# The Checker Maven

### The World's Most Widely Read Checkers and Draughts Publication Bob Newell, Editor-in-ChiefPublished each Saturday morning in Honolulu, Hawai`i

Contests in Progress:

### Composing Championship #76 <!-- var today=new Date(); var cend=new Date("10/31/2024"); var one_day=1000*60*60*24; document.write(`Less than \${1+ Math.ceil((cend.getTime()-today.getTime())/(one_day))} days remaining!<br>`); //document.write("Composing Championship Contest 75 Complete, Results posted.<br>"); //document.write("Contest 76 starts September 14, 2024<br>"); //document.write("<a href=\"https://www.bobnewell.net/checkers/contests/2023review.html\">2023 Composing Contests Year in Review</a>") //-->

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### Problem Composing Contest 76: Two-Part Blends

The two, two-part blends above are symbolic of Bill Salot's newest Problem Composing Contest. No, Bill didn't switch from checkers to coffee--- we understand in fact that he personally eschews coffee--- but what he has done is to present us with two two-part blend problems which will challenge and entertain you as never before. You can find them on the contest page, where you are invited and requested to vote for the one you like best.

As a sample of what awaits you, here is a previously unpublished two-part problem composed by Mr. Salot himself. He calls it The Albatross for two reasons. One is that the setting (somewhat) resembles an albatross. The other is that an Albatross symbolizes something that makes accomplishment particularly difficult, as in the expression "an albatross around one's neck" which takes its derivation from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's celebrated poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W6,K7,18,24,25,K27,K29:B2,8,9,K11,15,16,K20,22

Will this problem be the albatross that hangs around your neck? We certainly hope not, for after giving it a go you can always click on Read More to see the solution.

09/14/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Labor Day 2024

You might be a blue collar worker, such as the plumbers shown above.

Or you might be a white collar worker or even a business executive.

Labor Day is for all of you and for all of us, as we recognize once again that all honest work deserves respect, and that every worker is an important contributor to our economy and our way of life. It's a great American (and Canadian) holiday.

For this celebration, in our Checker Maven columns we typically turn to Tom Wiswell, a great American checker champion, checker writer and teacher, and one of the most outstanding checker problemists in the history of the game. Today we invite you to try out The Sea Dog, which Mr. Wiswell dedicated to William Grover, the brother of another checker great, Ken Grover. William Grover served in the Merchant Marine during World War II and became a prisoner of war.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK2,9,22,25,27,31,32:BK1,15,18,20,23,24,28

As is typical for Mr. Wiswell, this is an elegant problem and you will enjoy solving it. When you're done, click on Read More to see the run-up and the solution.

08/31/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Precision

There's the classic precision of a Swiss watch. There's the precision of a talented musician playing a difficult solo piece or the precision flying of Air Force pilots. The list goes on, and in our game of checkers, there is precision, too. Some lines of play leading to a win or saving the draw require extreme precision wherein one false move leads to either failure to bring home the win or an ignominious defeat.

The following position is from a recent game played between regular Toronto based contributors Lloyd and "Gosh Josh" Gordon. While after the first few moves many variations are possible, precision play is required by White to obtain a draw--- and careful play is required by Black to avoid a possible loss if a wrong move is made.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Draw

W:WK4,10,14,15,16,30:B1,3,5,22,K27

How precise is your play? See if you can draw this one, and then click your mouse precisely on Read More to see one version of the solution.

08/03/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Sweeps

Above we see an old-fashioned chimney sweep. There is a lot of lore surrounding "sweeps" including their often worn uniform of top hat and tails; we'll leave it to you to find out more if you're so inclined. But today, in Bill Salot's 75th Problem Composing Contest, we'll look at sweeps of the checker variety: Big problems with big action wherein pieces are swept off the board. This one will be a real challenger and we urge you to check out the contest page and vote for the one you like best.

As an introduction and to whet your interest, here's a problem called The Magnificent Seven, an 8x9 composition by the late Roy Little. It tied for second in Contest 38 in April 2018.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK1,7,10,K11,14,16,K17,22,30:BK2,3,12,K19,K20,21,K25,K27

See what you can do with Mr. Little's teaser, and then click on Read More to see the solution before moving on to the contest page.

07/13/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Get It Right the First Time

We've always liked those World War Two inspirational posters which urged American citizens to do their all and give their best in support of the war effort. The poster above warns of the dangers of aiding the enemy through carelessness and emphasizing the need to get things right the first time.

That surely applies to our game of checkers, where carelessness can indeed cede the day to our opponent, and we may have one and only one opportunity to "get it right" and find a win or a draw.

In the following situation, Black has one and only one move to draw. He has to get it right the first time as there won't be a second chance.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W13,16,18,22,25,28,30,32:B1,3,5,6,8,9,11,20

The position is more of a practical exercise than a contest-grade problem, but we think it's worthy of study. Will you get it right on your first try, or will it take a couple of tries? Unlike in an over the board contest, you can try as many times as you wish, and when you're ready, one try at clicking your mouse on Read More will bring you to the solution.

