The Checker Maven

Honoring the Underdog: The Common Man

Each year, The Checker Maven celebrates the Labor Day holiday by recognizing the common man, the regular guy or gal who has always been the mainstay of our game of checkers, and most importantly of all, the backbone of what makes America great. Day in and day out, this "regular" guy or gal punches in at work, turns in an honest day's labor, and moves the American economic engine forward.

At least, that's how it's been until the last little while, in which the American worker has become something of an underdog, struggling to make a living if he or she even has a job at all. In the economic meltdown of the past couple of years, many a hard working, honest Joe or Jane has been thrown out of work and left to fend for his or her own self, while the Wall Street elite continue to get their million-dollar bonuses.

You'll have to excuse us if we seem, well, unhappy about all of this, because we believe in hard work and honest living; today that doesn't always make the grade, and it just isn't right. But we still, and always, salute the American worker: we know you deserve a better deal and one day, you'll regain the pride of place that is rightfully yours.

We know you didn't come here to talk politics and social theory, and so we do have a checker problem that seems to fit with this week's theme. Take a look at the diagram below.


White to Play and Draw


You surely see what we mean. White (the worker) is the real underdog here; he's a piece down and doesn't have a lot of options (sound familiar?). Black (the fat cat) is a piece up and is ready to squash White under his thumb. But all White wants is a square deal (represented here by getting a draw).

Can you get the fair shake that is rightfully yours, or will you be ground up in the wheels of power? "Work" out the problem and then click on Read More to "claim" the solution.


3-7 6-9 13x6---A 22x13 7x14 13-9 14-18 9x2 11-15 2-7 18-14 7-2---C 14-10 12-16 10-14 2-6 14-18 5-9 18-23 9-14 23-27 16-20 15-19 6-10 27-23 14-17 23-18 17-21 18-23 21-25 23-27 25-30 19-23 10-15 27-31 30-25---D 31-27 25-30 27-31 15-11 23-19 etc., drawn---E.

A---7-14? 9-18 to a win for the Black oppressors. With the text move, White evens the count; is the draw in sight?

B---The White workers are still not out of the woods! The Black bosses gets the extra man back with a fork.

C---12-16 15-11 only draws for Black, and 7-3 leads to play similar to the main line.

D---This is the key position; if 20-24 then 23-19 secures the draw.

E--- Black cannot get the man on 20 moving without dropping a piece as in Note D. The downtrodden White workers are still a man down but the Black bureaucrats, despite their superior numbers, can do nothing but spin their wheels.

09/04/10 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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