Throwing pitches is a big part of the game of baseball. The heart of the sport is the battle between the pitcher and the batter, and a good pitcher (considering modern baseball contracts) is worth literally many times his or her weight in gold. (180 pounds of gold at the time of writing is valued at about US $5 million.)
Pitches are also a big part of the game of checkers. Pitching a piece, while on the surface a loss of material, can result in a winning situation some moves later--- if it's a good pitch and doesn't let the opponent hit a home run and win the game.
Contest 71, in Bill Salot's superb long running series of checker problem composition contests, involves pitches. The four contest problems can be found here. Be sure to check them out and vote for the one you like best.
As an introduction to the theme, here's an example by noted player, writer, analyst, and problemist Jim Loy. It's an excellent problem which Jim created independently. Unfortunately it didn't qualify for the contest as it had previously been discovered and published with colors reversed by T. Riley, as Problem 513 in Horsfall's Problem Book, 1909.
Will this problem throw you a curveball or be a sinker? We hope it's just a fastball that you can hit out of the park. Take a swing at it and then connect your mouse with Read More to see the solution. After that, go on to the contest page.
*14 18---A, 1, 27-32, *18 23, 32-28, *23 19, 16-23, *3 8, 28-19, 3 24, White Wins.
A---14 10 wastes time and makes no progress toward a win, hence *14 18 is starred.
1---Did you fall into the trap and play the tempting 3-8? Alas, 3-8 27-32 8-15 32-28 20-11 28-17 and it's Black who wins.
We hope you enjoyed Mr. Loy's problem. Four more await on the contest page!