The late and legendary checkerist Richard Fortman in the 1970s assembled a set of typed manuscripts, in seven volumes, or parts, each one covering a family of opening moves. He called this collection Basic Checkers. It dealt with the first 20 moves in all of the then-current 3-move ballots. The book is filled not only with analysis and commentary, but also with anecdotes, stories, and much checker lore. It is to this day viewed as a classic and a must-study book for the aspiring master. The work was later revived in a modern one-volume edition, Basic Checkers 2010.
Noted author and analyst Jim Loy has extended Mr. Fortman's work with Basic Checkers: Part 8, providing play corrections, alternative lines, and additional commentary. Mr. Loy used modern computer tools not available to Mr. Fortman, as well as his own considerable analytical skills. Part 8 was written with Mr. Fortman's original edition in mind but it is equally usable with the 2010 reissue.
Mr. Loy has generously provided us with Part 8 for free electronic distribution to the checker playing public. You can download Part 8 here or via the Jim Loy page linked in the right-hand column.
So, where can you get Basic Checkers?
Basic Checkers 2010 isn't available online but can be purchased from Amazon in the US and elsewhere for a reasonable price. Alternatively, in Part 8 Mr. Loy references an on-line version of the original Basic Checkers. That particular link has gone off the air but you can as of this writing still obtain the on-line version via the link below.
As a sample, here's a position that can arise from the 9-13 23-18 12-16 ballot. (For the run-up and full commentary, see p. 10 of Part 8.) Once thought to be a White win, it turns out Black can draw. Can you work it out?
Yes, it's rather a challenge, but a fascinating one. Give it your best and then click on Read More to see the solution.
The main line is as given in Part 8, which Mr. Loy attributes to Murray Cash's Nemesis computer program. Alternative moves are those proposed by Ed Gilbert's KingsRow using the 10 piece endgame database.
2-7*! 1-6 9-13 6-2---A 7-11 2-6---B 14-18 30-25---C 19-23 6-10 18-22!! 10x17 13x29, a database draw.
A---Alternatively 24-20, also leading to a draw.
C---Or 6-10 leading to a draw.
If you have any edition of Basic Checkers, you'll certainly want Part 8. And if you don't yet have Basic Checkers, what are you waiting for?
Our thanks to Jim Loy for providing Part 8 as a completely free download.