Marvin J. Mavin, the superstar Captain of the champion Detroit Doublerjumpers in the National Checker League, wasn't having fun.
Recall from our previous story that he had quarreled with his finacee, Priscilla Snelson, who was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rust Belt Holdings. Priscilla thought big, and a big wedding was in the offing. Marvin had been more interested in his checker magazine than Priscilla's wedding catalogs, and that hadn't gone over well.
In fact, Priscilla told Marvin to leave her condo, and then didn't speak to him for ten days. Finally, she accepted his call and let him apologize for what seemed to Marvin like an eternity. Part of the reconciliation was the Marvin would spend a whole Saturday afternoon working with Priscilla on the wedding, and then take her to dinner at Le Faux Luxe, by far Detroit's most expensive and upscale restaurant. (They had planned to go there previously but it was abruptly canceled when Priscilla sent Marvin packing.)
They had been at it for over three hours. "What do you think of these place settings, dear?" Priscilla asked.
"Uh, nice, yeah, I like them," Marvin replied.
"Do you really? Well, how do you think they compare with these?" Prisilla turned a page in the catalog and indicated another option. "Do you think these are a bit more colorful? Or are you looking for something understated and tasteful? I don't mind that, really, but I wonder if the rosettes are a bit too small? Or is that to match the thin gilding?"
"Oh, yeah, the gilding and the roses ... never really thought about that."
Priscilla gave Marvin a bit of a look. "You know, dear, you have to consider these things. Small details add up to the big picture, after all."
Marvin, wishing he either had a beer or a copy of All Checkers Digest--- he didn't know which one he wanted most at the moment--- replied, "Sure, those details really count, don't they."
"Oh, Marvin, you're not much help, are you? Look we only have two more hours before we have to dress for dinner ... by the way did you bring your dinner jacket? I didn't see it when you came in."
"My dinner jacket? You mean, like that leather one I got at the bar when I ... " Seeing the look on Priscilla's face, Marvin continued, "Nah, I ain't got no dinner jacket. I got a suit at home though, you know, one of them suits with a vest and stuff."
"Oh, you're exasperating!" Priscilla shook her head. "Well, I know you'll be disappointed, but we'll have to postpone the rest of our planning session until tomorrow. We've got to go and rent you a dinner jacket while Twirly Tuxedos and Gaudy Gowns is still open. I suppose you'll need a white ruffle shirt and bow tie, too?"
"A what? No, I ain't got none of those neither."
"Once we're married, Marvin, a lot is going to change. Come on, hurry, we've got to go to the shop right away. We'll take the Porsche. It'll take too long to wait for the limo." The Porsche was the car Priscilla drove when she was in a rush, but in her garage she also had a BMW, an Audi, and a Lexus, although she only drove the Lexus on what she called "downscale" occasions. Usually, though, she would just call for her limo and driver.
Marvin's old Volkswagen Beetle was parked outside but he knew better than to ever, ever ask Priscilla to ride in it.
They reached the shop half an hour before closing time. "Just made it," Priscilla remarked as they entered. They were greated by a rotund, bald-headed middle aged man dressed in a white shirt and tie. "Ah, Ms. Snelson!" he said. "So good to see you! You haven't visited us here at Twirly and Gaudy for a while. And who is this? He seems familiar somehow."
"This is Marvin, my fiancee," Priscilla said. "But listen, Stanley, he needs a dinner jacket right away."
"Marvin ... of course! Marvin J. Mavin!" Stanley (the proprietor) smiled broadly. "I just saw you in ... let me see ... " Stanley slipped behind his counter for a moment and returned with a copy of ... American Checker Weekly! He flipped through a few pages. "Look, here's your picture, in that match last week against the L.A. Leapers. Hey, can you maybe autograph this for me? And then there's this problem by Pennsylvania Ed that I'd sure like a hint on if you don't mind ... " Stanley pointed to a checker position diagram.
"Oh, yeah, sure, got a pen?" Stanley offered Marvin a ball point pen, neither he nor Marvin noticing that Priscilla was starting to fume.
Marvin autographed the magazine and said, "Now look, that Penn Ed, his stuff ain't easy, but this one, I think you have to ... "
Priscilla's voice shattered the relative calm. "Stanley, if you don't put that magazine away and fit Marvin for a dinner jacket and ruffled shirt in the next five seconds, I'll blacklist you all over Rust Belt Holdings!"
Caught by surprise, the magazine dropped from Stanley's hands. "Yes ma'am, right away ma'am," he said, hustling over to a clothing rack.
"Hey what about Penn Ed's problem ... " Marvin asked.
"Later, sir, later ..." Stanley said.
"You mean never sir, never," Priscilla said.
Twenty minutes and $500 later, a grim Priscilla and a glum Marvin left the shop with a package containing Marvin's dinner clothes.
"Five hundred smackers for a one-day rental? Seems like a lot," Marvin said. Priscilla simply said, "In the car, Marvin. We still have to change and I will not be late for our reservation at Le Faux Luxe."
"Yes, dear," Marvin said. No beer, no magazine, no checker problem. Just a fancy dinner suit that cost him five hundred to rent, and a restaurant with waiters that would look down their nose at him if he ordered a Bud Lite, and probably another five hundred for the dinner, not to mention more endless hours of wedding planning tomorrow.
But Marvin's heart was in the right place. For Priscilla, he'd do anything. Even pass up a checker problem by Pennsylvania Ed.
We don't know if you have a wedding to plan, or a fancy dinner to go to, and neither do we know if you own a dinner jacket. It doesn't really matter, and you don't have to pass up a problem by Pennsylvania Ed (also known as Grandmaster problem composer Ed Atkinson). See if you can solve it, and then marry your mouse to Read More to see the solution.
2-6---A 7-16 14-10 jump 6-2 jump 2-18 White wins.
A---If 11-8 4-11 2-6, then Black can win with 24-19 6-10 19-15 10-19 7-10 14-7 5-16 or 21-16 Black wins.
Our thanks to "Pennsylvania Ed" Atkinson for this composition, solution, and notes. He titles the problem "Odd Quad" and it's another of his clever and entertaining offerings. We hope you enjoyed it.