# The Checker Maven

### The Twins, Bowen's, Of Course

We don't know a whole lot, we confess, about old-time checkerist R. E. Bowen. To be specific, we're not sure if he ever had twins in his family, such as the twins shown above. We do know, though, that Mr. Bowen created twins, or more accurately, wrote about them; but they are decidedly twins of the checker variety, in the form of a "twin" position as shown in the first diagram below. In this situation, it all depends who plays first; but in the related positions shown in our second and third diagrams, Black will definitely win.

It's a classic lesson from the pages of our current Checker School textbook, Ben Boland's Famous Positions in the Game of Checkers. The lesson may be known to you, in name if not in detail, and this is your opportunity to learn just about everything about it.

BOWEN - WYLLIE
WHITE

BLACK
Black Plays, White Draws
White Plays, Black Wins

B:W20,12,K2,K1:BK27,K19,K11,3.
W:W20,12,K2,K1:BK27,K19,K11,3.

E. CLARK
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK32,20,12,K5:BK24,K19,K11,K10.

D. KIRKWOOD
WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W20,K7,K6:BK15,K14,10,K4.

There are really four distinct problems here, so you might think of it as a pair of twins. Twins squared? We won't speculate further, but we do know that clicking on Read More will show you the solutions, sample games, detailed notes, and a surprise bonus feature.

Solution

Bowen: Black Plays: 27-23---1, 1-6, 19-15, 6-1, 15-18, 1-6, 18-22, 6-9, 22-17, 2-6-, 23-19, 6-10, 11-7, 10-6, 19-15, 6-2, 7-11, 9-6, 17-14---A, 20-16---B, 11-20, 6-10, 15-6, 2-18. Drawn.

Wyllie: White Plays: 1-6---1, 27-23, 6-10, 23-18, 10-6, 18-14, 6-1, 14-17, 1-6, 19-23, 6-9, 23-18, 2-6, 17-13, 9-5, 18-14, 5-1---C, 14-9, 6-2, 13-17, 1-5---D, 17-14, 5-1, 9-5, 2-6, 14-18*, 6-10, 18-23, 10-14---E, 23-19, 1-6, 5-1, 6-9, 19-15, 9-5---F, 11-7, 14-9, 15-18---G, 9-13, 7-11, 13-17---H, 3-7, 5-9, 7-10, 9-13---I, 1-6, 17-21, 10-14, 13-17, 6-10, 17-13, 18-22, 13-9, 22-25*, 21-30, 10-15, 9-18, 15-22. Black Wins.

Clark: 10-14---1, 5-1, 19-23, 1-5, 24-27, 32-28, 27-32, 5-1, 23-19, 1-5, 14-18, 5-9, 18-23, 9-14, 23-27, 14-10, 27-24, 10-14, 19-16, 28-19, 16-23. Black Wins.

Kirkwood: 4-8, 7-11, 14-18, 11-4, 18-22*, 6-2, 15-11. Black Wins---2.

Game: 11-15, 24-20, 8-11, 28-24, 9-13, 23-18, 4-8, 27-23, 12-16, 22-17, 13-22, 26-17, 15-22, 25-18, 10-14, 17-10, 6-22, 24-19, 5-9, 19-12, 11-15, 21-17, 8-11, 17-13, 9-14, 32-28, 14-17, 13-9, 7-10, 20-16, 11-20, 30-25, 1-5, 25-11, 5-14, 23-19, 14-18, 19-16, 10-14, 11-8, 18-23, 8-4, 23-27, 31-24, 20-27, 4-8, 27-32, 8-11, 17-21, 11-15, 14-17, 16-11, 17-22, 11-8, 21-25, 8-4, 25-30, 4-8, 22-26, 8-11, 26-31, 28-24, 31-27, 24-20, 27-24, 11-16, 32-28, 15-10, 30-26, 29-25, 26-30, 25-21, 30-26, 21-17, 26-22, 17-13, 22-18, 16-11, 24-19, 13-9---R, 19-16, 10-14, 16-7, 14-23, 28-24, 9-5, 2-6, 5-1, 6-9, 23-18, 9-13, 18-14, 24-19, 1-6, 19-15, 6-2, 7-11, 14-9, 15-19, 9-5, 13-17, 5-1, 17-22, 1-5, 22-26, 5-1, 26-31, 1-5, 31-27, 5-1. Forms above position by R. E. Bowen.

