The Checker Maven

The Stumper

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In the world of American crossword puzzles, each week renowned cruciverbalist Stanley Newman publishes the "Saturday Stumper." It's a very hard puzzle, often substantially harder than the one in the Saturday New York Times, which is in itself a real challenge.

Checker problemist Brian Hinkle has come up with a "stumper" of his own, and has kindly shared it with us. Let's have a look.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Draw 2 Ways
W:W8,10,13,25,30:B1,4,5,16,17.

As is typical with Brian's compositions, finding the first move is the real key, although even then you've still got to demonstrate the draw. But "Stumper" actually has two solutions. You may not necessarily be stumped in finding the first solution, but finding the second solution is truly a "Saturday Stumper" of our own.

Will you be stumped, not just on Saturday but in the ensuing days? Consider yourself a good solver if you find the first solution, and an amazing one if you find the second. Clicking on Read More, of course, will show you everything.null



Solution

Both 10-6 and 8-3 appear to draw. 10-6 is the clearest, so let's start there. First we'll give Brian's solution and notes.

10-6---A 1x10 25-21 4x11 21x7 16-19 7-3 11-16 3-8 19-23 8-12 16-19 12-16 20-24 16-11 24-28 11-15 19-24 15-19 23-27 19-23 27-31 30*25---B 28-32 25-22---C 31-27---D 22-18---E 27-31 23-19 32-28 19-23 28-32 23-19 24-28 19-23 31-27 23-19 27-24 19-23 24-20 13-9 5-14 18-9. Drawn.

A---While composing this pretty problem, I hoped that the unusual 10-6 at the first move would be a star move to draw but Kingsrow with the 10 piece database showed that the natural 8-3 will also draw. If anyone can compose a similar problem that shows off this drawing theme that doesn’t have a dual solution, please contact sbhinkle@charter.net.

B---After being down a man for 10 moves, white must not be tempted to get his man back with 23-27? 28-32 27-20 32-27 Black Wins.

C---23-19? 32-27 19-28 27-23 25-22 23-19 Black Wins.

D---32-28 22-18 28-32 23-19 same.

E---If 23-19? or 23-26? then 32-28 Black Wins.

The KingsRow computer solution differs a little from Brian's but the concepts are the same.

10-6! 1x10 25-21---F 4x11 21x7 16-19 7-3 19-23 3-8 11-15 8-11 15-19 (15-18 similar) 11-15 19-24 15-19 to a draw.

F---8-3 would come too late: 8-3 17-22 25x18 10-14 18x9 5x14 3-7 14-18 7-10 18-23 and Black should win.

10-6, the solution Brian originally had in mind, and it makes for some very pleasing checkers. But 8-3 also draws if made at once. The following line of play is due to KingsRow/ML with the 10-piece endgame database. KIngsRow had to work uncharacteristically long on this, so don't feel bad if you didn't find it on your own. A few moves are a bit "computerish" and so are presented without comment.

8-3 17-21 25-22 20-24 10-7 24-28 7-2 28-32 2-7 32-27 7-10 27-23 3-7 23-19 10-14 16-20 13-9 20-24 7-10 24-27 22-17 4-8 9-6 8-12 6-2 12-16 2-7 27-32 17-13 16-20 14-17 32-27 10-14 20-24 13-9 27-23 7-10 24-27 9-6 27-31 17-13 19-16 6-2 16-11 14-17 31-27 17-22 23-19 etc., drawn.

Here's the final position. It's a man-down draw on a larger scale than usual. White's central position and Black's two men stuck in the double corner prevent Black from making any progress.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play, Game Drawn

W:WK2,K10,K13,K22,30:B1,5,K11,K19,21,K27

Our thanks to Brian Hinkle for this very interesting study.

02/23/19 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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