What situations favor playing to the side?

Discussion about the strategy and tactics used in the game of checkers. A forum dedicated to the aspects of checkers that are not specifically problem solving.

What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:24 pm

I am still licking my wounds from the whippings I took during the recent 11-man National. I went there thinking the elimination of prepared lines would level the playing field a little for me.

I have been brought up on favoring moves to the center, forming dikes, holding pyramids, consolidating positions, etc. I realize there are exceptions, but apparently I don't recognize early formations where a side move strategy is stronger than a center move strategy. I believe that may be a crossboard skill that that separates the masters from me.

Repeatedly I was done in by 17 13/22 17 and 24 20/27 24 combinations. I used to think those were beginners' moves, but even Grandmasters were making them, daring me to take the center.

I realize side moves are practically forced in some openings. But many times they are optional. I understand side moves, 25 21 and 24 20 are required to beat the 9-14 Octopus, but they don't seem natural to me.

So I am asking for any guidance you can give on choosing between a center versus side strategy in situations where both are available.

I would appreciate it, although it may be too late for this old coot.

Bill Salot
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby kiwinurse on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:21 am

Richard Pask talks about the value of side moves in his very excellent book,"starting out in draughts"although you probably know all about that Mr Salot.regards Jan
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby George Hay on Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:59 am

Bill, if anyone can "crack" this nut it is Richard Pask. Even his short and to the point primer Checkers In A Nutshell deals with side moves vs center moves.
http://www.usacheckers.com/checkersinanutshell.php

Jan, you convinced me to do what I have been puting off, and that is to finally order a copy of Starting Out In Checkers. It is out of print, but not unavailable!
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby kiwinurse on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:51 pm

Its one of the best little books out there George,easy to understand and very informative.
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:38 pm

Thanks for the link. I read it through in one sitting and agree Pask's book is great for beginners. But I was a beginner 77 years ago. I don't think the book will do me much good at my current stage.

What I was hoping to see were some early game formations where side moves are strong and some where side moves are weak. Then maybe by comparison I'll have a clue to recognize the difference across the board.

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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby kiwinurse on Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:38 pm

I did say yu'd know all about that,cant teach a master anything.
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby George Hay on Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:38 am

Bill, there is also the Richard Pask page from the Checker Mavin.
http://www.bobnewell.net/checkers/paskpdf.html
My favorite is Richard Pask writing about Derek Oldbury.
Well, his writing about Tinsley isn't bad either!
Those two checkerists represent to me the paradox of checkers.
Tinsley was the greatest champion with no theory.
Oldbury was the greatest theorist and also a great champion.
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:58 pm

Jan,

I am no master. I can barely muster a mister. But you may be right about not being able to teach me anything. It is not because I know anything. It is because I have just evolved into an unteachable old dog.

Here is a thought. Somebody ought to compose a problem that requires side moves to win. It would fool me for sure.

Bill (Center Control) Salot

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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby kiwinurse on Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:43 pm

Well at least yure humble enuff to admit your failings Bill.I like that. Regards Jan
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:20 pm

John,
Thanks for the effort. What I need is examples of strong side moves in the early mid-game. I seldom make it to the 4x4 stage.
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Alex_Moiseyev on Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:20 am

Image

Bill, it's easy - think about freedom (mobility) of pieces.

And always remember T. Wiswell famous quote:

"Moves which disturb your position less, disturb opponent postion most !"

When opponent center is weak, your side is strong !

I can't say it better then Tommy, and I can only confirm that I don't have any prefences and don't care of much - is it side or center move. Just trying to find the best move.

"Golden rules" somehow are limited in Anglo-American checkers and often there are more exceptions than rules !
I am playing checkers, not chess.
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:59 pm

Alex,

Thanks for the philosophical comments. They haven't worked for me in more tha 70 years.

What I am looking for are early mid-game examples, say 9x9s or 10x10s. That is where I get into trouble.

Show me one where a series of side moves are better than a series of center moves, and another one that shows the opposite. I want to learn to recognize the difference in the formations.

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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:59 am

Aha! The current weekly random game between Markusic and Lowder is an example. Lowder played side moves time after time after time and came out the victor.

What about the Markusic formation made it good strategy to do that, and how should Markusic have countered it?

Bill Salot

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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby George Hay on Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:53 am

Image
U.S. National 1986, E. Markusic vs E. Lowder, after 8. ... 22-17.
This is a very interesting formation by Mr. Lowder!
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Re: What situations favor playing to the side?

Postby jimloy on Thu May 22, 2014 12:17 am

Let me first say that a move is usually not strong or weak because it looks strong or weak. It is strong or weak depending on the positions that follow it. In the following comments, I will use 9-13 as an example. What I say here may apply to other moves to the side.

1. 9-13 may be strong if it immobilizes some of the opponent's pieces, as in the Switcher.
2. 9-13 may be strong if it prevents the opponent from moving 17-13. 17-13 is often a reasonable attack on my double corner, by the way.
3. 9-13 may lead to 13-17, which may be strong for a few reasons. For example, this piece may threaten to king.
4. 9-13 may be a relatively important part of some plan involving another part of the board. For example, a trade 9-13 18-9 5-14 may be part of some plan.

Let me return to my advice that we don't make moves based upon their looks. Let's say that, after 1. 11-15 23-19, the move 2. 9-13 is mysterious. Why move 9-13? Having memorized a few succeeding moves, we see that 22-18 or 22-17 are likely to follow, and other familiar moves will follow them. I say that we play 9-13, not because of general principles, but because of mature reasoning; we like the positions that come later. That is the way grownups (Masters) play.

So, what good are general principles, like natural moves or warnings about moving the apex piece or breaking up our back row? When planning moves, we don't make "unnatural" moves like 9-13 (or move the apex piece) without a reason. But we don't make natural moves like 8-11 without a reason, either. The general principle does not dictate, it gently hints that 8-11 may be better.
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