Uncle Ben's Porch: Girl Trouble

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Tommy Wagner had girl trouble, and as a ninth grader, he had never expected any such thing.

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Tommy

It all started when he had a match-up against rising star Letitia Wong (see previous Checker Maven story). Tommy won his game, but he was especially impressed with Letitia's sportsmanship and gentle manner. It had given him a funny feeling that was hard to describe.

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Letitia Wong

So a week later, even though he knew maybe he shouldn't be doing it, he gave Letitia a call. Despite his nervousness, Letitia had been very receptive and friendly and even suggested that they go to a movie together on the following Sunday afternoon.

Tommy didn't know how to refuse--- he wasn't even sure that he wanted to refuse--- and that's when the trouble began.

The problem was this: Tommy had been keeping company with another girl, Tina, for quite some little while. They had gone to grade school together and were close friends.


Tina

It was just Tommy's luck, or maybe it was fate, that Tina and her older sister went to the very same movie at the very same theater on the very same Sunday. Naturally, she saw Tommy and Letitia together. Tina immediately burst into tears, and after the movie both she and her sister confronted Tommy and Letitia.

It was not a pretty scene and Letitia, mortally embarrassed, was quite angry with Tommy--- although maybe not as angry as Tina was. In the course of not even five minutes, Tommy went from two girlfriends to none, with Tina and her sister stomping off angrily and Letitia telling Tommy pointedly that she'd take the bus home by herself.

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Tommy was in a down mood all week, and it persisted into his Saturday morning checker lesson with Uncle Ben, a retired checker professional and Tommy's long-time mentor.

Tommy dragged up the steps to Uncle Ben's front porch and plopped into a chair with only the barest of greetings.

"Something's wrong, isn't it?" Uncle Ben asked. He could have chided Tommy for his lack of manners, but Uncle Ben was too kindly for that.

"No, sir," Tommy muttered. "Everything's fine."

"I don't think so," Uncle Ben said firmly. "Now, you don't have to tell me about it, but please don't deny it. After all these years I think I know you pretty well."

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Tommy sat silently while Uncle Ben, wishing to put Tommy at ease, poured out tall glasses of his deservedly famous lemonade.

Tommy couldn't help but relax, if only a little, after his first sip. "Thank you, Uncle Ben," he said, and then, at all once, launched into the story of his girl trouble.

It was Uncle Ben's turn to sit silently for a few moments. Then he said, "Well, Tommy, and who do you suppose is to blame for this situation?"

"If Letitia hadn't asked me to go to the movie with her ..."

"Just a minute! There are three things wrong with that. First, Letitia didn't know anything about Tina. Second, you didn't have to accept her invitation. And third, you're the one who called Letitia to begin with."

"Um ... yeah ... kind of looks like I brought this on myself, doesn't it?"

Uncle Ben didn't need to reply.

"But now, I don't know what to do about it!"

"What does someone do when they've hurt or offended someone else?"

"Er ... well ... they say 'sorry'?"

"Exactly. You've taken the first step by admitting responsibility. That's a big thing. But it's not enough by itself. Now you have to do something even harder. You have to face the people you've hurt and apologize. Do you think you can do that?"

"I don't know ... but I have to, don't I? So I guess ... well, I just have to. Right away."

"Very good, Tommy, the sooner the better. But not quite right away. You can do what you must this afternoon. I think it will go better if you do a little checker study first to clear your head and focus your thoughts."

Uncle Ben pointed to the checkerboard he had set up on a little porch table. "Today we're going to study something known as the back shot. Take a good look at this position. Push everything else out of your mind and focus. Then tell me how to solve it."

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK4,13,17,21,26,27,32:B1,3,6,10,14,19,20

Tommy took a deep breath, then another, and began to concentrate. After about five minutes, he said, "I'm ready, Uncle Ben."


