The Checker Maven

Perpetual Motion

Perpetual motion, like alchemy, was a dream of scientists of a bygone era. Not equipped with the knowledge and tools of later days, they hoped to build a machine that was self-sustaining and would operate forever. Alas, such a thing is not possible; reaching 100% efficiency in the practical world simply doesn't happen, and, lacking energy input of some type, everything runs down in the end. As with the search for a way to turn base materials into gold, the quest for perpetual motion was never to succeed. Still, much time, effort, and ingenuity was expended designing devices such as the one shown above.

Perpetual motion of a different kind, however, can be found in the game of checkers. While we're not going to give away any more than that, you'll understand our meaning when you've worked through today's problem, which is diagrammed below.


White to Play and Draw


White has five men against four kings; his extra piece is going to go fast and then four men have to face four kings. It seems hopeless, but there is a brilliant way to draw which demonstrates once again the incredible possibilities present on the checkerboard.

Don't just go through the motions; perpetuate your efforts and find the solution! And as you know, clicking on Read More is our perpetually-valid means of moving to the solution.


White goes from one man up to two men down before achieving a man-down draw.

26-22---A 18x25 21-17 1-5 9-6 2x9 17-13 9-14 13-9 14x7 8-3 5x14 3x17 25-30 17-22 30-25 22-17 etc. Drawn by "perpetual motion," better known as the "see-saw."

A---Absolutely nothing else works, for instance here is one alternative line of play: 21-17 18-15 9-5 15x6 8-4 29-25 17-13 2-7 4-8 7-11 8x15 6-9 13x6 1x19 5-1 19-15 1-6 15-18 6-10 25-30 Black Wins.

05/29/10 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
You can email the Webmaster with comments on this article.