The Checker Maven

The Computer Says

"Natural" moves. "Familiar" positions. Expert players understand these concepts and apply them to great effect. But powerful computer engines sometimes turn these ideas on their heads. While the human expert relies on a combination of analysis and the application of principles, computer engines can analyze very deeply and find unexpected things. This is sometimes called "concrete" analysis, and it's changed the world of chess as well as the world of checkers.

Today we'd like to present a small investigation into the Double Corner opening, looking at a move that's sometimes taken, even if it's not so good. Here's the play.

 1 9-14 22-17 2 11-15 24-19

This move is seen from time to time in amateur games. It is decidedly inferior to the preferred 25-22, but is it a probable loss? Maybe. Let's see how the KingsRow computer engine projects subsequent play.

 3 15-24 28-19 4 8-11 25-22 5 11-15 27-24 6 5-9 17-13 7 4-8 29-25 8 7-11 31-27 9 1-5 23-18 10 14-23 27-18 11 9-14 18-9 12 5-14 22-17

The critical point. Here the computer chooses the "unnatural" 21-17, pitching a man and accepting a loss in the interest of prolonging play, as the computer will often do. But what if White tries to hold things together with 22-17 as listed above?

 13 11-16 26-23 14 16-20 32-27

White continues to try to save a man but is now hopelessly lost.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W30,27,25,24,23,21,19,17,13:B20,15,14,12,10,8,6,3,2.

The rest is really pretty easy, and we're sure you'll figure it out. Have your say, then see what the computer says by clicking on Read More.

Solution

 15 8-11 25-22 16 3-7 30-25 17 11-16

Black wins. White has no safe moves. One possible continuation is 13-9 6-13 22-18 15-29 19-15 10-28 17-3 and White is three men down.

Looks like 21-17 at move 12 was better after all. The computer was right. Somehow, we're not surprised.

10/25/14 - Category: Games - Printer friendly version