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Dr. Marion F. Tinsley
*FAMOUS CHECKER PLAYERS

Walter Hellman
Presented by the ACF: March 27, 1997. Courtesy of Don Lafferty.
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Edwin Hunt


A biography by Richard Fortman

Edwin Francis Hunt was born March 12, 1902 in Jackson, Tennessee and later moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he resided the rest of his life. He was a graduate of Vanderbilt University with high honors and later practiced law in the State's Attorney General's office.

He first became interested in the game through casual games with his father and brother and later with members of the strong Nashville club after which he soon advanced to the expert class. In 1927 he played the touring English master, Alfred Jordan, a long string of draws and also met Harry Lieberman in exhibition play. He entered his first of five Southern States Tournaments in 1928, all of which he won.

He entered his first US Open in 1929 at Cedar Point finishing in 5th place winning over such masters as Louis Ginsberg and H B Reynolds, but losing to Nathan Rubin and in a surprising upset to Guy Garwood of Ohio. He defeated H B Reynolds in a subscription match also at Cedar Point in 1933, 3-1-11 where I had my first opportunity to meet him beginning a friendship that endured until his death.

In 1934, he was challenged by J B Hanson to a 24 game subscription match hosted by the Louisville, Kentucky players with Hunt winning 5-1-15. He entered the 8th US Open at Jamestown, New York in 1934, the first played on the new 3-move style. He defeated DeBearn, Apel and Ryan while losing to Rubin on an oversight. He then went on to defeat the Detroit Grandmaster Rubin in two successive rounds to win the US title. Many years later he told me he considered this the greatest victory of his long career.

In 1936, he challenged world champion Asa Long to a 40 game match played at West Palm Beach, FL with Long winning 3-1-35. With no strong players living in Nashville, his interest had waned until the arrival of young Maurice Chamblee, a Vanderbilt student, who invited Mr. Hunt to a series of practice games won by Hunt in a decisive manner. His interest again awakened and he entered the 11 ACA US Open at Nashville in 1946. His only loss was in an upset to Chamblee, but he went on to tie Walter Hellman after a long string of 20 draws to be co-champion and allowed his protege, Hellman the privilege of challenging Long.

After another long period of checker inactivity, Milton Loew was transferred to Nashville in early 1960 and persuaded Mr. Hunt to play him a practice match in preparation for Loew's entry in the 1960 US Open. As Mr. hunt wrote me, he was reluctant at first, but agreed. He said the "rust" was evident in the first dozen games as he fell several games behind in the score, but at the end of 30 games, he was several ahead. Also, during this time, a Vanderbilt student, Don Lafferty played many practice games and analyzed with both Hunt and Loew. Loew gave Hunt and Lafferty credit for his victory in the 1960 US Open where he defeated the out of practice Asa Long twice even though Loew had previously lost to Lafferty in the TN Ty the same year.

At the urging of several of his friends, Geo. Bass, Ed Scheidt, Lloyd Taylor and myself, he decided to enter the 1961 Southern States Tournament, but only after a series of practice games with his close friend and protege, Don Lafferty. Satisfied with this, he won this Southern States Tournament over Lloyd Taylor, his first since 1932!

He then entered the 23rd US Open at Peoria, Illinois in 1962 in what proved to be his final contest. Although tieing with Basil Case for the co-championship, he was not satisfied with his play losing a game to a lower ranked player and discovering he was in two losses to Frazier and Apel, although he drew these. Troubled with various ailments, he withdrew from over-the-board play, however maintaining a vital interest attending both the 1964 and 1970 US Open Tournaments. A number of his friends hosted a 75th birthday party at Murfreesboro, Tennessee just prior to the 1978 US Open held there. He passed away on April 11, 1981 while reclining in his easy chair watching the Augusta Master's golf tournament.

Capsule Record

  • Played in the 7th, won the 8th, co-champion in the 11th ACA US Opens. Co-champion in the ACF 23th US Open.
  • Winner of 5 Southern States Tournaments.
  • Contender for the World 3-move title in 1936.
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