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(Also see Advanced Problems Page)

E-Mail. AL Lyman, Acf Editor

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Beginner Problems

Welcome to our animated Checker Tutor-with the Flash Tutor. All problems are shown with Flash, eliminating Javascript errors. Using next move allows you to watch the game or position unfold. A more profound understanding of the game awaits you.
A powerful teaching engine, the "Flash Tutor" permits unlimited games and positions and problems to be in a database for viewing.

Sight solving these, will greatly enhance your checker ability. Give yourself 5 minutes on them, before using the Flash Tutor. Many important themes are shown here. Themes that always come up in play, or threaten to. >The secret to playing well-is problem study. It is absolutely necessary.
To get the solution out of yourself, give all the time you need! That is the object of problem study.

#1 is a "shot" problem. Also called a "stroke." The gist of the matter is to "lineup" the pieces for a multiple jump. (A shot-sometimes called a stroke) The key is the 1st 2 moves.

See Solution #1-with the Flash Tutor
#2 reflects the "Art of the Sacrifice." Both "shots" and "sacrifice's are the "heart and soul" of the game. Learning to spot them will pay great dividends.

See Solution #2-with Flash

#3 is another sacrifice problem. In fact, 2 of them!

See Solution #3-with Flash
#4 reflects the "Art of the Sacrifice." Both "shots" and "sacrifice's are the "heart and soul" of the game. Learning to spot them will pay great dividends. The mighty Red king will without a doubt capture a man. Can white loose a piece and regain?
He better-or lose!

See Solution #4-with Flash

#5, like #4, has the Red king poised to capture a man. Desperate tactics are need to still win the game! How about the "double exposure", where the player offers his opponent 2 pieces to jump! He can't jump but 1, and then on his next turn, if the "double" is still offered, you have dictated what your opponent will play 2 moves in a row, rather than playing what he wants to. Now that's playing Checkers!

See Solution #5 with the Flash Tutor
#6. White is man down, which usually is certain defeat. Red has a weak man on 6, that white can threaten. For instance if 11-15, then white threatens 14-10 next, to steal the piece. After 11-15, Red must move 27-23 to stop this business.
In nearly all problems there is the "coup-de-grace. Also Derek Oldbury's favorite phrase-"Desperado", borrowing a chess phrase. Either represents that "surprise" move that is so hard to find and see, from long range.
Now-is 11-15 correct?
You be the judge!

See Solution to #6 with the Flash Tutor.

# 7. Red is a man down but will obviously get it back as he now threatens 2 men at once.
White must give up the correct man, then "expose" a man for capture, dictating the play. See it?

See Solution #7 with the Flash Tutor
# 8. White actually looks in trouble here. But the win is there.

Did you get it?

See Solution #8-with Flash

#9. Consider every possible move.

See Solution #9-with Flash
"Captive Cossacks" is the theme. Lock up the red pieces in the double corner so they can't move! Did you solve it?

See Solution #10

#11 is not exactly a beginner problem! Joshua Sturges published this in 1808. Consider the sacrifice!

See Solution #11-with Flash
#12 is the familiar 2 kings vs. 1 king ending.
As beginners we all struggled with this!
Lineup and enter the double corner to drive the king out.
Then make one more move in the double corner.
After that the other king finishes the job.

See Solution #12

The following positions are all "shots." Strategically, giving up pieces, in order to jump more pieces. ALL OF THE HAVE THE TERMS-"White to play and Win."

Can you spot the shot?


#13 couldn't be easier. Get 1 move right-jump the pieces, and the game is over.
#14 like #13, requires only 1 move to end the game. See it?
I have not provided solutions for 1 and 2.

Again a 1 move win. And again. No solutions are provided for these simple examples.


#17 requires a "sacrifice" 1st, then take the shot and win immediately. Are you getting pretty good at these?
#18 requires a "double sacrifice", then take the shot and capture all your opponents pieces.


#19, like #18, requires 2 "pitches, or sacrifices, then a 3rd move to invoke the fatal blow. See it?
(Hint: The correct 1st move is known as a "slip." )
Peek at solution with Flash
#20. Whenever we see the opponent's pieces (the Red pcs) "lined up" like they are, we can sense a shot is available. For instance if we had a king on 22, at the diagram, and it was our turn, we could jump all red's pieces.
The same can said if the Red king is on 19, instead of 17. If it was on 19, then we would need our king on 23, to jump all the pieces.
We can't go 26-22 to make the king land on 19, as it would jump 3 of our pieces (17 to 26-19-28) and win.
Should we give up?
Should we think this out?
Should we sacrifice 1st?
If so, how? . Did you solve it?
Peek at solution with Flash

The above 8 position's were taken from "Tom Wiswell's"-"Wonderful World of Checkers", one of his last books.
These last 2 are NOT beginner problems. Just a couple of my favorites that are sure to please for their beauty and elegance. Both are also shot problems.


Shot problems are among the most pleasing positions to see, or work on. When playing a game, those "shots" must be avoided, unless forced, as they usually will cause defeat.

You can set them up in many ways, all over the board.

Why not compose some of your own?

That's the way "Gems" got into published play.

Among the popular books on the game-"Hews Strokes" consists of nothing but shot problems. Also called strokes.
"Martins Masterpiece." In the 1850-1900 era, Robert Martins was a World Champion at different times. He scored this fine "shot" in actual play. See it? Just one of Gems in Ryan's-"Tricks-Traps-and Shots" book, and many others.

