The holiday season was coming up, and the National Checker League took a two week break. So Marvin J. Mavin, superstar captain of the many-time World Champion Detroit Doublejumpers, would have a welcome vacation.
His long-time girlfriend, Priscilla K. Snelson, also decided to take two weeks off. As an important C-level executive at the multibillion dollar conglomerate, Rust Belt Holdings, it was something she almost never did. But she had an ulterior motive. It had all started on Thanksgiving Day, when at a disastrous dinner with Marvin at the Grosse Pointe home of her parents, her father had said one thing that stuck with her. It was time to move her relationship with Marvin forward. Quite far forward.
She and Marvin had been keeping company for nearly ten years, since a time when Marvin had yet to become captain and she had yet to move to the executive suite. Although they had never really discussed the matter, she agreed with her otherwise strident father that it was time for them to get married, and in fact had been waiting for Marvin to propose for some little while. She was getting impatient and decided to set the stage on her own.
They were visiting one evening in Priscilla's upscale condo. Her staff had just cleared off the dinner dishes and Marvin was enjoying a beer (what else?), trying to solve a Brian Hinkle checker problem published in All Checkers Digest, while Prisilla was sipping a first flush Darjeeling tea from a renowed estate.
"Have you thought about where we should go on our vacation, dear?" she asked in as innocent a tone as possible.
"What? I've almost got this one ..."
"Put your magazine down and talk to me. I asked you about our winter vacation."
"Uh, yeah," replied Marvin, "it's been kinda cold here and I was thinkin' maybe we could go to Tahiti, you know, warm up a little, sit on the beach with a couple of Hinanos ... "
"Sounds great. Sitting and watching you drink beer. How original. No, I was thinking of somewhere else."
"Where? Hawai`i? I sorta didn't like it the last time I was there."
"Yes, you got yourself into trouble as I recall. No, I want to go to Las Vegas."
At that, Marvin did put his magazine down. "Las Vegas? I never heard of you gambling or nothing. What's in Vegas besides gambling and a bunch of expensive shows?"
"Marvin, they have a lot of nice chapels there. Very fancy. I'd ... like to see one of them."
"Just one of 'em? There must be dozens! And there are better churches in Europe so why ... oh." Marvin turned pale. "You're not thinking ... "
"I'm not thinking what, exactly, dear?"
"I mean ... uh ... in Vegas ... people ... they go there to ... oh, no. Are you serious?"
"Marvin, we've been seeing each other for how long now? I'll tell you. Ten years. That's a long time for a girl to wait. A very long time." Priscilla's tone had become more stern. "So, Marvin, what will it be?"
"You mean ... you mean I have choice?"
"You certainly do."
"Okay, then, let's just go to Tahiti, that would be my choice." He smiled but it was rather weak.
"Tahiti may be your choice but it isn't my choice," said Priscilla.
"I thought you said I could choose?"
"I said you had a choice, not that you could choose where we're going." It was Priscilla's turn to smile, but hers was an ironic smile.
"Uh, I don't get it ... "
Priscilla stood and put her hands on her hips. That was never a good sign. "Well, if you don't get it, then how about you go home right now, and don't call me until you do get it. Take your stupid magazine and leave! And just to be clear, you've got one week to get it ... or else!"
Marvin knew better than to ask "or else what." Silently he picked up his magazine and put on his winter jacket, which the butler conveniently proffered at just the right moment.
"Priscilla, won'tcha ... "
"Good night, Marvin!"
Knowing he had best cut his losses, Marvin hurried out the front door. Fortunately, as he and Priscilla had had a few previous rows, he knew where to find the nearest bar.
Marvin never did get to finish solving Brian's problem, and All Checkers Digest only prints the best compositions.
See if you can solve it, and then click on Read More to check your solution. But be careful. If, while you're solving, your significant other wants your attention, it might be wise to listen.
18-14* 10-17 21-14 27-23 14-10---A 6-24 26-28 White Wins.
A---Black has three choices of jumps and they all lose. Marvin only has two choices.
Our thanks as always to grandmaster problem composer Brian Hinkle for this entertaining setting.