moveover.doc - M O V E O V E R OR H O W T O W I N A T D R A...

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - M O V E O V E R OR H O W T O W I N A T D R A U G H T S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - By Derek Oldbury BOOK ONE INTRODUCTION What do you think this is? Every time you lose at draughts and ask what in blazes it is all about, not a soul tells you where you can go to find out - even though William Payne wrote the first English book 'Introduction to the Game of Draughts' in 1756. Since then the game has been 'introduced' many times over, but never explained. Ask your friend who plays to lend you a good guide to the game (is it 'You Too Can Win' or 'Never in a Huff'?). He will show you a book - and it looks like a 'bus time-table or perhaps a losing system of betting on horses. You point at the columns of symbols on page after page, and your friend says that these are the best moves to play, neatly tabulated to make happy reading. You ask, then, if all the best moves have been found, and your friend says No. So you ask him how you will know when the book tells the best move, or when there is really some other move that is better. Your friend says you won't know (until you've lost a few games, keeping to the book - that's experience), but that the author is a leading oracle on the game. You ask how many titles this genius has won and your friend says that actually none - but he often tells the Champions where they should have moved, so he must know a lot. You take one more look at the book, and you ask if there is no other way, perhaps a few general principles - strategy and all that? You are repaid by a blighting glance of scorn from your one-time friend. Principles! Don't you know that draughts is so deep, so profound, so - there are no principles; nobody has dared! What do you think it is - chess? He goes on, but you don't listen. Not even when he quotes the beautiful prose of Edgar Allen Poe which says that chess is kids' stuff compared to draughts; nor when he tells you that Lady Hamilton used to show Lord Nelson some good moves, 'twixt battles. You do not faint, even, when he divulges that Rameses III played with Cleopatra, while the slaves built the Pyramids around them, which is possibly not strictly true. You are thinking it would perhaps be droll if you could know the idea behind the game, the master scheme - for of course there must be one; anybody can see that. If you knew, then you could give back the beatings handed out to you by your clubmates. In your mind's eye you see them burying their books in rage while you explain that it is just a matter of applying the theory. But what theory? You could be Champion if you knew. If only you knew.
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CHAPTER ONE I'm not related to Einstein If you want to know about draughts it would not be best to begin at the beginning. If you ask me to tell you the best move to start off your game it is like saying 'Which is the best way to get there?' I reply 'Where?' and you come back with 'Oh, just anywhere!' We would not get very far that way.
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