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Champion Marion Tinsley
Checkers Game

Champion Marion Tinsley

from 1927 to 1995

Most checkers experts consider Marion Tinsley to be the greatest checker player in the history of this great mind sport. When his total game record in all levels of competition is reviewed, it is easy to see how such a statement could so readily and so emphatically be made.

Checkers Game Champion Marion Tinsley was born in Irontown, Ohio, on February 3, 1927. Like many of his checkers counterparts and Grandmasters of the game, Tinsley became interested in the checkerboard early in life. It is said that Marion Tinsley was a rather mediocre checkers game player as a child, but then at the age of 14, Marion Tinsley soon became enthralled with the study of the game. While looking for a book on mathematics as he was researching a math problem, Tinsley stumbled across two checkers books at the Ohio State University library; one was by Millard Hopper, and the other source was James Lee’s famous ‘Guide to the Game of Checkers’. These books truly fascinated the young mind and spawned both a deep interest in the game as well as an active checkers career that would span forty-five years of the master’s life.

Tinsley possessed an amazing memory and unusual analytical skills, which certainly contributed to his checkers game wins early in his career. His phenomenal record indicates that he won virtually every Ohio State and Cedar Point champion checkers tournament in which he participated at an early age.

In 1947 Marion Tinsley became the United States Junior Checkers Champion by defeating Maurice Chamblee in a match played at Cedar Point, Ohio. The end result was that checkers champion Marion Tinsley scored three wins, lost two games and played twenty-five draws.

Then at the age of 21, Dr. Marion Tinsley entered the 1st ACF National 3-Move Restriction Championship Tournament held at Brownwood, Texas, in 1948. During this tournament checkers match, champion Marion Tinsley did not lose a single game. Marion won the tournament and became the U.S. Masters Division Champion.

Right from early in his checkers career, Champion Marion Tinsley displayed a tenacious streak at the checkerboard as he showed himself to be a fierce competitor who acknowledged that he hated to lose more than he loved to win.

He developed a virtual obsession for a checkers game, where its appeal never ceased to captivate him.
“Checkers can get quite a hold on you,” he once said. “Its beauty is just over-whelming ~ the mathematics, the elegance, the precision. It’s capable of wrapping you all up.”

This great checkers champion Grandmaster was sometimes listed as “Dr. Marion Tinsley” because despite his love of the mind sport, he still took time to complete his studies. He acquired a Doctorate in mathematics and worked as a Professor of Mathematics at the Florida State University in Tallahassee and at the A & M University in Florida.

Champion Marion Tinsley was known to have spent many hours studying the game of checkers in his youth but he also stated at one time that he had spent approximately ten thousand hours studying checkers while in graduate school. Now that is true dedication to a sport and it’s also a major reflection on his love of the checkerboard. It is obvious that his inherent skills in math and his photographic memory have more than greatly attributed to his phenomenal success in checkers games.

Although the national and international competitive checkers arena were his true forte, checkers game champion Marion Tinsley also competed with Professor Fraser of Montreal in a mixed match of ten games of GAYP (Go-As-You-Please), ten games of the Two-Move Restriction checkers style, ten games of the Three-Move Restriction style, and ten games of the 11 Man Ballot. However, this match was no contest for Marion Tinsley, as he easily won the match with a score of fourteen wins, no losses, and twenty-six draws. This match alone depicted the versatility of checkers skill that Marion Tinsley possessed and just how strong a player he presented across the checker board.

Champion Marion Tinsley also contested nine World Championships during his amazing checkers career. He played one match against Newell Banks in Detroit, Michigan. This tournament was played in the Two-Move Restriction style and Tinsley successfully took the title with a score of three wins, one loss, and the remaining games as draws. The loss in this match was one of the very few that Marion Tinsley had throughout his long checkers career.

In 1954, champion Marion Tinsley played in the 19th ACF National 3-Move Championship held in Lakeside, Ohio. Again, Marion won the match and became the U.S. National 3-Move checkers champion in the Masters Division.

In the same year, the ACF (American Checker Federation) recognized Tinsley’s checker achievement as World Champion and he later confirmed this title by accepting a challenge from the formidable checker master, Walter Hellman of Gary, Indiana. The match was played at Lakeside, Ohio, and ended with a significant win for Marion Tinsley with a score of three wins, no losses and thirty-five draws. Then in 1956, he was challenged for the title again and the match was held at Peoria, Illinois. Needless to say, Tinsley retained his World Championship title.

That same year, Marion Tinsley was a checkers challenger in the 20th U.S. National 3-Move Tournament that was hosted in Galveston, Texas. Once again, Marion easily displayed his tenacity in the game as well as his remarkable board skills by defeating his opponents to become the U.S. 3-Move Masters Champion again.

In 1958, Marion Tinsley defeated Grandmaster, Derek Oldbury, in the World Championship Match by the overwhelming score of nine wins, one loss, and twenty-four draws. However, it was at the same time that Marion Tinsley decided to temporarily retire from competitive play because his enjoyment of checkers had seriously waned as a result the lack of serious competition in the field of this great mind sport.

Over the years, since his youth, Tinsley had begun to acquire a reputation for being unbeatable, so his opponents would usually simply play for a draw. Trying to win the checkers game was really beyond their realm of thinking because it was just too difficult a process to consider. So Marion Tinsley became bored playing against these opponents as there was no real deep challenge to the game anymore. Therefore, Marion stepped away from the checkers arena for a hiatus of about twelve years from 1958 until about 1970. He relinquished his World title during that time.

Then in 1970, he was back at the checkerboard in the ACF 27th U.S. National 3-Move Tournament held in Houston, Texas. No surprise here. Checkers game champion Marion Tinsley had not lost his innate game skills, as he would have obviously continued to study the moves in many different games during his absence. He won the tournament and once more held the title of U.S. 3-Move Champion in the Masters Division.

He also played in the 1974 National 3-Move Tournament hosted in Philadelphia, and won the tourney to become the U.S. 3-Move Masters Champion for that year.
In 1975, Dr. Marion Tinsley played Elbert Lane Lowder for the World Championship Title in checkers, and defeated the master player with an outstanding score of fifteen wins, no losses, and ten draws. This match was clear evidence to the mastery behind the checker play of Tinsley.

The St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, wrote the following article on Marion Tinsley’s win, and this excerpt is taken from the article:

“…Behind the eyeglasses, the bookish face and the shy smile, looms
an awesome computer brain that has made champion Marion Tinsley the terror of the
wood-pushers...Tinsley, 48, at least made the tourney interesting
before locking it up...”








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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