# The Checker Maven

### The World's Most Widely Read Checkers and Draughts Publication Bob Newell, Editor-in-ChiefPublished each Saturday morning in Honolulu, Hawai`i

Contests in Progress:

### Composing Championship #66 <!-- var today=new Date(); var cend=new Date("02/28/2023"); var one_day=1000*60*60*24; document.write(`Less than \${1+ Math.ceil((cend.getTime()-today.getTime())/(one_day))} days remaining!<br>`); //document.write("Contest 65 concluded --- results have been posted<br>"); //document.write("Contest 66 starts January 14<br>"); document.write("<br><a href=\"http://www.bobnewell.net/checkers/contests/2022yir.html\">2022 Contest Year in Review</a>"); //-->

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### But the Computer Says......

Here's a problem attributed to O. H. Richmond, and published a little over 50 years back by Tom Wiswell. He called it "Black Beauty":

BLACK

WHITE
Black to Play and Win
The White forces in the Black double corner are really boxed in, but Black has to find a way to make that into a win.

Now, you'll surely find that this is a neat problem and a "real twister" as Wiswell would say. So solve it, check your solution with the animation here, and then click on Read More to find out what the computer has to say about this problem. It won't be what you think--- or will it?

01/29/05 -Printer friendly version-

### Major Update to Program Reviews

The Program Review web page (see link in the right column) has been completely overhauled, with a streamlined rating system and more accurate evaluations. Dozens of checker-playing computer programs are reviewed and no-nonsense recommendations provided. Check it out soon!

01/21/05 -Printer friendly version-

### A Real Mind-Boggler

The Checker Maven presents as its most unusual offering for January the following mind-boggler attributed to a Mr. W. Veal. It is a "stroke" problem, that brand of spectacular, if unrealistic fireworks that appeals to some and is anathema to others.

To be sure, the position below is composed and obviously impossible; there just aren't that many pieces in a game, and they could never get into such a contorted distribution. But for the fan of the stroke problem, realism isn't the issue. The whole point is a clever key move or two, and lots of action afterwards.

Now, depending on what computer program you use, you may or may not be able to coax it into solving this for you. But you really should try it on your own. And since the play is mostly all forced, the challenge is more in trying to visualize the moves than it is in actually finding the solution. But the visualization challenge is mind-boggling indeed. Can you make it out or will this just drive you over the edge?

BLACK

WHITE
White to Move and Win
Click on diagram for a very large version
Click here for an animated solution, very kindly supplied by Martin Fierz.

01/21/05 -Printer friendly version-

### A Flora Temple Thriller

The Flora Temple attack has been an interesting line of the Single Corner opening for many decades, and much has been published about it. I was doing some research, trying to understand a man-down draw arising in the Flora Temple, and came across a real thriller of a game in an old checker manual. It took place many, many years ago as part of a match between the London Wanderers and the Manchester Central Draughts Club. Here's the game (in PDN notation):

[Event "London v. Manchester"]
[Date "Long Ago"]
[Black "Blakely"]
[White "Strudwick"]
[Result "0-1"]
1. 11-15 22-18 2. 15x22 25x18
3. 12-16 29-25 4. 9-13 24-19
5. 16-20 28-24 6. 8-11 19-16
7. 4-8 16-12 8. 11-16 18-14
9. 10x17 21x14 10. 6-10 25-21
11. 10x17 21x14 12. 13-17 23-18
13. 2-6 26-23 14. 6-9 24-19
15. 17-21 19-15 16. 1-6 31-26
17. 7-10 14x7 18. 3x19 12x3
19. 19-24 3-8 20. 24x31 8-12
21. 31x15 12x1 22. 9-13 1-6
23. 5-9 23-18 24. 20-24 6-10
25. 13-17 10-15 26. 17-22 15-19 0-1

A nice win for White.

You can play through an animated version by clicking here.

Now, here's the question: where did Black go wrong? There's a very definite spot in the game where the losing move is played. Can you find it, and can you come up with the correct move to draw?

Click on Read More when you think you have the answer and compare your solution with KingsRow.

01/20/05 -Printer friendly version-

### So This is Checkers?

(This article was rewritten on 09 February 2005 due to newly found information affecting its accuracy.)

Take a good look at the image below. It's an artist's conception of a serious checker game in a rural grocery store. Nice drawing, but the artist was clearly not a checker player.

However, the game these two are playing in fact could be one of two (or maybe even more, but we know of two) little-known checker variants, one of them quite old and the other quite modern. The game also looks a lot like (but isn't quite) several other unusual variants.

Do you know what variants would be an exact match? Can you name a few also-rans that don't quite make it?

Click on the picture to see a larger version; then come back and click on Read More for the solution.

