Checkers Game Player
Asa Long Continued
During 1974, checkers game player Asa Long also played in his only
Florida Open, but as he lost several rounds
to players Marion Tinsley, Derek Oldbury, and Elbert
Lowder, player Asa Long finished in eighth place.
Over the next few years, player Asa Long participated
in a series of tournaments and checkers challenges,
and was indeed successful in some of them, while
in others he was not as fortunate. In 1980, he
entered the 32nd U.S. Open hosted in Longview,
Texas. His checkers skill held strong and he won
over Leo Levitt, Richard Hallett, Elbert Lowder,
Martin, and checker grandmaster, Ed Bruch. In
that same year, Asa played solid checkers in the
Illinois Open at Effingham and tied for first
place with checkers player Don Lafferty. In 1981, Asa challenged
Marion Tinsley for the World 3-Move Restriction
Title at the International Checkers Hall of Fame
in Petal, Mississippi, but checkers player Asa Long lost to Marion
with a score of no wins, three losses, and thirty-four
draws. Then during 1982, Asa Long entered the 33rd
U.S. Open in Tupelo, Mississippi, but unfortunately,
he lost a critical sixth round heat to Derek Oldbury
and ended in fifth place behind Marion Tinsley,
Elbert Lowder, Richard Hallett and Don Lafferty
but ahead of Derek Oldbury and Levitt.
However, in 1983, now aged 79, checkers player Asa Long played
in the 4th International Checkers Match between
the U.S. and Great Britain. This tournament
was held at Petal, Mississippi, and once again,
Asa Long displayed his checkers ingenuity and
technical skill by winning eight games, losing
none, and drawing twelve.
Player Asa Long at, 82 years old
"The Iron Man of Checkers”
prepares to play future World Champion, Ron King,
at Tupelo, Ms., in the 1986 National Tournament.
In 1980, he became the "oldest" to ever win the National Tournament at age 76.
Then, in 1984, he eclipsed his own record, winning it again at age 80.
The 34th U.S. Open, played at Tupelo in
1984, saw Asa Long score one of his greatest
victories at the age of 80. As a result of
an awesome checkers game comeback, he became known
as “The Living Legend” because
he was able to come from two points behind
in the final round to defeat player Richard Hallett.
He also outplayed other checker greats Don
Lafferty, Ed Bruch, Jim Morrison, Markusic
and Fuller. In this same year, Asa tied for
third and fourth place with Gene Zuber, just
behind Elbert Lowder and Don Lafferty in
the Northern States Tournament in Waseuon,
Asa Long again challenged Marion Tinsley in 1985 for
the World 3-Move Title, but the win went to Tinsley
hen the match ended with a score of six wins, one
loss, and twenty-eight draws for Marion.
In 1986, checkers champion player Asa Long registered as a contender in
the 35th U.S. Open held at Tupelo, Mississippi,
and finished third behind Don Lafferty and
Jim Morrison with no lost rounds. This time,
Asa’s checkers prowess successfully
placed him, if not in an overall win situation,
at least ahead of such notable checkers players
as Ron King, Elbert Lowder, Richard Hallett,
Albrecht, Cravens, Markusic, and Freyer.
The following spring in May of 1987, Long entered
the first World Invitational Tournament and
defeated Ron King, Elbert Lowder, Markusic and
Martin in a series of checkers match plays. He
also successfully beat the Irish Champion, Hugh
Devlin, twice in this tournament with the result
that Asa won the tournament title.
Although the checkers master was approaching
the winter years, he still entered the 36th
U.S. Open hosted in Danville, Virginia, in
1988, but was forced to withdraw after the
first round due to an accidental fall that
caused him a fractured ankle. However, this
mishap did not deter the checkerist at all;
in fact, in 1989, checker player Asa Long played in the
5th International Match between the U.S.
and Great Britain held in Weston-Super-Mare,
England. Once again, he displayed his excellent
checkerboard techniques and strategy by ending
with a perfect score of 5-0-15.
However, Long’s checkers career was
not yet over. In 1990, Asa played in the
only Southern States Tournament of his career.
Here, he tied for third and forth place with
Cravens behind Richard Hallett and Ron King
with no lost rounds.
Champion Checker Player Asa Long then entered the final U.S. Open of
his long career played in Tupelo, Mississippi.
He successfully finished officially in third
place in the tournament behind Tinsley and
the Chinook computer
program, but in second place in human standing
behind Marion Tinsley by winning three rounds
and drawing five with no losses. In this
amazing tournament where man and machine
was matched in the great game of checkers,
Asa Long’s checker ability placed
him ahead of other great checkers players
as Richard Hallett, Don Lafferty, Elbert
Lowder, Ed Bruch and the Checkers 3.0 computer
His success in this tournament displayed
his versatility and daring in the game of
checkers, as not many individuals would be
willing to pit their human knowledge and
skill against a computer program that was
hailed as having ‘solved checkers’.
January 1992 saw Asa Long at the age of 88 play
his last competitive checkers match in a 20- game
exhibition contest with the
program at the International Hall of Fame. This
great match ended with a tie score of 1-1-18,
where photos and the checkers games appeared in
the March 1992 issue of the “Checkers” magazine.
Asa Long passes away in 1999 after a long,
mercurial checkers career that spanned an
amazing life with from his early achievement
at the age of eighteen by winning, against
all odds and popular belief, the 5th national
Tournament in Boston, Massachusetts in 1922
to setting another record in 1980 by being
the oldest at 76 to win the National Tournament,
and then again to beat his own record in
1984 by winning the tournament at age 80.
Asa’s record and legacy is listed in the Draughts
section of the Guinness Book of World Records, 1995
edition, on page 236.
oldest national champion, Asa A. Long (b.
20 August 1904) became the youngest US national
champion, aged 18 yr 64 days, when he won
in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on 23 Oct
1922. He became the oldest, aged 79 yr 334
days when he won his sixth title in Tupelo,
Mississippi, USA on 21 July 1984. He was
also world champion 1934-8.“
The following Capsule
Record gives a great indication
of player Asa Long’s amazing checker career:
15 US 3-Move Restriction
Open Tournaments covering 74 years, 1916-1990,
winning 6 and winning one U.S. Open 11-man
4 International Matches between USA and Great Britain, 1927 to 1980
6 World 3-Move Restriction
Title Matches, 1934 to 1985, where he won
two, lost three, and drew one, and then
won one World 11-Man Ballot Match
Won the 1984 British Open