The Checker Maven

The Time Machine

Do you remember The Time Machine by H.G. Wells? There were movie adaptations but the novel remains an unmatched classic of the genre. But at The Checker Maven we have a time machine of our own; it lies in our modest collection of old checker books and magazines.

Today, let's go back in time 91 years, to March of 1925, and take a look at a checker problem published then, and attributed to problemist W.J. Wood. (By the way, it was Rex Wood, not W.J. Wood, who edited the famed magazine Wood's Checkerist.) Like many a problem published in that day, the purpose was to instruct as much as to provide clever entertainment.

BLACK

WHITE
Black to Play and Win

B:W31,29,24,13,12,K8:B27,K17,11,4,2,1.

There is a bit of flash in this one, but by and large, it's solved with old-fashioned over the board playing skill. Can you go back in time and show your chops? Time's passing; find the solution and then clock your mouse on Read More to see the solution.

Solution

 1 2-6

Computer analysis shows the natural-looking 11-15 very likely also wins, for instance 11-15 8-11 15-18 29-25 27-32 31-26 17-14 11-16 14-10 13-9 10-7 24-20 32-28 16-19 18-23 26-22 23-26 25-21 28-32 22-17 32-27 and now Black's victory is certain. However, the text move, 2-6, is clearly best, and surely what the problemist had in mind.

 1. ... 8x15 2. 6-9 13x6 3. 1x28 31x24

Three for three. Black has a win on the board but he needs to play it out.

 4. 17-14 29-25 5. 28-32 24-20 6. 14-10 20-16 7. 10-7 25-21 8. 32-27 21-17 9. 27-23 17-14 10. 23-18 14-9 11. 18-14 9-6 12. 14-9 6-1 13. 9-5 1-6 14. 5-1 6-2

On 6-9 then Black has a flashy finish with 4-8! 12x3 1-5 3x10 5x7 16-12 7-3 Black Wins.

 15. 7-3 16-11 16. 3-7 12-8 17. 7x16

Black Wins. An instructive lesson in checkerboard technique.

03/26/16 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-