Do you need a checker problem to clear your head and put you in a frame of mind for doing ... whatever you need to do? We certainly hope you don't have girl (or boy) trouble! Do give the position a good try and then click on Read More to see the solution, notes, and numerous additional examples of the theme.null



Solution

Tommy solved the problem and then worked through several more with Uncle Ben. Then Tommy said goodbye, made his way back home, and after lunch, made two very difficult phone calls. In the end his apologies were accepted, although the future of Tommy's relationship with Tina was still uncertain, while Letitia, surprisingly, seemed to leave the door open for a future call.

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"Girls!" Tommy muttered, after he had finished his last call. "Checkers is so much easier to understand!"


BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B10,13,17,K27:W19,22,26,30

1. W. Payne, No. 18 His Introd. to Game of Drs. 1756. B---10, 13, 17. K---27. W---19, 22, 26, 30. W. W, 26-23, 17-26, 19-16, 27-18, 30-7.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,3,K14:W10,13,K2,7

2. J. Drummond, No. 261, L. B. Bk. B---1, 3. K—14, W---10, 13. K---2, 7. W. W. 13-9, 14-5, 2-6, 3-8, 6-9, 5-14, 7-2.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,7,10,13,K15:W17,22,23,24,30

3. H. Tonkin, No. 359 N. E. C. P., Nov. 1879: B---6, 7, 10, 13. King 15. W---17, 22, 23, 24, 30. W. W. 24-19, 15-24, 22-18, 13-22, 23-19. No. 195 Glasgow Hrid. 487 L. P. Bk.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B4,8,9,11,16:W20,23,26,27,K17

4. W. R. Barker, No. 24 Barker’s World Ck. Bk. B---4, 8, 9, 11, 16. W---20, 23, 26, 27. K---17. B. W. 11-15, 20-11, 9-14.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,4,23:W24,31,K28

5. H. D. Lyman, No. 307 N. E. C. P. Aug. 1879. B---3, 4, 23. W---24, 31. K---28. W. W. 24-20, 3-7 (or 4-8), 28-24, 23.27, 24-19, 27-32, 31-27. No. 198 L. P. Bk. No. 438 Glasgow Hrld. No. 123 Magnet.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B3,6,K5:W11,30,K13

6. O. H. Richmond, No. 52, Terry’s Ckrist. Vol. 1, 1887. B---3, 6. King 5. W---11, 30. King 13. B. W. 5-9, 30-26, 9-14, 26-23---A, 6-10, 11-7, 14-9.

A---In prob. 144 Gem. Prob. Bk. “Gateshead,” avoids above win. In his pos. the man on 26 is on 27, plays 27-24 to draw, 27-23 loses as above.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,7,10,13,K31:W17,22,23,30,32

7. G. D. Bugbee, No. 361, N. E. C. P. Nov. 1879. No. 422 Boston Globe. B---6, 7, 10, 13. K---31. W---17, 22, 23, 30, 32. W. W. 22-18, 13-22, 32-27, 31-24, 23-19, also by D. C. Whitehill No. 8 App. Vol. 1 Stearns Port.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,7,K20:W15,22,K12

8. M. H. C. Wardell, No. 232 H. P. Bk. B---5, 7. K---20. W---15, 22, K---12. W. W. 22. 17, 5-9, 17-13, 9-14, 13-9, 14-18, 9-5, 18-22, 5-1, 22-25, 1-5, 25-30, 5-9, 30-26, 9-6, 7-10, 12-16, 20-18.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B2,9,13:W6,25,30

9. F. Dunne, No. 37 His Guide. B---2, 9, 13. W---6, 25, 30. W. W. 9-14, 6-1, 2-6 as Lyman.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B16,19,K23:W29,32,K28

10. W. J. Perrett, No. 58 S. D. Q., Vol. 2 (No. 1016 Nott. Guard.). B---16, 19, King 23; W---29, 32, King 28. B. W. 16-20, 29-25, 20-24, 25-22, 23-26, 22-17, 19-23, 28-19, 26-31.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,K5,K23:W13,14,15,16

11. J. Murray, No. 59, S. D. Q., Vol. 2. B---1, King 5, 23; W---13, 14, 15, 16. W. W. 15-10, 23-19---A, 10-7, 19-12, 14.10, 12-16, 13-9, 5-14, 7-2.