Game: 11-15, 23-19, 8-11, 22-17, 9-13, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 15-18, 26-23, 13-17, 19-15, 4-8, 23-19, 6-9, 24-20, 2-6, 28-24, 9-13, 15-10, 6-15, 19-10, 12-16, 31-26---S, 17-21, 26-23, 13-17, 24-19, 17-22, 19-12, 22-26, 25-22, 18-25, 29-22, 26-31, 32-28, 31-24, 28-19, 11-15, 19-16, 8-11, 12-8, 3-26, 10-3, 26-31, 3-7, 1-6, 7-16, 6-9, 14-10, 9-13, 10-6, 5-9, 16-11, 15-19, 11-15, 19-23---T, 22-18, 31-27, 18-14, 9-18, 15-22, 27-31, 20-16, 23-27, 16-11, 27-32, 11-7, 32-27, 7-3, 27-23, 3-7, 23-19, 7-10, 19-23, 6-2, 23-19, 2-6, 19-23, 6-9, 23-19, 9-14, 19-23. Forms above position by Wyllie, colors reversed, at 3rd move. J. Marr, Lyman's Problem Book.

A---17-13, 6-1, 15-10---N, 2-6, 10-14, 1-5, 11-7---O, 6-2, 7-10, 5-1---P, 14-9, 20-16, 10-15, 1-6, 9-5, 6-1, 13-17, 2-6, 17-14, 6-2, 14-18, 2-6, 18-23, 6-10, 15-6 1-10, 23-19, 16-11, 19-16, 11-7. Drawn.

B---6-1, 14-18, 1-6, 11-7 (3-7, 20-16---M, 11-20, 2-11, 15-8, 12-3), 2-11, 15-8, 6-10, 8-4, 20-16, 4-8, 10-7, 3-10, 12-3, 10-14, 16-11. Drawn.

C---6-2, 13-9, 5-1. Black Wins as Trunk at 23rd move.

D---1-6, 9-5, 6-1, 17-14, 2-6. Black Wins as Trunk at 25th move.

E---10-6, 23-19, 6-2-J, 19-15, 2-6, 3-7, 6-2, 7-10, 2-6---K, 10-14, 6-10, 15-6, 1-17, 5-9. Black Wins.

F---9-13, 11-7, 14-17, 15-18, 17-21, 1-6, 13-17, 6-10, 17-13, 10-14, 13-17, 7-10, 20-16, 18-15. Black Wins.

G---By R. McCulloch and probably better than Wyllie's; 7-2, 9-13, 15-11, 13-17, 3-7, 17-14, 2-6, 14-18, 7-10, 18-23, 10-15, 23-27, 15-19, 27-32, 19-23, 32-28, 6-10, 28-24, 10-15---L. Black Wins.

H---13-9, 3-7, 9-13, 7-10, 13-9, 10-14, 9-13, 1-6, 5-1, 6-2, 1-5, 18-15, 5-1, 15-10, 1-5, 10-6, 5-9, 14-17. Black Wins. McCulloch.

I---9-5 (9-6, 10-14, 17-10, 18-14, 10-17, 1-10), 18-14, 17-13 1-6, 5-1, 14-9, 1-5 (13-17, 10-14), 10-14, 5-1, 6-2. Black Wins. R. McC.

J---6-10, 5-9, 1-5, 11-15, 5-14, 15-6, 20-16, 3-7. Black Wins. R. McC.

K---12-8, 11-4, 2-7, 10-14, 7-10, 15-6, 1-17, 5-9. Black Wins. R. McC.

L---Continuation by E. Clark: 24-28, 23-27, 28-32, 27-31, 32-28, 15-19, 28-32, 31-26, 32-27, 19-24, 27-32, 26-23, 32-28, 23-19, 28-32, 1-6, 5-1, 6-10 (J. Stark plays 11-15 here and only draws), 1-5. Forms above position by E. Clark.

M---6-1, 7-10, 12-8, 11-4, 2-7, 15-19, 1-6. Forms above position by D. Kirkwood.

N---13-9, 1-5, 9-14, 5-1, 14-18, same as B at 2nd Move.

O---11-15, 5-1, 14-10---Q, 6-2, 13-9, 1-5, 10-14, 5-1, 9-5, 20-16, 14-18, 2-6, 18-23, 6-10, 15-6, 1-10, 5-9, 16-11, 23-19, 11-7, 19-16, 7-2. Drawn.

P---20-16, 10-15, 2-6, 13-17, 5-1, 17-22, 6-2, 22-18, 2-6, 18-23, 6-2, 23-19, 1-6, 14-10, 6-1, 19-24, 2-7, 10-14, 16-11, 3-10, 1-6, 15-8, 12-3, 14-9. Drawn.

Q---14-9, 6-10, 15-6, 1-10, 9-14, 10-17, 13-22, 20-16, 22-18, 16-11, 18-15, 11-8, 15-11,8-4. Drawn.

