The sculpture above is found near the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a city we've visited a few times. We don't know what the young lad is musing upon; could that be a book of checker problems next to him?
Whatever he's contemplating, it's unlikely that it's today's checker problem, another fine entry sent to us by master composer Ed Atkinson. He calls it Thinking It Over. Let's let him describe it in his own words.
"Here is the problem. It is only the unusual setting and the first few moves that are original. The resulting end game can be traced back through the centuries to the very first problem published in English, a 262 year time line.
The references can be found in Boland's Border Classics, page 59 and Famous Positions, page 8. Closely related material was published by several in the mid 19th century."
What's this? White is up two pieces, so where's the problem? But it won't take you long to realize that White's big advantage is greatly at risk, and getting the full score is anything but easy.
Okay, you know what we're going to say: think it over, and find the winning moves. As often is the case, the key is to find the right first move. After you've given this enough thought, think about clicking on Read More to see Ed's solution and notes.
Again, we'll let Ed speak for himself.
15-10---A 7-21 22-26---B 25-30 27-23---C 30-25 9-6 25-30 6-2 30-25 2-7 25-30 7-11 30-25 11-15 25-30 15-18 30-25 23-19 25-30 18-23 30-25 19-16 25-30 23-19 30-23 19-26---D 29-25 16-11 25-29 11-7 29-25 7-2 25-29 2-7 29-25 7-11 25-29 11-15 29-25 15-18 25-29 18-22 21-25 26-30 White Wins.
A---"Only this move wins. 22-26 25-22 draws. 22-18 loses by 25-22 18-25 29-6 27-23 6-1 23-19 7-10 15-6 1-10 Black Wins.
B---22-17 wins but wastes time.
C---Now Black's mobility is greatly restricted. The play soon runs into an ending published by J. Mooney in 1876. The important point to keep in mind in positions like this is to learn the winning method rather than memorizing the moves.
D---This is now basically the first of William Payne's critical situations, published in 1756. It is a White win with either side to move.
Although much of the solution is old published play, I think that it is instructive and well worth knowing.
The initial move of the solution to Thinking It Over is the only one of ten that works."
Ed, with the modesty characteristic of many top practitioners, takes little credit, even though much is deserved. The Checker Maven thanks him for the opportunity to publish this problem.