We’ve already discussed shots starting from squares 31 (Napoleon’s shot) and 32 (Beginner’s shot). The next thing I’m going to do is to introduce a shot, that starts from square 33. It’s called “the Bridge” and it’s very useful.
Look on the diagram below. White’s position is quite strong in the center and he has an opportunity to finish this game quickly. White is to move. Do you see what he should do?
The best move here is 28-23.
Why? Because it forces Black to move his piece back from the square 29 to 18 (28×18). And after the capture situation will look like this.
White is ready for another sacrifice. He plays 36-31.
Black is forced to capture forwards (26×37) but this is not a final destination of lonely black stone. Do you see where it goes?
White makes another sacrifice – 38-32.
The lonely black stone is forced to jump again (37×28).
And this way White build his bridge to victory. All he has to do now is to capture three pieces (33x22x13x4) and land in the king’s row.
This shot is called “The Bridge”. White don’t gains numerical superiority, but he gains a King. You can see this shot on video to better understand how it works.
Bridge shot – how it works?
- If the shot is made by White, it starts from square 33 and usually ends on square 4 or 15.
- If the shot is made by Black, it starts from square 19 and usually ends on squares 47 or 36.
- The final shot starts from the middle, goes left and turns right after the first jump.
Analysis of the presented example
In the example shown below White player performed the following operations.
- He moved one enemy man to square 19
- He moved one enemy man to square 28, but this task required two sacrifices.
Now, look at the initial position shown below to understand how the White player “saw” this combination in his mind. Squares marked in blue show points of final jump. Red lines show how Black men should be transported to make a final jump possible. Red squares indicate sacrifices.
Bridge for Black
The black player may also build a bridge. Look at the situation shown below. What should Black do? It’s easier to guess if you know that shot will start from square 19. You can also guess that Black must transport an enemy piece to squares 23 (because the rest of the bridge is already built at squares 33 and 42). So what Black has to do?
The answer is: Black must play 23-28! White is forced to answer with 32x23x14 so Black sacrifices two pieces at the start. But now he may play 13-19 and this forces White to play 14×22. The bridge is built!
Black makes a final shot – 18x29x38x47.
Bridges are quite common in practice. Theory of these shots was developed by Isidore Weiss (1867-1936) who is considered the first world champion in draughts and won eight world championships in total (from 1894 to 1909).
To be more precise, some sources indicate Anatole Dussaut as a first world champion, but Dussaut won three tournaments from 1885 to 1894 that were in fact only international tournaments held in France. They are sometimes called world championships because all leading players were present there.
What’s interesting, Weiss was known as a player who downplayed the importance of openings. He used to say: “No matter how you played in the opening. It’s important what continuation you’ll found”. You have to admit that Bridges are great continuations and it’s a good idea to look for them in your games.
In this lesson you’ve learned a Bridge shot that can be made from squares 33 for White and 19 for Black. It usually occurs in the middlegame.
- 28-23 29×18
- 36-31 26×37
Example for black:
- … 23-28
- 32×14 13-19
- 14×22 18×47
Previous parts of this tutorial
- International Draughts tutorial p. 1. Strategy basics
- International Draughts tutorial p.2. Notation
- International Draughts tutorial p. 3. Introduction to shots on devilish example
- International Draughts tutorial p. 4. Napoleon’s shot
- Draughts tutorial p. 5. Beginner’s shot