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Checker Champion Richard Jordan

About Richard Jordan from 1872 to 1911.

Richard Jordan

One of the greatest checker champion players to come out of the late 19th century was Richard Jordan, another native of Edinburgh, born on November 4, 1872. Jordan’s family background was similar to that of James Ferrie, for his family was of Irish decent that settled in Scotland.

Richard Jordan began to study checkers when he was fifteen, and possessed the same deep interest in the game so that he practiced move after move, and played against numerous different opponents. Within three years, Richard Jordan had won the championship of his native city.

In 1889, checker player, P. Scott, challenged Jordan to a match that ended with a win for Jordan. He scored four wins, while Scott lost each checkers game, and there was only one draw. Following this win, Jordan signed up for the Wyllie handicap medal competition, which was open to all players who had played James Wyllie. Richard Jordan defeated an internationalist and strong checker player, W. Porte, by 2-0-4.

Richard Jordan’s checker abilities were soon recognized by, the energetic secretary of the Edinburgh Draughts Club, J. Whyte. Through Whyte, a match of twenty games was arranged between James Wyllie, the "Herd Laddie", and Richard Jordan. The match was played in Edinburgh during May of 1892, and the purse was £20. Jordan’s excellent caliber of checker play surprised many masters within the checkers world by defeating the old master by a score of 2-1-17. However, Whyte had great faith in Jordan’s checker skill that the win did not surprise him at all.

Later that year in November 1892, Jordan was matched against Robert Fraser, a checker champion of Dundee, and once again the purse was £20. The opponents played the match at Dundee, and Richard Jordan won the match with six wins, two losses, and nine draws.

Up to this point, Jordan’s checker career was progressing well, but then, in 1893, at the first Scottish Championship Tournament, Richard suffered the only setback of his playing career when he lost to Robert Stewart by a score of 1-2-9 and was consequently eliminated in the second round. Richard Jordan was totally displeased with this outcome and immediately challenged Stewart to another match. Robert Stewart agreed and the match was held in the Cooperative Hall, Dunfermline, with a purse of £50. However, during this game series, the tables turned in Jordan’s favor and he won the match easily with a score of four wins, no losses, and thirteen draws.

During the same year, Richard Jordan also played J. C. Brown, known as the "Border Champion", in a match of the best of thirty games and with a purse of £50. These checker games were his and Jordan won them brilliantly with a final result of seven wins, two losses, and seventeen draws.

Throughout his checker career, Richard Jordan certainly proved that he was one of the greatest players in the sport. But the checker master wasn't content to simply play games in and around Edinburgh. Jordan truly made an appearance on the checkers scene in 1896 when he won the World Championship title from James Ferrie, whom Jordan had already defeated in the Scottish Tournament that year. In the championship match, checkers champion Richard Jordan’s play narrowly defeated Ferrie with a score of four wins, three losses, and thirty-three draws.

By this time as champion Richard Jordan captured the world title, the Checker world had changed the style of tourney play from GAYP (Go-As-You-Please) to a 2-move restriction, so that opponents could avoid repeat games and stereotypical lines of play. Richard Jordan played the game in this style and defended his title numerous times, each time recapturing the world checker title. Champion Jordan successfully defended the title against Robert Stewart, Charles Barker of America, and Harry Freedman of Glasgow before he retired as world champion from the World Championship matches in 1903.

However, in 1905, checkers champion Richard Jordan returned to active competitive checker play when he joined the British team to compete against the American checker team in the First International Match ever held. America was not prepared for the innovative skill of champion Richard Jordan as he took the U.S. team opponents with an outstanding score of thirteen wins, no losses, and twenty-seven draws. This result was better than any other competitor in the tournament. The British checker team trounced the U.S. in this international tournament with a score of seventy-four wins, thirty-four losses, and two hundred and eighty-three draws. Out of the ten competitive players, the British team consisted of six checker greats: Richard Jordan (Edinburgh), James Searight (Glasgow), Robert Stewart (Kelty), George Buchanan (Glasgow), James Ferrie (Glasgow) and A. Hynd (born in Dunfermline), Scotland, and a relation of R. Stewart, though he resided in England. The combined talents of these masters indeed brought insight and strategies unique to each of their style of play into the champion checker tournament arena during this match.

Checker master Richard Jordan, was described as a slightly built man with dark hair and eyes. However, his eyes were always alert and his body movements were intuitive, swift, and aggressive in the cross-board play. No opponent should ever underestimate the hidden skill of this checker game champion.

Champion Richard Jordan also enjoyed another board game ~ chess ~ and was also a fine player in this sport, so much so that he often represented Edinburgh in chess matches. Many of his contemporary checker opponents also excelled at chess: James Ferrie was also a first rate player, who also represented Glasgow against Edinburgh. Other notable chess/checker players included A. B. Scott from Govan, Glasgow as well as Americans Harry Pilsbury and Newell Banks.

After finally retiring from checker competition, champion Richard Jordan toured the world, like James Wyllie had done before him, and also enjoyed many exhibition games, wherein he proved himself to be at the peak of his checker game.

During the spring of 1911, Richard Jordan toured the north of England, where he truly demonstrated the high tactical ability of the great checker master he was reported to be:

April 29
at Dinnington
April 29
at Shields
May 3
at Pillars Cafe
May 6
at Stanley
May 6
at Throckley
May 9
at Black Bull Hotel in Wallsend
May 9
at Pillars Cafe in Newcastle
May 9
at Stanley
May 13
at Mickley
53- 1-10
May 13
at King Edward Hotel in Newcastle
May 16
at Working Men's Club in Newcastle
May 20
at Shields

Richard’s total checker score was 472 wins, 10 losses, and 110 draws. He spent the rest of May in lesser engagements at Birtley, Newcastle, and Sunderland, and in June showed his skill in this awesome game of checkers in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, and Morley.

Sadly, master checker player, Richard Jordan, was accidentally struck by a streetcar in his hometown of Edinburgh, and seemingly not seriously injured, was released from the Infirmary. Unfortunately, he suffered a relapse shortly after an operation and died tragically aged 39 in September 1911.

During his brief career, he reigned supreme. His obituary was published in the November issue of"Draught World". His checker games reflected both brilliance and knowledge, and nearly all are recorded in checker literature.

Checkers champion Richard Jordan was buried at the New Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh, but as his family had been left destitute, there is no headstone that marks his grave. However, his legacy lives on today in all the contributions Jordan made to the game of checkers during his brief lifetime.

Of course, if a visitor was really interested to know where Richard is buried, then walk down to the bottom corner of the cemetery and find a stone marked Mrs C. Finniegan near the hedge on the wall. Look behind her headstone and this is where the memory of Richard Jordan, checker master lies.

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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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