Marvin's Month of June

Private Jet

For her honeymoon with Marvin, Priscilla spared nothing. She chartered a private jet to take her and Marvin on a direct polar-route flight from Detroit to Bastia on the island of Corsica. She booked the best suite at Casa Reale, Bastia's top (and most expensive) hotel. She arranged for a limousine and a driver for the extent of their one-week stay. She made sure they had reservations at a series of the finest restaurants. Not a single thing was left to chance.

Hotel Suite

You'll recall from our previous story that there had been some doubt in Marvin's mind whether or not the wedding would even take place. This was after he refused to cut his dreadlocks and stormed off in a huff. Fortunately everything worked out in the end. The ceremony and reception took place and soon afterwards Priscilla and Martin were comfortably seated in the Gulfstream jet that would take them to their destination. Flying time was around 10 hours and they would arrive the following afternoon. The jet of course was outfitted with sleeper couches.


Priscilla and Marvin were both tired from the celebrations. They had a nightcap--- Priscilla chose white wine and unsurprisingly Marvin had a beer--- and then slept for a few hours until the steward gently woke them to serve breakfast.


Soon, they landed in Bastia and quickly cleared customs and immigration. The limo awaited them and whisked them off to their hotel. The couple settled in and then took a leisurely stroll around the town, taking in its unique architecture and interesting sights.


They decided on an early dinner (at least by Corsican standards) and went to one of the restaurants on Priscilla's list, Nova. They had a marvelous meal and Priscilla even persuaded Marvin to try some French wine. Marvin pronounced it excellent and allowed that was almost as good as American beer. At that, Priscilla frowned, but only slightly and only for a moment. She was on her honeymoon, after all.

Everything was fine until the check was paid and they were on their way out to their waiting limousine. It was just outside the restaurant that Marvin saw a poster on a lamp-pole.


"Come on, Marvin, the limo's waiting," Priscilla said.

"Just a sec, honey, I want to read this poster. Hey ... uh ... you can like, read French, right? I can kinda make this out but well ... anyhoo ... "

Priscilla walked over and took a look. "Uh, sweetheart, you needn't worry about this poster," she said, but Marvin looked quite unconvinced.

"Aw, Prissy, it's about a checker tournament, ain't it? I can figger out that much. With a big prize and stuff. I wanna play. I ain't never played in this here Corsica before."

"Marvin, it's an open tournament. That means there will be a lot of amateurs present and it wouldn't be fair for you to play. And a 5,000 Euro prize fund is no big deal. You make more than that in just one game with your pro team. Besides, it would take four days out of our honeymoon. And ... could you not call me 'Prissy'?"

"Yeah but ... c'mon, it's only four days and ... "

Priscilla cut in. "Marvin, what is this trip called?"

"Whaddya mean? It's, like, Corsica, right? Like I was sayin' ... "

"Yes, Marvin, but why are we in Corsica?"

"'Cause you like it?"


"Because it's our honeymoon, Marvin. And what do newlyweds do on their honeymoon? They spend time together. One spouse doesn't go off and play all day for four days in a checker tournament while the other spouse does ... I don't know what."

"Hey, but you can catch up on your work and stuff ... "

"I took the week off. I told the C-suite at Rust Belt that I don't want to hear from them even if headquarters burns down and all our affiliates fold. I was not to be disturbed because it's my honeymoon, the only one I've ever had and, I hope, the only one I ever will have. Do you realize what a commitment I've made? And you want to take four days to play checkers when that's already what you do for a living as a professional, day in and day out?"

"But I'll be there with you after the games finish, right?"

Priscilla threw her hands up in the air. "Marvin, just get in the limo, will you?"


There was an eerie silence all the way back to the hotel and all the way up to their suite. Priscilla then busied herself watching a French news channel while Marvin pulled out a copy of the latest issue of All Checkers Digest. But as usual when he and Priscilla had a dispute, he couldn't focus, even though the following position should have held his interest. It was a problem by that Grandmaster Problemist, Ed from Pennsylvania.

White to Play and Win


The truth was, Marvin was a good guy and he truly loved Priscilla. It was just that he was a relatively simple guy and didn't always see things in, shall we say, a nuanced manner, and that led to misundertstandings and mistakes, sometimes pretty big ones.

"Aw, heck," Marvin said aloud to himself. He went into the other room where Priscilla was stationed on a couch, looking rather angry and upset.

"Hey, Priscilla," Marvin began, "you're right. I ain't gonna play in no checker tournament. I'm gonna spend the whole week with my lady love. There ain't nobody else anywhere like you, and I'm gonna give you all my time."

Priscilla turned off the TV and looked up quizzically at Marvin. "You sure?" she asked. "You really mean all of that?"

"Course I do," he said.

Priscilla's expression warmed into a broad smile. "Thank you, dear. We're going to have a wonderful week."

"Hey, but, you think like ... you know, the two of us, not just me ... maybe we could sorta drop by the tournamant site and say hi to the players, you know, just real quick?"

Priscilla started to frown but quickly resumed her happy expression. "Sure, honey, we can do that. But enough talk."


Priscilla took Marvin's hand and pulled him onto the couch next to her, and we must end our story here lest we intrude into Priscilla and Marvin's private life.

It seems that recently Marvin is constantly teased with an interesting problem that he doesn't get to solve for one reason or another, and if by chance you too are on your honeymoon, as much as we love checkers we definitely don't recommend doing checker problems! However that stricture will likely apply to very few readers, so do work out the solution at your leisure and then click on Read More to see the solution.20050904-symbol.gif


Problem, solution and notes are by the late Grandmaster problemist Ed Atkinson. He called this one Long Fly Ball.

27-24---A,B 28-19---C 2-7 11-2 20-16 25-18 16-5 White wins.

A---Not 22-17 9-13 17-14 -25-22 14-9 13-6 2-9 22-18---1 9-6 28-24 to a White win.

B---Not 2-7 25-18 7-16 28-24 Drawn

C---Or 25-18 2-7 11-2 20-16 same position. White Wins.

1---This move, given to draw in Ed's notes, actually loses. But the position is still a draw: 22-26 9-13 28-32 27-24 26-23 and Black regains his piece.

07/08/23 - Category: Fiction -Printer friendly version-
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