Excitement and electricity were in the air, for today began the new season of the National Checker League. Each and every team was hopeful, their eyes set on unseating the World Champion Detroit Doublejumpers and claiming the crown for themselves.
It would take a lot of good checkers and maybe a few breaks to accomplish that, but the Pennant Race would soon be on.
No team was more optimistic than the Dallas Defiance, led by their new captain, a young lady who went by the name of Sunny Sunshine. She was a bit, shall we say, theatrical, but she had earned her team captaincy by showing skill and daring at the checkerboard.
Today, in the Dallas Checkerdrome, she would face Marvin J. Mavin, superstar leader of the aforementioned World Champion Detroit Doublejumpers.
The Checkerdrome was packed with a sellout crowd of over 50,000 rabid Dallas fans. Soon the players and umpires were introduced and the teams stood at attention in front of their dugouts for the playing of the National Anthem.
Then the players took the field, and the season was on!
But where's this Sunny lady? Marvin asked himself as he stood in front of first board, his playing position. His opponent seemed to be missing--- oh, you've got to be kidding me! he thought.
For here came Sunny Sunshine, riding a unicycle in from the outfield! The crowd roared its appreciation and Sunny waved and blew kisses and she made her way toward first board.
She rode straight up to Marvin, jumped down from her unicycle, and cast it aside as she offered Marvin a handshake.
"Pleased to meet you, Marvster!" she said. "Ready to get your pants handed to you?" As attendants cleared the field of the unicycle, Sunny laughed and slapped her knees, and the crowd laughed with her.
Marvin, for once, was speechless.
"Lost your voice, Marvster?" she asked as she did lively dance steps over to her side of the board. "Doesn't matter. Won't change anything. But you're going to look pretty silly without pants!"
Finally Marvin spoke. "Oh yeah, well you're going to ... "
"Ah, watch what you say, Marvster," Sunny interrupted, "wouldn't want to get charged with Misogynist Microaggression Offending, now, would you?"
Marvin stopped mid-sentence. MMO would be a very serious thing indeed, and could even tank his career. The National Checker League had become very careful about staying on the good side of the LTBO (Looking To Be Offended) Movement.
"Hey," he finally said, "how about we just, you know, compete over the checkerboard?"
"You're on," Sunny said, "that's just what I had in mind." She grinned. "But I'd still hang on to your pants."
Before Marvin could either attempt a reply or realize that he had best stay silent, the whistle blew and the call "Play checkers!" resounded through the stadium.
The game was a tough one and for the most part it went on in silence. Finally Marvin, playing White, felt he had an advantage in a very complicated and unusual position.
But at that moment, Marvin forgot himself. "Well there girl, looks like I just might win this one and keep my pants." Marvin, thinking he had been very clever, chuckled.
"What did you call me?" Sunny exclaimed. "Did you call me girl?" She stood up behind her board, hands on her hips.
Marvin replied, "Well, yeah, uh, I mean you are a ... you know ... "
Sunny interrupted. "After a remark like that you still think you're going to win?"
"Well, look here young .... um, person, I got eight men to your seven, even though you got a lotta kings ..."
"Men," Sunny said in a clearly derisive tone. "And Kings. It figures. You know what this game is called in French and German? Bet you don't because you're not exactly educated. It's called Jeux de dames and Damenspiel--- the game of Queens. So don't you ever call me girl or any sexist term again. From now on you'll either call me Ms. Sunshine or Queen Sunny, is that clear?"
"Uh, yeah. Clear as Sunshine on a Sunny day. Well then, Queen Sunny, watch this."
Marvin made his move. Sunny quickly sat back down and studied the board, a frown on her face.
What will happen next? Can Marvin pull off a win? How will Sunny react? Is Marvin in hot water?
Solve the problem as best you can and then click on Read More for the solution and some answers to these questions.
Solution and Conclusion
Play continued as follows:
"Well there ... uh ... Queen Sunny, you got a choice of 22 moves here and every last one of 'em loses!" Marvin said.
"This goes into Strickland's Position, doesn't it?" Sunny said. She spoke in an unusually quiet voice. "I resign."
"Yep, you got it, .... Queen Sunny!" Marvin said, and began to laugh.
Sunny stood up again. "You know what, Marvster? You aren't very respectful. Sure, maybe you won, but this isn't over. I'm filing a complaint with the NCL for Improper Gender Address as well as Misogynistic Microagressive Offending. Call me girl, will you, well you'll see." Sunny offered a cold handshake and then left the field.
Marvin got a loud chorus of boos and hisses from the crowd as he made his way back to the Doublejumper dugout, but he didn't even notice. MMO and IGA. It was going to make for a lot of bad publicity and a lot of trouble.
To be continued.
A---Sunny was right. This is indeed an early stage of Stricklandís Position as shown in Boland's Famous Positions p. 90. One way White wins might be with the following continuation, although there are many possible variations.
Our thanks to master problemist Brian Hinkle for problem composition, solution, analysis and commentary.
Editor's Note: Once again we've pushed beyond the bounds of modern-day "political correctness" and we offer no apology for that. But there is a deeper message here. If we are to expect women to participate fully and equally in our game of checkers, we must treat them with respect and dignity, and welcome them in the manner in which they wish to be welcomed. While we're not in agreement with the often absurd lengths to which the PC movement has gone, the right to dignity and respect for all, regardless of identity, should never be in question.