10th ACA Am Ty 1939 Flint, MI (Asa Long) These games were to be published by Asa Long but never were, instead the manuscript was given-donated to Donald Deweber - Mr. Checkers in 1970, and exist there today unpublished in his checker library / museum. The 10th ACA Tourney held in Flint, Michigan over two weeks beginning on August 21st 1939, with an entry of 47 players including Long, Grover, Freyer, Reynolds, Lewis, O'Brien, Bruch, deBearn, Cameron, Zuber etc. The rival NCA started their 2nd NCA Tourney just a week later at Tacoma, Washington with a somewhat weaker entry of 34 players including Ryan, Hellman, Stiles, Ed Wyllie and Banks but vastly more prize money. The 10th ACA tourney is not the only one that has vanished from sight. The 1st NCA (1937), 3rd NCA (1946), Ryan's AC (1946) and most importantly the 16th ACA Am Ty (1948) are all lost for ever, apart from only a handful of scattered games in each case. Personally I think it would be wonderful if not only the games of the Flint tourney but Asa Long's annotations could be finally recovered. (This page notes cut from Roberto Waldteufel's notes, comments, and frustration with Mr. Checkers) Waldteufel is webmaster of - (Wyllie Online Draughts Club)

Here are some fragments left to us of the 426 games played at Flint in 1939. If you look at the frontispiece of 'Let's Play Checkers' (1940) you can see a photograph of Long and Grover playing the final round. Grover is about to move 7-10 in a position which comes up from the weak Chapman gambit in the Old 14th (Doran, var. 13). Black 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, White 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Black to play.

It's hard to tell whether the photo or the position is genuine, however. 'World Championship Checkers' carries a remarkably similar studio-lit picture, down to the same tablecloth, of Long and Hellman in action in their 1948 match (facing p.63). Although it's miss-captioned, the position comes from the 6th game. On the other hand, the more realistic Ryan-Hellmann scene on the previous page of WCC is a joke, showing Ryan about to take the correct 24-20 in their 10th game, when in fact he had misplayed 18-14. Grover made much use of the of the 9th ACA games in LPC but included only two references to the 10th tourney (pp 67 and 69, giving us two more fragments). Either he wrote the bulk of the text before Flint (although there is post-Flint analysis on pp 30 and 41) or else he was constrained to hold back the 10th ty games before they were published by Finley.

Fortman gave several of Long's Flint games in 'Basic Checkers', and one between Freyer and Grover which Long may have seen. Reports of the Flint tourney came out in Wood's Checker Player and Ryan's American Checkerist. While Rex Wood gave a sober list of matches played, Ryan majored on the difference in prize money between his own Tacoma tourney and Flint: "a total flop, if ever there was one...Several of the New York City players spent their last dollar on fare to get to Flint, on the strength of promises and prizes advertised. These very same players had to borrow money to get home again..." The only NYC players in the tourney were Grover, Freyer and Milton Loew! Most of the prize fund had come from General Motors, famous for employing checker players in its factory since the 1920s, including Gonotsky, Lieber and Ryan himself. Everett Fuller mentions that the playing room was an upper floor gymnasium at General Motors Hall. Reynolds was painfully unable to prevent his shoes squeaking as he walked across the large floor in a hushed silence and with all spectators' eyes on him, to watch Long and Lewis play Round 8 (which went 2-1 to Long with 3 draws) on the Sunday. Albert Clair also tells how Reynolds knocked Alex Cameron out of the tournament with the O'Grady Switcher cook (BC, 11-15's, p.5 note O). When Reynolds made the 3-8 move, Cameron actually felt sorry for him, as he thought that the heat had affected Reynolds' judgment! The election of ACA officers was significant. Finley was thrown out, and a new crop of moderate officials, among them the sincere president W.E. Thomas (winner of the Minor Tourney), immediately began the reconciliation process with the NCA which finally bore fruit in 1947.

Here's how the double-knockout tourney concluded... Round 9 - Long beat O'Brien, 2 wins-0 losses-1 draw; Grover beat Reynolds, 1-0-3; Freyer beat Lewis, 2-0-1 Just three players were now left in the tourney: Long (1/2 life down, having drawn deBearn in Rd 6, 0-0-6), Freyer (1 life down, losing to Long in Rd 7, 0-1-3) and Grover (clean slate and no games lost). Round 10 - Freyer beat Grover, 1-0-11 Round 11 - Grover beat Long, 1-0-3 This was the first heat that Long had lost in a Nat Ty since 1922 when, aged 18, he dropped a game to Ginsberg in round 8 of the 5th ACA, Boston. Round 12 - Long beat Freyer, 1-0-7 (eliminating him) Final round - Long beat Grover, 1-0-3 Thank you for this informative posting. I am pleased to announce that one game from 10th ACA tourney at Flint is given in a note in the 2nd NCA tourney book. It was a draw: AA Long v H Freyer. This game along with the NCA tourney games of the same year, can be viewed at my web site (link below). Sadly the bulk of these games are of course denied to us all by Mr. Deweber who still refuses to tell us why he refuses to allow us to see them. I will of course add whatever further fragments of the Flint tourney games I am able to cull from Basic Checkers. The situation regarding the only other unpublished pre-war American Tourney, the 1st NCA held at Providence 1937, is rather better, with about 60 games presented in the 2nd NCA Tourney book. These also are now available for viewing in the Wyllie Archive. Of the two pre-war tourneys for which no tourney books exist, it is ironic that we have more surviving games from the one for which no manuscript is known to exist than we do for the one whose manuscript regrettably resides with Mr. Deweber! 

Nearly 5 years prior to the printing of this book the BBS was practically a soap opera of dialogue between these two.  You almost had to choose sides!  I later read on BBS (Checker Bulletin-board) Mr. Deweber's reason why he could not release these manuscripts because the original annotators where never paid so they could not be published and sold?... in addition there was the wish and confidential discussion Dewber had with Asa Long before his death about this manuscript.  Dewber indicated these games were of no significant quality and therefore no or little interest until now (public knowledge that only one copy existed in his possession) and he was bound to his word to uphold Asa Long's wishes, these games would never be available to the public!

Voila! It's here...  thanks to all who help make this possible.