History Of The
The game was played as early as 1600 BC in Egypt. Egyptian paintings and
inscriptions show the game was popular at the time of the early Pharaohs.
In 1756 Wm. Payne wrote the first book, in English, on the game containing
50 games and 14 critical positions. These 14 "problems" are still studied
today as knowledge of how to play them is necessary.
- In 1800, Joshua Sturges wrote his "Guide To The Game Of Draughts", and
there followed works by Hay, Sinclair, and large compilations by John
Drummond and Andrew Anderson. These works were analyzed games from beginning
to end, attesting to their analytical skills. Many of the lines laid down
by these pioneers are still faithfully followed toady.
- All this was taking place in Scotland and England, the former being known
as the "home" or birthplace of the game. It was called "Draughts" ( pronounced Drafts) over there,
and still is.
- With all this "book learning" available, great players began to emerge,
Andrew Anderson himself being the 1st world champion.
- Among those who literally put the game on the map, was James Wyllie-"The
Herd Laddie"- of Scotland. He took on all comers, reigned as world champion,
and traveled the world giving exhibitions, playing many boards at the same
time. He was truly the "Babe Ruth" of Checkers and Draughts.
- The style of play in all these years was GAYP ( Go-As-You-Please ) like we
all learned to play, that is just start moving!
- To prevent so many draws and repetitious "book"games, the style was changed
to 2-move restriction in the 1890's. In this style a card is drawn and
dictates the 1st two moves of the game. This remained in effect until 1934
when the even more difficult 3-moves restriction came into vogue, and is
still our official style of play.
- GAYP is still recognized by The ACF, and our National tournaments
alternate between the 3-move style, and the GAYP style, each year.
- 11-man ballot is another way The ACF promotes. In this style, i man is
balloted off the board from each side, determined by draw of a card, and
then the game proceeds as in GAYP, or can proceed with drawing of another
card, to determine the 1st 2 moves.
- Each era has it's truly great players and champions. Dr. Marion F. Tinsley
( 1927-1995 ) is recognized by all his peers as the greatest player of all
time. He lost less than 10 games since the 2nd World War-this in defense
of his World Title, or playing in National Tournaments against the best
players in the world. He won 6 National Tournaments, all without losing a
game, and in his last NT, ( 1994 ) tied for 1st, but fell to 3rd on Honor
Points, a system the ACF employ's to break ties. Even in this ty., though
terminally ill, he never lost a game. The 1994 NT was won by Tinsley's good
friend, Don Lafferty, of Kentucky, with the powerful computer-"Chinook" 2nd.
All 3 were tied for 1st. with Lafferty winning on Honor Points. I had the
pleasure of attending this ty.
- Asa Long is thought to be the 2nd or 3rd best player of all time. Asa won
the National Tournament in 1922 at the age of 18, to become the youngest
player to ever do so. In 1980 he won it again at the age of 76, to become
the oldest to ever do so! In 1984 he won it again (!) for the 6th time in
his fabulous career. Asa is 92 now, and retired. He reigned as World
Champion from 1934 to 1948.
William ( Willie) F. Ryan, Walter Hellman, Edwin Hunt, Nathan Rubin, Basil
Case, Derek Oldbury, and Don Lafferty Leo Levitt and Elbert Lowder get high marks for the "best" of all
time, with several others deserving mention. These men were all associated with the difficult 3-move era,
while the great players from the 2-move era and the GAYP era, played a
less difficult style, making comparisons difficult.
- In 1976. ACF Secretary Charles C. Walker, built the "International Checker
Hall Of Fame", in Petal Ms. Truly a landmark, and visiting site, don't miss
the opportunity to see it!
- Today, tournaments are held all over the world, with local and State
tournaments very popular. In nearly every State a Checker Tournament is
held about every month, with some States even more active. Please see our
"ACF Benefits" page for information on becoming a member. Make the game a
life long pursuit.
- Satisfaction is guaranteed.
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