The Worst BEMO Ever Played - Epilogue
The great John F. Horr was a nice man. He seldom spoke, he was soft spoken, he was
very low key. He was a gentleman and a good sportsman in every sense of the word!
In physical appearance he was a short, stout man with short legs. He was described as
portly, and when seated in a chair his legs barely touched the floor!
When he made the big BEMO it was totally unexpected and it was an aberation!
He played 31-26??? and when Jordan quickly played the 3 for 2 shot and got the move
on the remaining King, witnesses said that the blood drained from Horr's head! His face
turned ashen white. He looked like a ghost! Horr got up and mumbled a few words to
Jordan and slowly left the playing room with head bowed.
Let us remember that Jordan did the exact same thing to Asa Long
in the 5th American Tourney
in 1922. Long had Jordan in Strickland's
Position! This is a famous end game win! Long
had 4 pieces to Jordan's 3. This win is now posted on Roberto Waldteufel's Wyllie Web
Site, and also is posted on Clint Olsen's Web Site! The win is given in Let's Play Checkers
by Grover & Wiswell and also Learn Checkers Fast by Wiswell, also in Lee's Guide,
also Kear's Encyclopedia, also in Gould's Book of Problems , also in all of
Boland's Books! There is no way that Asa A. Long would not know how
to win! Let us remember that
Long became American Champion by winning that Tourney, and then he
became World Champion
later in the 1930's. Yet Jordan forced Long to play out yet another
hopeless loss a piece
down all the way to the end of the game! That is why I called Jordan an S.O.B., by
the way that is not so bad by today's standards! I could have called Jordan many, many
worse things, but I did not! :-). Horr could not finish off Jordan. But the young
Asa A. Long, only 18 years of age, did finish off Jordan in grand
style in two heats! So I hereby commend
and congratulate Asa Long for accomplishing what Johnny Horr did not
do! As I said before,
Alfred Jordan was not a gentleman, and he certainly was not a true sportsman! It is Ironic
Justice that Alfred Jordan never won an American Tourney! He did not deserve to win!
Alfred Jordan died in 1925. Let me assure you that two people did not mourn his death!
John F. Horr and Asa A. Long! Long never said a thing throughout his
fabulously long and
productive life. I believe he lived until he was 95! But a short time before he died he finally
admitted publicly that he never forgave Jordan for what he did to him and hated him until the
day he died! John F. Horr had more reason to hate Jordan! This is my assessment of why
Horr made the BEMO! First of all Horr was a former American Tourney Champion and Jordan was
not! To force a man of Horr's background and prestige to continue playing out a hopelessly
lost position a piece down, when all the spectators had left thinking it a sure win, is in my
opinion the most disrespectful thing that one checker master can do to another checker master!
It is also the height of conceit on Jordan's part! I play a lot on the internet. When it
turns out that you are playing some 12 or 14 year old and he refuses to resign, that is to be
expected! But certainly not from Jordan playing Horr! I imagine that Horr was enraged! He
must have been burning up, fit to be tied, madder than a wet hen! If he was in that state of
mind then it might explain why he made the big BEMO! Also let us not lose sight of the fact
that Horr was fully convinced that he had Jordan beaten! Given that premise then he was
looking ahead to the finals and his heat with the great Sam Gonotsky!
What lines should he
choose to play? What cooks might he spring on Gonotsky and beat him?
Should he play
safely and go for 10 draws? Or should he rely on his superior knowledge and abilty in the
Barred Openings to decide his fate against Sam? Surely all of the above had to have
crossed his mind or been considered or actually affected him!
I have it on very reliable sources that Horr hated Jordan until the day he died! Horr appeared
to have retired. He didn't play the rest of 1924, or in 1925, or in 1926. He was committed to
playing on the American Team in the 2nd International Match of 1927! He was in fact one of the
Original Big Seven! But again my sources told me that had Alfred Jordan not died in 1925, and
was going to play on the team in 1927, John F. Horr would not have played!
Conclusion: very few of my friends and most checker players alive today know much, if
anything, about John F. Horr and the player that he really was! That's why I say he is the most
misunderstood and under rated American Checker Champion we ever had! If he had not made
the BEMO that he did against Jordan, or if Jordan had done the right thing and resigned to Horr,
then Horr would have advanced into the finals against Gonotsky. Horr
could conceivably have
beaten Gonotsky and possibly have gone on to become World Champion!
If there is one
legacy I want to leave you with about John F. Horr it is this:- He was in my opinion the only
player in 1924 who had a chance to beat the great Sam Gonotsky!
Because he was the most
prepared, because of his magnificent preponderance of cooks, because of his great manuscript,
and most importantly because of his superior knowledge and ability with the Barred Openings!
John F. Horr should be regarded as one of the greatest American checker champions and players
that the United States ever produced!
For my students and all checker players and fans who are interested in the history of the
game: I just received the following game from Bob Podoff who in turn just received the
games of the recent GAYP National Tourney from Lester Balderson, President of the ACF.
It just so happens that Bob met Jim Morrison and Dick Hallett in Las Vegas for the first
time! Bob watched part of the game that follows. Round Three.
Red---- Jim Morrison White -----Richard Hallett
11-15, 22-17, 8-11, 25-22, 9-13, 30-25(into a switcher), 4-8, 24-19, 15-24, 28-19, 11-15,
17-14, 15-24, 27-20, 10-17, 21-14, 8-11, 32-28, 6-10, 25-21, 10-17, 21-14, 1-6, 29-25, 13-17
(this is a good move and varies from P.P.), 22-13, 6-9, 13-6, 2-27, 31-24, 7-10! 25-21? (this
is the loser! 26-23* is the draw!), 5-9, 26-22 (24-19 should draw says the annotator, but
10-14* beats it! Detecto), 12-16, 22-17, 9-13, 17-14, 10-17, 21-14, 13-17, 14-10, 17-22, 10-6,
22-26, 6-2, 26-30, 2-6, 30-26, 6-10, 26-22, 10-6, 3-7, 6-2, 22-18 Red Wins.
A very pretty game,
but I give it to illustrate a very important point that I have tried to make in this lengthy
article. Here Dick Hallett who is a recent American Tourney Champion, a Master Checker Player
playing another Master Checker Player with the position 4 against 4 (not 4 against 3!) and
Hallett resigned! Because Hallett is a nice guy! Because Hallett did what custom told him to do!
Because Hallett was a gentleman and a true sportsman! You are supposed to resign when you are
in a hopelessly lost position! I mentioned previously in Part 2 that Clarence H. Freeman was a
wonderful and great player! But I did not have all the necessary historical information about
him. So one of my new young students who lives nearby and who acquired a fabulous checker
library filled me in with the following important data on Freeman. Clarence Herbert Freeman
was born in 1863, in Plainfield, Conn. He died in The Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.
on May 20, 1909 after a six week illness with bladder trouble. He was expected to play on the
American Team in the 1st International match in 1905. But due to health problems he could not
play. He was 46 years old when he died! His mother and grandmother, both also full blooded
Pequot Indians survived him! This is found in Vol. 6, Page 95, June, of The Checker World
by Lyman D. Stearns! And last but not least let us always remember that every private eye was
once a pupil!
D E T E C T O