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Checkers Game
Champion John McKerrow

Champion John McKerrow played a fine checkers game and lived from 1816 to 1910.

One of Scotland's strongest checkers players during the mid 19th century was purported to be John McKerrow, who also resided in the town of Douglas. Like many of his contemporary checkers game players, McKerrow’s career was centered around the weaving and cloth trade in the community of Lanarkshire and the surrounding area. He was a tweed merchant and peddler, who carried locally produced cloth for sale all over the country. John McKerrow lived most of his life next to Robert Martins who was also involved in the same business.

John McKerrow’s life was focused around the area of Scotland where his family roots appears to have been established generations before. It is assumed that his parents both came from the Douglas area. McKerrow was married twice ~ his first wife was Jean Sloan, and his second wife was Christine Aitken.

John McKerrow was noted to be a master checkers game player and twice played against Robert Martins. In each instance, the checkers match took place in Glasgow. In 1858, the first match was played for the championship of Scotland and England and the purse was £100. Unfortunately, the outcome was a draw. The second match was played in 1859 for a purse of £200, and this time it produced a winner. Robert Martins won with ten games, six losses, and thirty-six draws.

As well as a strong and respected checker opponent, John McKerrow was also highly valued as a match second; even the great Andrew Anderson used his services in this capacity. McKerrow also wrote numerous accounts on the checker game, especially noted in his version of the Wyllie – Anderson matches, in which John McKerrow acted as second to Anderson.

John McKerrow’s primary legacy in the world of checkers was his writing skills and subsequently, his wonderful letters to the Scottish Draughts Quarterly and Draughts World at the turn of the century. His accounts truly bring to life the essence and atmosphere of a checker match, and this in itself as well as the quality of the description is quite amazing considering that John McKerrow was a working class man with no real formal education. John McKerrow captured several moments in history with his wonderful insight into the checkers game between the masters of the game.

When John McKerrow wasn't playing checkers or writing about the game, he joined his close friend, John Drummond, in hustling the poor English for money. They would travel south into England and play against unsuspecting opponents using aliases, and often would trounce different players for winnings.

October 12, 1910, saw another great checker master pass on at the tender age of 84. He is also buried in the Old St Bride's Cemetery, Douglas, near the plot of his old friend and opponent, Robert Martins. Though John McKerrow may not have left as great a mark on society of that time, he is still remembered as one of the 18th century’s noted checker champions and writer.

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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