The Checker Maven

Unpublished Variation(s)


The above quotation comes from the popular television series Downton Abbey, and surely it rings true for life in general.

But for our game of checkers, we suggest that the situation is different, and bringing to light unpublished play is sometimes instructive and revealing.

That's the case today, as we conclude our extended series on the Kelso taking from Willie Ryan's famed Tricks Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard, with something Willie calls "a fine unpublished variation."

Let's first give the entire run-up, without commentary.

1. 10-15 22-18
2. 15x22 25x18
3. 6-10 18-14
4. 10x17 21x14
5. 9x18 23x14
6. 1-6 29-25
7. 12-16 26-23
8. 16-19 24x15
9. 11x18 28-24
10. 8-11 24-19
11. 4-8 31-26
12. 6-9 19-15
13. 11-16 26-22
Black to Play and Draw


The critical position. Willie gives the following spectacular clearance as his main line draw:

14. 16-19 23x16
15. 7-11 16x7
16. 3x26 30x14
17. 9x18 27-23
18. 18x27 32x23
19. 2-7 Drawn.

But let's go back to the diagram. Willie says, "If 9-13 is played, 14-10, 7-14, 15-10 will be good enough ..." and certainly after 2-7 22-15 the draw is on the board. Now, Willie goes on to claim: ... if 16-20 is selected, the following leads to a draw: ..." and then he gives J. P. Murray's previously unpublished variation.

So, from this position:

White to Play and Draw


can you find the White draw? This isn't especially easy, but what's interesting is that there are actually two drawing moves for White, one of which the computer discovered ... perhaps a whole new unpublished variation?

Give it your best effort, and the solution, which we'll certainly not leave unpublished, can be reached by clicking on Read More.20050904-symbol.gif


Here's Willie's way:

"23-19 9-13 (2-6 also draws) 15-10 7-11 22x15 11x18 19-16 8-12 16-11 12-16 25-22 18x25 30x21 16-19 32-28 20-24 27x20 19-23 20-16 23-26 28-24 26-30 24-20 30-26 11-7 2x11 16x7 26-23 7-2 23-18; a fine unpublished variation by J. P. Murray."

Here's the computer's way, and it's very interesting:

14-10 7x14 15-10 20-24 27x20 18x27 32x23 8-11 10-6 11-15 6-1 14-18 23x14 9x18, a database draw.

Variations within the above solutions of course exist; use your computer to further explore this rich and fascinating position. Perhaps you'll find your own unpublished variation.

We've enjoyed presenting this series on the Kelso, and there are still a few tricks left in Willie's book. Those, of course, will be the subjects of future columns.

03/11/17 - Category: Books -Printer friendly version-
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