See Solution with "Flash."
#22. GrandMaster "Willie Ryan" set this up for the players at the ultra strong "Brooklyn Checker Club", in the mid-1940's. Most, even with 5 minutes of thought, failed to solve it. It is a "shot" problem. Personally, I did too! Give yourself 5 min. on this one. Be creative, so as to make the Red pieces land where you want them. The gist of the matter is this:
1. Force a move.
2. Force another move.
3. ?
4. Give up 2, but get 3.
5. Trap Red's last man.
6. No problem! In case you missed this one;
Peek at Solution with the "Flash Tutor. " and watch it unfold.


In many Checker games, and problems, there is a point where you must make the all-star move. The "Desperado", The "coup-de-grace", that surprise move is hard to find. Many times it is that "ridiculous" move, you didn't even consider. The good player, always considers every move on the board, no matter how ridiculous.

Joe Charles is among the immortals that composed problems. His setting always taught valuable and elegant themes that are on the board in every game. Your next move in any game, may be nothing more that to stay out of shots!. Sometimes, only the threat of these brilliancies, can bring home that elusive draw or win. Here are a couple of J. Charles settings.
As alsys1 1st determine if the sides are equal pieces. If unequal, the side that is down a man must get it back, or lose on material (usually).
J. Charles #1
White is man up, but Red has the man on 11 threatened. If white goes on 11-8?, then Red simply executes the 6-10 shot, regaining his man, and draws easily.
Here White must employ the "double exposure" theme-at every move-giving Red not 1 capture, but a choice of 2 or more. White must also give up the material win, and score a "positional" win, and allow Red to regain the man, but end up in defeat after all. See it?
No way-Give me the Flash Tutor
White is again a man up, but his piece on 24 is history. After it is captured the piece on 19 is exposed also! Yet a convincing win is at hand. See it?
Much to tough-Bring on Flash Tutor
J. Charles #2

When it comes to shots, A.C. Hews, as mentioned above, is one name that comes to mind. He composed about all shot problems. But so did George Slocum. "Draughts Marvel", (photo from this book) a book that featured short biographies and photos of expert players had this to say about Slocum: "Pen nor tongue fail to describe the beauty, depth and execution of this famous composer's work. The name of Slocum is attached to some of the most deceptive problems in existencebut also some of the best"
A native of Chicago, Slocum's problems began appearing in the last century. Here are some.



See Flash Solution
This is NOT a shot problem. It is instead the beautiful "block" theme, also called "freeze" or "lock" problem. The object is to "block" your opponent's pieces so they cannot move. To capture, or "CONFINE" the pieces so they cannot move, both win. Hint: It is "The Captive Cossacks" theme, also seem in #10.
A shot will win. White is man down and must regain, or lose on material. It seems the white kings will surely capture one of the "loose" Red pieces and at least draw. But a forceful win is at hand for the astute player "pushin" the Red pieces. Got it?
If you have to peek at the solution, don't feel bad. So did I!

I give up! Where is Flash?



Couldn't get this one either. See Flash solution

A man up for Red. But material is not the winning theme. Getting the 1st move right is always essiental, otherwise, if their are 2 correct moves it is known as a "dual", and not in the eye of the composer, a good problem. How to proceed? Ok. 1. Take a "waiting" move. 2. Let white jump. 3. Force a piece to the only safe square. 4. Sacrifice the 1st piece you moved. 5. Give away 3 to get 4, and trap that king on 26!

#4 is very difficult. The pieces are even but white is about to jump the piece on 26. Red must use the "double exposure" at every move, to keep white jumping-into defeat! No problem. Right?


See Solution-wth Flash
In #5, as usual, get the 1st move right. Only 1 move picks up on the right "tempo." If we expose the king on 8, by moving 3-7, then it can go 8-3 or 8-4, to avoid the threat. We must make it go 8-4. So 3-7 is not correct-Yet!.

Almost got it. Let's see Flash " See Flash Solution"
In #6, Slocum shows that shots is no the only theme he dealt with. Instead a cold calculating win is at hand. Here we see the vulnerable piece on 23 that has nowhere to go. If we use the king on 29 to attack it, the Red king must try and defend it. The difficult part is to find that "desperado" move that will win this. You must give 2 away, and make Red lose!

Solution-Let's see Flash solve this one!

S.J. Pickering is another of those names on anybody's top 10 problemist list. He always showed elegant positions that had a lesson to teach. "Modern Magic" is small, almost pocket size book, with a cloth cover, that features 45 diagrams of some of his finest, with solution in the back of the book. A fine little book that can be studied anywhere, anytime-and inexpensive.


Need Flash solution!
In #1 the weak piece is on 11, where if we go 24-19 and hold it there, our king on 5 can drop behind it, for an easy capture. But does Red have any resources to dave the piece and or regain any lost material? Let's go see. Click on solution. What to do. We must identify the situation and attack any weak pieces, with what resources we have. In #2 the weak piece is on 8. If we can threaten it with capture, and make it go all the way to 20, where it will threaten our piece on 24 (assuming we don't move it) then our king can "sit" behind the 2 pieces on 14 and 22, and jump both while Red is getting but 1. An indirect "2 for 1." Gaining material, and winning easily. Let's see this unfold. Click on solution.

Bring on Flash

Ok, no more help! Sight solve the next few Pickering position's if you can-or use "The Flash Tutor."

Pickering #3

Consult with Flash Solution
Is #3: 1. A shot problem?
2. A positional win?
3. By threatening the red single, white scores a fine win.
In #4 white's pc on 22 has a king behind it, and another king on 13 to contain it for capture. With white's king on 3 immobilized, white is hard pressed to even draw.
Pickering #4

Too tough for me.
See "The Flash Solution"