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Asa Long

Champion Asa Long
and Checkers

Asa Long

Checkers Champion Asa Long and checkers games he played from 1904 to 1999.

Another prominent checker star, who joined the checkers circuit in the 1920’s was Asa A. Long. He was born in Antwerp, Ohio, on August 20, 1904. Later, his family moved to Toledo, Ohio, which was where he resided during his adult life.

Asa first became interested in the game of checkers around the age of twelve by playing a series of friendly checkers games with his father and then later on, he joined the Toledo checker club. In 1920, at age 16, Asa Long entered the Ohio State Checkers Tournament, which he won by defeating Guy Garwood in the finals.

During this year, he also entered his first U.S. Open tournament, which was held at Cedar Point, Ohio. Although he failed to qualify for the masters, Asa Long still managed to defeat several recognized experts such as H.B. Reynolds, Andrew Dossett, and Ralph D Banks.

Asa Long continued to study the game of checkers and practice his skills against other players in the club. In 1921, he played a 20-game exhibition match at Cedar Point against the English Champion, Alfred Jordan. Asa Long lost the match with a score of one win, three losses, and sixteen draws, but he did not let this loss undermine his determination to play an even better game of checkers with technique and subtle strategies. If anything, the defeat helped him to focus on improving his board skills and mastering better moves.

As a result of Asa Long’s resolute desire to hone his checker skills, he won the Ohio State Tournament again in 1922 at the age of 18. Here Asa Long defeated his high school classmate Mike Lieber in the finals.

Later that same year, Asa Long traveled to Boston to play in the 5th U.S. Open checker tournament. Although he lost his game to Louis Ginsburg, Asa came back to defeat checker master, Alfred Jordan, twice. Here, 18 year old, Asa Long, shocked the checker world by winning the 5th National Tournament and taking the title from Jordan. This was a phenomenal achievement for an eighteen year old, and Asa Long was the youngest record to win this checkers tournament. This record still stands today. No one younger than Asa has ever taken the U.S. Open title.

Asa Long 1923 US Champion

In 1923, Asa Long was matched against the 1920 U.S. Champion, John F Horr, in a 40-game match, which was organized in an attempt to determine the soundness of the 4-barred openings to be played by forced ballot. Horr had the advantage in this checkers game because he was a recognized authority on these openings, and the result was that he defeated Long by a score of four games, one loss, and thirty-five draws. However, for every game he played, Asa Long logged the strategies and the moves in his alert mind for later use on the checkerboard.
Unfortunately, Long was not able to enter the 1924 6th U.S. Open checkers tournament because of his educational commitments, and did not play competitive checkers until his part as a team member of the U.S. Team in the 1927 2nd International Match against Great Britain. Here, Asa Long tied Sam Gonotsky’s first place finish with thirteen wins, but he also lost three games, while drawing twenty-four. However, his showing still indicated a strong gaming skill in checkers that he continued to develop in his free time. Like many other counterparts in this mind sport, Asa Long was intrigued by the competitive edge of checkers and the ever-changing environment that often led to surprise wins and losses at the checker-board.
Two years later, Asa Long entered the 7th U.S. Open in 1929, which was again held at Cedar Point, and once more he was successful in his checkerboard skills by defeating Basil Case, Nathan Rubin, and Louis Ginsberg in the finals. The result was another nice checkers win of his second U.S. Open without a single loss of a game.
The following article was written as a commentary on the checkers tournament.


Monday, Aug. 26, 1929
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“A solemn group of sportsmen spent last week sitting in pairs at tables in Cedar Point, Ohio, propelling cylindrical pellets about checkered rectangles, making them sally, mingle, jump one another, then inching them ignominiously back to safe corners. Officials fumed impotently. For 20 hours, four of the most potent contenders in the National Checker Championship piddled thus, played 32 drawn games. Came official threats to limit to 20 the number of games two players could draw without penalty. In the finals, after six draws, Asa Long of Toledo, Ohio, conquered 16-time drawer Louis C. Ginsberg of Brooklyn, N. Y.

