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Chess Champion Banks

     Newell William Banks never got to play chess games online. He was an American checkers and chess master, and was thought to be one of the finest checker players of all time. Due to a long life of ninety or so years, he spent much of it facing opponents across a checkerboard.

     He began playing the game very early in life and it has been noted that Newell Banks played his first game of blindfold checkers somewhere between the age of five and a half and seven years at the Detroit Chess and Checker Club.

     The child prodigy obviously would have spent many hours practicing moves and playing checker games with numerous different opponents. A player may possess a natural skill that surpasses ordinary playing, but he would still have to devote serious time to develop the inherent ability and to hone the craft to the next level of expertise. This is best done through countless hours of tireless play across the checkerboard.

     While studying the game of checkers, checkers champion Newell Banks also developed an interest in the game of chess, and over the years, he excelled at both board games. Newell Banks learned the moves of chess at home from his father. In 1901, at the age of 14, Banks met a Russian refugee, named Schiffman. Before leaving Europe, he had assisted two aspiring young players, who were called Rubinstein and Salve. When Schiffman saw the potential in Newell, he took an interest in the young boy, who from then on progressed rapidly in the game of checkers.

     This is indeed a rare phenomenon, for most chess players would likely favor and eventually choose one or the other sport to play in competitions. Banks seemed to enjoy devoting time to both and challenged many masters with equal time in checker and chess tournament matches.

     In 1907, at the young age of 21, Newell Banks won the U.S.A. Championship in a checker match where he defeated Hugh Henderson, a strong Scottish player, now residing in the U.S. During the month of August 1912, the second American Checker Association tournament was held at the Breakers Hotel with a purse of $1000 as the prize fund. The tournament and its purse attracted the interest of forty masters and some checker players of lesser skill.

     Missing from this event were the former U.S. champion, Charles Barker, who had died three years prior at age 51, and A. J. Heffner, who was unable to get time away from his position as a railway clerk. Among the contenders of the second tournament were such favorites as two "transplants" to America: the former English champion, Alfred Jordan, and a Scottish competitor for the championship of his native country, Hugh Henderson, who settled in the coal district of Pennsylvania. Henderson believed that he had been unjustly passed over as the fifth member of the Scottish team in 1905 in favor of checker master, James Searight.

     The forty checker contenders were divided into four groups of ten each, wherein they played a two game round robin, with the high four from each group advancing to the single knock-out master's tourney.

     The sixteen players to advance to the checker tournament finals were: Newell Banks, Alfred Jordan, Hugh Henderson, Harry Lieberman, H.B. Reynolds, Louis Ginsberg, Patrick Whalen, John F. Horr, Julius D'Orio, F. R. Wendemuth, L. J. Goldsmith, A. J. Klinka, T. J. Harrigan, Sunset Bell, H. O. Newcombe, and L. R. Winnemore.

     In the second round, Henderson defeated Horr with a score of 3-1-4, Reynolds defeated Whalen, Jordan beat Ginsberg, and Newell Banks was defeated by Harry Lieberman. After this hard checker match against John Horr, Hugh Henderson defeated Alfred Jordan in the semi-finals, and Reynolds in the finals to become the first American Checker Association and National Champion. This was a feat that he had been unable to accomplish in his native Scotland.

Banks Play Chess Game Quotes

     In A Chess Omnibus, where he stated that‘Draughts is 80% memory, 20% intuition; chess precisely the reverse’. This statement came from an article by Banks that was entitled ‘Chess and its Sister Game’.
In the May 1939 issue of CHESS, several other of Newell Banks’ quotes on the two sister games of checkers and chess were given:

     (1) ‘Chess is played with 32 pieces on 64 squares, draughts (checkers) with 24 pieces on 32, so that obviously there must be many more possibilities in chess, and consequently more complications. Complications do not always mean science.’

     (2) ‘Chess is a game of the opening and middle game; checkers of the ending. Four out of every five games of chess are decided in the first 30 or 40 moves; only occasionally does a player wrest a win out of an originally even endgame. On the other hand, middle game combinations in draughts are rare, at any rate between good players, most games being decided only in the concluding stages.’

     (3) ‘A chess position is easier to size up. You can often find the weaknesses in one player’s game at a glance, he has a bad pawn position or an exposed king, or such like. At draughts a weakness may be most subtly concealed, only to be exploited by one single delicately timed sequence of moves.’







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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