The Checker Maven

The World's Most Widely Read Checkers and Draughts Publication
Bob Newell, Editor-in-Chief

Published each Saturday morning in Honolulu, Hawai`i

Contests in Progress:

Composing Championship #71

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Contest 69: Kingless Draws


The picture above represents what we suppose to be the components of what the seller calls a "Crowned Kingless Table Lamp." We have no idea what that means. The seller was asking a high price, so this must be something quite in demand in whatever circles Crowned Kingless Table Lamps have currency.

In our game of checkers, however, "kingless" has a different meaning, although we won't even try to associate "crowned" in this context. Bill Salot brings us once again a series of kingless problems in his latest problem composing contest, #69 in the series. A unique feature is that all of the positions are drawn when properly played.

As a nice example, here is a problem called Hot Spot, composed by Roy Little. It won 2nd place in Contest 45 a few years back.

Hot Spot by Roy Little
White to Play and Draw


Give this one a try (you can see the solution by clicking on Read More) and then head over to the Contest Page for four more excellent problems with the same theme. And don't forget to vote for your favorite!20050904-symbol.gif

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07/15/23 -Printer friendly version-
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A Tricky One


The magician above is indeed full of all sorts of tricks and we might well call her a "tricky one" although likely she would rather be known by the more formal designation of prestidigitator.

Often in the early part of each month we present a "speed" problem--- something for you to solve as quickly as you can. Such problems generally fall into the "easy" category. Today, though, we have a "tricky one" sent along (with analysis) by regular contributors Lloyd and "Gosh Josh" Gordon of Toronto. Is it as full of tricks as the magician above? You'll have to decide for yourself.

White to Play and Draw


Although the problem terms are for White to find the draw, see if you can also hold the draw for Black. Unless you're an upper-level player you may not solve this one speedily, but some effort will be well rewarded. When you're ready to see the solution, though, there's no trick; just click on Read More.20050904-symbol.gif

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06/03/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Changing and Exchanging


When traveling abroad, do we change currency or exchange currency? Or do we change currency at a Currency Exchange? We can probably say that's all a matter of semantics.

Not so much so, though, in our game of checkers. If you solve the twin problem below, sent to us by regular contributors Lloyd and "Gosh Josh" Gordon of Toronto, you'll see what we mean.

White to Play and Win


Black to Play and Win


These are not terribly difficult. The Black win is especially easy, and as for the White win, we've practically given it away. Find the solutions--- time yourself if you want an extra challenge--- and then exchange your mouse position with Read More (or should we say change your mouse position to Read More) to see the solutions.20050904-symbol.gif

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05/13/23 -Printer friendly version-
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More Pictures: Problem Composing Contest 68


Is there such a thing as too many pictures? Evidently so. The photo above shows an art display that hardly accords with accepted practices. It's overcrowded and the pictures aren't well positioned.

The previous entry in Bill Salot's outstanding series of checker problem composing contests featured problems that had a visual aspect--- they were works of art in both the visual and ludological senses. For our current contest, Mr. Salot has continued with that theme. Too many pictures? Hardly! We're sure everyone will welcome this new trio of dual-artform problem settings.

The contest problems themselves can be found, as always, on the contest page. We hope you'll drop by, give the problems a try, and of course cast your vote for the one you like best.

As a lead-in, we present a problem by the late Roy Little, which he called Mr. X. It was the winner of Contest 11 back in June, 2013.

White to Play and Win


Solve this one, click on Read More to check your solution, and then visit the contest page!20050904-symbol.gif

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05/06/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Pictures At An Exhibition: Problem Composing Contest 67


Pictures at an Exhibition, composed in 1874 by Modest Mussorgsky, was originally a suite of ten piano pieces linked together by a "Promenade" theme, intended to represent the experience of walking through an exhibition of the paintings of artist Viktor Hartmann at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. The compositions were orchestrated in 1922 by Maurice Ravel, and this is the version that is most well known today.

We have something similar in checkers, and in this, the 67th Problem Composing Contest sponsored by Bill Salot, we'll see an exhibition of checker art that is visual as well as artistic in play quality. To illustrate this, here is one that Bill calls WreckTangle and credits to former World Champion Alex Moiseyev, who created it independently. However, it happens that Ed Atkinson was the original composer; he called it Pandora's Box.

White to Play and Win


Bill notes that there are other famous images on a checkerboard, such as the Picture Frame arising from games in Boland's Famous Positions, Page 187. Bill goes on to remark that there are numerous other patterns published in various checker problem books.

In this month's contest, Bill features three "art works" so to speak (alas, not ten as in the original "Pictures at an Exhibition"). They can be found on the contest page. Be sure to try them out and then vote for your favorite.

