# The Checker Maven

In the world of sports, sometimes a play is a really close call and quite an argument about it takes place. Today's checker problem surely falls into that category. Take a good look at the position below, with White to move. How would you call this one? White win, Black win, or draw? Show it to your checker friends and you're bound to generate a lot of, shall we say, animated discussion (we'd hate to accuse checker players of having heated arguments, after all).

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play, What Result?

W:WK29,23,19:BK30,5,1.

Make the call, and then do an "instant replay" to demonstrate the correctness of your decision. We'll just give you a bit of fair warning: this one isn't so easy, and just may surprise you. What do you say?

There's one call, though, we can always make without error: it's a certainty that clicking on Read More will bring you to the solution.

Solution

With the White king trapped in the single corner, many experts, at the time the problem was first composed many years ago, thought there was a Black win. But surprisingly enough, White can draw. Here's how.

19-16 30-26 23-19 26-23 29-25 5-9 25-22 9-13 22-25 1-6 19-15!---A 23-19 15-11 19x12 25-22 12-16---B 11-7 16-11 7-2 6-10 2-6 10-15 6-10 15-19 10-14---C 11-15 14-17 Drawn.---D

A---The key to the draw. If instead 25-22 then Black wins with 6-10.

B---6-10 here (and additionally on the next move) would also draw.

C---22-18 is no better.

D---For instance 19-24 17-21 24-28 21-25 28-32 25-21 32-27 21-25 27-23 25-21 23-18 21-25 18-14 25-21 etc. Black simply can't do anything with the extra man.

A most elegant composition attributed to problemist Fausto Dalumi. Additional modern analysis by the KingsRow computer engine and 10-piece endgame database, provided courtesy of author Ed Gilbert.

01/26/08 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version