The Checker Maven

A Mighty Forest

As writers ourselves, we're keen appreciators of elegance and style, and we profess unabashed admiration for the writing style of a bygone era.

During the heydays of checker magazines, we've noted that the authors and editors of those long-departed publications had a certain verbal flair and often waxed most eloquent. Few examples surpass this one, penned by E. B. Hallman nearly eighty years ago. His subject was How To Study Checkers.

"There are many checker players who would add tremendously to their enjoyment of the game and increase greatly their skill by well directed study. Checkers is not unlike other activities; knowledge of what others have accumulated by their experience cannot be neglected without loss in playing ability. The game might be compared to a mighty forest, crisscrossed by countless paths, some mere "blind alleys," some leading to dangerous swamps, others along safe and delightful ways, with beautiful scenery on all sides. No man can stand on the edge of the forest, a stranger to its wandering trails, and reason or guess where the paths lead; no man can reason at the beginning of a checker game what the effect of a given move will be."

Our columnist then goes on to advocate the study of endgames and presents a sample problem which, alas, we don't think either well represents the "mighty forest" of checkers, or is nearly as gripping as his flowing prose.

So we'll offer you this one instead, which we think adequately encompasses the virtues that our writer so beautifully espouses.


White to Play and Draw


Can you find the path through the forest that leads to safe and delightful ways for White, or will you encounter a dangerous swamp? Have no fear; clicking on Read More will always bring you out of danger.


This one really wasn't so hard:

26-23 18-22---A,D 23-19 15-18---B 19-16 11-20 27-32 20-27 32-21 Drawn.

A---17-14 23-19 14-10---C 19-16 11-20 27-32 20-27 32-7 Drawn.

B---giving the man back at once with 22-26 may perhaps be better but is still a database draw (WCC Platinum III)

C---14-17 may be a little better but is still only a database draw (WCC Platinum III)

D---17-22 is another idea that doesn't work; there is nothing here but a draw!

03/25/06 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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