Election Day


Election Day in the United States is not far off, and The Checker Maven urges all of our eligible American readers to get out and vote, whether by mail, in-person, or however it works in your particular place of residence. We're not going to express any opinions on how you should vote. Cast your vote as you see fit, but definitely vote!

The story below may perhaps be taken as a bit of a cautionary tale. It is of course purely fiction but may highlight what can happen when the wrong person gets elected ... something for which the voters are directly responsible.

Senator Marcy and Chief of Staff

Marcy Baloner was a United States Senator from a state quite distant from the nation's capitol. (She was the older cousin of Mary Baloner, whom we met in another Checker Maven story some years ago.)

Now, Senator Marcy wasn't quite the brightest lightbulb in the chandelier, and she wasn't the most stable person, either. In fact, some of her critics called her "Crazy Marcy" because of the way she acted during Congressional hearings. She was always outraged over something and didn't hesitate to express her emotions.

Little known to those outside of her advisory circle was that each morning, her staff briefed her on what she ought to be outraged about on that particular day. They even had assigned outrage themes to the days of the week, much like the old Mickey Mouse Club had daily themes. For instance, Monday was Gender Identity Outrage Day; Tuesday was Evil Capitalism Outrage Day, and so on.

At nine o'clock on a Thursday morning, Senator Marcy sat down in her conference room for her daily briefing. "What have we got for today?" she asked her assembled staff.

Her Chief of Staff replied, "Well, Thursday is Microaggression Outrage Day. The St. Louis newspaper's checker column has a checker problem by Brian someone or other, and it's filled with microaggressions."

Senator Marcy thought for a moment. "St. Louis? Is that in my constituency? Where is St. Louis, anyhow? Did they vote for me in the last election?"

The Chief of Staff, accustomed to such questions, replied calmly, "No, Senator, St. Louis is in Missouri. You represent ..."

"Oh, right, of course," the Senator replied. "Well, anyhow, what's my stand on this?"

"Brian refers to the checkers as 'men' and 'kings.' Obvious microaggressions. Your position is that checkers is a misogynistic, racist game that has no place in America."

"Oh, racist, too?" the Senator said. "That sounds great. I can get really mad. Two things at once to yell at people about."

"Well, Friday is Racism Outrage Day, but I see no problem in advancing that to Thursday and combining it with Microaggression Outrage Day," the Chief of Staff said. "After all, Brian also calls the checkers Black and White, and he even dares to capitalize White!"

Marcy shook her head. "Terrible, terrible. Something must be done about checkers! Maybe I should introduce a bill. Like, eliminate the teaching of checkers in the schools and substitute something else. Except I don't know what."

"You can make your usual point about Mindful Woke Pronouns," the Chief of Staff suggested.

"Oh ... is that my usual point? You would know better than I would," the Senator said. "Write a speech for me and tell me when I should yell and frown and throw stuff. It's going to be a great day. And make sure the networks and newspapers all cover it."

"I'm on it, Senator," the Chief of Staff said. Gosh, but how she loved her job, working with such a distinguished Senator.

Brian's outrageous checker problem is show below, and we hope you're not too offended or outraged yourself to give it a try. Brian says it's about 7 out of 10 in terms of difficulty, and he notes that some skilled solvers are having a little trouble with it.

White to Play and Win


When you're outraged enough to see the solution, click on Read More to see the winning moves and composer's notes.null


Problem, solution, and notes are by Brian Hinkle.

10-7*---A 15x22 23-19* 4-8 7-3 8-12 3-7---B 11-16 27-24* 16x23 7-10 20x27 13-9 5x14 10x19 27-32 28-24 32-28 24-20 28-32 20-16 32-28 16-11. White Wins by First Position.

A---Sacrificing the White king is the only way to win.

B---If the king on 22 were a man instead, then this position would be identical to the solution of Ed Atkinsonís fine problem #12 in the October 2020 ACFB.

This problem is not an impossible setting but is rather unlikely to occur in a real game.


The Black king on 15 may have been "helicoptered in" or another possibility is that it was beamed up from the Starship Checkerprise.

Editor's Note: Once again we emphasize that The Checker Maven does not support current notions of political correctness, which seem to require everyone to be offended about everything at every moment of the day or night. We fully and unreservedly support fairness, equality, mutual respect, and giving everyone a chance at success regardless of race, creed, or any other forms of identity. Political correctness, it seems, often runs contrary to these principles.

Our thanks to master problem composer Brian Hinkle for sharing another of his fine compositions.

10/24/20 - Category: Fiction - Printer friendly version
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