Leap Year won't come until next year, so February remains a short month. It's always seemed a bit unfair to us. Even though there are only 28 days, the rent or the mortgage or the condo fees remain at their full amount, as do the cell phone bill, the cable bill ...
We're certainly not going to solve that problem here, so maybe we'd best concentrate on a checker problem. It's a short stroke for a short month, and we think you'll find it to be on the easy side.
Can you solve this one in a short time? Figure it out and then make a short leap with your mouse onto Read More to verify your solution.[Read More]
We found A Fantasy in an old checker publication, without any attribution. A Fantasy postulates a game between an Egyptian and the Wizard of Oz, played in the year 2,000 B.C.E.
Well, The Wizard of Oz wasn't published until 1900, but we're willing to suspend disbelief and overlook this nearly 4,000 year time gap, and we won't even get into the fact that our current form of checkers wasn't quite on the scene yet, either. We'll just start with the run-up to the problem position.
Loses. An easy mistake to have made, but 7-10 would have drawn. We suspect Black didn't like the looks of 7-10 14x7 3x10 32-27 1-6 18-15 4-8 but Black is safe: ... 27-24 (31-26 10-14 26-22 14-18! 23-14 16-32 Black Wins) 16-20 31-27 12-16 19x3 10x26 to a draw.
Up until move 16, both our Egyptian friend and the Wizard played without error. But now the Wizard has a chance to win, and, being a Wizard, will naturally do just that.
Can you do as well as the Wizard of Oz, or is that thought just a fantasy? Stay in the realm of reality by solving the problem and then clicking on Read More to see the solution.[Read More]
Today we're pleased to announce the release of the second volume in Grandmaster Richard Pask's projected five-volume Logical Checkers series. Volume 2 is entitled Freestyle Expert.
Following on the heels of the highly successful first volume, Checkers for the Novice, the new book delves deeply into tactics, endgames and mid-game formations as well as landings and various freestyle (go-as-you-please) openings.
You can get the new book in its first electronic edition from the Richard Pask page as linked in the right column, or directly here. Through Mr. Pask's generosity the book is provided completely free of charge. The book runs to about 180 pages with over 150 diagrams and numerous illustrative games.
To demonstrate one small part of the content of this wonderful new book, here's the run-up to a sample tactics situation.
11-16 24-19 7-11 22-18 3-7 25-22; 10-14??---A 22-17 7-10 17-13 16-20---B, to the diagram.
A---Mr. Pask here quotes Richard Fortman: "This radical departure might be classified as a 'coffee-house' move, but impractical against a former world champion!”
B---2-7 29-25 16-20 25-22 14-17 21x14 10x17 19-15 12-16 28-24 17-21 24-19 8-12 15x8 4x11 19-15 7-10 15x8 White Wins---Ed., with KingsRow.
To see the solution, simply download the new book and turn to page 123. Our thanks as always to Mr. Pask for according us the privilege of editing and publishing his work.
Fred C. Shardlow, born in New York around 1874 and subsequently a resident of the Marshall, Minnesota area, was a song composer, and is credited with the song, For the Love of Thee for voice and violin.
Mr. Shardlow was also a checker problem composer, and we feature one of his "Gem" problems in today's Checker School entry. Unfortunately we don't have further information about his checker career, although we did locate some other problems of his published in the American Checker Monthly and the Winnipeg Free Press.
So, for the Love of Checkers, take a look at the following position.
We know you would love to solve it, so please do! And when you're done, you'll love to click your mouse on Read More to verify your solution.[Read More]
Who wants to start off the New Year in a dull and boring manner? The waterfall jumper above is certainly looking to make this day anything but routine.
And while we can't recommend waterfall jumping for everyone, the same principle applies to checkers. How about we start off 2019 with a real bang, courtesy of regular contributors Lloyd and Josh Gordon of Toronto?
Black seems to have only one mobile piece. Can he truly pull out a draw?
This may be just a little past the 30 second "speed problem" category, but it's not terribly difficult and it certainly is loaded with action.
Kick off your checker year with some real thrills. Solve the problem and then jump your mouse onto Read More to check your solution.[Read More]
This column will appear a few days before the New Year of 2019, and no doubt you're busy with all sorts of preparations. Are you going dancing? Taking a dinner cruise? Watching fireworks at a nearby location? Or just staying home for a celebration with friends, or even a quiet evening?
There are as many ways to celebrate as there are people, and given how busy most of us seem to be, today we have a "midget" checker problem that won't take up a lot of your time, while still being worth a little effort.
