The Checker Maven

Marvin's Hearing

Marvin J. Mavin

Marvin J. Mavin, superstar Captain of the Detroit Doublejumpers in the National Checker League, was in hot water.

In our previous story, Marvin faced off on Opening Day against Sunny Sunshine, Captain of the Dallas Defiance, and while Marvin won his game, Sunny was offended by some of his remarks. True to her promise, she filed charges with the Commissioner of the NCL, accusing Marvin of Misogynist Microaggression Offending (MMO) and Incorrect Gender Address (IGA). These were serious charges, and Sunny had the full backing of the powerful LTBO (Looking To Be Offended) Movement.

The NCL normally did whatever the LTBO Movement asked, for fear of having the NCL advertisers and sponsors boycotted.

NCL Headquarters

A hearing was swiftly called, and it wasn't long before Marvin sat in the Hearing Room at NCL Headquarters in Belpre, Ohio.

Priscilla Snelson

His long-time girlfriend, Priscilla Snelson, sat with Marvin at the Defendant's table.

Cynthia Worthingsworth

They were joined by Marvin's legal counsel, Cynthia Worthingsworth.

Sunny Sunshine

At the plaintiff's table sat Sunny Sunshine.

Hazel Hightower

Ms. Sunshine's personal legal counsel was Hazel "How High Am I" Hightower.

Tom Thomas

Joining the Plaintiffs as an amicus curiae was LTBO representative, Tom "Tommy Tom-Tom" Thomas.

Billie Bilboy

Presiding over the hearing was the NCL Vice-President for Legal Affairs, Billie "Bill the Bill" Bilboy.

Mr. Bilboy rapped his gavel and called the hearing to order. "In the matter of Sunny Sunshine vs. Marvin J. Mavin," he announced in grave tones, "charges of MMO and IGA." Mr. Bilboy shook his head and added, "Serious indeed."

Ms. Hightower called Sunny as her first witness. As she was being sworn in, Priscilla looked over at Marvin. "What are you doing? she whispered.


Marvin had his phone out and was busy studying a checker problem. "It's a hard one," he whispered back. "That guy Brian in St. Louis composed it."

"Put that away," Priscilla hissed. "You might be held in contempt!"

"Aw, but I've almost ..."

"Silence in the Hearing Room!" Mr. Bilboy thundered. "One more disturbance from the Defendant's table and I will forfeit the case!"

Priscilla kept silent but Marvin didn't stop working on the checker problem.

White to Play and Win


Meanwhile, Ms. Sunshine was describing how Marvin had addressed her on Opening Day, explaining that he was disrespectful merely because she was a woman who was successful at checkers, and that until she insisted, Marvin refused to address her in gender-free terms despite her obviously being offended.

Her testimony ended and Ms. Worthingsworth stood up to cross examine.

Suddenly, Marvin leaped up and exclaimed, "Got it!"


Mr. Bilboy was about to pound his gavel when Ms. Worthingsworth said, "Sir, if you would please allow me a word with my client, I believe I can get everything under control."

Mr. Bilboy put down his gavel. "Very well, counselor, but see that this is the last of Mr. Mavin's poor behavior.

Ms. Worthingsworth went over to Marvin and Priscilla. "Look Marvin," she began, but Marvin cut in.

"I've got it! I've got it!" He was so excited he was fidgeting.

"Got what?" Priscilla asked, "your precious checker problem ... when your career is at stake?"

"Well, yeah," Marvin said, "I did solve the problem. See, what you do is ..."

"Never mind that," Ms. Worthingsworth said, "you need to sit down and be very quiet."

"No, no, no, that's not all," Marvin said. "Listen ... "

Marvin whispered in Ms. Worthingsworth's ear. "Oh," she said. "I see."

What did Marvin discover? A solution to the problem or perhaps something more?

This is another of Brian's challengers but we urge you not to try to solve it if you happen to be in a courtroom. Work it out in the comfort of your home and then click on Read More to see the solution and the rest of the story, in which you'll find out what Marvin told his lawyer.null

The Rest of the Story

Marvin and Priscilla sat down and Ms. Worthingsworth turned to Sunny. "Ms. Sunshine," she said, "tell us exactly how you told Marvin he was to address you."

Sunny scoffed. "That's easy," she said. "I told him he was to call me 'Ms. Sunshine' or if not that, 'Queen Sunshine.'"

"Thank you," Ms. Worthingsworth said, "and how did Marvin address you afterwards?"


"Hmpff," Sunny said, "he very appropriately started calling me 'Queen Sunshine.'"

"So, then, 'Queen Sunshine' was acceptable to you?"

"Yes indeed!" Sunny replied, smiling triumphantly.

"Ms. Sunshine, is 'Queen' a gender-neutral term?"

The expression on Sunny's face collapsed rapidly. "Well, uh, I guess not exactly, you know ... "

"'Queen' is hardly gender neutral, Ms. Sunshine, and yet by your own admission you were happy to be so addressed?"

"Well, I, you know ... "

Mr. Bilboy rapped his gavel. "Case dismissed!" he pronounced.

The plaintiff's team looked shocked. Sunny had been caught in a clear contradiction and there wasn't much else to be said.


But Marvin's troubles weren't exactly over. As Priscilla drove Marvin back to Detroit, Marvin got an earful and then some about respect for women and how his behavior had to change if she was to remain his girlfriend. "You lucked out, Marvin," she said. "You know good and well you were disrespectful and wrong. It had better never, ever happen again. Am I making myself clear?"

Marvin just nodded his head, once more knowing that his arguing with Priscilla never turned out well--- for him.


Marvin never got to show anyone his solution to Brian's problem, but here it is.

White to Play and Win

26-22*---A 28-32 6-2* 32-28 23-19* 28-24 27-23 24x15 2-7 20-24 23-19 White Wins---B

A---Crowning 6-2? first allows 13-17 and an easy Black draw.

B---White wins by stealing a king in the middle of the board, thanks to the backing provided by the Black man on 24.

The Checker Maven thanks master problemist Brian Hinkle, composer of this problem, for sending it along to us with his solution and notes.

11/14/20 - Category: Fiction -Printer friendly version-
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