R---10-6, 2-9, 13-6, 19-15, 11-8, 18-14, 6-1, 14-10, 1-5, 28-24, 5-1, 15-18, 8-11, 24-19, 11-7, 10-15, 7-2, 15-11, 1-5, 18-23, 5-1, 23-27. Forms above position by J. Wyllie.

S---25-21, 18-22, 27-23, 22-26, 31-22, 17-26, 23-18, 26-31, 18-15, 11-18, 20-4, 7-11, 10-7, 3-17, 21-14, forms No. 622 by R. Home, Lyman's Problem Book; 1-6, 24-19, 6-9, 4-8, 11-16, 19-12, 31-26, 30-23, 18-27, 32-23, 9-27. Drawn.

T---Forms No. 484 by J. Marr in Lyman's Problem Book.

1---The computer shows many small variations in the solution; if you've come up with a different move sequence, check it with a strong program---Ed.

2---The king on 11 holds two Black pieces. The other king keeps the remaining White king away while the Black man crowns and comes back to help finish the job---Ed..

The Bowen Twins were given in the "Chelsea Public," Nov. 15, 1873, as Game No. 44 (see above and Note R), "Ayshire Lassie or the Twin Positions," by R- E. Bowen. J. Wyllie's Twin was published before as No. 77 Leeds Magnet.

D. Kirkwood's position was published as No. 88 in the "Chelsea Public," April 18, 1874. In the next issue Bowen wrote: "It is an unpublished variation of Game 44 at Var. 7, 2nd move."

E. Clark's position which is a continuation (see above) of Wyllie's solution was first shown in the "Liverpool Mercury." It was given in answer to J. Stark in the "West Lothian Courier" who wrote: "Looking over Wyllie's solution I find the Trunk left as a win, I fail to find the win." Clark then gave the desired play. R. McCulloch also answered Stark, see above at G.

The following position by J. Wyllie, No. 115 in the Draught Board, May 1, 1870. Black---1, 21, Kings 13, 32. And White---10, 30, Kings 14, 24. Black to Play; 13-17, 14-18, 17-13, 18-22, 13-9, 10-7, 9-6, 7-3, 1-5, 3-7, 5-9, 30-26, 9-13, 26-23, 6-1, 23-18, 1-5, 18-14, 5-1, 14-10, 1-5, 10-6, 5-1, 6-2, 1-5, 7-10, 5-1, now Wyllie continued 10-15, 1-5, 2-6, 5-9, 6-1, 9-5, 1-6, etc. to a draw. Instead of 10-15, play 2-6, 32-28, 24-19 and we have the above position by Eley Clark, colors reversed, at 5th move.

J. Tonar, Editor of the Draught Board, Dec. 1870 issue, said: 'Tor the past month he observed the controversy sustained by Mr. Wyllie and the late Mr. Bertie, in the "Leeds Weekly Express," respecting Problem 115 of the "D. B." of which more will be said in a future number." This however did not materialize, Patterson became Editor of the New Series.

Compare to "McCulloch's Masterpiece," Page 130.

READING CHARACTER BY THE CHECKER SYSTEM

Harvey L. Hopkins, veteran checker player and referee of the game, who is also the author of a checker book wherein is given the advice to lassies to "play checkers with their gentleman friends to read their characters, dispositions, etc., before entering upon the sea of matrimony."

"I tried your checker mind reading as an experiment," writes one reader to Mr. Hopkins. "It proved very satisfactory. Our propinquity enabled me to discover stale beer. Would you consider this too objectionable? Otherwise he was acceptable . . . An early answer will be appreciated."

No. 2 wrote: "Your methods of learning character, habits, etc., by the checker system has disclosed objectionable traits that will keep me single for a time . . . Am in the market for other callers. What can you do for me?"

Another writes: "The writer has not been as successful in securing a life companion by your checker diagnosis of character as some of her lady friends. He did not stand the test . . . Please advise me how to induce gentleman acquaintances to play the game: it is speculative and interesting. Awaiting your answer, I remain, impatiently yours."

"Pa wonders why my gentleman friends do not call any more," writes No. 4. "I explained to him about reading their dispositions and characters by playing checkers as you advise. I cannot repeat his language, but it was not complimentary to your system. He said that I need not look for perfection in this world. He has decided to move to another State, as there is no hope of getting a son-in-law here to help him work. I will take the checker board with me just the same."

No. 5 says: "Your checker scheme for reading the minds and disposition of players has played havoc with me. He must have read me more than I read him."

"As the mother of five daughters I congratulate you for having your checker board advice in your book," writes No. 6. "One of my daughters discovered a black sheep by following it (the "system" not the "sheep" Ed.). The others are happily married on account of it. Am sending your checker book to my nieces in Massachusetts. Hope it will reach them in time." ---From "Mercury.'"

10/23/10 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version