06/08/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Seeing Stars

"Seeing stars" can have several meanings. If you're out in the country, far from city lights, on a clear evening "seeing stars" means taking in a magnificent heavenly display of millions of stars, covering the sky in brilliant beauty. On the other hand, if you accidentally bump your head on a hard, fixed object, you'll be "seeing stars" in a much different and decidely less pleasant way.

In today's problem, shown below, you'll be "seeing stars" --- star moves, that is. Recall that a "star" move is one that is essential to either win or hold the draw. It's the one and only correct move, and it's annotated with an asterisk, or star. The terms of the problem are "Black to play and draw" but actually star moves--- a number of them--- appear on both sides as Black and White both navigate through a finely balanced position.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W32,30,20,19,9:B23,12,11,10,7

We wouldn't call this an exciting or elegant problem but it certainly is practical and didactic. Be a star and solve it, then click on Read More to see the solution.

06/01/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Contest 74: 16 Pieces

The 16 piece Barbie tea set above might make a nice gift for a young daughter or granddaughter, or perhaps even for an avid collector of such things. There are also 16 piece china sets, 16 pieces per side in the game of chess, and 16 balls in a game of pool. Most caterpillars have 16 legs, and there are 16 personality types on the Myers-Briggs classification. (You might look that one up and see where checker players might fit in.) Last but not least, there is the "sweet sixteen" birthday tradition, and we should also point out that base 16 (hexadecimal) numbers are very commonly utilized in the world of computers.

In the latest of Mr. Bill Salot's ongoing series of checker problem composition contests, we see a different use of 16; Mr. Salot presents us with three problems, each of which contains a total of 16 pieces. These are massive stroke problems and will require great visualization skill to solve without moving pieces on a board. The problems can all be found on the contest page". Be sure to vote for your favorite!

As an introduction to this contest's theme, Mr. Salot sent along this 16 piece beauty from the late and much missed grandmaster composer Ed Atkinson. It's called Tossed Salad.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W7,K11,K12,14,16,K18,22,K28:B2,5,10,13,K17,20,25,K26

Take as long as you wish. Give it at least 16 good attempts before clicking on Read More to see the solution.

05/11/24 -Printer friendly version-

### World Healing Day

This column will first appear on April 27, 2024, which in 2024 is World Healing Day, a successor to World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. Of course April 27, 2024 has many other celebrations, such as National Devil Dog Day, National Prime Rib Day, Babe Ruth Day, and even National Gummi Bear Day, to name just some. But we like World Healing Day.

Why? Because we like to think checkers can play its own role in world healing. We've seen it in the work of luminaries such as Iqbal Ahmed Salarzai, who conducts international tournaments via the internet; the friendly rivalries between the US and England and now the US and Italy; the presence of international players in major tournaments; and many more examples that show how checkers can pull people together in spirited competition that leads to long lasting friendships among all nationalities, races, and creeds. Great stuff and something the world can use more of.

For World Healing Day we'll present a checker problem of unknown origin that isn't difficult at all, but will perhaps provide a few moments of entertainment and relaxation. Just the right thing to take your mind off whatever's bothering you and promote a bit of your own self-healing on World Healing Day.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:W8,K11,K18,K23,29:B4,17,21,28,K30,K31,K32

Solve the problem as best you can, and then click--- ever so gently--- on Read More to see the solution.

04/27/24 -Printer friendly version-

### The Long Pitch

Who doesn't love sitting through a long sales pitch or marketing meeting? Honestly we can't think of anyone who would be particularly thrilled by the idea. We certainly aren't and we're glad the The Checker Maven staff doesn't have to deal with anything like that.

Of course, we've just given you a giant hint to the solution of today's Checker School problem! Have a look.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Win

B:W10,K16,21,28,30:B13,K18,19,K23,26

This one isn't so difficult to begin with, and with that big giveaway in the title, you shouldn't take "long" to solve it, or at least that's the idea we're pitching. When you're ready, click on Read More to see the snappy solution.

04/06/24 -Printer friendly version-

### Birthday Special

This past week your editor celebrated his 75th birthday. It was a milestone event but also a reminder that The Checker Maven, like anything in this world, can't go on forever.

But for now, onward we go, and today we have a problem sent to us a while back by Bill Salot. We chose it for today because it was first published in Elam's Checker Board in March 1949, the month and year of your editor's birth. It most appropriately appeared in the Poetry of Checkers column. Mr. Salot noted that it stumped Matt Long, but Ben Boland solved it quickly and later called it Bill's Bridge. The composer, of course, was Young Bill Salot.

BLACK

WHITE
White to Play and Win

W:WK1,K3,K10,K14,K15,K16:BK4,K6,K7,K13,K23,K25

Join the celebrations and solve this intriguing problem. The solution can of course be seen by clicking on Read More.

03/23/24 -Printer friendly version-

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The Checker Maven is produced at editorial offices in Honolulu, Hawai`i, as a completely non-commercial public service from which no profit is obtained or sought. Original material is Copyright © 2004-2024 Avi Gobbler Publishing. Other material is the property of the respective owners. Information presented on this site is offered as-is, at no cost, and bears no express or implied warranty as to accuracy or usability. You agree that you use such information entirely at your own risk. No liabilities of any kind under any legal theory whatsoever are accepted. The Checker Maven is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Bob Newell, Sr.

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