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Pool Checkers Player
Iser Koeperman

Pool Checkers Player Iser Koeperman left behind many friends and checkers associates in favor of this new beginning. However, at this stage in his life, although such a move could not have been easy, one thing Iser Koeperman did not leave behind was his inherent love of the game of checkers.

Although checkers player Iser Koeperman, whose name appears to have become Iser Kuperman once he moved to the States and became a US citizen, was the distance of the Atlantic Ocean away from the European checkers scene, he still maintained contact and played in several tournaments in his old stomping grounds. In fact, after his immigration to the US, Koeperman became more active in the Dutch draughts club competitions and in 1979 Iser became a member of the Dutch Lent checkers club. Koeperman became the Champion of the club and attracted such notable master players as Harm Wiersma, Hans Jansen and Frank Drost.

In 1980, checkers player Iser Koeperman was scheduled to challenge Harm Wiersma in the European World Championship match, but a month before the competition, Iser withdrew from the match. Though the reasons for his withdrawal were not completely clear, Ton Sijbrands has noted in his discourse on the Grandmaster player there was an agreement between Koeperman and the organizers of the match to pay Iser 20,000 guiders for his part in the competition, which was perhaps to offset the cost of travel. Something certainly went amiss and player Iser Koeperman withdrew as challenger.

Iser continued to play the mind sport in the International draughts scene of 100 square checkers, but he also discovered a new form of the board game, to which he was immediately drawn. Iser Koeperman turned his attention to the world of American Pool Checkers, which was (and still is) played on the 8 x 8 164-square checkerboard, as in regular American checkers or English draughts. His affiliation with the APCA, or American Pool Checkers Association, created a venue for a new development in his checkerboard skills.

Between 1984 and 1991, pool checkers player Iser Koeperman amassed an incredible record by playing in over 300 games across the southeastern United States. At that time, he was preceded by his Grandmaster reputation as a strong, innovative checkers player. Carl ‘Buster’ Smith had met and played against Iser during his competitive play in European tournaments during the 1960’s and had commented that Koeperman was the greatest checkers player from the Soviet Union. Needless to say, the arena of American Pool Checkers players were not surprised at his high caliber of play and expertise across the checkerboard, even if Iser now faced his opponents over a 64 square board instead of a 100 square checkerboard.

However, the Pool checkers circuit was not prepared for player Iser Koeperman’s dominance in the mind sport. With time, Koeperman would readily defeat his checkers opponents almost before they sat down across from him at the checkerboard. The regularity of his wins almost became a routine for Iser and after a while, a certain apprehension developed within the hearts of Pool players because no checkers player really knew if he actually stood a chance against the the decisive cross board skills and strategies of the Grandmaster player.

Still, because of Iser’s domination of the Pool checkerboard in the APCA tournaments, some private matches were arranged, wherein Koeperman came to the board, defeated the opponent with mastery and finesse and then moved on.
Iser Koeperman won first place and the championship title in the Top Master Division of the APCA in the following National Tournaments:
  • 1984 ~ Nassau, Bahamas ~ defeated champion, Carl ‘Buster’ Smith
  • 1985 ~ Dayton, Ohio

  • 1986 ~ St. Louis, Missouri

  • 1987 ~ Memphis, Tennessee

  • 1988 ~ Detroit, Michigan

  • 1989 ~ Columbus, Ohio

  • 1990 ~ Atlanta, Georgia

  • 1991 ~ Koeperman was defeated by former champion, Carl ‘Buster’ Smith in Los Angeles, California.
Even pool checkers player Iser Koeperman’s attempt to defend his championship title against Carl Smith in 1991 did not record a loss. Consequently, when the report came from Los Angeles, that "Buster" had dethroned the Grandmaster, Iser Koeperman, there was a lot of rejoicing, not only in Chicago, but also, at the Los Angeles tournament as well. Of course, much of this celebration had as much to do with "Buster’s" popularity as Koeperman’s previous dominance in the American Pool Checkers arena.

A prevalent view within the Pool checkers circle had soon developed that recounted the belief that no American Pool checkers player could successfully compete against the former champion from the Soviet Union and win. It was indeed unfortunate that such a perception or misconception had been created because player Iser Koeperman could easily have become an excellent source of checkers expertise from whom even the most novice of players could have learned some solid techniques.

However, by all accounts, there was little doubt that Koeperman played the game of American Pool Checkers better than it had ever been played before or since. In his tribute to Iser Koeperman, Charles ‘Pecan’ Thompson wrote, “And a remarkable characteristic about his play was ‘how’ he played ‘the Game.’ What I mean is, as I studied the games he played, there were no restricted openings. All openings were on the table and were to be used. While other great players usually restricted themselves to a few choice openings, he shrewdly demonstrated that every possible opening had meaning; it and could and should be a part of one’s arsenal and was to be used whenever and wherever most appropriate. For that, I think the, bar was raised. The Game,itself has profited. And for that, we all have benefited. That was his contribution!”

Although Koeperman still participated in the European checkers circuit, the former five time national champion of the Soviet Union, now also turned his attention to the Pan-American competitions. Koeperman participated in the first Pan-American International Championship hosted by Paramaribo, Suriname. Checkers player Iser Koeperman placed 3rd in a field of new opponents and this new checkers arena offered him the opportunity to promote the game of checkers and to train novice players in the strategies of the game.

This checkers circuit also afforded him the motivation to contest for the first place title over the next few years. Iser Koeperman represented the US in the Pan-American Championships held every other year in the West Indies or South America, and won the tournament title in the next three consecutive Pan-American matches following the first checkers championship in 1980.
  • 1983 ~ hosted by US in city of Philadelphia

  • 1985 ~ Ituiutaba, Brazil

  • 1987 ~ Amparo, Brazil

  • 1995 ~ Aquas de Lindoia, Brazil
During the 10th Pan-American Championships of 1999 hosted in Willemstad, Curacao, champion Iser Koeperman placed 2nd just behind Johan Koster from Curacao. Iser did not participate in the 2001 or 2003 Panam tournament, but instead journeyed to Montreal in 2004 for the 2nd Marcel Deslauriers Memorial checkers competition, wherein the Grandmaster checker player participated in a field of sixteen checkerists. He did not want to miss this opportunity to play in the home city of his first World Championship opponent, Marcel Deslauriers.

Iser Koeperman next to Raoul Alias, Curacao at the Marcel Deslauriers
Iser Koeperman next to Raoul Alias, Curacao
at the Marcel Deslauriers Opening Ceremony 2004

Gilles Carisse vs Iser Koeperman
Gilles Carisse
Iser Koeperman

Koeperman displaying his checkers skills
Koeperman displaying his checkers skill
“Just Play”Festival simultaneous games.

Champion Iser Koeperman World Champion Iser Koeperman
Pool Checkers Player Iser Koeperman Russian Grandmaster Iser Kuperman


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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