The Checker Maven

Coffee and Cake at the Beacon


It was another Saturday afternoon at The Beacon Cafe in the Provident Life Building in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the Coffee and Cake Checker Club was in session in one of the large booths.


Sal was the leader and there were five others present today. It was cloudy, windy, and chilly outside and the coffee was flowing.


After the boys had played an hour or so of informal games, one of them, Mike, said, "Hey Sal, don't you have a coffee and cake problem today? You didn't have one last week and I've been kind of wanting to win another piece of cake off you."

Sal frowned. The last time he tried, Mike had indeed solved Sal's problem and Sal had to buy coffee and cake. But then Sal's frown turned into a smile. "Matter of fact, Ed sent me a real nice one."


"Uh-oh," Mike said. Whenever Sal had a problem from either Brian in St. Louis or Ed in Harrisburg, it was bound to be tough. Top quality for sure, but never easy.

Sal leaned back against the seat. "Are you up for it?"


Mike and the rest of the group hesitated a little, but Deana, the owner, knowing just when to jump in, said from behind her counter, "I've got fresh apple kuchen this afternoon, boys!"


Well, that did it. Deana's apple kuchen, like most of her desserts, was irresistible.

"Lay it out," Mike said to Sal, pointing to one of the checkerboards, "and pretty soon I'll be enjoying that kuchen you're going to buy me."

White to Play and Win


"There it is," Sal said after setting up the position. "Take your time. Just not too long. I don't want to have to rush the kuchen that you'll be buying me, Mike!"

Mike laughed. "We'll see about that," he said. But five minutes later, all of the boys were still scratching their heads.

"I'll give you five more minutes but that's it," Sal said. He was greeted by the usual groans.

Once again we're asking if you can win coffee and cake from Sal, but unlike at The Beacon, you can take all the time you wish. When you're finished, click on Read More to see the solution.null


"I give up," Mike said, and the rest of the boys nodded in agreement. "Show us."

Sal demonstrated the solution.

22-18 26-19 20-24 19-23---A 24-20 23-14 30-26 21-30 28-24 30-23 24-19 23-16 20-18 White Wins.

A---19-16 30-26 21-30 24-20 30-14 20-18 White Wins.

"Ed calls one this 'Tilt-a-Whirl' because it reminded him of an amusement park ride," Sal noted.

"I think more like you took us for a ride," Mike said. But he was smiling. It was indeed a fine problem. "Deana," he called out, "coffee and cake all around."

Deana smiled too. The Coffee and Cake Checker Club always perked up her business on otherwise slow Saturday afternoons.


Many thanks to Ed Atkinson for his original problem, solution, and notes.

07/20/19 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-
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