Uncle Ben's Porch: When 'Sorry' Isn't Enough

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It was Saturday morning and as usual, Tommy Wagner was sitting on Uncle Ben's porch for his weekly checker lesson. Uncle Ben wasn't really Tommy's uncle, but everyone called him that. Tommy had much potential as a checker player, and the kindly old retired checker professional had been tutoring him for several years.

But Tommy surely didn't look happy this morning.

A month had passed since Tina had caught Tommy at the movies with Letitia. Although Tommy had apologized, Tina was continuing to give him the cold shoulder, barely even responding to his greetings when they passed in the hallways of their central Florida high school.


Tina

Tommy, knowing his chances of getting a date with Tina were about zero, had called Letitia a couple of times, not realizing that if Tina ever found out, he might as well forget about Tina for the rest of his life. But Letitia, although receptive to Tommy's calls and polite enough, had refused multiple requests to go out with him, and finally Tommy stopped calling.

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Letitia

Tommy was feeling pretty down about the whole situation and his checker playing suffered. He had risen to Team Captain of the Junior Varsity team, no small feat for a 9th grader, but lately his performance had been well below his usual standard.

Uncle Ben noticed Tommy's diminished focus, and said, "Still having girl trouble, are you Tommy?"

"Yes, Uncle Ben, I sure am. I did what you said and apologized but it didn't really make a lot of difference, I guess."

"Didn't it? Do you mean that your apology was wasted?"

"Well, kind of ... I mean ..."

"You thought they would just forgive you and everything would be as it was."

"Yes sir, I suppose I did."

"Well, Tommy, there are two reasons to apologize. One reason is for them, and the other is for you."

Tommy continued to look confused. "I'm not sure I understand, Uncle Ben."

"You apologize to them because you did something to offend or hurt them, and they deserve to hear that you recognize that you did something you shouldn't have, and regret having done it. But you apologize for yourself so that you can do better in the future, and that can only happen when you accept the fact that you had gone wrong."

"Sure, Uncle Ben, but ..."

"... but you have to recognize that actions have consequences. If Letitia and Tina remain angry with you, or perhaps have lost faith and trust in you, then you'll have to accept that."

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"I know, you're right, but it's so ... miserable!"

Tommy turned his head away. He didn't want Uncle Ben to see the tear in the corner of his eye.

"It can be miserable. But on the other hand you can't let it take over your life. You did the right thing by apologizing, and if there's nothing more you can do, you have to move on and try not to let it affect things that are important to you. One day, perhaps, your apologies may be fully accepted, but until then, you must deal with things as they are."

"You mean ... oh ... I haven't been playing very well lately, have I?"

"Honestly ... no, and no doubt your coach has noticed."

"Yes. He's talked to me. He told me I need to pull out of it and get my head together, although he doesn't know anything about Letitia and Tina."

"Well then ... nothing like some good hard practice. Are you ready for a challenge? Accompanied by some fresh lemonade?"

Tommy managed a smile. "Yes sir, I'm ready."

"Okay, young man. You just take a look at the position on the checkerboard while I pour us some refreshment."

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B4,12,13,27,K22:W31,21,23,15,K20

Tommy did as he was instructed. Very shortly thereafter, Uncle Ben handed him a tall frosty glass. Tommy took a sip and then refocused on the checkerboard.

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"This is a hard one, Uncle Ben. I think ... aha! That's the idea!"

"Show me, Tommy." Uncle Ben smiled inwardly. He knew there was nothing like a good mental workout to chase away worries. And he knew that, given time, Tommy would have internalized a difficult life lesson, and have become a better person by it.


We can't say if you've been on-track or off-track lately, but we can say that a mental workout is good for all of us no matter what the situation. Can you solve this one? Focus! With or without lemonade, give it your best effort and then click on Read More to see the solution, notes, a sample game, and numerous additional examples of the theme.null



Solution

The problem above is shown as No. 10, below, where the solution can be found.

CIRCLING THE SQUARE

Game---9-13, 24-20, 10-15, 21-17, 15-19, 23-16, 12-19, 17-14, 6-10, 25-21, 10-17, 21-14, 1-6, 29-25, 11-15---A, 25-21, 6-9, 14-10, 7-14, 22-17, 13-22, 26-10, 9-14, 20-16, 8-12, 16-11, 5-9, 27-24---B, 9-13, 11-7, 2-11, 10-6, 14-18, 6-2, 18-22, 2-6, 22-25, 6-10, 25-29, 32-27, 29-25, 27-23, 19-26, 10-19, 25-22, 30-23, 11-16, 19-15, 3-8, 15-10, 16-20, 24-19, 8-11, 10-7, 11-16, 7-11, 22-25, 19-15, 25-22, 28-24, 20-27, 11-20-Forms No. 10.

A---The Ency. stars 11-16.

B---10-6 looks strong enough to win. Match Bk.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,12,13,K24,K25:W11,19,20,22,K18

1. A. L. Meyers, No. 108 A. C. P. Phelan’s 1876. B-3, 12, 13. K-24, 25, W-11, 19, 20, 22. K-18. W. W. 11-7, 24-15---A, 18-11, 25-18, 20-16.

