My friend Jim Loy sent me these general observations about checkers. I find them quite enlightening:

Among amateurs (beginners to middle of the road Majors), I would say that wins and losses mainly occur because of:

1. Lack of planning.
2. Shots.
3. Failure to realize that we are in trouble.

That third one is very important for tournament players, both Minors and Majors and the very bottom of the Masters.


Among Masters, wins and losses occur in these broad and important categories:

1. Shots and other tactical errors.
2. Ending maneuvering.
3. One or both players king early, and threaten to win pieces from behind.
4. Half-blocked positions in which neither player is going to king soon,
and in which both players will move up most of their back rows to gain time.

Of the four, I am beginning to think that number four is the most common source of wins and losses. I don't know how to improve a person's skill in that direction, except to make them aware that that category is of great importance.


Among the Masters, draws most often occur when:

1. One of the players breaks the tension (much tension or very little tension) by trading into an easy or known ending.

2. The game is still a book draw (sometimes early in the game).


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