The Checker Maven

Marvin Opens the Season


It was the opening day of the summer season. Marvin J. Mavin, captain of the National Checker League's Detroit Doublejumpers, had lead his team to a second-place finish in the winter season, and was hoping to go all the way this time. The opener was taking place on the road, with the Doublejumpers facing the Pittsburgh Paisleys in the first game of a four-game series.

Marvin J. Mavin

Marvin learned a hard lesson during his exile to the minor leagues (see previous Checker Maven column), and had laid off the beer during the playing season. Unfortunately, his girlfriend Priscilla had been away on business in Turkmenistan during the inter-season break, and absent her watchful eye Marvin had backslid--- more than a little.

In short, Marvin wasn't quite in the best condition for today's match. And he had to face the Paisleys' top player, Karl "the Mauler" Mortenson. The two sat facing each other over the board in the center of the huge stadium, which was packed with fervent checker fans eager for the start of the new season. The National Anthem was played and the players took their seats. Marvin and Karl shook hands. Karl gave Marvin his signature "Pittsburgh Can Crusher" handshake, and it was all Marvin could do not to howl with pain. "Hey, man, that's the hand I move the pieces with," he said, "lay off a little." But Karl just grinned and said something about sissies and wusses.

But then, accompanied by a great cheer from the crowd, the match began.

Karl "the Mauler" Mortenson

Black: Karl Mortenson
White: Marvin J. Mavin

1. 9-14 22-18
2. 5-9 24-19
3. 11-15 18x11
4. 8x24 28x19
5. 4-8 25-22
6. 8-11 22-18
7. 11-16 29-25
8. 7-11 25-22
9. 10-15 19x10
10. 6x15 27-24
11. 16-20 23-19
12. 20x27

"Big bad dude doesn't know book play," Marvin muttered. Indeed, while the text move is fine, 14-23 is usual. "Yeah, well I know a few new tricks, wussie," Karl growled back.

12. ... 19x10
13. 14x23 26x19
14. 9-13 31x24
15. 2-7 30-26
16. 7x14 26-23
17. 3-7 24-20
18. 7-10 32-28

Marvin was sweating, and his head was pounding; he was regretting the excesses of the past week. If he lost today, Priscilla would instantly realize that he had gone off the wagon, and when she returned home she would show him no mercy.

19. 1-5 22-18
20. 5-9 28-24
21. 13-17

"Take that, you wimp," Karl said. "You're dead meat, little boy."

Marvin knew he was in tough straits. Every move on the board seemed to lose two men. He had to pull out a draw, not only to save the game, but to save his hide. Karl thought he was some kind of tough guy, but Marvin knew that you haven't seen tough until you've been on the wrong side of Priscilla.

White to Play and Draw


Can you find the draw here, or would you too face the equivalent of Priscilla's wrath? All we can say is that we think it might be best to solve the problem! Find the draw and then click on Read More to see the solution and the rest of our story.20050904-symbol.gif

Solution and Conclusion

Marvin thought for a long time about his next move. There was a lot at stake.

21. ... 19-16!

Marvin grinned. "Hey, tough guy, ever heard of Cowan's Coup? Nah, didn't think so. A little too advanced for cave men, I guess."

22. 12x28 23-19
23. 14x23

"Cowan's Coup, Cowan's Schmoo," said Karl. "You're down three men, little boy."

23. ... 21x7
24. 23-26 7-2
25. 26-30 2-7

"Hey," said Karl, "I'm going to lose my man on 11 and it'll be a draw ... what did you do, wuss-boy? You cheated or something?" Karl turned to the referee, but there was nothing to appeal. The game was a draw, fair and square.

Marvin was smiling. "Don't mind me if I don't shake hands," he said. "Call me a wuss if you want, but we're done for today. And tomorrow, you're going to lose. Count on it."

With that, Marvin headed for the locker room. He knew that he had a lucky escape today. There would be no more beer for him; he needed his wits about him for the next day's game, and even Marvin knew that drinking never helped anyone with anything.

06/09/12 - Category: Games - Printer friendly version
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