The Checker Maven

The Wyllie Online Draughts Club

Make no mistake about it. The Wyllie Online Draughts Club, or WODC for short, is all about checkers (or draughts, if you will). It is seriously, determinedly, and single-mindedly about checkers and nothing but checkers. It is a home for the real devotee, the genuine enthusiast, the real maven. It is not a place for casuals, drop-ins, or dabblers. Not at all.

We've been playing there ourselves for a little while now and we're rather impressed.

There are game sites and there are games sites out there on the Net, and we've reviewed dozens of them on our review page. It is safe to say that there is none quite like Wyllie.

Wyllie is a "turn based" or correspondence style site. You make your move, and at some point your opponent moves (whether within minutes or days), and then you move again. You have a ten-day time allotment, plus one day per move, allowing you to schedule your play time and still keep the game moving. Wyllie also offers a "live play" or "head to head" option (limited to Windows computers). For live play, you would likely pre-arrange a meeting in the live play area and then play as you would over the board.

OK, you're saying, this is all well and good, but there are lots of turn-based and head-to-head sites out there, many of them free of charge, a few of them with hundreds and hundreds of players on-line at any given time. So what's so great about Wyllie?

We suggest you read our full review to get all the details, but the difference is that Wyllie is about checkers and checkers only, and some very strong players make it their on-line checker home. Wyllie's on-line tournaments, held more or less monthly, are likely the toughest "mail-play" style tournaments to be found anywhere.

Wyllie offers the things you want if you are really serious about your checkers: the full range of 3-move openings; 11-man ballot play for the daring; complete game records which are protected from random public view; and perhaps best of all, a strict "real name" policy which eliminates 99.99% of the potential pests and undesirables, making the site a pleasure rather than something to be tolerated.

Is WODC for you? It depends. If you like to play a casual game at a summer picnic while enjoying a few tall cool ones, perhaps not. If you're a regular Checker Maven reader and try to solve the problems each week, very likely so; likewise, if you're an enthusiastic competitor from the lower intermediate level and up, you will benefit and enjoy. Membership is not free, but neither is it expensive. You might wish to check it out and decide for yourself.

But enough commentary; as we said above, you can read the full review if you'd like all the details. Let's illustrate the caliber of play at the Wyllie site with a pair of sample tournament games, played between Welsh grandmaster Lindus Edwards and world mail-play champion Mac Banks. (We told you that there are elite players here!) Notes are by Lindus Edwards.

Black: Lindus Edwards
White: Mac Banks

1. 10-15 23-18 2. 6-10 18-14
3. 9x18 24-19 4. 15x24 22x6

Black to Play and Draw


6.11-16---B 20x11
7. 8x15 21-17 8. 12-16 25-22
9. 5-9 17-13 10. 2-6 32-27
11. 4-8 27-23 12. 16-19 23x16
13. 8-12 26-23 14. 12x26 30x23
15. 9-14 23-19 16. 15x24 28x19
17. 7-11 29-25 18. 11-15


A---A favourite line of Dr Marion Tinsley.

B---5-9 is published to draw. 11-16 looks a far easier route to me.

Black: Lindus Edwards
White: Mac Banks

1. 9-13 24-20 2. 11-16 20x11
3. 7x16 21-17 4. 5-9 28-24
5. 1-5 25-21 6. 3-7 23-18
7. 16-19 24x15 8. 10x19 32-28
9. 12-16 17-14 10. 8-12 26-23
11. 19x26 30x23 12. 6-10 31-26
13. 10x17 21x14

Black to Play and Draw


14. 7-10---A 14x7
15. 2x11 28-24---B


A---A saving move!

B---The draw is now simple as follows: 16-20 24-19 11-16 29-25 9-14 18-9 5-14 25-21 13-17 Drawn.

05/20/06 - Category: General -Printer friendly version-
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