Finish off your checker year by finding the solution, and then get back to your celebrations. There will be plenty more checkers in 2019! When you've finished, click on Read More to check your moves.[Read More]
The story of the Three Kings is a central part of Christian celebration of the holiday of Christmas. Also known as the Three Magi or the Three Wise Men, and sometimes identified as Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India, they traveled to Bethlehem with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, each of which is said to have a symbolic meaning. And whether you celebrate Christmas or some other holiday, the Three Kings make for a fascinating and meaningful story.
We hope you'll have a little time for checkers during the busy holiday season, and in our archives we found a "Three Kings" checker problem. We lost track of the author's name, but nevertheless the problem is very fitting--- and a bit on the difficult side.
Were you able to solve it? The first move, as is often the case, is the key. We hope you gave it a good try; whenever you wish, you can click on Read More to see the solution.[Read More]
Tommy Wagner had, with the help of Uncle Ben (a retired checkers master who wasn't really Tommy's uncle, even though it seemed like it), worked through his disappointment at not making the Varsity Checker Team when he started high school a little earlier this year. Although Tommy was a Class A player, he wasn't yet ready to complete with the experts and the titled master who made up the Varsity.
But Tommy had easily made the Junior Varsity, and, in competition with no less than three other Class A players, had won the role of Junior Varsity Captain. Uncle Ben, who tutored Tommy most Saturday mornings, told Tommy he was very proud of him.
"But you've got your J.V. home opener coming up on Thursday night against Jacksonville Central," Uncle Ben reminded him.
It was indeed a Saturday morning and Tommy was sitting on Uncle Ben's porch, sipping from a glass of Uncle Ben's famous lemonade.
"Yes, Uncle Ben, and I hear they're pretty tough."
"Scouting reports say they have an Expert ranked player on their top board. That's going to be a challenge."
"I'm not afraid, Uncle Ben. I'll give it everything I've got, and I won't let her scare me."
"Leticia Wong is said to be a rising star." Uncle Ben didn't add that the scouting reports said the same about Tommy.
"Hopefully, she'll bring out the best in me," Tommy said.
"Very well, then, let's get to practicing."
Tommy and Uncle Ben practiced longer and harder than usual that Saturday, and Tommy worked hard during the coming week, too. But Thursday rolled around pretty quickly, and on that evening, Tommy found that Leticia was indeed a formidable opponent.
There was a big crowd in the stands. Out on the field, under the lights, the score was tied at 2-2, and Tommy and Leticia's game would decide the match. Tommy really wanted to bring in a win for the home team, and he had White in the following position.
It was Tommy's move. He knew he could get a draw, but his team needed a win. The clock was ticking and Tommy was low on time. He had to decide quickly.
Are you a rising star like Tommy or Letitia? Your standing doesn't matter; solving the problem will be a good exercise. Give it your all--- your team is depending upon you--- and then click on Read More for the conclusion of our story, and no less than 14 examples of the theme, including the problem solution.[Read More]
The American Checkerist was a print publication edited for many years by the prolific and talented William Ryan, who stands with Ben Boland and others among the famed golden age authors of books about checkers. Willie had a great command of the English language and wrote with a style and flair all his own.
In today's Checker School column, we have another "gem" problem, this one by William V. Scott and originally published in The American Checkerist.
Wow, what's this? Five pieces per side but White has three kings to Black's one, Black is underdeveloped, and yet Black is supposed to win it? We'd almost call this a "Coffee and Cake" problem, but a closer look shows that Black has some definite positional advantages, and the problem is actually "medium" in difficulty.
Can you make this into a Black win? You don't have to be an "American Checkerist" to solve it. Find the winning line of play and then click on Read More to see the solution. Then, see if you can answer this: the 35 cent magazine in the photo above--- what would that amount to in today's money?[Read More]
This weekend The Checker Maven completes an unbelievable 14 years of continuous publication with never a missed deadline. Week after week we've brought you something about checkers, and from what you've told us, you've seemed to enjoy it.
Originally we were going to publish for 10 years. We upped that to 15 and called that a "hard" limit. That leaves us one year to go. But we turned to Mr. Bill Salot for inspiration; he's in his eighties, going strong in every possible way, and makes no excuses about age or health as he continues to support our game of checkers.
So we're going to continue publication. There's no saying how long that will be--- your editor has serious eyesight issues, for one thing--- but we won't quit as long as we can physically continue.
It seems only fitting to celebrate this anniversary and this announcement by going back to our origins, with a "Coffee and Cake" problem from Brian Hinkle. Recall that a "Coffee and Cake" problem is one that you show to your checker friends and bet them coffee and cake that they can't solve it. Brian calls this one "Trumped" (no political reference intended).
Stay the course. Don't make excuses. Carry on. We wouldn't call this an easy problem, but--- like publishing The Checker Maven every week--- your efforts will be well rewarded. When you've found the right moves, click on Read More to check your solution.[Read More]