Uncle Ben's Porch: Tommy's JV Debut

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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.

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Tommy Wagner

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.

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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."

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Letitia Wong

"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.

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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.

BLACK (Letitia)
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WHITE (Tommy)
White to Play, What Result?

W:B13,K2,K23:W10,11,15,19.

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.null



Solution and Conclusion

Finally, he saw it! With a couple of careful moves, it would come down to a position he had studied with Uncle Ben. With a hurried glance at the clock, he made his move.

Leticia looked across the board at Tommy and smiled. "I resign," she said. "It's your game. Well played."

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Tommy smiled, and they stood and shook hands to wild applause from the grandstands. "I was going to offer you a draw, hoping you would take it since your time was low," Leticia said over the roar. "But I knew you had a win and I thought it was more sportsmanlike to give you a chance to find it."

"Wow," Tommy said, and then repeated, "Wow!" On impulse, he gave Leticia a hug. "Thank you for the game," he said, "and thank you too for teaching me something very important."

"You're a gentleman, Tommy," Leticia said as they started to walk off the field. "You would have done the same for me."


Position 11 contains the solution to the problem above; and here are 14 examples of this well-known theme, "Changing the Guard."


BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W31,K11:B1,K3.

1. Dr. T. Brown, No. 39 “The Dr. Board." Sept. 1871. 31-26, 1-6, 26-22, 6-9, 22-18, 9-13, 18-15, 13-17, 11-16, 3-8, 16-12, 8-3, 15-11, 17-22, 12-16.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K2:W28,K10.

2. C. M. Wilder, No. 50 Lyman's Prob. Bk. B-5, King 2; W-28, King 10. W. W. 28-24, 5-9, 24-19, 9-13, 19-15, 13-17, 10-14, 17-22, 15-10.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,2,K3:W27,28,K11.

3. M. H. C. Wardell, No. 222, L. P. Bk. Col. Rev. B-5, 2, K-3. W-27, 28. K-11. W. W. 27-23, 5-9, 23-18, 9-13, 18-15, 13-17, 11-16, 3-8, 16-12, 8-3, 15-11, 17-22, 12-16, 22-26, 16-19.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B15,25,K13:W28,K22,K29.

4. Chas. N. Gaffney, No. 101 A. C. R. Vol. 1, 1888. B-15, 25, King 13. W-28, Kings 22, 29. B. W. 25-30, 28-24, 30-25, 22-26, 25-22 same as No. 3 at 5th move.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B6,K18:W32,K29.

5. G. H. Slocum, No. 5 A. C. R. Vol. 4, 1892. B-6, King 18; W-32, King 29. B. W. 6-10, 32.27, 10.15, 27-24,' 18-22, 24-20, 15-18, 20-16, 22-17, 29-25, 17-21.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K2,K7,K23,K29,K32:W18,19,25,27,28,K15.

6. S. H. Palmer, No. 51 Stearns Port., Vol. 2. B-5. K-2, 7, 23, 29, 32. W-18, 19, 25, 27, 28. K-15. W. W. 19-15, 23-14, 16-12, 29-22, 28-24, 32-23, 15-11, 7-16, 12-10, 5-9, 24-19, 9-13,19-15, 13-17, 10-14.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,20,K2:W18,32,K10.

7. J. R. Yeoman, No. 245 H. P. Bk. B-5, 20, King 2. W-18, 32, King 10. W. W. 32-28, 5-9, 10-14, 9-13, 14-9, 13-17, 18-15, 2-7A, 9-14, 17-22, 14-18, 22-26, 18-23, 26-31, 28-24. A-17-22, 15-10, 22-26, 9-5, 26-31, 10-6.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B8,9,K19:W11,15,22,K4.

8. W. G. Cromwell, Prob. 236 D. W. No. 287 H. P. Bk. B-8, 9, King 19. W-11, 15, 22, King 4. W. W. 22-18, 19-10, 11-7, 10-3, 4-11 same as No. 1 at 4th move.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K2,K23:W15,19,28,K3.

9. R. Crosby Gem 700 D. W. (No. 241 Leeds’ Budget) No. 28 S. C. M. E. B-5, Kings 2, 23. W-15, 19, 28, King 3. W. W. 28-24, 23-16, 15-11 same as No. 2 after 1st move.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B2,21,23,K31:W32,K19,K22.

10. W. Gardner No. 61 B. D. Clipper. B-2, 21, 23, King 31. W--32, Kings 19, 22. B. W. 2-7, 19-26, 21-25, 22-29, 31-22, 32-27, 7-11, 27-24, 11-15, same as No. 3 at 5th move.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B13,K2,K23:W10,11,15,19.

11. P. J. Lee No. 231 His Prob Bk. B-13, Kings 2, 23. W-10, 11, 15, 19. W. W. 10-7, 23-16, 7-3, 16-7, 3-10 same as No. 2 at 5th move.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B13,K3,K23:W10,11,15,18.

12. P. J. Lee No. 232 in His Prob. Bk. B-13, Kings 3, 23. W-10, 11, 15, 18. W. W. 11-7, 23-14, 7-2, 14-7, 2-11 same as No. 1 at 7th move.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K2,22:W14,18,28,K1.

13. A. Sturgeon, No. 312 D. R. Vol. 2. B-5, K-2, 22. W-14, 18, 28. K-1. W. W. 28-24, 22-15, 14-10, 15-6, 1-10.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK3,K22,K23:BK4,16,K30.

14. C. Nelson, No. 1029, D. R. Vol. 5, 1929. 23-27, 16-20, 22-18, 30-26, 18-15, 26-22, 3-7, 22-17, 7-10, 17-13, 10-14, 4-8, 27-32, 8-3, 15-11, 20-24, 11-15, 3-7, 15-19. W. W. A rather odd idea--- Two Kings "Changing Guard" over two Kings.



The Uncle Ben's Porch series, which slowly but surely reproduces Ben Boland's classic Familiar Themes in the Game of Checkers, is a time-consuming and error-prone undertaking. Please help us by sending corrections via our contact links.

Uncle Ben's Porch is a fully fictitious version of Ben Boland's retirement years. "Uncle Ben" in our story of course isn't really Ben Boland, but we have no doubt that the real Uncle Ben was also a kindly, generous, and warm person who would have gone out of his way to help a young checkerist.

12/15/18 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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