The Rise and Fall of Checkers Champions: 1962-1996

As in all games of wit and skill, checkers produced great champions who tried to stay on top. But fate always has a way of tilting the balance of championships to give way to new blood. Here are some events that led to the rise and fall of checkers champions.

We start in the years 1962 to 1967. These were grand year for Walter Hellman, an American champion. He won over veteran champion Asa Long of the US in 1962 after a long series of games Hellman won against other players. He had defeated Long in 1948. Then Hellman also defeated Derek Oldbury of England in 1965 and then American Eugene Frazier in 1967.

In 1973, the Third International Match, the American team lambasted the English team, winning two times in all so far during the 3 international matches. Great Britain won the first. But in the same year, 1973, the Americans lost in the individual category due to Hellman's worsening health condition. Finally, the death blow was dealt and eliminated Hellman for life in 1975. It was America's Marion Tinsley who took over from him. He defeated Hellman once in 1955.

Then Tinsley won over Elbert Lowder of the US and then Long in the year 1981. Two years after, 1983, the US team won again against the English team in the Fourth International Match, having a total 3 wins so far. Again, in 1985 Tinsley won over Asa Long. He had been world champion in 1934, His last match was with Tinsley in 1985. One of his qualifications was being champion of the US National Championship.

Checkers champion Tinsley also succeeded against American Don Lafferty in 1987. When Tinsley finally retired in 1991, Oldbury became world champion by wining the match against American Richard Hallett. Oldbury retired in 1994—for good—due to death. Then that year English player William Edwards lost to Ron King alias Barbados.

In 1995 the greatest checkers champion in history, Marion Tinsley, died. And in the same year the US team again easily demolished the English team in the Fifth International Match. The following year, 1996, Ron King played against Don Lafferty ending up in a tie and maintaining the title. During this time the 3-move restriction rule was popular and there were two categories: the Go-As-You-Please world titles and the Mail Play titles.

Thus were the events that led to the ascension of checkers champions to fame and the descent of the same to oblivion, even to their demise.




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