The Checker Maven

Cowan's Coup

When we think of a coup our image is often of one like Napoleon's coup d'etat in November, 1799, as shown above. Certainly, while a coup can be peaceful, alas, it is often anything but. So we've got to be grateful that while les coups can and do take place on the checkerboard, and they may seem rather violent in a checkeristic fashion, nothing is lost except a few pieces of wood or plastic, and even those return alive and well for the next game.

Willie Ryan, in his book Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, shows us many a coup. Today, he'll demonstrate one associated with a Mr. Cowan. Let's take a look.

9-14 7-11 2-7
22-18 25-22 30-26
5-9 10-15 7-14
24-19 19-10 26-23
11-15 6-15 3-7
18-11 27-24 24-20
8-24 16-20 7-10---1
28-19 23-19 32-28
4-8 20-27 1-5
25-22 19-10 22-18
8-11 14-23 5-9
22-18 26-19 28-24
1116 9-13* 1317---A,2
29-25 31-24 Now you have
reproduced the diagram.

White to Play and Draw


A---"In 1882, a noted player by the name of M. Cowan, of Whitehaven, England, published the position on the above diagram as a problem. In 1894, Fred S. Hogue, of San Francisco, published the above game, showing how Cowan's "landing" came up in actual play. When Hogue's opponent, playing white, reached the diagrammed setting, he resigned, believing his position hopeless. Suffice it to say that Cowan's Coup may be brought up in play from many different openings. Accordingly, every student of the game must train himself to recognize or anticipate it when it looms on the board."

1---Just about straight "book" play up to this point, where the KingsRow book ends and calls the position dead even---Ed.

2---Pretty much flawless play on both sides. Black appears to have an advantage, but it's an illusion, as the solution will show---Ed.

Will you be overthrown by this problem, or can you carry out the coup? When you've worked out the answers, click on Read More for the revolutionary solution.


"Continue: 19-16*!, 12-28, 23-19, 14-23, 21-7, 28-32, 7-3, 32-28, 3-8, 28-24, 8-15, for a draw---3."

3---An amazing coup indeed---Ed.

07/09/11 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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