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American Pool Checkers and Champions

An interesting characteristic that has become a part of the American Pool Checkers identity is the creation of nicknames for many of the players. These nicknames are often quick innovative and unique. Some bear witness to the style or personality of the player himself. Also, in the past, mostly men played this form of checkers, though now more women are also stepping up to the checkerboard to try a hand at gaining the ultimate win. Judging by their new monikers, one might contemplate that the names belonged to gangsters, ballplayers, other sports figures, or musicians instead of older gentlemen who while away their time and enjoy a good American pool checkers game at the checkerboard with a friend or family member. Some interesting nicknames include Hit Man, Big Willie, Junebug, Concrete, and Chicken George. Though many other names stand as well, and these players are proud of their nicknames.

A 72 year old former contractor, George Few, held the nickname ‘Concrete’ and in his game, he played hard. Though the game is played for fun, these checkers players take each game seriously and they work hard to achieve a winning outcome.
Since its conception, the Georgia Pool Checkers Association has cultivated nine of the last eleven National Pool Checkers Champions. Calvin "Iron Claw" Monroe, who is now a retired Atlanta firefighter, has had several first place finishes.

Calvin “Iron Claw” Monroe vs Michael “Draw Man”

Calvin “Iron Claw” Monroe vs Michael “Draw Man” Jordan
Henry Miller in gray shirt & Robert Ringer watch the pool checkers action.

Monroe, an American Pool Checkers Champion, learned the intricacies of a subtle game of checkers when he was a boy hanging around his uncle's store in Anniston, Alabama. After he moved to Atlanta, he found it a soothing and relaxing pastime activity during his twenty-three years with the local Fire Department.

"Checkers was a form of therapy for me. Firefighting is a stressful job. I saw dead bodies and all sorts of things. Playing this checkers game was like going fishing."

Calvin Monroe always considered himself to be a solid checkers player; however, he didn't achieve Grandmaster status until he befriended Vladimir Kaplan, a Russian immigrant in Brooklyn, New York. Kaplan had won multiple titles in the arena of Pool Checkers and for a number of years, Monroe had the opportunity to study the game under Vladimir Kaplan either in person or over the phone.

Although Checkers and its variants is extremely popular in Europe, with the exception of Vladimir Kaplan and Iser Koeperman, and perhaps an occasional checkers player from abroad, American Pool Checkers in the US had traditionally been the province of black checkers players, so it was a rare opportunity for Monroe to learn from a European Grandmaster.

The following scene is indicative of many similar situations in American Pool Checkers across the country. It might be a lazy Sunday afternoon after church, or an evening activity after work, and yet again, a tournament weekend at the checkers club. People are into their strategies at the checkerboard and eager spectators watch the display.

For Calving “Iron Claw” Monroe, it is a typical afternoon at the club, and he is locked in a tense match with an old nemesis, Michael "Draw Man" Jordan, who is a former Greyhound driver known for his ability to snatch stalemates from the jaws of defeat.
"He's like Holyfield," Monroe says. "You hit him and he hits back hard."
Jordan doesn't look up. After winning a couple of games and eking out a few draws, he's lost four straight and is focused on avoiding a fifth. One more defeat and he'll have to buy everyone a snack or a drink ~ house rule.

But they don't call Monroe "Iron Claw" for nothing. When he clutches his fifth straight game, he doesn't whoop or pump a fist. He lifts his large, intense eyes from the board and fixes them on his opponent.

"Peanut butter crackers would be good," he says.
That's Pool Checkers for checkmate!

In one tournament, Albert "East Point" Barnett, who remodels homes, won second place but believed that if he had tried a little harder, he would have succeeded in first place. Barnett had already won six tournament titles and a seventh would not have hurt his pride at all. He plays out of Atlanta, and believes that all the best Pool checkers players reside in his home city. Some players would like to see that change. Barnett, whose six titles have netted him six $500 checks, would welcome more diversity in the Pool Checkers tournament arena, if only to increase the prize awards at the National tournament level.

"We need more white people playing American pool checkers. When white people get involved in something, they figure out a way to make money at it. Shoot, I'd go pick 'em up and throw 'em a cookout if we could get more white people to play."
However, there are still members within the checkers association who are content to leave things the way they are with the same old guys enjoying the same old game in the same old neighborhood.

Within the local clubs of the American Pool Checkers association, the game rules are distinctive so that the players can enjoy a faster, more challenging contest than the ones regular checkers provides. In Pool Checkers, unlike Straight Checkers, uncrowned pieces can jump forward and backward and kings can range the length of the board, jumping pieces several squares away, which makes for quicker movement across the checkerboard, according to Pool Checkers players. This, of course, is open to debate between the two factions of American ‘Straight’ Checkers and American Pool Checkers.

Moreover, the club rules are also distinctive: no swearing, no drinking, no drugs and no gambling. Sounds like heaven or a place close to it. The ‘old timers’ from eras gone by were definitely rigid about these policies because they did not want any distraction from their ‘leisurely’ games of checkers.

Many, like Barnett, still reminisce about the ‘old times’ of days gone by when two pool checkers players could pick up a checkerboard and play a quiet checkers game anywhere they felt inclined, as in a barbershop or under the shade of a tree. Life was simple then, but rules have changed over the years and the checkers clubs are where the action now takes place.

Inside many of these establishments, a visitor will find old photographs on the walls paying tribute to the achievements of past members or winners and many a checkers champion may be the masters of this fading domain.

The Atlanta Pool checkers club once held a membership of over one hundred, but with time, this number dwindled as the passion for the checkers game faded. The younger generation did not appear to be interested in taking up the checkers standard and some of the clubs actually began to die out. However, in recent years there appears to have been a resurgence of interest in the mind sport called checkers as new promotion is taking place because of its inherent skill set, and new faces are stepping into the checkers clubs for a taste at the checkerboard. A greater number of younger minds are finding checkers as a good outlet for analytical development and are realizing that there is a challenge deep within the complex plays if one chooses to search for them. Furthermore, more women are also looking at the American Pool Checkers game as a method of leisurely enjoyment and fellowship.

In the realm of American Pool Checkers, however, most of the membership still appears to be past retirement age, though a fair number of players are also in their forties and fifties. However, the game needs greater promotion to bring in the young minds from adolescence to adulthood.

Pool Checkers American Pool Checkers Leisurely Checkers Pastime
Pool Checkers Player Carl Buster Smith Pool Checkers Champions Pool Checkers Champion Momodou
Checkers Champion Barnett Pool Checkers Champion Vladimir Kaplan James Searles Pool Checkers 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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