Harm Wiersma 2
Checkers World Championships
Throughout his checkers career, Harm Wiersma
contested in International tournaments and
World Championship checkers competitions played
in countries around the world: Russia, the
Netherlands, France, Italy, Suriname, Brazil,
Mali, and Senegal. However, the European International
Draughts/Checkers World Championship matches
were most often held in the Netherlands.
Harm Wiersma faced the opposition of Grandmaster
and renowned checkerist, Iser Koeperman in
the World Championship tournament in Hengelo,
Netherlands, in 1972.
Then, four years later in 1976, Harm Wiersma’s
checkers game found the winning combination
so much so that he defeated all his opponents
across the checkerboard, including some strong
Grandmasters from the Soviet Union, in the
World tournament in Amsterdam to become the
checkers World Champion for the first time
in his career.
5th Round vs Hisard
Checkers Champion, The Winning Moment
Checkers Champion Harm Wiersma vs Fidele Nimbi
Harm with his parents
Words of Wisdom
International Checkers World Champion 1976
Two years later, the Dutch checkers champion
defended his title against Anatoli Gantwarg
in Arco, Italy, but was not able to beat
the Russian master in this competition. The
final score ended as 7 wins against 5. However,
in 1979, Harm Wiersma was the challenger
in the final round and this time succeeded
in defeating the Russian in Utrecht, Netherlands,
with a closing score of 22-18 for Wiersma.
Anatoli Gantwarg vs Harm Wiersma
World Championship Utrecht, Netherlands,
Harm Wiersma World Champion
The checkers fight was now on between Wiersma and
Gantwarg, who regained the World title in 1980 at the
championship competition held in Bamako, Mali. Then,
Harm Wiersma fought tenaciously to recapture his checkers
World Championship title in the Rotterdam tournament
of 1981. This time Wiersma defeated the Russian World
Champion and Grandmaster by a score of 22-18, yet again.
Harm Wiersma & Anatoli Gantwarg
Rotterdam, Netherlands 1981|
Harm Wiersma World Champion
In 1982, there was a new contender for the title
~ Jannes van der Wal, who won the World
checkers title in the International competition
in Sao Paolo, Brazil. This only lasted
a year as Harm Wiersma came back with a
vengeance in 1983 and once more regained
the World title as he defeated van der
Wal across the checkerboard with a final
score of 21-19.
During 1983, Harm Wiersma also participated in the
8th Volmac Achtkamp (World
Qualifier) and played against Anatoli Gantwarg, Alexander
Baljakin, and Vadim Virni and won the tournament with
a first place standing.
Jannes van der Wal
Harm Wiersma World Champion 1983
The following year, the World Champion in International
checkers defended his title in the final round
against Vadim Virni, but the match ended in
a 20-20 tie for both checkerists. This outcome
resulted in Harm Wiersma retaining his European
World title and unfortunately for Virni, the
score lost him the championship title and placed
him 2nd overall.
Harm Wiersma retains title as International
checkers World Champion.
Shortly after the match with Virni, Harm Wiersma
withdraws from personal world competitions and
again only the checkers Grandmaster fully knows
the rationale behind the decision. Perhaps the
competition ceased to be as challenging or the
novelty of the championship title had worn off.
Perhaps it was simply time to step back and
focus on other aspects of the checkers world.
Regardless, it would be years before Wiersma
re-entered the checkers arena in the same limelight
It wasn't until some time in 1992 that the
former Dutch World Champion re-appeared on
the International checkers scene and when
he began to compete across the checkerboard,
Harm Wiersma had not seemingly lost any of
his skill, techniques, or individual checkers
style. Although he had resigned from contesting
in personal games at World Checkers Championships
after 1984, he was back facing opponents
across the checkerboard in the world checkers
arena in Toulon, France. Alexei Tsjizjov
defended his World checkers title from 1988
through 1991, and he succeeded in retaining
that title in 1992.
However, Wiersma did return to the national
checkers scene and succeeded in winning the
National checkers tournament and title of Netherlands’ Champion
Harm Wiersma also joined the field of Grandmasters
to participate in the first half of the World
Championship Cup hosted in Toulon, France.
After a few years absent from the checkerboard
and contenders in the International checkers
circuit, Harm fared surprisingly well. His
final opponent was World Champion, Alexei
Tsjizjov, from the Soviet Union, but his
defeat resulted in his tie for second place
with Rob Clerc, Ton Sijbrands and Alexander
Then Harm Wiersma was back in form the following
year and gave Alexei a run for his money at
the checkerboard in the second half of the
World Championship Cup held in Leeuwarden,
Netherlands. In the final round of the championship,
Wiersma challenged the defending champion to
a solid game of checkers, but Harm couldn't
quite pull off a winning result. The final
score ended the game with 22-18 going to the
World Champion, Alexei Tsjizjov. Once again,
Tsjizjov successfully defended his World title.
Harm Wiersma vs Alexei Tsjizjov
There was some what of an irony in that
total outcome because Harm scored the same
points in the 1979 and 1981 World Championships
against Anatoli Gantwarg. Harm then continued
to contest other local and national tournaments
within the International checkers circuit.
In 1998, he entered the 80th National Netherlands
Championship tournament in Hoogezand-Sappemeer
for the seventh time in his impressive checkers
career for the title of National Champion
in the Netherlands.
At first, the championship checkers play
was less than exciting with Hans Jansen from
the Gelderse Huissen club leading the chase
at the checkerboard, with only Harm Wiersma
coming up for a real challenge. The closer
the challengers moved towards the tournament
the end, the closer Wiersma moved towards
Jansen’s score. Jansen soon felt a
tingling in his neck as Wiersma was closing
in and made a mistake against the youngest
participant, Kees Thijssen, which cost him
in his latter round. In the final round of
the checkers competition, both master players
had accumulated seventeen points in thirteen
games so a playoff was necessary. The first
three games ended in a draw, which was in
Jansen’s favor but against Wiersma.
The tournament then moved into a checkers
game played with an accelerated pace, but the
opponents were closely matched and the first
result at the checkerboard remained the same.
In the second checkers game Wiersma created
a ‘crook’ on
the checkerboard, which took Jansen by surprise
because he didn't know the outcome of the play.
The final result ended in Harm Wiersma winning
the 1998 Netherlands Championship with his
Harm Wiersma 1998 Netherlands Champion
7th National Checkers Champion title match.