World Checkers 1983
Jannes van der
After his World title checkers win, world champion
van der Wal
appeared on TV and in the radio program, In
de Rooie Haan, as part of his
promotion. Then Jannes played in the Volmac
tournament and later defended his World Championship
Title but was defeated by Harm Wiersma, who
became the World Champion of 1983.
Checkers Champion Volmac Achtkamp
Jannes with Joop den Uyl “In de Rooie Haan” World Checkers Championship Radio Program
Checkers Champion Volmac Achtkamp on radio.
Harm Wiersma, World Champion & Jannes
van der Wal, 2nd place.
Jannes van der Wal Netherlands Championship Schagen,
Jannes van der Wal
Jannes van der Wal at Interland Team Netherlands
Netherlands National Checkers Championship, Abcoude 1985
Checker Champion Jannes vs Wim van der Kooij
Checker Champion Jannes concentrating on a move.
Checker Champion Jannes taking a music break from the checkerboard.
van der Wal won the Championship tournament for the third
time during his checkers career.
Jannes van der Wal only captured the dream
of World Champion once during his checkers
career; however, he did become National Champion
four times, as well as club champion at the
checkerboard. His record also included two
2nd place and one 3rd place in the Dutch championships
and a couple of lesser rankings of 8th in 1978
and 11th in 1983. The latter may have been
the result of losing the World Championship
title that same year to Harm Wiersma.
Jannes van der Wal Groningen 1986
Jannes van der Wal enroute to Groningen National Checkers Championship 1987
National Checkers Champion
Jannes van der Wal
1987 Simultaneous Play World Record 92% Win against 225 opponents.
Arjan van Leeuwen
Dutch Checkers Champion van der Wal
Checkers Champion Jannes van der Wal World
Cup Checkers Den Haag
The Two Sides of van der Wal
The Frisian checkers Grandmaster readily displayed
a dichotomy within his youthful personality.
There were definitely two sides to this champion
of the checkerboard. On one hand, game opponents
and spectators saw a sharp mind and intense
spirit, who often appeared to be focused
on his own way,
living quietly in a world of his own making.
Indeed, there were some who found him ‘odd’, ‘eccentric’ and
even ‘not normal’;
however, there were others who thought the
young champion to be a genius and therefore,
he was granted some freedom towards an eccentric
By the age of twenty, champion van der Wal knew that
his iron determination would lead him towards becoming
World Champion in the checkers arena. His drive to
win was rooted so deep within that he became absorbed
in developing creative systems of checkers play that
would often leave his opponents far behind. Across
the checkerboard his opponents often became the victims
of his strong, offensive play. His intensity would
be shown by sweat on the brow as he concentrated on
his strategies and techniques at the checkerboard,
motivated towards the ultimate win, not just of a game
or two, but the championship win of the coveted World
title in checkers.
There were other times when the checkers world saw
a completely different side to van der Wal.
After his World Championship win in Brazil in 1982,
Jannes became a TV personality. As he had turned to
the checkers arena professionally, he didn't make a
lot of money playing the mind sport, so he turned his
attention to any program that would pay to have him
appear on the show and discuss himself, his goals,
checkers and anything else in between.
No longer did the audience see a thoughtful, serious
and focused Grandmaster in checkers, but a comedian.
Here, checkers champion van der Wal would become a
different person altogether. In an interview session,
van der Wal would sometimes sit and say nothing for
a minute or two after a question had been asked, like ‘How
old are you?’ so that there would be nothing
but silence and dead air. As the pregnant pause ended
because the interviewer would lose patience and make
another comment, van der Wal would simply smile and
then make a joke with regards to the question. Once,
he was even asked if checkers had turned him crazy.
His rebuttal, which became a well known quote with
time, was that ‘a dammer
or checker player not talk much’ and he
cited an example that if he went into to a bakery for
some bread, he would say ‘one
bread’. In other words, checkerists saved
their mental powers for the checkerboard, for analyses,
strategies and tactical moves so that this energy
could be saved for the ultimate defeat of the opponent.
When van der Wal's eccentricity would show through
at the best of times, even when he told of the times
when he took the train to the checkers championship
in Utrecht and he would fall asleep and miss his stop
or be completely absent minded about it, that he would
end up being driven back and forth between Groningen
and Zwolle. On the numerous shows that the checkers
master participated in, he was always willing to clown
around and act outlandish, with a real sense of showmanship
and this was probably what brought so many requests
for him to appear on a variety of different shows.