ABOUT MARION TINSLEY
At the 1994 National
Tournament, I met Marion Tinsley and Don Lafferty.
Lafferty won the ty.
and Tinsley is by far the greatest player who ever lived. Tinsley, though
terminally ill, never lost any games, but fell to 3rd on honor points, behind
Lafferty and the famed computer, "Chinook."
I asked Dr. Tinsley about his
phenomenal success as a Checker Player and he said:
"God gave me a logical mind."
Think about it.
In 1945, the young Tinsley, (extremely high IQ) was in a library looking for
math books, (He became Dr. Tinsley with a doctorate in math) when he saw some
Checker books! He didn't even know there was such a thing, and had been losing
to his Aunt and landlady. He checked out "Lee's Guide" and "Gould's Problem
He studied Gould's for the summer of 1945, and had developed so
rapidly , he could sight solve the entire book. Over a thousand problems.
1946 he entered his 1st National Tournament, at Newark, N.J., at age 19. It took
Grandmaster Willie Ryan
, to beat him! Ryan and Tinsley, dueled with
vengeance, both winning 2 games from one another, but Ryan scored the final win
in the finals, dropping Tinsley to 2nd. Ryan then published in his "American
Checkerist Magazine" the following:
"I left that young whipper-snapper, baffled, bewildered, and
That was Ryan's style. Brash, cocky, and assertive,
so no offense meant and none taken. Tinsley told me Ryan was the 2nd or 3rd
best, he ever played, in 1994.
What does this tell you?
Logic. Logic and the
study of problems. That is the essence of the game, and reaching the higher
levels, like Master, Grandmaster etc. cannot be achieved without problem study.
Tinsley also has stated publicly;
"No one worked as hard as I did from 1945 to 1955 (when he won
the World Championship) on Checkers, as I did."
1954, Tinsley won every National Tournament he ever entered, without losing any
A perfectionist. An artist.
No one has dominated any sport, in
history, like Tinsley did Checkers.
In the end, he had no human competition.
His only challenge was the great computer-"Chinook."
Dr. Marion F. Tinsley.
The 1946 Newark games, with Tinsley-Ryan,
will be given in our book-CCP, as "Clash of the Masters,"
a series we
intend to start, as there are many great-important- and dramatic games.
and Harold Freyer, were the only 2 masters, to have an even score with Tinsley,
for a career, Freyer drawing all 10 games he had with Tinsley, in a 10 game
match in 1958.
Ryan and Tinsley, as mentioned, has 2 wins apiece on one
another, with their games in the 1950 Paxton, IL. Nat. Ty., resulting in all
draws. Tinsley once observed: "Failure to know you defenses, is a cardinal
Tinsley played as an artist. He dominated his sport, for nearly
half a decade. Checkers, or any other sport, is not likely to see his kind
From Marion Tinsley:
I studied the game so
intensely from 1945 to 1955, the board is burnt onto my mind."
My good friend, Mac Banks,
terrific mail player and former Ms. state
champion, attended the 1992 Nat. Ty. where Tinsley was entered. Watching a game
between Tinsley and Ed Scheidt,
former director of the NY FBI office, and
a great master player, Banks wondered why Tinsley took so long on a certain
move, when the position was well known published play, and the correct move was
obvious. He asked Tinsley about this, later in the day. Tinsley replied: "When I
play such a great player, I thing about all the games I have ever played him on
this line, and what each of us played and what the result was. I also consider
what he may have in the way of cooks and new play, and how I might respond
against any new moves. So I was mentally getting deep into the position.
next day, Mac wanted to show Tinsley a position he had been winning, in mail
play, and wanted to know how Tinsley would play it. Banks set the position up
and Tinsley began studying. There was, once again, and obvious correct 1st move,
but Tinsley studied a long time. Finally, Banks asked why he took so long.
Tinsley replied: I was trying to figure out how you got the pieces in such a
mess!, and was playing them backwards, to the beginning, and I think I know how
this came up. Tinsley, then put all the pieces on the board, and ran up the
position! He also showed Banks what should have been played to avoid the
landing, and then showed how the landing could be drawn. As stated to me, Banks
said: "Can you imagine! The rest of us are thinking "If I go here and he goes
there----", and Tinsley is playing them backwards, or thinking of what he played
10 years ago! I never saw anything like it!, and I didn't ask him anymore why he
took so long to move!