March 15, 2004
20 Greatest American Pool Checkers Players
Of All Times
(Written by Charles 'Pecan' Thompson)
# 18 - Tony Rivers of Bronx, New York.
While very little, from here, is known about Mr. Rivers, his APCA record, that I have studied, and the games I have played against him would indicate, to me, that he has a rightful place in this select group.
He was, perhaps, the only player to beat "Buster" in two successive years, at the APCA tournament, if I recall correctly. (That's how we measured good players in those days.) That, in itself, would almost be enough to be selected. But, there were more to Mr. River's accomplishments. From my studies, he has finished in the Top Ten in every APCA Tournament he has played in. His highest finish was 2nd, in 1983 in Chicago.
There has been several cases where Mr. Rivers has played in Chicago; he once defeated our own 3rd ranked player, Milton "Madcap" Miskel in a match. Additionally, in later years, Mr. Rivers defeated our number one ranked player, Al "Action Man" Lambert in a match that was arranged by our super matchmaker Mr. Fred D. Shurn. I think the score was 3-0.
I have had the occasion to play Mr. Rivers in several APCA Tournaments. While I don't know the overall outcome of those encounters, I can recall losing to him once. His game was always a challenge, and I found myself almost always on the defensive and looking for the draw 'save.'
For the record, during a 10 year period, from 1973 to 1983, in APCA tournaments, Mr. Rivers finished in the Top Ten six times. But for all of his accomplishments, what I most remember about Mr. Rivers was the shot (given below) he is reported to have thrown on Mr. Fletcher Samuels in the APCA tournament, in a year, I don't recall.
From My database- Mr. Samuels was playing Black, and Mr. Rivers
was playing White.
1) 11-16 22-17; 2) 9-13 17-14; 3) 10x17 21x14; 4) 16-20 25-22; 5) 8-11 24-19;
6) 11-16 29-25; 7) 4-8 25-21; 8) 6-9 23-18; 9) 16x23 26x19; 10) 7-10 14x7; 11) 3x10 19-15; 12) 10x19 21-17; 13) 2-7 30-25; 14) 1-6 25-21; 15) 12-16??.
THE SHOT, 27-23; 16) 19X26 18-14; 17) 9X25 21X23; 18) 13X22 31-26; 19) 22X31 32-27; 20) 31X24 28X1;
And, as Vladimir Kaplan would say, "There is no escape."
And so, at #18, I will place the name of Mr. Rivers.
#18. Tony Rivers- Bronx, New York
#19. George Robinson - Toledo, Ohio
#20. Clyde "King Row" Black - New York, New York