Slocum strokes



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Index by “Finale”

A Measure of Finishes Slocum Favored


Slocum had a special appreciation for certain types of closures, such as the Block and the Fork, presumably because they were all shorthanded wins.


Type of Finale

Composition Number

Block

37,41,41A,56a,76,79,104,106a

Clean Sweep

67a,68

Escape

45,53b,57,103a,109,110

First Position

9,31,53a,81,102

Fork

2,3,12,13,14,19,26,28,29,59,86,106b

Grip

43

King Superiority

97

Lock

16,66,70

Numerical Superiority

1,17,18,24,27,34,42,46,47,48,61,74,75,88,89,92,93

Recovered Piece

35,62,82,90,108,109


See-Saw

6,80,83,84,87A,96,99,100

The Move

4,5,7,8,10,11,15,20,21,22,23,25,30,32,33,36,37,38,39,40,41,41A,44,47,49,50,51,52,54,55,58,60,63,64,65,66,67,69,71,72,72a,73,77,78,82,85,87,91,94,95,98,100,101,102,103b,105, 107,110


Index by “Standard Positions

A Measure of Slocum’s Practicality


Slocum was a master of many standards positions. In fact, he invented the Crocodile Stroke, although he was not credited for it (until now).
Those who find it difficult to study Standard Positions may find Slocum’s approaches to them more entertaining. Slocum used them to make some of his compositions even more difficult.


Standard Positions

Composition Number

American Position

87,92

American without the Move

100

Avoiding American Position

87A

Brooklyn Stroke

46

Captive Cossacks

9,72,81

Crocodile Stroke


44,47,55

First Position

9,31,53a,81,102

Milligan’s Draw

71

Payne’s Lock

16

Payne’s Double Corner Draw

7thInterlude,80,83

Payne’s Single Corner Draw

52

Sturges’ Grip

43



Indexed by “Size of Problem”

A Measure of the Complexity or Simplicity of the Setting


Slocum covered the gamut from 2 x 2s to a 12 x 12.with 4 x 4s appearing most often.
In 8 of his settings, White started a piece down.


Number of Pieces

(Red x White)

Composition Number

12 x 12

48

10 x 10

97

9 x 8


46

8 x 8

4,13,41

7 x 8

19

7 x 7

22,37,60,86,107

7 x 6

41A

6 x 7

10,14

6 x 6

8,17,20,29,39,50,51,85,88,106b

6 x 5

47

5 x 6

7,15,18,21,34,38

5 x 5

5,6,23,28,30,31,32,33,55,61,67,73,93,106a

4 x 5

2,12,65,67a,81,82,91,104,108

4 x 4

1,9,16,24,25,26,27,35,36,44,45,56a,57,66,68,70, 74,77,92,94,98


4 x 3

42

3 x 4

58,75,89,105

3 x 3

3,43,49,54,63,64,69,71,79,80,90,95,96,99,100,109

3 x 2

53a,72,76,83,103b

2 x 3

52,101,103a,110

2 x 2

11,40,62,72a,78,84,87,87A,102



Index by “Length of Solution”

A Measure of Solution Depth


Slocum’s compositions covered the gamut from sight-solvers to analytical monsters.
But the majority of them required 4 to 6 White moves to complete the specified win or draw.


Number of

Optional White

Moves and Jumps

Composition Number

36

70

19

54


16

80

13

42

12

6,63,71,87,105

11

24,64,102

10

38,49,92

9

58,69,78,79,96,100,109,110

8

1,35,72,83,87A,99,101

7

22,23,25,30,31,33,40,41,43,52,65,85,90,106a,107,108

6

7,9,10,11,12,19,29,34,37,46,50,51,53a,57,60,61,67,73,94,104, 106b

5

5,8,13,14,18,20,27,28,32,36,39,48,72a,82,84,86,88,91,93,98,103a103b

4

3,4,15,16,17,21,41A,44,45,56a,62,66,67a,68,75,76,77,81,89,95, 97

3

2, 26,47,55

2

74



Index by “Star Moves as a Percentage”

A Measure of Solution Tightness


Most Slocum problems require White to make 100% star moves.


