The Checker Maven

Presidents' Day

We wonder--- how many readers can recall the origin of Presidents' Day?

The older among us will recall the February 22 celebration of Washington's Birthday, and perhaps the February 12 celebration of Lincoln's Birthday in some states such as Illinois. Observation of Washington's Birthday goes back to the 1800s, in fact, becoming a Federal holiday in 1879.

But at some point in the 1960s a movement began for more three-day weekends, and finally in 1971 Washington's Birthday began to officially be observed on the third Monday in February. By the 1980s, the name "Presidents' Day" was in common use.

The holiday is now intended to honor all of our Presidents. And that points out one thing about America: we're all free to like or dislike our President as we see fit--- and be as open as we want about it--- but the Office of the President deserves the greatest of respect.

Today we're featuring a checker problem derived from a book published back in 1886.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:WK26,24,20:BK27,12,K9.

Naturally, we challenge you to solve this problem, but first, can you quickly say who was President in 1886? Not so easy, is it?

When you've solved the problem (or not) and named the President (or not), click on Read More to see the solutions.

Solution

9-14---A 26-22 27-31 24-19 31-27 20-16 27-24 19-15 12x19 Black wins.

A---12-16 looks natural but only draws: 12-16 20x11 27x20 26-23 20-24 11-8 9-6 8-4. Drawn.

The run-up to the problem position is interesting, if long; it's given below with minimal commentary.

 1. 11-15 23-19 2. 9-14 22-17 3. 5-9 26-23 4. 9-13 24-20 5. 15x24 28x19 6. 13x22 25x9 7. 6x13 29-25 8. 8-11 25-22 9. 11-15 27-24

This deviates from the KingsRow book move of 32-28 but the position is still even.

 10 1-5 32-28 11 4-8 23-18 12 8-11 21-17 13 10-14 17x10 14 7x23 19x10 15 23-27 24-19 16 27-32 22-18 17 13-17 30-26 18 17-21 26-23 19 21-25 19-15 20 2-7 15x8 21 7x14 18x9 22 5x14 8-4 23 25-30 4-8 24 30-25 8-11 25 25-22 11-15 26 14-17 23-18 27 17-21 18-14 28 21-25 14-9 29 25-30 9-6 30 30-25 15-19 31 22-18 6-1 32 25-30 19-24

Loses. 20-16 draws. Play has been virtually flawless to this point.

 33. 32-27 31-26 34. 30x23 24x31 35. 18-14 1-6 36. 3-8 6-1 37. 8-11 1-6 38. 11-15 6-1 39. 14-10 1-5 40. 15-18 5-9 41. 18-22 9-5 42. 22-25 5-9 43. 25-29 9-5 44. 29-25 5-1 45. 25-22 1-5 46. 22-18 5-1 47. 18-15 1-5 48. 10-6 5-1 49. 6-9 1-5 50. 15-18 5x14 51. 18x9 28-24 52. 23-27 31-26

Forms diagram above with Black to play and win.

To answer the second question: in 1886 Grover Cleveland was President. It was the year in which the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

02/14/15 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-