Checkers Hall of Fame

St. Petersburg, Florida has been a long time Mecca for checker players.  In the late 1890's to 1920's there was the St. Petersburg Checker Tournaments called the "winter tourist tourneys" that drew all the best players.  It was considered the pinnacle of checkerdom. Local Floridians and checker playing tourist would flock here for the weather and their favorite pastime. From late winter through Spring, especially the month of February St. Petersburg was the place to be. I once saw a picture of horses, buggies, and people gathered at the St. Petersburg site for one of these checker tournaments.  I don't recall the exact number of entrance but it was in the hundreds?  This could have been a post card picture with description about this city occasion. I have two similar 1926 post card below. In February, 1920 A.M. Tuttle won the St. Petersburg "Tourist Ty" at St. Petersburg, FL. The National Checker Club, St. Petersburg, FL. was established in 1921 with Sherman Rowles as President, and the 1921 St. Petersburg "Tourist Ty" was won by B.P. Layng. M.D. Teetzel won the St. Petersburg "Tourist Ty" on February 14, 1922. In February 1923 Alfred Jordan won Class A and C.A. Cumming won Class B. Alfred Jordan won in 1924 & J.B. Wornall won Class B.  2/10/1925 with Oscar Apple winning Class B. "Tourist Ty". There were so many checker players in Florida, especially in the winter time that a Checkers Hall of Fame was proposed to be built in St. Petersburg in 1948, but it never materialized.  They did reorganize as the National Checker Foundation in 1953 so Florida would host their 1st Florida Open in St. Petersburg with Alex Cameron winner, to replace the old traditional winter tourist tourneys. A number of Florida Opens were played there with the generous support and financial donations by James D. Jarman and others, including 1962 thru 80's, 1975, and Don Lafferty vs Chinook Played a 3-Move Exhibitions in Match, 1991. A number of Florida Opens where hosted at Princess Martha Hotel, in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg and built as a premier hotel in the 1920s, but now converted to senior living as 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.

1925 CHECKER CLUB, WILLIAMS PARK - ST. PETERSBURG, FL


Checker Club Williams Park-St Petersburg FL.jpg (212307 bytes)club card.jpg (83469 bytes)

 

International Checkers Hall of Fame

The "International Checkers Hall Of Fame" located in Petal, Mississippi, was built by Charles Walker in the mid 1970s, with continued additions and improvements.  ICHF was officially opened in 1976 to the checker fraternity; however, the first splendid event came with the staging of the 1979 Lowder vs Tinsley 3-Move World Championship Match. ( Article) The below right picture is in April of that year.  A beautiful and lasting memorial to the game, the ICHF is housed in the Chteau Walker, which was donated to the checker community by past ACF Secretary, Charles Walker, a prominent insurance, real estate businessman, and checker master, himself (Article). The ICHF is available for touring and contains an extensive array of checker history, library, museum, and memorabilia. The International Checker Hall of Fame is internationally known for its Ripleys Believe It-or-Not largest and second-largest checkerboards in the world and checker memorabilia from around the world.  Many great checker tournaments have been staged there. The Mississippi Open Tournament is held every Memorial Day weekend and usually played there. The 2000 World GAYP Title Match 12/4-9/2000 between Champion, Ron King & Challenger, Alex Moiseyev - (A Draw Match of 3 wins each & 18 Draws) was held there. Chteau Walker sits on 12 acres of 9 parcels, this complex is considered the largest residential structure in Forest County, MS. which include Mr. Walker's residence, his insurance and real estate companies, a church and missions offices, ICHF, and apartments, totaling over 50,000 square feet.  You can retire, rent an efficiency apartment there, and always get a game of checkers.   Mr. Walker owned 200 acres just behind and joins the Chteau Walker parcels.  Below is a checker set from the ICHF store which pictures the entrance gate of Chteau Walker.  These are large brick columns with a description plate embedded and lions poised on top, a large wrought iron arched yard arm crosses over and connects the columns with "Chateau Walker" lettering in the structure and "The International Checker Hall of Fame" below it. It guards the driveway entrance into Chteau Walker an English Tudor Revival style architecture complex.  The physical address of Chteau Walker is 2.6 miles NNE of Petal at 220 Lynn Ray Road.  Mail address: International Checker Hall of Fame and Museum, 220 Lynn Ray Rd., Petal, MS 39465  (601)-582-7090, or ICHF, PO Drawer 365, Petal, Ms 39465.

 

The Mississippi State Open Tournament will be held March 11th - 12th, 2006 in ICHF Petal, MS. This is the time to show our support and play this tournament, see this wonderful facility, the museum, library, hall of flags, tournament room, gift shop & store. You can play in the tournament room with 24 foot ceilings in checkerboard design with a complimentary large tile square checkerboard floor.  ICHF consists of 35,000 S.F. of living, playing, library, and museum space all in a checker display, motif, and memorabilia displayed throughout. There is a "Kings Room," Hall I, Hall II, and many other private suites to accommodate living quarters for the championship contenders and match officiators. 50 rooms in all!  It fits the ole clich: "The Home Church of Checkerdom." This is the crown jewel of the checker playing community.  ICHF is recognized in a 288 page book "Hall of Fame Museums"  So much support, promotion, interest, and perseveration is generated from ICHF.  The wishes of Mr. Phillips where answered...  "I just hope somehow we can open it again."  Petal Mayor Tony Phillips said, "The International Checker Hall of Fame has brought international recognition to the city, a global hotspot for checkers and a checkers shrine, and he hopes it can be preserved."  "I've toured the Checker Hall of Fame and it is a source of pride for our city,"  Phillips said . "If something unfortunate happens, I hope it can be preserved as a historic landmark."  The most recent 2006 Morrison vs King World Title Match was held there in December 4th-9th, 2006.  Alexander Moiseyev, current World Checker Champion has played 3 events there: 2000 GAYP WCM with Ron King, 2002 (3-Move) WCM with Elbert Lowder, and he played in the 2003 Mississippi State Open.  I did capture on VHS, Turners' 2004 Documentary on ICHF as in the selection of "The Blue Ribbon Episode on Museum in Mississippi,"  but it would be interesting to get the full length VHS tape which TBS used sections of it to do their documentary.  I understand the original ICHF tape was never updated; however, it was professionally done and its a definite credit to CHECKERS and nicely promotes our game.  Below is TBS TurnerSouth TV -Mississippi Museum - ICHF, a short 1 minute video clip of their original 30 minute Blue Ribbon Episode.  I have the full ICHF segment from the original HBO on DVD.         

TurnerSouth - Mississippi Museum - ICHF
(right click on video picture then zoom full screen)

ICHF Destroyed by fire!

ICHF fire photos:


May 28th 2011 - Mississippi State Open, Petal, MS


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