A---23-26, 16-11B, 26-23, 11-7, 23-19, 7-3, 19-15, 14-9, 5-7, 3-19. B—10-7. Allows a draw by 1-6, etc.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play, White to Draw

B:B7,14,19,20:W12,21,25,27

12. W. Beattie, Manchester Post, Apr. 1, 1885. Gem 148 D. W. Vol. 9. G. W. Dent came upon same Pos. B---7, 14, 19, 20. W---12, 21, 25, 27. B. plays W. D. 14-18, 12-8, 7-11, 8-3, 11-16, 3-8, 19-24, *27-23, 18-27, 8-12, etc.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B7,K17,27:W15,K12,K18

13. H. G. Brooks, No. 817 D. W. Nov. 1900. B---7. K---17, 27. W---15. K---12, 18. W. W. 12-8, 7-11, 18-14. This Pos. was later published by R. Atwell in his column, "Daily News."

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B6,7,10,13,K15,K31:W17,22,24,30,K16,K20

14. R. Carter, No. 341 W. P. Bk. B---6, 7, 10, 13. K---15, 31. W---17, 22, 24, 30. K---16, 20. W. W. 24-19, 15-24, 20-27, 31-24, 22-18, as Tonkin.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B1,3,5,11,14,16:W13,20,23,26,27,K18

15. G. W. Dent, No. 1344 D. R. Vol. 6. B---1, 3, 5, 11, 14, 16. W---13, 20, 23, 26, 27. K---18. B. W. 5-9, 13-6, 1-10, 18-9, 11-15, as Tonkin.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,13,16,23,K15:W10,11,18,30,K3

16. J. Reed, A. C. R. Vol. 2, 1889, Game 73. B—1, 13, 16, 23. K---15. W---10, 11, 18, 30. K---3. W. W. 18-14, 15-6, 14-10 won from Campbell. For another game to this theme see Dunne’s Guide, Game No. 11.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Set a Trap

B:B12,23,24,K31:W9,14,17,K15

17. J. Wyllie Pg. 36 F. Passeys A. B. C. of Dr. B---12, 23, 24, King 31. W---9, 14, 17, King 15. Wyllie (black) played 12-16. His opponent did not see the trap and played 15-19 then 16-20, 19-28, 20-24. B. W.

Editor's Note: Correspondent Brian Hinkle suggested changing the position and terms to this:

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B16,23,24,K31:W9,14,17,K19

Then the problem would remain thematic while having more conventional terms: 16-20 19x28 20-24 28x26 31x6 Black Wins. A very nice emendation, and our thanks to Brian for sending it to us.

Game: 11-16, 21-17, 9-14, 25-21, 8-11, 22-18, 16-20, 18-9, 5-14, 29-25, 11-15, 25-22, 7-11, 17-13, 4-8, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19, 11-15, 19-16, 12-19, 23-16, 15-19---A, 26-23---B, 19-26, 30-23, 8-12, 16-11, 10-15, 11-8, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 8-4, 6-10, 22-17, 2-6, 31-26. Forms No. 18.

A---Loses; 2-7 draws.

B---22-17 would win: this seems to be the loser.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK4,13,17,21,26,27,32:B1,3,6,10,14,19,20

18. H. L. Eddy---F. T. Mercer. 10-15, 17-10, 3-8, 4-18, 6-31. Game from "Canadian Checker Player" page 200, year 1911.


Uncle Ben's Porch is a completely fictitious series about the retirement years of checker great Ben Boland. It is an ambitious project and errors are bound to creep in. Please help out by letting us know if you find mistakes in our presentation.

11/23/19 - Category: Books - Printer friendly version
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