Marvin's Agreement

Marvin J. Mavin

In our last story, Marvin J. Mavin, the superstar captain of the Detroit Doublejumpers, a top team in Major League Checkers, was in a tight spot. His long-time girlfriend, the wealthy business executive Priscilla K. Snelson, had given Marvin a holiday ultimatum: Go to Las Vegas and get married, or else. She sent Marvin home and said he had one week to decide.

Now, Marvin did not want to get married. But he didn't want to risk losing Priscilla, either. They had been together for ten years and he truly loved her.


It wasn't for her money or any other ulterior motive. Marvin had a multi-million dollar contract with the Doublejumpers. He just chose to live simply, driving his old Volkswagen and living in a studio apartment in a less favorable section of Detroit. He didn't care about Priscilla's upscale lifestyle. It was just that he had never met anyone quite like her and she was the only one in the world for him.

Could he risk all of that?

He was in his little apartment, trying to focus on a problem in All Checkers Digest by Ed Atkinson, but his mind was elsewhere.

White to Play and Win


He needed more time. The week Priscilla had given him would be up tonight. Should he call Priscilla and beg for another week? She probably would say "no" and then where would he be?

Marvin's Parents

He had talked things over with his Mom, but of course she had long wanted him to marry, so that didn't help much. His Dad was no help either. He had just said, "Whatever makes you happy." Of course, Marvin didn't know what that was.

Maybe she'd be okay with just an engagement? And put off setting a wedding date? Sure, he could say that for a person in her position, a Las Vegas elopement wouldn't look very good. Yes, that was it!


He should call his friend Marty. Marty lived in Switzerland and was on the Swiss National Checker Team.

Marvin got out his cell phone, looked up Marty's number and called. After several rings, a sleepy voice answered, "Ja?"

"Marty, it's Marvin!" Marvin said cheerfully.

There was a pause and then a groan. "Marvin, it's 3 AM over here."

"Oh, uh, yeah, sorry, well ... "

"What is it, Marvin, that is so important that you had to call me at this hour?"

Marvin explained the situation and his proposed solution.

"You'd be pitching a piece with no compensation," Marty said. "Now, I have an early practice tomorrow, so good bye, Marvin."

The line disconnected.

"I gotta clear my head," Marvin said, and then went to his fridge and got out a beer. He took it back to his chair and began looking at Ed Atkinson's problem again.

After half an hour and another beer, Marvin said out aloud, "Ah, it ain't no use. I gotta call Priscilla and get this over with."


Once again, Marvin picked up his phone and called a familiar number.

Hopefully, you won't be distracted and unable to focus as you try to solve Ed's problem. We definitely do not recommend beer, let alone two bottles of it. See how you do, make your decision on the right moves (something that Marvin needed to do albeit in a different context), and then dial Read More to see the solution and the rest of today's story.20050904-symbol.gif

Conclusion and Solution

Marvin was nervous to say the least as the phone rang several times.

Priscilla K. Snelson

"Hello, Marvin. I'm glad you called." It was, of course, Priscilla, and she sounded very sweet.

Now Marvin knew that could mean one of two things. It could mean he was really in trouble. But then the sweetness would have an edge to it, and he didn't detect that. This was the sweet voice that he heard from Priscilla when she was especially happy. What was going on?

"You know, I really put you on the spot last week, and I want to offer you a better option. You see, I'd actually rather plan for a nice wedding rather than just elope."

Marvin let out his breath. Had she been channeling him or something? That was going to have been his argument!


"I'd like a big affair with all of my friends and business associates, you know, a five or six hundred person guest list, with a pre-wedding brunch, a nice dinner, and a big band to dance to. What do you think?"

"Uh ... yeah ... I ... "

"Of course it wouldn't be right away. It would take some time for all the arrangements. Probably six months or so. However, I still have something I want you to do right away."

"Yeah ... uh ... I ... "

"We need to get engaged, Marvin. Right away, so I can let everyone know and start planning."

"Well ... I ... uh ... I ain't got a ring or nothing ... "


"Oh, no problem. Here's what we're going to do. There's a nice diamond ring at Sparkly Exclusives that I've had my eye on. We'll go tomorrow and you'll buy that for me. And I won't even ask for anything else as a holiday present! Wouldn't it all be grand?"

"Sure ... well ... I ... "

"It isn't even anything too expensive. You know I'm frugal and sensible like that. Why, it's only a little over a hundred."

"Hundred dollars? You ain't gonna get ... "


"No, silly. A hundred thousand. Well, actually closer to two hundred but still it's not much at all, wouldn't you say?"

"Uh ... yeah ... I ... "


"Great, then it's all settled. I'll have my driver pick you up in the limo at one in the afternoon tomorrow. See you then, sweetheart!"

There was a click as Priscilla hung up.

Marvin, for his part, was speechless.

Here's the solution to the problem Marvin was too distracted to solve. Grandmaster problem composer Ed Atkinson calls it "Triple Trouble" as is suitable for today's story, since our hero Marvin is in all kinds of trouble.

White to Play and Win


18-22---A 26-17---1 10-14 17-19---B 8-31 White Wins.

A---Not 8-3 26-22 15-8 22-6 Drawn.

B---11-9 5-30 White Wins.

1---The only choice to avoid a double jump---Ed.

We hope you enjoyed today's story and problem, and that if you are yourself facing any troubles, they are not triple.


01/08/22 - Category: Fiction -Printer friendly version-
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