"The Legend of "Buster"                                                                            01/01/2004

"Buster" Meets the "Headchopper"

Moses "Headchopper" Lightfoot was one of the  most dazzling fast-moving, top, Pool Checker player, perhaps in the country at the time.  He was witty, talkative, and very, very good.  He hailed from Macon, Georgia-I think the home of soul singer James Brown and many other greats in the fields of entertainment, sports, and even politics.

Such that it was, we here in the City had already heard fantastic stories about  his quality of play.  We had been forewarned by a great pool checker player who had just recently moved to Chicago from Macon.  His name was Frank Bivins.   We called him the "Slingshot" or the "Flamethrower" because of his ability to throw fantastic shots.

Mr. Bivins had let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that he thought Mr. Lightfoot could beat "Buster"  To make matters more interesting, I had received a personal letter from Mr. Lightfoot, announcing that he had declared himself  the best Pool Checker player in America. 

He sited as his evidence-his defeat of Detroit's, William Langley in a series of matches in Detroit.  It was true; we had heard of those matches.  "And as a result", said Mr. Lightfoot, " I am now preparing to tour the Union of The Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia." (He just said, ‘Russia') in search of competition."

We here in Chicago, wondered why he wrote me.  Perhaps it was because I was the 2nd Vice President of the APCA and already been a part of promoting several high-profile matches here-which included the Ollie Howard- Victor Krafft ("World Championship" match-Ollie would have you believe that).

And so it was, with much anticipation, we watched in Detroit, Michigan in the early seventies as the two squared off in a pre-APCA tournament exhibition.  As was his practice, Mr. Lightfoot was moving with lightning speed.  "Buster," as usual, moving slowly and cautiously..  And there was some grumbling in the crowd about his slow pace. 

And then, to our astonishment, "Buster" began to match Mr. Lightfoot's move-for-move.  Never before had we seen "Buster" move at this pace.  It was now a draw-for-draw, game-after-game scenario. 

"What was it?" someone asked.  "I don't know" was a reply.  "Perhaps it was something somebody said."  The games continued to be played,  at a pace comparable to 5-minute blitz, in chess. The games were still all draws. 

And then it happened- "Buster" threw a SHOT.  We dubbed it the back-up-king shot (even though the piece does not even end up in the king‘s row; but it‘s blocks the opponent‘s piece that is already there). Perhaps, it's the most beautiful SHOT in all of pool checkers. 

And then, in a rare  display  of raw emotion, "Buster" slammed the checker on the spot, stood up, and… "LEFT THE ROOM." 

The roar from the crowd ( over a hundred-fifty players, by one estimate) was deafening, as they scrambled to replay the game or set up the position.

Footnote:  "Buster" won that tournament;  Mr. Lightfoot finished 6th. 

1.11-15 22-17
2.15-19 23:16
3.12:19 24:15
4.10:19 17-14
Pitch and Squeeze
5.09:18 27-24
6.19-23 26:19
7.05-09 19-16
8.09-14 30-26
9.08-11 24-20
10.06-10 28-24
11.01-06 25-22
A plan to get extra moves.
12.18:25 21:30
13.10-15 16-12
14.04-08 24-19
15.15:24 20:27
16.11-15 29-25
17.06-09 25-22
Buster better break out of this game
He did.
18.07-11! 22-18
19.15:22 26:10
20.02-07 27-23
21.07:14 23-19
22.09-13 32-27
23.13-17 31-26
Anyone and everyone would step back with
11-15 - but not Buster!  

24.17-21 27-23
25.14-17 23-18
(see diagram)
26.03-07!! Sweet Jesus - where this came from? 26.... 12:10

The next move is so exquisite - to pull the most restrictive checker into the chain - to make an ally out of a foe:
27.11-15 18:11
Every piece is now in place
28.17-22 26:17
game comments by the web site editor

And then…,HE  LEFT THE ROOM  … and the Legend grows.  … To be continued.