A Heritage Denied - The Unpublished Manuscript of the 10th American Tourney
by Roberto Waldteufel

The unpublished manuscript of the 10th American Tourney, by Asa Long, doubtless contains many fine games which I am sure we would all love to see. Sadly the manuscript was never published, but at least its whereabouts is known. It resides with Don Deweber, who is otherwise known by his alias "Mr Checkers". When I enquired about this manuscript, I was rather shocked at the reply I received:-

"Over the past 23 years I have been approached several times to have the 10th Am. Ty. published. It is my feeling today as then that certain things should just be left alone as a part of checker history. Before Asa Long died I visited him serveral times each year and we talked about this and he understood where I was coming from. For now that is where I am going to leave it--in the archives of checker history."

Now Mr Checkers is the owner of this important document, and as the owner he has the right to deny access to these historic games to the checker fraternity, but there is more to this than just an owner's rights. Mr Checkers has publicly stated many times on the Checker Solutions bulletin board and elsewhere that his huge library is funded entirely by public donations from checker enthusiasts. I would have thought then, that the checker fraternity would not be denied any chance of accessing the wealth of information that they have funded over the years through their ongoing generosity. I could understand it if for some personal reason Mr Checkers decided not to allow me to publish these games as long as he allowed somebody to publish them, but he clearly states that many people have approached him wanting to publish these games and he has refused all such approaches. He is adamant that nobody, and absolutely nobody, will see these games as long as he is alive. Why? This decision is beyond my comprehension.

My questions to Mr Checkers therefore are these:-

1) Why do you not want these games to be published?

2) How do you justify soliciting and receiving financial donations from checker enthusiasts around the World for the purchase of important checker literature while refusing to let these same checker enthusiasts access the collected information?

3) Do you intend to continue to accept donations from the public for your collecting while refusing to allow access to the collected material by the the very people in whose name and for whose benefit you claim to be collecting?

I and others would be most interested to hear Mr Checkers' response to these questions. I am sure that all those who have donated in the past or might consider doing so in the future will be especially interested in hearing what their donations are to be used for - the benefit of the checker fraternity or the benefit of Don Deweber? It is my sincere wish to see this tournament genuinely in the "archives of checker history". Murray Cash, myself and others all maintain such archives. Unfortunately a collection which is kept hidden from the World does not constitute an archive in the sense that I understand the word. Archives are places where knowlege is stored for access by historians and scholars and other interested persons.

To date Mr Deweber has refused to answer these questions. If you would like to see these games you can email him here to ask why he refuses to release them - if you get an answer please let me know!

Roberto Waldteufel

December 2002

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