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Combination Play in the Opening

A combination in checkers may be defined as a sequence of moves with a planned purpose or objective. The purpose behind combinations in the opening can be more easily seen than in any other stage of the game, the reason being that combination tactics in the opening of a game are based on obvious formational developments.

There are a limited number of these formations in the opening which can be classified according to types and studied by the student. To begin with, there are two main types of development from which all opening formations can be classified, i.e., the center formations and the flank or pincer formations. As an illustration, the opening move 11-15 is basically a center formation, for in order to occupy the center, white must attack this man. The reply 23-19, after 11-15, is basically a flanking or pincer formation, for it makes no bid for control of the center. This brings us to an all important concept which is called:

The Concept of Formational Development: All formations in the opening result from the threat of occupying the center at an advantageous moment and the attempt to allow or prevent this occupation of the center.

It is quite possible to have a combined center and flank formation in an opening position, as in the above illustrated example, 11-15 23-19. In this case, black is centering his attack with 11-15, and white is flanking his counter-attack (or defense) with 23-19. Hence, there are three main classifications of formations:

In each of these three major classifications there are a number of outstanding groups, (missing words?) kindred developments, and associated ideas. The nomenclature (name) of each group is based on certain key go-as-you-please developments or openings, since these openings were the first classical illustrations embodying the central idea shown in the group, i.e., the Whilter and associated formations, the Glasgow and associated formations, etc.

For the convenience of the student, an index of the various go-as-you-please formations is given in alphabetical order accompanied by the moves which form the opening. This should be used as an index by the student who is interested in locating additional play in the standard encyclopedias. It can also be used to identify the names of openings listed under the three major classifications of formations to follow.

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