The Checker Maven

The Captured Bear

Brian Hinkle's ferocious bear is finally captured in today's Checker Maven column.

No, we did not receive any correct solutions. We did receive some pretty good attempts; and we also heard from a few skeptics who claimed the setting was wrong to begin with.

So, at long last, we present Brian's solution to what we believe is destined to become an enduring, classic problem--- a great new variation on a theme which, strangely enough, has been around for quite a number of years.

To refresh your memory, here's the situation:


Black to Play and Draw


1. 11-16

Alternatively, Black can first play 22-25, 30-21, 18-22 and the results are almost the same.

1. ... 20x11
2. 22-25

This is the second, necessary pitch, that removes the "clutter."

2. ... 30x21
3. 18-22

Moving to start the formation of a 4-piece "clover leaf of safety."

3. ... 28-24

If ... 6-10 then black can immediately complete the "clover leaf of safety" with 15-18 and white cannot penetrate the position, for instance 10-15 12-16 15-19 16-20 19-15 29-25 15-19 and then the black man can simply stay on square 20, or black can play 20-24 and we are headed back toward the final position as played out in the main line, which continues below

The main line move as given (28-24) instead sets a trap for black.

4. 12-16

Moving the piece farthest from the king row, and at this point the only move that draws. If black instead rushes to complete the "clover leaf of safety" with 15-18 then 24-19! and white wins as now the man on 12 cannot advance.

4. ... 4-8
5. 15-18

This now completes the aforementioned 4-piece "clover leaf of safety."

5. ... 24-20
6. 16-19 6-10
7. 19-24 8-12
8. 24-27 11-8
9. 27-32

This black king will stay permanently on square 32 and complete the defensive barricade on the double corner side.

9. ... 8-4
10. 29-25

And this is the king that will "wiggle forever."

10. ... 4-8
11. 25-30 8-11
12. 30-25 21-17
13. 25-29 17-14
14. 13-17 9-13
15. 17-21




This is now the draw formation attributed to Dr. T. J. Brown in Ben Boland's Masterpieces in the Game of Checkers, p. 155, diagram C.

Note that all seven black pieces are required and must be in position to obtain the draw.

It is amusing that white can move a king or kings onto squares 19, 24, 27, 28, and 31 without any effect whatsoever! Black simply ignores these efforts and continues to "wiggle" his single-corner king among squares 30, 25, and 29.

The "Bear Claw" is surely a unique and brilliant problem that will entertain checker fans for generations to come.

"The Clover Leaf Of Safety" and "The King That Wiggles Forever"

11/18/06 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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