Star Moves, % of Total, Excluding Forced Jumps

Composition Number

100.0

(Perfection)



2,3,4,5,8,11,12,14,16,18,19,20,21,22,25,26,27,28,32,35,3741,43,44,47,49,50,51,53a,55,56a,58,60,62,66,67,67a,68, 72a,73,74,75,76,77,81,84,85,87,88,89,90,91,93,95,96,97, 98,99,101,106a,106b,108, 109

91.7

105

90.9

64

87.5

1,87A

85.7

23,30,31,40,52

83.3

9,10,29,34,46,57,61,94

81.8

102

80.0


36,39,48,86,103a

77.8

79,100,110

75.0

15,41A,72,83

71.4

107

68.4

54

66.7

7,42,63,92,104

61.5

6

58.3

71

57.1

65

55.6

78

50.0

17,80

44.4

69

42.9

33


40.0

13,103b

33.3

38

25.0

45

22.2

70

18.2

24

0.0

82

Indexed by “Flaws

A Measure of Imperfection


Only 4% of Slocum’s compositions proved unsound. In another 12% of them, dual solutions were found. Minor improvements are possible in a number of others. Most of these flaws were discovered with the aid of computers long after Slocum’s generation had passed away.
Considering the degrees of difficulty for which Slocum strived and his lack of computer assistance, his success ratio was excellent.


Flaws

Composition Number

Credit Confusion

28,44,53a&b,56a,56b,71,79,83,102

Dual Solutions

7,15(2duals),23,24,30,31,34,39,40,41A,61(?),70, 104,110(2)


Missed Better Setting

6,13,36,41A,44,46,61(?),98

Missed Better Attack

33,90,109,110

Missed a Strong Defense

40,105

Theme not Original

9,16,43,46,52,56a,71,79,80,81,83,87,102

Unsound Solution

17,33,38,45,78


Indexed by “Landmarks

A Measure of the Memorable Properties of Some Slocum Problems




Landmarks

Composition Number

Mirror Positions

89,90

Piece-down Wins

41A,42,46,47,53a,72,76,103b

Rare Moves

26,67,102,107

Reverse Jumps

33,67

Single Tops King

13,44,53a/b,103a/b


Slocum Corrects Others

7thInterlude,85,9thPublished Game(1898),93

Sub-setting of Parent

71,72a,83,101

Twister Moves

100,102,109

TERMINOLOGY
Since Mr. Slocum was a professional musician, some attempt will be made here to describe some of his “compositions” in musical terms. Send comments and corrections to wjsalot@comcast.net
Accompanist: One who provides accompaniment to a solo
Back and forth: A motif whereby a piece is pitched, forced, or voluntarily moved first in one direction and then in the opposite direction
Block: A finale in which the opposing pieces cannot move
Breeches: A king inserted between two opposing pieces, such that the king is assured of jumping one or the other
Cacophony: Harsh discord
Captive Cossacks: A finale in which a king squeezes one opposing single piece, in such a way that a second opposing piece must also be sacrificed
Composition: An intellectual creation
Counterpoint: A complementing or contrasting idea
Crescendo: Increasing loudness
Discord: Lack of harmony
Dissonant: Discordant; harmonically unresolved
Encore: Reappearance
Entrée: The first pitch of a stroke
Epiphany: Sudden manifestation or perception; the final jump of a stroke

Episode: An intervening part between repetitions of the main theme

Finale: That which follows the epiphany
Fork: A finale in which a single king pins 2 opposing pieces, like 2 morsels impaled on the prongs of a single fork, resulting in both morsels being devoured. The term was coined, in this context, by Nathan Rubin in his Mercury column, around 1940
Genre: A category of composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
Grip: A finale in which a king and a single piece, or two kings, restrain three opposing pieces, such that two of the restrained pieces must be sacrificed in order to release the grip
Harmony: Pleasing arrangement
In and Outer: A pitch or forced steal that obligates an opponent’s single piece to jump in and out of your kingrow on different turns. (It generates a free move for the initiator.)
Interlude: Light entertainment between presentations
Improvisation: Fabrication out of what is conveniently on hand
Litany: Repetition
Lock: A finale in which a single king pins three opposing pieces, such that the pinned pieces cannot free themselves
Mirror Position: A position on the Single or Double Corner side of the board, which if set up on the other side would demonstrate the same motif
Motif: Central idea for development, recurring in multiple compositions

Move: The relocation of a piece in accordance with the rules of the game of Checkers; also see “The Move”




  • Forcing Move: A move that is not a pitch, but is so strong that it allows only one reasonable response, such as a press, squeeze, or threat



  • Free Move: A move made possible when the opponent cannot respond because of a pending obligatory jump; domino pitches, forced steals, and in and outers generate free moves.





