Beginner's Jinx


Pictured in the drawing above is a character named Jinx from The League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle game. No, we didn't know anything about the game or the character either, and with no disrespect intended towards players of the game, that might be just as well. On the fan site we are told this. "A manic and impulsive criminal ... Jinx lives to wreak havoc without care for the consequences."

We hope that there are few if any checker players who are manic and impulsive criminals, much less living to wreak havoc in any manner except across the checkerboard. And indeed today we're going to look at the more commonly known kind of jinx, something that brings bad luck. The following position, from Andrew Banks' quirky book Checker Board Strategy, is referred to by said Mr. Banks as "The Beginner's Jinx" and goes back to William Payne. It's this month's entry in our long running Checker School series.

White to Play, Black to Win


Of course this classic 3x2 ending will present no difficulties for the experienced player, and is covered in many texts. Indeed you may wonder why we even bother to feature it. But we've presented such positions in the past because this ending can be baffling for newer players. The Checker Maven strives to provide a little something for everyone.

So don't jinx yourself. Novices and beginners, see how you do. Experienced players should solve it in seconds. Either way it's good practice, and clicking on Read More won't bring you bad luck but instead will show you one way to win it.20050904-symbol.gif


1. ... 9-5
2. 15-18 5-9
3. 10-14 9-6
4. 19-23 27-24

Mr. Banks points out that this looks much like the starting position but the move has changed.

5. 18-15 6-1
6. 14-9 24-28
7. 23-19 1-5
8. 9-6 28-32
9. 19-24 ...

As we've noted, Mr. Banks calls this position The Beginner's Jinx. We aren't sure quite why except that Black certainly had a lot of ways to go wrong, and perhaps it's a bit of bad luck for an untutored beginner to have to win this one. The position is left here as a Black win, since on 32-28 Black plays 6-10 and on 5-1 Black plays 24-19, either way trading down to an easy 2x1 finish.

We're sure most of our readers solved this handily. Or did you? We hope you weren't jinxed!


01/27/24 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-
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