The Worst BEMO Ever Played - Part 1

This article is about the most underrated and misunderstood great American checker champion we ever had. His name was John F. Horr and he made the worst BEMO ( Blunder, Error, Mistake, Oversight ), ever played by a checker champion. Oh yes we have had quite a few BEMO'S committed by great checker champions. Two of these who readily come to mind were James Ferrie and Marion F. Tinsley both former World Champions. In a Scottish Tourney Ferrie once thought he was exchanging man for man. But his opponent had two ways to jump which Ferrie never saw and gave away 3 pieces for nothing. A horrendous BEMO. But Ferrie would not let it affect his life or his career. Tinsley was equally famous for making ghastly BEMO'S! He made six or seven terrible BEMO'S, three or four of which lost him the game in one move outright! Tinsley in his 1958 WCM with Derek E. Oldbury in the very first game fell for a 3 for 1 shot! He was shocked but he recovered to win the match by 9-1. Previously in a tourney game with Alex Cameron he gave Cameron two pieces for nothing. Then later in a tourney game in 1974 in Florida against Everett Fuller he made an inexcusable BEMO or blunder. He made a move which allowed Fuller to take a two for two exchange and get a free King and win the game easily! Any decent checker player would have seen the move and avoided it! As bad and terrible as this BEMO was it did not destroy Tinsley. John F. Horr was born in Lima, N.Y. on Dec. 6, 1878. He soon moved to Buffalo, N.Y. As a youth he played Spayth, Mugridge and other prominent experts of that period with creditable success! He was a natural and on a visit to New York City defeated the famous Dr. Schaefer 2 to 0 in a purse match. This instantly made him a top player as Dr. August Schaefer was considered a world class player, problemist, analyst and author! Dr. Schaefer resided in N.Y.C. and was a practicing M.D. Dr. Schaefer who was on the American team in the First International Match in 1905 played in Boston, Mass. made! the third highest score on the American team! The combined Scottish-British team trounced the American team with a score of 73 wins 34 losses and 284 draws!

I digress at this point to correct two very bad factual misstatements or BEMO'S that I would like to point out concerning the First International Match! The first is found on page 56 of the Second International Match Book. There you will find a short biography on John F. Horr. Second sentence on the third line,"When but a youth he participated in the 1905 International Match at Boston and made a plus score"? This is an untrue statement! Actually Mr. Horr's score was 3 wins and 6 losses which is not a plus score! However his score was good enough to rank him 4th best on the American Team behind A.J. Heffner 4 wins and 1 loss, C.F. Barker 5 wins and 3 losses and Dr. A. Schaefer 5 wins and 7 losses. It is important to point out that one of the opposing players on the British team by the name of Alfred Jordan, who was eventually to become a world champion, had a score of 6 wins and 3 losses. So at this point in their respective careers Alfred Jordan was the better player of the two in 1905! But this would change in the next 15 years! The second misstatement or BEMO concerning the First International Match can be found in Charles C. Walker's Checkers Annual for 1994 on page 209, second paragraph, obviously written by Mr. Walker. I quote," The final score: Britain 73 wins, U.S. 34 wins, 284 drawn games. Richard Jordan from Scotland (it would have been nice if he had mentioned that Richard Jordan was the current World Champion!), was the high scorer with 13 wins and no losses." So far everything he has said is actual and factually correct! Now please note his next statement! "No US player had a positive score" (ie more wins than losses). This is an utterly false, a completely wrong and outrageous mis-statement and BEMO, much worse than the first one! We all know that August J Heffner, captain and coach of the team, and former American Champion, was the high scorer for the US team with a score of 4 wins and 1 loss! That is a positive score and more wins than losses! Also Charles Francis Barker, then the current American champion, had a score of 5 wins and 3 losses! That is also a positive score and more wins than losses! That proves that the person who wrote the above mis- statement and BEMO knows very little or nothing about the First International Match of 1905! To further prove my contention he says in the third and the sixth paragraph that Asa Long was 23 years old when he played in the Second International Match. That is of course wrong and not factual! Asa Long was only 22 years of age when he played in the Second International in March of 1927! Asa Long would not have been 23 years of age until August 20, 1927, which was his birthday!