Many years ago, there were lots of avowed checker problemists. Checker problem composing contests were not uncommon back then. The shortcomings of such contests were 1) they were slow because they depended on snail mail, and 2) judges were in short supply because most of them would rather compose than judge the work of other composers.
I believe there still are potential problemists out there who lack an adequate stage for demonstrating their skills and touting their wares. I also believe. in this computer age, we can run problem composing contests as fast as composers can generate problems, and, through the use of polls, there should be no shortage of judges.
Let's try an experiment. Assume I am the contest director, and two composers each send me an original, unpublished, setting to be used as an entry in a "problem composing" contest. Let the two diagrammed positions below serve as those problems.
Since this is not intended to be a "problem solving" contest, the solutions must be included when presented to the judges. (If you would like to try solving these two problems, try to avoid looking at the solutions, which I have tucked away at the end of this message.)
......White to Play and Win ..................White to Play and Win
Here is how the contest might work. As contest director, I would try to verify that the problems are sound, dual-free, and unpublished. If they pass my limited scrutiny, I would post them on this forum in a message similar to this one.
I would take care not to divulge the composers' names initially, lest the judges be influenced by that information.
I would ask that the readers of this message be the judges by voting in the accompanying poll for whichever problem you consider to be the best. I would ask that you not be influenced by other voters, but that you establish your own criteria as a basis for your decision. I can't think of any previous panel of judges who could match you in numbers, diversity, and understanding of what collectively appeals to checkerists as a whole. Even the competing composers can vote. Voters can instantly see the status of the voting at any time.
Additional comments about the problems could be made on this forum, perhaps to explain why you voted the way you did. But there is no obligation to do so.
I would also ask you to consider entering future contests of this type at any time by sending me your entries at email@example.com
. There would be no entry fee.
If you are, or are about to become, a composer, the book "SLOCUM STROKES" was written for you. It is free and downloadable at http://www.online-museum-of-checkers-history.com/
. On its Pages 441 through 467, there resides the collective advice of more than 20 composers from ages past.
About 2 to 4 weeks after launching each contest, I would close the poll and announce and record the name of the composers of the problems. Then a new contest could start.
One final note before opening the experimental poll on the above problems: To minmimize any incentive to cheat, there will be only a token prize to the winner of each contest. The token prize will be nothing more than the unofficial title of "World Champion Problem Composer in Contest # xxx". To retain the title, you must win every contest
Please vote in the poll.
Solutions to above two problems:
#A = *29 25, 26-31, *12 8, 3-12, *20 16, 12-26, *25 30, WW by 1st Position
#B = *29 25A, 30-21, *10 7, 21-25B, *22 17, 14-21, *19 15, 11-18, *12 8, WW
A - Not 10 7, *2-6, 7 2, *11-16, Draws
B - Now if 2-6, *22 17, WW