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Champion Edwin Hunt

Champion Edwin Hunt
Champion Edwin Hunt, from 1902 to 1981.

The turn of the century saw the birth of Edwin Francis Hunt take place on July 9th, 1902, in the town of Jackson, Tennessee. Edwin Hunt moved to Nashville, Tennessee, later in life and this was where he spent his time until his death in April 11th, 1981.
Edwin Hunt succeeded in school and showed his intellectual prowess by graduating with high honors from Vanderbilt University. Hunt later moved into a law career and joined the State’s Attorney General’s office in Tennessee.

Edwin Hunt did first become interested in checkers through casual games with his father and brother, and then later on with members of the strong Nashville club. It didn't take him long to gain experience in checkers games, and then to advance to the expert class. As a result of his expertise in the game and his quality playing, he played the touring English checker master, Alfred Jordan, in 1927. This match ended in a long series of draws. Then checkers game champion Edwin Hunt played against Harry Lieberman in exhibition play. In 1928, champion Edwin Hunt entered his first of five Southern States Checkers Tournaments and was successful in winning them all.
The following year 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. Champion Edwin Hunt 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, J.B. Hanson challenged Hunt to a 24-game subscription match that was hosted by the Louisville, Kentucky players. The checkers game match ended with a result where Hunt won five games, lost one, and drew fifteen. Later, in the same year, he entered the 8th US Open at Jamestown, New York, and this was the first checkers game that Edwin Hunt played in the new 3-move style. Here he was successful by defeating his checker opponents of DeBearn, Apel, and Ryan; however, he also had a loss against Rubin due to a slight oversight on his part. Unfortunately, this was realized too late and cost him the game.

However, checkers game champion Edwin Hunt took the loss in stride and used it to his advantage by taking time to learn from his mistake, and then he moved on to defeat the Detroit Grandmaster Rubin in two successive rounds to win the U.S. championship title. Champion Edwin Hunt later admitted to his checker counterparts and friends that he felt that this win was the greatest victory of his long career.

In 1936, Edwin Hunt challenged world champion, Asa Long, to a 40-game tournament match to be played at West Palm Beach, Florida. However, champion Edwin Hunt lost to Asa Long in this match with by two games with a final result in favor of Long for three wins, one loss, and thirty-five draws.

Unfortunately, however, Edwin quickly realized that there weren't any really strong checkers competitors living in Nashville, and without serious competition to hone his techniques and keep his checker game up to par, his interest in the game waned until the arrival on the checkers scene by young Maurice Chamblee, who was a Vanderbilt student.

Chamblee’s own interest in checkers games was strong and he, too, wanted an experienced opponent with which to play the game so he invited champion Edwin Hunt to a series of practice games. These Hunt won in a decisive manner, but they served to reawaken his interest in checkers again and as a result, in 1946 Edwin Hunt entered the 11th A.C.A U.S. Open at Nashville. Despite time away from the checkerboard, Hunt’s only loss was in an upset to Chamblee. After a long series of twenty draws, Edwin Hunt then proceeded to tie Walter Hellman and was content to remain co-champion of the checker tournament. He allowed his portage, Walt Hellman, the privilege of challenging champion checker master, Asa Long.

Once again, time passed where Edwin faced another long period of checker inactivity, and without the high level of competition, it was difficult for Hunt to maintain his own level of checker skill. Then early in 1960, another checker player, Milton Loew, was transferred to Nashville and he soon persuaded champion Edwin Hunt to play against him a practice match in preparation for Loew’s entry in the U.S. Open tournament of that same year.

Hunt was reluctant at first, since he really hadn't been involved in the checkers circuit for quite a while, but he eventually agreed ~ reluctantly. According to Hunt’s own observation, he noted that the “rust”, due to lack of regular practice in checkers, was evident in the first dozen games or so and as a result, he fell several games behind in the score. However, by the end of the thirty games, he had come back to win and regained a certain amount of expertise and ended several games ahead. He certainly hadn't totally lost his checker prowess, but he needed the competitive edge to bring out the latent checker talent, lying dormant for years.

Also, during this time, Don Lafferty was another Vanderbilt student on the checker scene. He, too, played many practice games with both Hunt and Loew, and together they analyzed each play for weaknesses and strengths, good moves and not so good moves. Milton went on to play Don Lafferty in the 1960 Tennessee Tournament but lost the checker match to Lafferty. Later on, Milton Loew gave Edwin Hunt and Don Lafferty the credit for his victory in the 1960 US Open where he defeated the out of practice checker champion, Asa Long, in two matches.

Finally, at the urging of several friends, including Richard Fortman, George Bass, Ed Scheidt, and Lloyd Taylor, Edwin Hunt was convinced to enter the 1961 Southern States Checkers Tournament. However, Hunt agreed to do this only after a series of practice games with Don Lafferty, a now close friend and checker protege. These practice checker games certainly gave Hunt the confidence he needed, as he played his match against various opponents extremely well. The final outcome ended in Edwin Hunt’s favor and he won the Southern States Checkers Game Tournament over Lloyd Taylor. What a success! This was Hunt’s first tournament win since 1932 and it became obvious that he still had the checker techniques.

Still enamored with the checker mind sport, champion Edwin Hunt entered the 23rd U.S. Open held at Peoria, Illinois, in 1962. However, this checker tournament turned out to be his final checker contest. Edwin was not at all satisfied with his checker play during this tournament because he lost a game to a lower ranked checker player and discovered that he was in two losses to Frazier and Apel, although he drew these games. In the end, Hunt tied the checker tournament with Basil Case for the co-championship, but this was not the result he had anticipated, and indeed, hoped for. This, combined with various ailments, caused Edwin Hunt to withdraw from over-the-board play; however, he maintained a vital interest in the checker sport and still attended the 1964 and 1970 U.S. Open Tournaments.

Although Hunt retired from board play in the game of checkers, he still enjoyed a close association to the mind sport and celebrated his 75th birthday party with checker friends at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just prior to the 1978 US Open checker match that was held there. Edwin Hunt passed away peacefully on April 11, 1981, while reclining in his easy chair in his long-time home in Nashville, Tennessee, while watching the Augusta Master’s golf tournament.

Checkers Game Champion Edwin Hunt’s legacy to the checkerboard arena is clearly seen in his love of checkers and his tournament placements, where he was the successful checkers winner of five Southern States Tournaments, a contender for the World Championship 3-Move title in 1936, and while even having been away from the checkers mind sport game for numerous years, he played in the 7th US Open, won the 8th U.S. Open, became the 11th A.C.A. U.S. Opens co-champion and the A.C.F. 23rd U.S. Open co-champion.








DeerLake Online Store Items

Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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