The Checker Maven

A Shocker


No, we're not presenting a public service safety announcement this week, although the lesson above is obvious. Instead, we're presenting a "shocker" of the checkerboard kind.

Problems with "dual" solutions, that is, more than one way to solve them, are in general not considered aesthetically pleasing, and are usually disqualified in problem composition contests. But in actual play, a selection of feasible lines of play is a frequent occurrence.

In the problem below, Black's best move is indeed a shocker, and we're certain the composer intended that to be the sole solution. But there is a shocker in here for the problem composer as well, in the form of an unanticipated and rather mundane alternate solution.

Black to Play and Win


Give yourself full credit for finding either solution, and an A+ for finding both. When you've solved it, zap your mouse on Read More to get a charge out of the full solution.20050904-symbol.gif


22-25---A 30x21---B 27-31 19x26 31x22 32-27 9-14 27-23 22-25 23-19 25-22 19-15 22-18 15-10 14-17 21x14 18x9 Black Wins.

A---This shocking move leads to the fastest win, and was surely what the problem composer had in mind. But perhaps he didn't see that trying to save the extra man with the rather normal looking move 22-26 also wins. For instance: 22-26 19-24 27-31 24-19 9-14 19-24 14-17 24-19 17-22 19-24 22-25!---C 30x21 23-27 32x23 26x28 Black Wins.

B---19x26 27-31 30x21 31x22 32-27 9-14 and back into the main line, to a Black win.

C---We doubt that the original composer saw this line of play. There's a shocker in there after all!

Editor's Note: Reader Ed Atkinson sent us a third solution, one that is also a shocker: 22-18 19x26 27-31 26-23 18x27 32x23 31-26 23-19 26-22 19-15 9-14 15-10 14-18 10-7 18-23 7-2 23-27 2-7 27-32 7-10 22-17 10-6 32-27 6-9 27-24 9-5 and Black goes on to win by First Position.

02/27/16 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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