The Checker Maven

McKelvie's Masterpiece

Once again, we hope we've fooled you. With an article title containing the word "Masterpiece" you probably expected to see the Mona Lisa or some other famous work of art. However, we wanted to showcase something that not only featured the word "masterpiece" but also the name "McKelvie." Well, we didn't come up with an artist named D. McKelvie, but we did find J. McKelvie, a talented illustrator for on-line and print comics. "Li'l Depressed Boy," if you're not familiar with the series (and we certainly weren't) is a comic that started on the internet and now appears in print form. We can't say we're going to rush right out and buy it, but we can say that J. McKelvie is certainly a talented artist who produces masterpieces in their own genre.

Does J. McKelvie play checkers? We don't know, but D. McKelvie certainly did back in his day, and this month's excerpt from Willie Ryan's Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard features play attributed to the Mr. D. McKelvie, as Willie explains in somewhat taciturn fashion.

9-13 21-14 3- 7
21-17 12-16 20-11
5- 9 24-20 7-16
25-21 16-19 31-27
11-15 25-21---1 1- 5
29-25 4- 8 14-10
9-14 32-27 6- 9
23-18 8-12 10- 6
14-23 27-24 9-14
27-11 12-16 21-17
8-15 20-11 14-21
17-14 7-16 6- 1
10-17 24-20 5- 9---A

White to Play and Win

"D. G. McKelvie, the celebrated expert of London, England, was first to show the classical win detailed on the next page, from the situation diagrammed above.

A---The loser. 16-20, 27-23, 20-24, 23-16, 24-27, 16-11, 27-31, 11-8, etc., is the correct play to draw."

1---32-27 might have been better but this line seems to equalize---Ed.

Can you create a masterpiece, or will you become a "Li'l Depressed Boy" yourself? Avoid depression by depressing your mouse on Read More to see the spectacular solution.


1- 5* 9-27 19-16*!---C 19-15 19-15
9-14 2- 7 27-32 24-27 14-17
22-17*!---B 27-24 28-24 15-11 15-18.
13-31 19-23 32-27 7-10 White
5- 9 24-19 24-19* 16-19 wins.---2
31-24 23-27 27-24 10-14

B---"A clever in-and-out shot, but it is the brilliant afterplay that makes this coup one of the classics of the board. The great Newell Banks lost on this ambush to English Champion Sam Cohen a few years ago. Later, Maurice Chamblee sprang it on Norman Rabbiner in the Newark National Tournament of 1946, but Chamblee played 19-15 at C, allowing his opponent to draw!

C---The only move to win! 19-15 allows black to draw."

2---The Black piece on 17 will eventually fall after White crowns the man on 11. The Black king on 27 is unable to provide any protection---Ed.

10/15/11 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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