  • Star Move: The only move that will achieve the specified result. A non-optional jump is never a star move.

  • Twister move: A move that is correct when played in one variation but incorrect if played in another.




  • Waiting Move: A move that has no other purpose than to let the opponent choose the continuation

Piece: A man or a king in the game of checkers

Pin: A situation where the pinned opposing piece cannot escape without being jumped

Pitch: A non-jumping move that forces the victim to jump one or more pieces (It may or may not initiate a stroke)




  • 2-way or 3-way Pitch: A pitch that gives the victim 2 or 3 ways to jump, each leading to a different epiphany




  • Attacking pitch: A pitch that offers the victim a choice of jumps and threatens an immediate counter-jump if the pitched piece is not taken




  • Buried pitch: A direct pitch that cannot immediately be jumped.




  • Direct Pitch: Moving a piece directly in front of an opposing piece so that the opposing piece is forced to jump it




  • Domino pitch: A pitch of a piece from the leading edge of a lineup of pieces, such that the opponent is obligated to jump on consecutive turns, like a string of falling dominoes (It generates one or more free moves for the initiator).




  • Slip pitch: Movement of a supporting piece to one side, forcing the opponent to jump into or through the vacated square

Pocket: A king inserted into a triangle of 3 pieces, such that the king is assured of jumping one of the pieces

Prelude: Introductory action preparing for what follows

Press: A type of forcing move





  • Double Press: A forcing move where a king simultaneously contacts two opposing pieces from behind, so as to assure that one of them will be jumped.




  • Slip Press: A forcing move where a king already is in contact with an opposing piece from behind, and another piece, in frontal contact with that opposing piece, moves away, thus activating the king’s press from behind

Repertoire: Supply of skills and devices a person is prepared to use


Setting: The arrangement of pieces on a checker board
Squeeze: A type of forcing move


  • Direct Squeeze: A forcing move that inserts a piece between an opposing piece and either another piece or a side of the board, so as to force the opposing piece to move out of the way or be jumped




  • Slip Squeeze: A forcing move where a piece already is between an opposing piece and either another piece or a side of the board, and another piece, in contact with that opposing piece, moves away, thus activating the squeeze

Sight-Solver: A composition so simple that it should be mentally solved without moving any pieces; also a solver who does exactly that


Single Tops King: A landmark position where a single piece proves stronger than it would if it were a king
Steal: A jump that results from a press or squeeze


  • Breeches Steal: A steal achieved by a king squeezing into a pair of breeches


  • Captive Cossacks: A steal where a king squeezes one piece and the opponent must move a second piece into the path of the jump, thus giving up two pieces





  • Forced Steal: A situation where the victim is forced to threaten a steal, and is then permitted to take it (It generates a free move for the permitter)




  • Pocket steal: A steal achieved by a king squeezing into a pocket




  • Threatened Steal: A press or squeeze that threatens a steal, but gives the opponent the option of avoiding it or forcing it

Stroke: A jump on a single turn, or jumps on consecutive turns, by the victim, immediately followed by a final decisive jump by the initiator.




  • Compound Stroke: A stroke in which one multiple jump triggers another (sometimes called a rebound stroke)




  • Deferred Stroke: A stroke preceded by one or more forcing or waiting moves




  • Pure Stroke: A stroke with no prelude, consisting of only pitches and jumps




  • Slocum Stroke: A particularly deceptive deferred stroke

Theme: The subject of a composition


“The Move”: The timing property which, under the right circumstances, allows one side to pin opposing pieces (sometimes called “The Opposition)
Threat: A forcing move that, without contacting an opposing piece, forces that piece to move




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