Checkers Players

Checkers tournaments allow the world’s best players to come together and determine who is best. Tournaments can be played for cash or just for love of the game and take place all over the world. The champion becomes a Grandmaster of Checkers.

Alex Moiseyev

Alex Moiseyev is a Russian-born player who holds the Grandmaster title for the International, Russian, and English Checkers versions. He is also the current reigning World Champion of 3-Move Restriction Checkers.

Don Lafferty

Don Lafferty, now retired from the game, is another great name in Checkers. Don was well liked in the Checkers community, with many friends. He excelled at the World GAYP (Go as You Please) tournament and defended his championship on several occasions.

Derek Oldbury

Derek Oldbury is no longer with us, but his legend lives on. This English Draughts player enjoyed a long Checkers career, focusing on GAYP Draughts. The author of many Checkers guides, he is so famous in the Checkers world that he is often simply referred to as DEO.

Patricia Breen

Patricia Breen is one of the few female Checkers champions, and a young one at that. Born in 1976, this Irish player holds the championship for Women’s Draughts. She first became women’s world champion at the young age of 17. She is considered the highest-ranking female player of all time.

Ron King

Checkers PlayersRon King is another Checkers great, known for his flamboyant playing style. In 1998, he set a new Guinness World Record by beating 385 opponents in Houston, Texas simultaneously. He is called as the Muhammad Ali of Checkers, for outrageous style and way of taunting opponents.

Jan Mortimer

Jan Mortimer is another female Checkers champion who honed her skills by playing Checkers online. She went on to win the US Nationals in 2002 in her first major face-to-face championship. She later won the Women’s World Title. Despite losing to Patricia Breen in 2003, she is still considered one of the greatest players of all time for her role in inspiring many young female players to greatness.

Marion Tinsley

The great American Checkers player, Marion Tinsley, may well be the best player that ever lived. His superior analytical skills and exceptional memory made him nearly unbeatable. He was first declared World Champion in 1954.

Chinook

In a strategic game like Checkers, it is not surprising that one of the world’s best players is a computer program. Checkers has roughly 500 billion-billion possible positions and developers sought to solve the game by learning what the result would be if neither player made mistakes during a game.

Chinook, the best cyber-player of all time, is a program developed at the University of Alberta , led by Jonathan Schaeffer in 1989. Rob Lake, Paul Lu, Martin Bryant, and Norman Treloar were other developers who worked on the program.

In 1990, developers sought to enter Chinook in the World Champion Checkers tournament. Despite willingness from the reigning champion at the time, Marion Tinsley, the American Checkers Federation and English Draughts Association refused to sanction Chinook’s entry. Tinsley resigned in protest. After all, the program had won the right to play by taking second place against Tinsley in the US Nationals.

Tinsley described Chinook’s playing style, saying, “He really hasn’t developed much in the way of judgment and makes strange moves, but then gets down and just fights like the very devil after getting into trouble. It’s exciting to play him.”

In order that a match could proceed, a new championship was created: the Man vs. Machine World Championship. Tinsley still beat the computer program with four wins over Chinook’s two. In a 1992 rematch, Chinook did gain the title of Man vs. Machine World Champion, but only because of Tinsley’s withdrawal due to pancreatic cancer. Man still triumphed over machine.

Chinook defended its title successfully in 1995 against Don Lafferty, winning 1-0. Chinook was thereafter taken from competition so developers could find a way to solve the chess competition for good. Chinook analyzed data such as piece count, king count, trapped kings, turn, runaway checkers and other factors based on pre-programmed algorithms.

But in the end, developers showed that the nature of Checkers was such that any game played with perfectly executed moves throughout would always end in a draw. The solution was that nobody wins a perfect game.