01/19/05 -Printer friendly version-

### Position Beats Possession

The title of this problem is a saying of Tom Wiswell's, and when you find (or see) the solution, you'll understand the wisdom of it. The position arose in a handicap game that Mr. Wiswell played something like 50 years ago.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win
Click on diagram for full-size version

You might find this one a little difficult unless you're used to solving a certain type of problem (but if I told you what type I might be giving away too much). Good luck! When you've solved it, click here for an animated solution.

01/17/05 -Printer friendly version-

### Carol Joy Cole: A Friend to the Checkers World

Carol Joy Cole, a retired librarian in Flint, Michigan, is known nationally and internationally as a backgammon club and tournament organizer, equipment and book supplier, and veteran backgammon player. What is not as well known is that in recent years, Carol has been a friend to the checker playing community, helping out with the difficult task of obtaining true "regulation" red and white checkers. Carol, through her Backgammon Boutique has up to now been providing us with solid color red and white checkers from Denmark, and "swirly" red and white checkers from Crisloid.

These have been fine items, though the "swirly" checkers are not strictly regulation, and the Danish checkers are a bit on the thin side. Now, Carol has improved her offerings by obtaining Roger Blaine's special order stock of genuine solid color Crisloid red and whites, in both 1.25 and 1.50 inch diameter sizes.

I splurged on both of these sets, and they are wonderful. The color and manufacture is uniform and the "feel" of the pieces is great. These are true regulation checkers, and an excellent value at \$20 for the small and \$30 for the large, plus \$4 for shipping. Get them while they last!

Click on picture for full-size version
Carol has gone out of her way to serve checker players, even though it's a small market and not likely to bring her much return. Carol is always helpful and courteous and ships promptly with no fuss or ado. Carol, on behalf of checker players everywhere, please accept our thanks!

You can reach Carol through her web site, as linked above, or by email at cjc@tir.com.

01/16/05 -Printer friendly version-

### Checker Hall of Fame to Close as Walker Resigns Positions

On January 10, Charles Walker announced the forthcoming closing of the International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, Mississippi, as well as his resignation as President of the World Checkers Draughts Federation and other posts which he had held. The announcement can be found on the American Checker Federation website.

On January 11, Mississippi newspapers published this article about Walker's January 7 arrest and indictment on Federal money laundering charges. The charges are tied to a series of companies operated by Walker, including the International Checkers Hall of Fame.

Prominent checker personalities and officials have been quick to point out the outstanding contributions made over a period of decades by Mr. Walker to the game of checkers. He has been a tireless promoter and organizer and has worked hard on behalf of the checker-playing community.

The charges against Mr. Walker are serious indeed. But let's not forget that in America, a man is innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Walker deserves fair consideration and a fair trial. And no matter the outcome, his record of service to the checker world will always stand.

February 1, 2005 update: additional news stories can be found here.

01/15/05 -Printer friendly version-

### Coffee and Cake

From an old Willie Ryan book, here is the first feature problem for January, Coffee and Cake. Willie had the following to say about it:

"This problem has been dubbed by experts the champion 'coffee and cake' problem. This means that you can set this problem up for your friends and bet them coffee and cake that they cannot win it."

I bet Brian Hinkle coffee and cake, and not surprisingly, I now owe him! But can you win it? Give it a good try and then treat yourself to coffee and cake no matter the outcome.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Move and Win
Click on diagram for full-size version

You can view an animated solution here. Did you win coffee and cake?

01/09/05 -Printer friendly version-

### A January Warmup

In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, January is a cold month, and so a warmup might be just the thing! Here is a simple problem to get you started with this month's Checker Maven challenges--- but beware, they all won't be this easy!

Brian Hinkle sent us this run-up from the Double Corner opening:

 9-14 23-18 14x23 27x18 12-16 22-17---A 16-19 24x15 10x19 31-27?---B

A---A defense from Teschelheit's Master Play of the Checkerboard, unfortunately unsound.

B---Loses at once, although White is probably already lost. One alternative line of play from the KingsRow computer engine is this: 26-23 19x26 30x23 11-15 18x11 8x15 32-27 5-9 31-26 4-8 25-22 8-11 23-18 15-19 27-23 11-16 17-13 7-11 29-25 1-5 22-17 3-8 17-14 8-12 25-22 11-15 18x11 9x27 Black Wins.

After 31-27, the following position arises:

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win
Click on diagram for full-size version

How quickly can you solve this one? Click on Read More for the solution - but give it a good try first.

01/08/05 -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.

## MAVEN, n.:

An expert or connoisseur, often self-proclaimed.

## Articles

Numbered Board and Notation

Book Reviews

Game Site Reviews

Program Reviews

A Mind Sport for the Common Man

Learning Checkers

The Unknown Derek Oldbury

Rediscovering Checkers

Regulation Checker Sets

Marvin's World

Clapham Commons Draughts Book

Grover/Wiswell: Let's Play Checkers

Bob Murray's School Presentation

Jim Loy Publications

PDN collections

Oldbury: MoveOver

Reinfeld: How to Win

Ginsberg: Principles of Strategy

3-Move-Deck