A---Author here plays: 3-10, 20-16, 24-15, 18-11, 25-18, 11-7, 12-19, 7-16. W. W.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,12,K27,K29:W10,20,23,K11

2. W. G. W. Leggett S. D. Q. No. 46, Vol. 2. No. 458 H. P. Bk. B-3, 12. K-27, 29. W-10, 20, 23. K-11. W. W. 10-7---A, 27-18, 20- 16, 12-19, 11-16. W. W.

A---23-18, 27-23, 18-15, 25-18, 10-6, 3-8. B. W.

BLACK
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WHITE

White to Play and Draw
W:B3,12,21,23,K27:W14,20,25,30,K11

3. J. Robertson, No. 192 World’s Prob. Bk. B-38, 12, 21, 23. K-27. W-14, 20, 25, 30. K-11. W. D. 14-10, 23-26, 30-23, 27-18, 10-7, 21-30, 20-16.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B10,13,14,23,24,K22:W21,30,32,K3,K6

4. H. Beattie, No. 194 World’s Prob. Bk. B-10, 13, 14, 23, 24. K-22. W-21, 30, 32. K-3, 6. B. W. 23-26---A, 6-15, 14-17.

A---Author misses idea and plays: 24-27, 6-15, 23-26, 30- 23, 14-18, 23-14, 22-17, 32-23, 17-26. B. W.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:B3,12,K18,K23:W10,19,26,K11

5. J. H. Collins, No. 1640 Draughts World Vol. 383. B-3, 12. K-18, 23. W-10, 19, 26. K-11. W. D. 19-16, 23-30, 10-7, 12-19, 11-16, 3-10, 11-7.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,12,K13,K18:W10,17,20,25,K11

6. R. Atwell, No. 133 His Scient. Drs. B-3, 12. K-13, 18. W-10, 17, 20, 25. K-11. W. W. 10-7, 13-29, 20-16, 12-19, 11-16.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,12,16,K29:W9,23,30,K15

7. P. J. Lee No. 241 His Prob. Bk. B-5, 12, 16. K-29. W-9, 23, 30. K-15. W. W. 30-25---A, 29-22, 23-19, 16-23, 15-19.

A---Here 15-11 can win by 2nd Pos. B. B.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,6,13,K32:W15,22,27,K14

8. P. J. Lee No. 242. B-1, 6, 13. K-32, W-15, 22, 27. K-14. W. W. 15-10, 32-23, 22-17, 6-15, 14-10.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B3,12,K31:W15,19,23,K11

9. J. F. Roberts, Vol. 1. New Checkergram, No. 77. B-3, 12. K-31. W-15, 19, 23. K-11. W. W. 15-10, 31-27, 10-7, 27-18, 19-16.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B4,12,13,27,K22:W31,21,23,15,K20

10. Mr. Valentine who was intently watching and copying this game pointed out the win: 13-17---A, 21-14, 22-17. B. W.

A---Mr. Barker failed to see the neat shot. He continued to draw a seemingly lost game by: 27-32, 15-11, 32-28, 11-7, 22-25, 7-2, 25- 22, 7-11, 25-22, 11-15, 4-8, 21-17, 22-25, etc. Drawn. Barker and Morrall First International Match Game 2001 Draughts World Vol. 28.

RELATIVE POSITIONS

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B2,3,8,9,K26:W6,12,22,23,K10

No. 274 W. Veal Problemists’ Guide. B-2, 3, 8, 9. K-26. W-6, 12, 22, 23. K-10. W. W. 23-18, 26-17, 18-14, 9-18, 10-15.

WHITE
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BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:B10,11,16,K32:W24,26,29,K18

No. 89 J. P. Balsom World’s Prob. Bk. B-10, 11, 16. K-32. W-24, 26, 29. K-18. B. W. 32-27, 24-20, 11-15, 18-11, 10-15, 11-18, 27-31.

The above theme differs from Rel. Pos. in that there is a choice of ends to complete circle.

GERM

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B5,K14,15:W9,K6,K7

W. Payne, No. 9, His Introd. Game 1756. B-5. K-14, 15, W-9. K-6, 7. W. W. 7-10, 14-7, 6-2.

BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:B1,2,4,K18,K19:W11,13,14,21,K10

J. Drummond, No. 77 S. D. P. 3rd Ed. 1861. B-1, 2, 4. K-18, 19. W-11, 13, 14, 21. K-10. W. W. 11-8, 18-9, 13-6, 2-9, 10-7, won from Hudson.


Uncle Ben's Porch is an entirely fictitious account of Ben Boland's retirement years, and reproduces the content of his landmark work, Familiar Themes in the Game of Checkers. The project is complex and error prone. If you find mistakes in our presentation, we'd be grateful if you let us know. Please write to errors@checkermaven.com. Thank you.

08/22/20 - Category: Fiction - Printer friendly version
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