Mr. Hatley in the Library of Congress

Mr. Hatley

In one of our recent Checker School columns, we met Mr. Hatley, his son Ned, and Farmer Sneed, all characters in Andrew J. Banks' charming 1945 book Checker Board Strategy. Today, Mr. Hatley and Ned return. Mr. Hatley is telling his son about the first checker book ever published in English. Mr. Hatley then goes on to show Ned a long series of instructive problems that we suppose are in the spirit of that early book rather than necessarily contained therein.


In the reading room of the Rare Book Section of the Library of Congress sat a short elderly man. He put on his horn rimmed glasses and squinted his dark eyes as he spoke to his son.

"Ned, I want you to see the first checkerbook printed in English," said Mr. Hatley, pointing to a small rare volume, "Guide to the Game of Draughts," by William Payne, Londdon, England.

"Why father, it was published in 1756." Ned counted some 50 games and 38 problems.

"Look at the quaint old English!" he exclaimed.

You will find some of Payne's problems in practically every checkerbook.

One of the problems that Mr. Hatley showed Ned on that day, some 75 years ago, was the one below, credited to A. E. Clow of Ontario.

A. E. Clow
White to Play and Win


Mr. Hatley also gave Ned a second example in the same vein, credited to David Kirkwood way back in 1875.

David Kirkwood
Black to Play and Win


How would you do as Mr. Hatley's student? You don't need to journey to the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress; you can solve these in the comfort of your own home. See how you do and then click on Read More to see the solutions.null



3-7 24-28---A 7-10 25-30 10-14---B 30x23 32-27 23x32 14x23 {White Wins.} *

A---Not 30-25 32 28. The Black man on 24 must be safeguarded before Black crowns.

B---10-15 only draws while this move wins. Checkers is amazing!


3-7---A 12-8 31-27 9-5---B 27-23 8-3 23-19 3x10 1-6 10x1 19x10 Black Wins.

A---Not 31-27 which only draws, allowing 15-10 and then 9-6.

B---As in the previous example this move must be made before crowning.

Mr. Banks states out in his book that the original author of the idea is unknown, and refers the reader to Newland's Positions in Elam's Checker Board, January 8, 1942. He also references American Checker Review, Vol. 2, p. 47, game 34.

10/10/20 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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