Thanks for the Memories

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Thanks for the Memories

Postby neilwenberg on Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:52 am

(English Draughts Style)
This work is being written about my checker career. My grandfather started teaching me how to play checkers when I was about six years old. 7 January 2016 was my seventy-ninth birthday, so one can see that I have been at this game of checkers for some time. I have always enjoyed a good checker game as long as I am playing an opponent with whom I am competitive. Checkers has given me many hours of enjoyable fellowship as I battled with an opponent in this wonderful game.
My first checker tournament was entered in 1964 at Bismarck, ND. This was the ND State Checker Tournament and was a two day event. There were 34 players competing and the first day we either played a two game match against all or half the players. I played poorly and lost most of the games that I played. Day two, however, was a different story in that we divided into three classes for a double knockout event. Because of my poor play on day one, I was entered into the Class “C” competition. I played much better day two and I was able to win the Class “C” championship. This got me “hooked” on the game of checkers and I competed in many checker tournaments during the following years.
I have been North Dakota state champion three different years and even was Pennsylvania state champion one year. Oh yes, in the Pennsylvania event I was the only player entered from Pennsylvania, so was proclaimed state champion, even though finishing last in the event.
I have played in many checker tournaments in many states and have even won some of these events. One year at the National tournament I was entered in the Minor Class and won it. I have played in checker tournaments in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, and Tennessee.
The membership in and the promoting of the American Checker Federation have been goals of mine for many years. I served as Secretary-Treasurer of the North Dakota Checker Association for over twenty-five years. This position was vacated when I moved to Pennsylvania in 1999. While in Pennsylvania, I participated in that state’s checker tournament each of the years I was a resident and even one year prior to my becoming a resident of the Commonwealth.
I have come to the conclusion that 2016 will be my last year as an American Checker Federation member and I am hoping to compete in several ACF sanctioned checker tournaments this year. I have tried to promote checkers in the Fargo area since my return to North Dakota in September of 2013, but the results have not matched the efforts.
Fargo appears to have a rather large Liberian community. Many of the people who immigrated to the United States from Liberia have checker playing skills. However, their mode of play is the Pool Checkers style and I will try to devote what checker playing time I have left to trying to promote pool checkers in the Fargo area.
I have greatly enjoyed my “run” at checkers and have met many, many fine individuals in pursuit of better and more careful play. In my opinion the officers of the ACF have done a fine job in running an organization which contains many people who feel their way is always right. The officers have tried to deal diplomatically with most of these. Of course there are always some people who cannot be pleased. I have made lifelong friendships in this grand old game. Gayle Helterbrand of Missouri became a very dear friend of mine through checker completion. Gayle was a “wily old fox” who could always find a way to pitch an opponent two/three pieces and then jump enough of the opponent’s pieces to assure a victory. Another checker friend that I acquired was Roger Blaine from Indiana. I first met Roger at a national tournament in Toledo, Ohio, the home of Asa Long.
Blaine introduced me to another interesting type of checkers, the Pool Checker Style, and I must have attended at least six national Pool Checkers tournaments with Roger. There are several classes of Pool Checkers and I always played in the bottom class. My first two tries resulted in being last in the bottom class. My third try gave me one more loss than wins and a host of draws. My fourth tournament was my best with three more wins than losses and about a middle position in the class. I even won my match with the Blue Ribbon (my class) champion of that year. The last two attempts were played at about the .500 level of wins and losses.
Thanks for the memories, American Checker Federation!
Neil H. Wenberg
Neil H. Wenberg
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:33 am
Location: 228 Hufnagel Road, Harmony, PA 16037

Re: Thanks for the Memories

Postby tgf on Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:16 pm

I recall seeing you with Roger at the APCA tournament. I go back with him to many 10x10 and Pool Checkers tournaments.
You can advice the Liberian players in your area of the site.

My mom is 93, so you still have room to grow :)

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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Thanks for the Memories

Postby Palomino on Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:52 pm

Hi Neil,

It's good to know a little of what you have been up to since your return to ND, sorry your efforts to promote (English Draughts Style) checkers there
have not produced the results you had hope for.

You are one of the players I always look forward to seeing at the tournaments I attend. I count you as a fried and wish you well in anything you do.

I hope to someday see you again... "Pal" Bucker
CHECKERS: The Mind Sport of Kings and Ordinary Men.
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Location: Mooresville, Indiana

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