Champion Vladimir Kaplan
One of the best pool checkers champions,
Vladimir Kaplan from 1925 to 2000.
- International Grandmaster who immigrated from Russia in 1977 to live in New York City, New York.
- Pool Checkers
Champion Vladimir Kaplan was a renown Pool Checkers player from the Soviet Union who had reportedly played over 178 International competitive games with only one loss during his checkers career but he had some issues in the International checkers arena as a result of his Jewish background, though specifics were never stated.
- To support his ‘checkers habit’, his wife worked as an accountant on Wall Street.
Champion Vladimir Kaplan became involved in American Pool Checkers shortly after arriving in the U.S. and won the APCA Tournament that was held in July of that year in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Champion Kaplan repeated this
victory in the Pool Checkers tournaments
in 1978 and 1979 in a series of skilled
games at the checkerboard and for the duration
of his short reign on the American Pool
Checkers scene Kaplan did not lose a game.
- Pool checkers
champion Vladimir Kaplan challenged such opponents
as Carl Smith, Elton Williams, and Momodou Faal, but
then he retired from the checkers scene as a player.
- Perhaps his felt his contribution to the realm of Pool Checkers could better be served as a writer and coach because he taught theory and tactics in the homes of many APCA checkers players.
- After his Championship win 1979, Kaplan retired but returned to Chicago numerous times to play exhibition games with ‘Buster’, as they had become really good friends in a short period of time.
- There were numerous times when Vladimir
Kaplan visited Chicago that he would play
checkers with enthusiasts on street corners,
in parks, on the sidewalk, or wherever
a checkers game was in progress; when he
played these ‘street
competitions’, there was seldom
a time when he would lose a game.
- Charles ‘Pecan’ Thompson
also got to know the Russian Grandmaster
well and noted that if champion Kaplan
did lose a checkers game, then it become ‘front
page’ news around the Pool
- Throughout the course of a twenty year
span pool chekers champion Kaplan only
recorded rare losses:
- "Ohio, the Great Mule" defeated Vladimir in one game.
- Moses "Preacher" John won a game; and finally I won one.
- After many losses, Charles ‘Pecan’ Thompson
finally had a victory over Vladimir Kaplan.
- Champion Vladimir Kaplan’s greatest
contribution to the world of Pool Checkers
was his books and miscellaneous writings
that revolutionized the checkers game.
- He published the following books and several pamphlets/booklets that became good reference material for checkers players across the country:
- The Key to a Success at American Checkers: Master the Middle of the Game.
- Strive to Be Superior at American Checkers
- Play Checkers and Win
- American Checkers the Middle of the Game.
- The Art of American Pool Checkers.
- The Tactics of American Pool Checkers.
- Play Checkers and Win.
- Tournament Checkers: An Introduction to Pool Checkers.
- Though checkers champion Vladimir Kaplan
had retired from active tournament play,
he continued to attend the National checkers
tournaments, largely to sell his books,
but at any time he was willing to impart
his knowledge and expertise should a given
problem arise, and according to sources
in the Pool Checkers arena, Vladimir Kaplan
was one of the most accessible players
of his time.
- Even when his health was failing, he was still willing to be a mentor to any player who was trying to improve the checkers game.
- Vladimir Kaplan died in 2000 in the beginning of his winter years and the Pool Checkers arena lost a remarkable man, a great checkers Grandmaster, and a friend to many novice and master checkerists.