St. Maurice

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St. Maurice may or may not have been a real person, with the real truth buried by centuries of elapsed time. Whether fact or legend, the story goes that he was the commander of the Theban Legion in the late third century CE. The legion was stationed in Agaunum, which today is known as St. Maurice en Valais in Switzerland. As a testament to the reach of the Roman Empire, the legion was actually raised in Egypt. The story continues that this legion, itself made up of Christians, was martyred for refusing to persecute local Christians. Oddly enough, St. Maurice became more honored in Germany than in Switzerland although his supposed remains were eventually returned to present-day St. Maurice en Valais.

The composer of today's Checker School problem is one C. E. St. Maurice, about whom we could find no ready information. Is he in some way connected to the famed St. Maurice? With a gap of 16 centuries and a potentially mythical story, it seems unlikely, but one never knows.

What we do know is that Mr. St. Maurice's problem is clever and satisfying, and illustrates a couple of important tactical themes. We rate it as on the lower edge of medium difficulty.

C. E. St. Maurice, 1892
BLACK
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WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK14,15,22,26:B1,6,13,K30

The solution to the problem is real, not mythical, and neither do you need to be a saint to solve it. Some "real analysis"[1] will bless you with the solution. When you're ready, click on Read More to check your work.

[1] We're of course talking about checker analysis, not the "real analysis" branch of mathematics.null



Solution

15-10! 6x15---A 14-10 30x23 10x26 1-6 26-23 6-10 23-18 White Wins.

A---30x23 22-17! 13x22---B 14-17 6x15 17x10 White Wins.

B---6x15 14-10 13x22 10x17 1-6 17-14 White Wins.

In his book Checker Board Strategy author Andrew J. Banks refers to the themes here as "Choice of Jumps" and "Circling the Square," and refers to Ben Boland's Familiar Themes p. 22, as recently published in an Uncle Ben's Porch column in The Checker Maven.

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12/12/20 - Category: Problems - Printer friendly version
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