The solution to WreckTangle (or Pandora's Box, if you will) can be seen (after you've tried to solve it, of course!) by clicking on Read More. We hope you enjoy it and all of the contest problems.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/18/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Hopper: A Speed Problem


It's quite early for the Easter Bunny (Easter 2023 is on April 9) and somewhat late for Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rabbit (January 22). So let's look at a little math problem instead:

"Chris is training Hoppity, her pet rabbit, to climb stairs. It will hop up one or two stairs at a time. If a flight of stairs has ten steps, in how many ways can Hoppity hop up the this flight of stairs?"

Oh, wait, this is a checker column. Well, in fact regular contributors Lloyd and Josh Gordon have sent along a "speed" problem they call "Hopper" so it seemed like something about a rabbit would be an appropriate lead-in. And no, the problem has nothing to do with the late GAYP master Millard Hopper.

The problem itself is a lot of fun, and of course the layout of the pieces, not to mention the problem's title, give a huge hint. It's certainly not a hard problem and can be quickly solved with just a bit of visualization. As we're fond of saying, top players will see it at once while the rest of us may require a few more seconds, or maybe even a minute or so.

Black to Play and Win


It doesn't matter what category you may fall in, whether top flight professional or enthusiastic novice. See how fast you solve it and then hop your mouse to Read More to jump to the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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03/04/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Quick As a Bee


You're likely familiar with the phrase, "quick like a bunny" or "quick as a bunny" meaning, in its imperative form, to tell someone to do something very rapidly. However, that phrase is relatively recent, dating back to only the 1940s according to most sources.

"Quick as a bee" has the same meaning, but is much older; 400 years older, to be exact. It appeared in John Heyward's Proverbs back in 1546. So for today, we'll weigh in on the side of history, and ask you to solve this month's speed problem "quick as a bee." In fact, it's quite easy, and an experienced player will see the solution in about two seconds. Novices should eventually get it as well.

Black to Play and Draw


Do you have the solution already? You can always buzz (1546) or hop (1940s) over to Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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02/04/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Chases: Problem Contest 66


The chase is on! The traditional fox hunt, now very much out of favor and considered cruel, has for the most part become illegal, and although especially in England it's a centuries-old amusement for the wealthy, perhaps indeed its time has passed.

But in our game of checkers, the chase is alive and well, and forms the theme of the 66th in Bill Salot's long and outstanding series of checker problem composing contests.

Mr. Salot states that, as in the preceding contest, these original, unpublished, strategic dandies are non-strokes, although a shot may ring out occasionally during a wild "chase." Four new problems await you on the contest page. Be sure to try them all and then don't forget to vote for your favorite.

Here's a teaser problem showing off the contest theme. It's by the late grandmaster composer Ed Atkinson, and it's typical of his genius.

Chasing Foxes
Ed Atkinson
White to Play and Win


Chase after the solution, but there's no need to hunt down the results, as you can just click on Read More to see how it's done. Then, on to the contest page!20050904-symbol.gif

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01/14/23 -Printer friendly version-
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Starting Off The Year


We're already almost a full week into the new year 2023 at the time of publication of this column. By now surely you're back to work, school, or whatever your regular activities may be. You've had time to recover from any potential excesses of holiday celebration, and we're in that post-holiday letdown period.

So perhaps an easy checker problem will cheer you a bit and get you on your way to another year of checker enjoyment. Here's one from regular contributors Lloyd and "Gosh Josh" Gordon.

White to Play and Draw


The draw is straightforward but ... well, you'll find out. See how you do with this one and then click on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif

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01/07/23 -Printer friendly version-
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It's A Trap


There are all sorts of traps in life. You can get trapped into smoking (that's apparently what the photo above is all about, although it's hardly obvious). You can get trapped in a dead-end job. You can get trapped in a bad relationship or social situation.

As we well know, there are traps in checkers, too. Can you get trapped into becoming a checkers addict, if there is such a thing? Maybe. That's beyond our realm of knowledge. But over the board traps? They're legion.

In today's Checker School column, we'll have a look at what John T. Denvir, an older-day checker writer who is either famous or infamous depending on the account you read, calls Trap No. 36 in his book, John T. Denvir's Traps and Shots, published in 1894.

Black to Play and Win


This is quite an interesting one and we hope you'll give it a good try. Will you be trapped into spending a lot of time looking for the solution? We can't really say; all we know for sure is that clicking on Read More will take you to the solution, and not lead you into a trap.20050904-symbol.gif

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12/10/22 -Printer friendly version-
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The Checker Maven is produced at editorial offices in Honolulu, Hawai`i, as a completely non-commercial public service from which no profit is obtained or sought. Original material is Copyright 2004-2023 Avi Gobbler Publishing. Other material is the property of the respective owners. Information presented on this site is offered as-is, at no cost, and bears no express or implied warranty as to accuracy or usability. You agree that you use such information entirely at your own risk. No liabilities of any kind under any legal theory whatsoever are accepted. The Checker Maven is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Bob Newell, Sr.

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