The Checker Maven

Willard Who?

Have you ever heard of problemist Willard E. Davis? Maybe not (and that's not him in the photo, either), but we'd like to show you one of his little offerings, composed over 80 years ago and still instructive today.


Black to Play and Draw


Black is certainly in a bit of a predicament, but the draw is there, and in fact we'd have to say this problem is a little easier than many. Can you find the solution, or will Willard get the best of you? Click on Read More to check your answer.


There are a number of variant lines leading to a draw, but the key move is at A.

14-18 3-8---C 2-7---A 24-20---B 7-10 8-11 19-24 28-19 15-24 11-7 10-14 7-10 18-22 26-17 14-21 Drawn.

A---18-23 loses to 8-11. 2-7 is the only move to draw as it keeps the White king from going to 11.
B---8-12 or 8-3 are met by 18-23.
C---If 16-20, 18-23 and the Black pieces are free to roam.

Although this problem is fairly straightforward and perhaps artistically marred by not having a clear single theme, it does teach us to search for hidden resources in positions that may look unfavorable at first glance. Willard, we thank you for this thought!

02/11/06 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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