A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Discussion and analysis about certain positions.

A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Postby Bill Salot on Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:17 pm

Problem composing is more than starting with an idea and setting it back. More often it is starting with a setting and making small changes to create new ideas.

These 6 diagrams represent a single starting setting to which small changes have been made by relocating a single White piece. The result is 6 different, not very difficult, ideas. White can play and win 5 of the 6, but cannot play and win the other.

Question for Solvers: "Which one cannot be won?" THAT IS ALL. Alex M. and John Webster, working together at the 2012 Virginia Tourney, solved the puzzle from the diagrams in about 10 minutes.

Question for Composers: "Which is the best problem idea?" THAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING. The best problem ideas become the starting points of setbacks to camouflage those ideas and make them more difficult.

#1
Image

#2
Image

#3
Image

#4
Image

#5
Image

#6
Image

I will post the solutions next week, together with references to the known, more difficult, published setbacks.

I would be interested in whether problem composing is a topic of interest to anyone on this Forum.
Bill Salot
 
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Re: A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Postby George Hay on Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:41 am

Bill this is a great theme! To me they are all draws, and I learned something in this theme on how not to lose! Checkers has a great past, but this is "what's happening now." The problem composing contest shows checkers still has plenty of life in it, and that checkers is at least as profound as any mind sport. So you can put me down as interested!
--George Hay
George Hay
 
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Re: A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Postby Bill Salot on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:32 pm

Wow, George, you are better than I am. I could only draw one of them! How do you draw #1 after 14 9?
Bill Salot
 
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Re: A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Postby George Hay on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:25 pm

Hi Bill, I meant that I would draw, "with careful play," playing white! :)
By what I mean on how not to lose (in #1) is after 14 9; 5x14, do not play 10 6?
as that leads to 2x9, 13x6; 14-17!, 21x14; 18x9x2.
--George Hay
George Hay
 
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Re: A CHECKER PROBLEM COMPOSING EXERCISE #1

Postby Bill Salot on Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:13 pm

Oh my, George, the drawing of winning positions is not the object of the game! I believe you are just pulling my leg.

Now let's complete the problem composing exercise. There are five phases:

PHASE 1 -

Start with one idea (from any source). The starting idea for this exercise was Diagram #2, a variation of George H. Slocum's Problem #1000 in John T. Denvir's Chicago Inter-Ocean column dated December 5, 1896.

PHASE 2 -

Vary the setting of the starting idea by moving pieces around to generate other ideas. In this exercise, the above six diagrams resulted.

PHASE 3 -

Analyze the six settings to establish the solutions to all of the ideas. That should result in the following six solutions:

#1 - *14 9, 5-14, *13 9, WW

#2 – The “Starting Setting”; *13 9, 18-15, *10 6, 15-10, 14 7, 5-14, *6 1, 2-11, *25 22, 11-15, *1 6, 14-18, *6 10, WW; a variation of the problem by George H. Slocum, 1896

#3 - *13 9, 18-15, *10 6, 15-10, 14 7, 5-14, *6 1, 2-11, *24 19, 14-18, *1 6, 18-23, *6 2, 23-27, *2 7, WW

#4 - *14 9, 5-14, *13 9, 14-17, *10 6, 2-7, *6 2, 7-10, *2 7, 10-15, *7 10, 15-19, *10 14, WW

#5 - 14 9, 5-14, 13 9, *14-17, 10 6, *2-7, 6 2, *7-10, 2 7, *10-15, 7 10, *15-19, 10 14, 17-21 or 17-22, Draws

#6 - *13 17, 18-9, *17 13, 9-14, *13 9, 14-7, *8 3, WW

PHASE 4 -

Evaluate which ideas are the most worthy for further development.
#1 was too easy (only two star moves).
#3 was too much like the original Slocum idea.
#5 allows Red a straightforward draw (the only draw in the group).
#4 and #6 appear unusual, original, and inviting for further study.

PHASE 5 -

Build on the settings that had the most inviting ideas. Set them back to make the solutions more difficult; turn the idea into a false solution or introduce a new false solution; compound ideas; add, subtract, crown, or uncrown pieces; use your computer and your ingenuity to make what in your own eyes is the best possible setting. Here are the results of such efforts applied to ideas #2, #4, and #6:

#2 See Slocum's original setting as it appears on Page 291, Problem #75, Note B, in SLOCUM STROKES on the OMOCH site. Here is the OMOCH link to SLOCUM STROKES #75:
http://www.online-museum-of-checkers-hi ... trokes.pdf

#4 See “Give and Take”, winner of Problem Composing Contest #2, February 2012. Here is the link: http://www.usacheckers.com/problems/sho ... NTEST_ID=2

#6 See “Take Two”, co-winner of Problem Composing Contest #5, July 2012. Here is the link: http://www.usacheckers.com/problems/sho ... NTEST_ID=8

The other three settings remain unpublished until now.

The bottom line is that, except for PHASE 3, problem composing is unlike playing the game against a human opponent.

The objective of the game is to win, or at least not to lose, and usually to do it under time pressure, the bane of a nervous player.

The objective of problem composing is to create something pleasing and long lasting. The problem composing phases discussed above require more time and patience, but there is no time pressure, the ideal relaxant.

I can't speak for Mr. Slocum, but “Give and Take” and "Take Two" were months in the making. Maybe that is why there are so few of us.

If you have the time and patience, try it. You might like it.
Bill Salot
 
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