The Checker Maven

The American Checkerist


The American Checkerist was a print publication edited for many years by the prolific and talented William Ryan, who stands with Ben Boland and others among the famed golden age authors of books about checkers. Willie had a great command of the English language and wrote with a style and flair all his own.

In today's Checker School column, we have another "gem" problem, this one by William V. Scott and originally published in The American Checkerist.

Black to Play and Win

Wow, what's this? Five pieces per side but White has three kings to Black's one, Black is underdeveloped, and yet Black is supposed to win it? We'd almost call this a "Coffee and Cake" problem, but a closer look shows that Black has some definite positional advantages, and the problem is actually "medium" in difficulty.

Can you make this into a Black win? You don't have to be an "American Checkerist" to solve it. Find the winning line of play and then click on Read More to see the solution. Then, see if you can answer this: the 35 cent magazine in the photo above--- what would that amount to in today's money?null


1-5 9-13 2-7 19-24---A 7-11 16x7 5-9 13x15 3x28---B 12-16 28-32 16-19 32-28 19-15 22-17 15-10 28-24 Black Wins---C

A---19-23 same result.

B---Nice, but is it good enough?

C---It's a routine First Position win for Black, and therein lies the Checker School value of the study: a First Position win can be arrived at in many ways--- but you have to look carefully.

The magazine? 35 cents from that era would be around $4.75 in 2018. By comparison, the newsstand price of Time today is $5.99. But an annual subscription reduces that by an order of magnitude. And don't forget, back in the forties, the standard of living was somewhat lower, and 35 cents would have represented a bit of an investment for the average worker. Minimum wage was 40 cents an hour and a loaf of bread cost 10 cents.

12/08/18 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-
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