by Bob Podoff
Samuel Levy was born in Manchester
in 1914 and died in 1938 having just celebrated his 24th birthday. He took up the game
of Draughts seriously in 1933 and of course was unknown. However in 1934 he went all
the way to the Finals of the English Championships, which in my opinion was phenomenal.
He played on the Manchester Draughts Club team, where he met Harry
Moulding, famed Internationalist who became his friend, colleague and Mentor. He began
to play in league play and also on the teams of Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool
in 1934, 1935 and 1936, with great success I might add. Some of his adversaries were
Leonard Claxton, Harry French, Harry Moulding, Sam Cohen and George O'Connor:
pretty fair company I would say! He won the English Championship in 1936; Cohen was
second and O'Connor was third. He also won the British Championship. In 1937
he played a 40-game match with Sam Cohen for the World 2-move Championship title, which he won.
He always played aggressively to win, constantly looking for new play and improvements of
old play. He had become a student of the new 3 move (or as the Brits called it the American
Restriction). I understand he was getting very good at 3 move too! When this match with Cohen
was concluded he challenged Asa Long to a match at the new
3 move restriction for the World's Championship at this new style of play. He rather fancied his
chances of beating Long! Sam Levy was not afraid to play
Asa A. Long! Arrangements were beginning to be made, and Levy was
prepared to come to the U.S.A. to play Long. Then Levy suddenly had
an attack of appendicitis, and while thought to be recovering, Peritonitis set in and he died unexpectedly.
In my biographies and articles about Sam Gonotsky, I often said that
Gonotsky had a short but meteoric career.
However Sam Levy had an even more meteoric and shorter career than did
Gonotsky! Let us remember that when he defeated Cohen in 1937 for the 2 move world title he was only
23 years old!
When Samuel Levy died in 1938, England lost perhaps the greatest Draughts player ever
developed in that country. Arguably he could have been the greatest player of all time,
but we shall never know, since he was only 24 when he died and hadn't reached his full
potential. Imagine what he could have accomplished had he lived say another 40 years
or so. But we shall never know.