you find the win here, or will you have to do "without"? See how you do, and then "without" hesitation, click on Read More to see the solutions.20050904-symbol.gif



Solution

We first give the computer solution. It's rather neat.

15-10 5-1---A 6-9 1-5 9-14 5-1 10-15 1-6 15-19 6-1 19-23 22-18---B 14-10 Black Wins---C.

A---Moving the king around presumably to avoid 1st position style play?

B---The threat is 23-26.

C---The man is lost anyhow.

But there is an equally valid solution from the original proposer, which might more clearly indicate the theme.

15-10 22-17---D 10-7 5-1 6-9 17-13 9-5 1-6 5-1 6-9 7-10 9-6 10-14 Black Wins---E.

D---More in tune with typical 1st position play, perhaps.

E---6-2 14-9 13x6 1x10.

Worthwhile endgame play, which demonstrates that even "simple" positions can be deceiving.

04/08/17 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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