The Checker Maven

Fifth Reprise: Two Easy Pieces

Here is the fifth installment of our continuing series from Willie Ryan's classic Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard. As always, we're here to listen to the man himself; click on Read More to check your solutions.


White to Play and Win
'Example 9 is such a simple win that white can polish off black in just three of his own moves; and yet this "pitch-a-piece and block" coup has been muffed even by better class players. At first glance, white appears to have a win by playing 32-28, but black counters with 14-17, 22-13, 7-10, 13-9, 10-14, 19-15, 16-19, 23-16, 12-19, 9-6, 14-18, and steals the piece on square 27 to draw. One of the most fascinating factors in scientific checker play is the element of surpirse. Example 9 features a position that, by ordinary processes of play, can only be drawn; but a jolting pitch (sacrifice) at the right moment changes the complexion of the situation decisively.

White to Play and Win
White doesn't have the move or opposition to win in Example 10, and there appears to be no way to effect an exchange to get it. This poses the question, "Is there any way white can alter the move in Example 10 without actually making an exchange?" The answer is yes---by the "pitch and grip" idea. The pitch and grip is precisely what the term implies. You pitch a piece and then apply a grip that forces black to lose not only a piece but the move and the game as well. Some of the ideas we have discussed in this chapter occur more often than others in play, but all are equally important to mastery of the game. Usage of all sorts of ideas is what makes checkers a fascinating study and a challenge to one's ingenuity.'


Example 9 19-15, 16-19, 23-16, 12-19, 15-11*, 7-16, 32-28, and white wins.

Example 10 12-8, 1-6, 8-3, 6-10, 3-7, 10-14, 7-10, 14-18, 21-17* (this pitch and the subsequent king-grip is the only way to win!), 13-22, 10-15*, 18-23, 15-18, and white not only regains a piece but also retains the move to win.

06/25/05 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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