The Checker Maven

Getting Even

Marvin J. Mavin

Marvin J. Mavin, professional checkers superstar and Captain of the World Champion Detroit Doublejumpers, had gotten himself into serious trouble with his long-time girlfriend, corporate executive Priscilla Snelson.

Priscilla Snelson

At her swank New Year's Eve party, Marvin had responded in what Priscilla felt to be an inappropriate manner to the advances of the Hollywood starlet known as Suzette Slinky. Priscilla threw both Suzette and Marvin out of her condo, and it was more than two weeks before Priscilla would even answer Marvin's phone calls.


Marvin, of course, apologized profusely. He sent candy and flowers and his own homespun version of love notes. He even considered taking out newspaper ads asking for forgiveness. But in the end, Priscilla came up with an alternative.

"If you want to get back in my good graces," she told Marvin during a tense phone call, "you'll do what I ask."

Priscilla told Marvin was to appear at the Annual Meeting of the Women's Entrepreneur Network Communal Help (WENCH), a non-profit of which Priscilla was President. The theme of this year's meeting was "How Women Can Be Equal Partners in Professional Sports."

Yuko Hashimoto

But it was hardly as simple as just making an appearance. Priscilla, who had connections in very high places, arranged for Marvin to play a match with a rising Japanese checker star, Yuko Hashimoto. However, there was more to this than met the eye, though Priscilla wasn't letting on as to the full content of her plan.

Now, recall that Marvin had recently gone on trial for Misogynistic Microaggression Offending and Improper Gender Address in the court of the National Checker Federation. While Marvin won the case, most people thought it had been on a mere technicality and that Marvin had actually been in the wrong.

Tampa Checkerdrome

When Marvin appeared on the field in the Tampa Checkerdrome in front of 25,000 members of WENCH, he was greeted by a chorus of boos, jeers, and catcalls. Priscilla had told him what to expect, but Marvin was still taken aback.

"Aw, gee, folks," he said, being careful not to use the word 'ladies', "I ain't that bad."

This only made things worse. But when Yuko Hashimoto took the field, the booing subsided and was replaced by loud cheers and thunderous applause.

Marvin took a look at Yuko as she shook hands with him and then sat at the checkerboard. He was about to say something, but uncharacteristically thought better of it, and then the huge crowded hushed as the match began.

It was a tensely fought contest, and Marvin soon realized he was up against a top contender in Yuko. Finally, Marvin got what he felt to be a bit of and advantage, and thought he had a chance to win.

Marvin looked over at Yuko. He started to say, "Betcha can't ..." but the words caught in his throat as he pictured Priscilla glaring at him from her 50 yard line seat.

The position was as follows. Yuko was playing the White pieces.

White to Play and Draw


Several minutes passed, with Yuko's gaze focused intently on the board. Then she looked up at Marvin. Her expression gave Marvin the shivers. Yuko didn't say a word and simply made her move.

Could you pull off a draw in this situation? Do you have Yuko's calm disposition and steady nerves?

This problem was sent to us specifically for this story by master problem composer Brian Hinkle. As our regular readers know, this means it will be a fine problem but not an easy one. The problem is Brian's modification of a correction to Ben Boland, as found by Jim Loy using the KingsRow engine.

When you're ready, click on Read More for the solution and the conclusion of our story.null

Solution and Conclusion

Solution and notes are by Brian Hinkle.

18-14*---A 25-29 14-9* 29-25 9-5* 25-30---B 5-9 30-26 9-5* 26-31 5-9 31-26 9-5* 26-30 5-9 30-25 9-5* 25-22---C 21-17* 22-26 17-14 13-17 14-10---D 26-22 10-7 22-18 7-2*---E 17-22 9-5 22-26 2-6 26-31 6-10 31-26 10-14 18-15---F 9-6* 26-31 14-10* 16-19 27-23* 19-26 10-19 20-27 19-23. Drawn.

A---The White king must immediately retreat to square 5. Did you sense danger here?

If 18-23? 25-30 24-19 30-26 19-12 26-19 12-8 19-15 8-3 20-24 27-20 15-11 20-16 11-20 3-7 20-24 7-10 24-19 10-14 19-23 14-9 23-18 9-5 18-14 5-1 13-17 and Black wins by First Position.

If 18-22? 25-30 22-18 30-25 18-23 25-22 24-19 22-26; same Black win by First Position.

B---White invites the Black king to move up bravely to square 19, which would lose.

C---Because White has refused to move up to square 19, it is now time for White to avoid a 3-fold position repetition and move up to square 22.

D---The position is still quite tricky but there are 2 ways to draw: 5-9 26-22 9-6 (now the same as Masterpieces p.57 #2 by Boland) 22-18 14-9 17-22 6-10 22-26 9-6 26-31 6-2 31-26 10-7 26-22 7-3 22-26 3-7 26-22 7-3 18-23 27-18 22-15 2-7 20-27 7-11 15-8 3-19. Drawn.

E---7-3? 17-22 9-5 22-26 9-6 26-31 6-2 18-15*. Black wins.

F---18-22 9-6 26-31 6-9 31-26 9-6. Drawn.

Play continued for a number of moves until Marvin finally realized that Yuko had the draw well in hand. He stood and offered to shake hands.

"Oh no, Marvin," said Yuko. "This game may be a draw but we're not done yet. Now comes part two of this little match. We wrestle. In Japan, I wasn't just a checker champion. I was a also a sumo champion."

The crowd cheered at this, and it was quite clear that they weren't cheering Marvin. Attendants quickly cleared the field of the checkerboard, table, and chairs, and set up a sumo mat.


"Let's go, big boy," Yuko said as she approached Marvin, arms outstretched.

That was the last thing Marvin remembered. He had a vague impression of being grabbed by his left arm and shoulder and slammed hard to the mat before he passed out. He didn't see or hear Priscilla, who was saying to herself, "We're even now."


02/27/21 - Category: Fiction - Printer friendly version
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