User Guide

Currently there are three primary tools available here for practicing Checkers. The tactics puzzles should be fun and challenging. The opening explorer shows what openings the experts play and how well they do. And the game search lets you explore the database. I want to add more extensive help files but in the mean time I'll try to answer any questions you post in the forum.

  • Tactics Puzzles (Random Problem)

    These are scenarios taken from games where one player had an opportunity to gain a decisive advantage. Whether or not that player found the right move(s), your task is to grab that opportunity. You won't play the whole game, just long enough to convince the computer you saw the whole combination.

    If you get the problem wrong or are surprised by the computer's chosen defense look to the right for some analysis, it may shed some light on the situation. The main column is a list of moves the computer claims is the best winning line. The 'other tries' and 'defenses' buttons give a list of alternative moves at each step.

    Each alternative move shows four pieces of information; how the computer ranks the move amongst it's choices, the move description , the position's evaluation for the player, and a details button.

    That evaluation is the computers calculation of how good a move is for you. 0's are draws, positive 100 is winning by a full checker, above 1000 the engine 'sees' a forced win to the end of the game.

    Clicking on the details button reveals the computer's best guess as to how play would continue from that point. Hopefully you'll see why the other defenses fail or why the other tries are not as good. Unfortunately in the case of 'database draws' the computer often doesn't give this principal variation and won't be as helpful.

  • Opening Explorer (Database → Opening Explorer)

    This section is primarily useful after you come back from a game. Use the board to plug in the moves made by you and your opponent and watch the win rates on the right.

    If you made a move that few/no experts made it may be a mistake, especially if there are more popular moves. Try to remember the better move and play it next time.

    If you played the opening well but had trouble coming up with a plan afterwards, use the games on the left. Maybe you can borrow a plan for the next time you see that opening.

  • Games (Database → Games)

    This section is primarily for fun and interest, see what you can find. If you have a player whose style you would like to emulate, view and study their games.

    On the left are a list of players for whom I have more than 250 games, sorted by how many games I have.

    Some of my favorites finds:

    • Marion Tinsley has 667 games in the database, 146 wins, and only 16 losses!
    • Asa Long was playing in 1920 and still playing in 1985!
    • The games of Chinook (The Deep Blue of checkers).