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Checkers Champion
Jannes van der Wal ~ Page 3

Champion Jannes van der Wal antics soon became popular with the television population in the Netherlands and as Jannes loved music, he would readily be drawn to the piano to coin a song. On occasion his appearance would end with him sitting at the piano either singing well known melodies or making up his own. Jannes built on these eccentric performances that brought him an income that his professional career as a checkers master did not.

However, what many people failed to realize was that Jannes van der Wal was not a clown or a fool, but a very creative individual with a flair for originality both in his own life and at the checkerboard in a tournament match. Champion
Jannes van der Wal was definitely passionate about his game and even challenged the referees when he got so caught up in the checkers game that he would beat the time clock, almost to death, in an emotional outburst. The one major difficulty that the former checkers champion possessed was an inability to settle down to something other than just playing checkers.

Champion Jannes van der Wal did write a few articles in newspapers and magazines about the nature of checkers and various game analyses and he also wrote some checkers booklets on problem moves or positions within certain games.
He once commented in an interview “Of course, there are a lot of other things to do besides play draughts (checkers), but I don’t know what’s a good idea and what isn't.” Since he couldn't discover another purpose in life, Jannes simply continued to play checkers. Not only did he play in tournament competitions, but he also focused on improving the simultaneous games world record and basically, the checkers Grandmaster led an orderly life. He would often spend his evenings with the hard core mind sport players at the club in Groningen. His love for checkers was resolute and the game continued to hold its fascination for him; however, the more he played the game, the more he wanted to improve the level of its play. He soon discovered, as others before him had done, that too often the games would result in a draw situation. He was frustrated that there were not enough wins in a given match. His desire became focused on breathing new life into professional checkers, so champion
Jannes van der Wal eventually created his own checkers variant, ‘doordammen’. This endeavor took the Grandmaster a long time to configure, but eventually he discovered a solution that would give the checkers opponents one win out of every three games.
At the same time, Jannes also became intrigued by chess and before long became an expert player as well. His close friend and chess mentor was Erik Hoeksema and they would spend hours together perfecting chess moves until Jannes became a chess master. He achieved a skill at chess that allowed van der Wal to play the game at a near competitive level.

Unfortunately, Jannes van der Wal became ill before he had a chance to attend a checkers match featuring his game of ‘doordammen’ or Continued play. It was a shock to the World of checkers when Jannes van der Wal ended up in hospital diagnosed with leukemia. He had kept the knowledge of his disease to himself and possibly limited to close friends, but it didn't take long before the few weeks in the hospital turned into the final days at his home in Nieuwstraat, Groningen. While ill at home, Jannes organized the first checkers tournament in his new variant format, but he didn't live to participate in it. Champion checkers player Jannes van der Wal passed away at home at the age of 39 on September 24, 1996.

In 1999, Pieter van Huijstee made a documentary film about the life of former checkers World Champion, Jannes van der Wal and though it briefly mentioned his ‘silly’ side, the focus of the drama was to show the true spirit of the checkers Grandmaster.The film portrayed the real Jannes van der Wal in his persistence to challenge for the World Championship and his passion for the game of checkers.
The documentary on Jannes van der Wal was about seeking truth, the purpose of life and then finding one’s personal destination within it.

Documentary on Checkers Champion Jannes van der Wal

Checkers is work

Checkers is work; chess is fun

Collage is taken from the HuizumCollage is taken from the Club

The above collages are taken from the Huizum Checkers Club in the Netherlands and are a true tribute to a great Dutch Grandmaster player. The real legacy of Jannes van der Wal is not only in his contribution to the World of checkers at the club, National and International levels, but in the memories of those who knew him as opponents across the checkerboard and as friends. He played against numerous opponents throughout the years in tournaments and in different checkers clubs ~ Heerenveen, Huizum, Groningen, Appingedam, Voice of Dordt and the Drents Tiental. The testimony of who Jannes really was comes in the form of the words of these opponents and friends (rough translation from Dutch):
  1. Harm Wiersma: "He was his own man, for he did what he thought and wanted to do. He was full of vitality. If he wanted to learn a piano piece, then he went at it all day and night until Saturday and then he would play it. Jannes behaved and reacted differently than others, but he was unique. A legend."

  2. Anton Schotanus: "He always tried to find something new on the checkerboard."

  3. Rob Clerc: “He was a genius as ‘dammer’ (checkers player) and a unique human being."

  4. Douwe de Jong: "He regarded it as a compliment if he was asked if he was crazy for ‘That means that I do not understand,’Jannes said and then to me he said, "From you, I would never get such a compliment.”

  5. Erik Hoeksema: “If you were looking for him, he was either at home or he was at the club in the evening, or on his way there. The Newspaper’Noorden’ had devoted an entire page to Jannes van der Wal entitled: 'Jannes Asks Himself ... 'Am I crazy or not?’

  6. Bauke Bies: “Jannes van der Wal was not a social wonder, but he was my friend. He always wanted to win and those people with whom he had become involved came to understand that.”

  7. Erik Hoeksema: “The brains were the most important. I taught Jannes the intricacies of the chessboard and tried to teach him about some insights into checkers as well. We played on two boards at once. Checkers Jannes won (2-0) and chess I won (1-0).”

  8. Wim Baar: “Jannes analyzed everything. Not only mind sport, but also music or scores... When he was alone with you and looked at you, he could determine your mood, your unhappiness or grouchiness, and if he couldn't, the relationship would have been a wasted effort. Jannes was a citizen of the world. Jannes was simply Jannes. My best friend and now he is dead and I'm having great difficulty with that."

  9. Bert Dollekamp: “Jannes would always finish a checkers or chess simultaneous play and was a champion master player.”

  10. Douwe de Jong: "He was a fighter.”

  11. Auke Scholma: “Even after the analysis, Jannes was challenged by the checkers game and sought to elevate the play."

  12. In the Leeuwarder Courant: "The mind sport and music suggested Jannes was able to use a round about way to still have a very intensive contact with fellow players. Despite clashes or confrontations, often with his best friends, they never remained quarrelsome for long. That was because everyone knew that Jannes was honest and pure through and through. If he sometimes spoke harshly, this was only because he had not adjusted to social norms so diplomacy and tact were quite strange to him.”
“Jannes was Jannes.”

Champion Checker player Jannes van der WalChampion Checker player Jannes van der Wal 2Champion Checker player Jannes van der Wal 3

Champion Jannes van der Wal checkers van der Wal Jannes van der Wal Page 3


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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