Checkerman Long, 24-year-old telegraph clerk, has long been a checker prodigy. At 15 he watched a national tournament knowingly, critically. Irritated, national contenders challenged him to play. He beat them. Two years later he won the U. S. Championship. Two years ago he was on a team, which defeated English invaders. Lacking competition in Toledo, he plays by mail with far-off experts. Once he had a postal game with an Australian which lasted more than a year, ended in a draw.”

Five years passed but then in 1934, he defeated checker great, Newell Banks, in a 40-game match played in Detroit, Michigan, with a score of seven wins, three losses, and twenty-seven draws. This was the first time that a tournament match had been played in the checker style with a 3-Move Restriction and Asa Long won the World Title in this type of checker play.
Two years later, champion Asa Long defended his championship title in West Palm Beach, Florida, by defeating the 8th U.S. Open winner, Edwin Hunt, with a score of three wins, one loss, and thirty-five draws. Champion Asa Long continued on a winning streak in checkers when, in 1937, he won the 9th U.S. Open in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Here champion Asa defeated checker notables, Walter Hellman, Willie Ryan, Ken Grover, and Harold Freyer in a tedious 10-round double knockout tournament. During this tournament, champion Asa Long was nicknamed as the “Iron Man with Iron Lines” in the world of checkers.

Another two years passed in checkers history, but then champion Asa Long returned to the checker scene and checkerboard to once again take the reigns by defeating his opponents in the 10th U.S. Open in Flint, Michigan. Here he challenged and beat other checker contenders Lewis, Freyer, and in the finals, Grover, to win the tournament.

But then another period of checker inactivity in checkers champion Asa Long’s life took place. Finally, however, after an absence of six years from the checkers community, Asa entered the 22nd U.S. Open hosted at Eau Claire, Wisconsin; however, he was leaving a lot to chance to his checkers ability because he was a contender with very little practice or preparation.

At first, Asa was very successful by winning five rounds, but then he drew his match against Lloyd Taylor in round six. In round seven, Asa then won over Milton Apel, but in a shocking upset, he lost his next two rounds to Milton Loew. This did indeed indicate that being prepared was the way to go because Milton had prepared for this tournament with several weeks of hard practice in games against such checkers champions as Edwin Hunt and Don Lafferty.

Later, champion Asa Long challenged Milton Loew for the champion title, but Loew declined to challenge his position, so Long exercised his option as runner-up and played a classic 40-game match against Walter Hellman held at St. Petersburg, Florida. The result of the match was a tie with two wins each and thirty-six draws. In previous title matches, a 10-game overtime was usually played in the event of a tie, but here Asa Long decided that forty games was enough, and the result left Hellman still retaining his title.

Following this match, champion Asa Long seemed to have stepped into another long period of checker inactivity as likely other aspects of his life took greater precedence, but then at the young age of 69, Asa agreed to play as a checkers member on the U.S. Team in the International Match against Great Britain in 1973. This checkers gathering of champions was held at Bournemouth, England.

Even then Asa Long displayed a winning checker technique and his legendary skill by winning seven games, acquiring no losses, and drawing only thirteen games. This international match of quality checker play reawakened and rekindled his checkers passion. The result of this new interest in the game of checkers was that the next year, Asa entered the 1974 U.S. Open held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This tournament hosted a stellar field of checkers champions, against whom Asa was ready to match skill and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, however, Asa drew several rounds and then lost a memorable heat to Leo Levitt, with the end result that he finished in fifth place behind the checkers champions of Marion, Derek, Leo Levitt and Don Lafferty.

But then immediately following this tournament, Asa Long played in the U.S. 11-man ballot tournament, which he won, and then went on during the next year to win over Ken Grover for the World 11-Man Checkers Game Title.

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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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