Edition # 6 - 02/01/04 - Editor: C. Thompson
(A monthly e-mail newsletter-pertaining to activities in the area)
-Produced by the 1st-week - monthly-

Homan Sq. Pool Checkers and Chess Club News

"Pecan" Tops All, in Ratings Derby

C. "Pecan" Thompson closed out the year of 2003 at the top of the Ratings List. Having held the top spot for 8 out of the 12 months of 2003, Mr. Thompson held off a fast rising Al "Action Man" Lambert for the number one position.
The Top Five Ratings are as follows:


1.C. "Pecan" Thompson 2043 
2.A. Lambert          2028 
3.C. Lay              1953 
4.O. Williams         1814 
5.F. Shurn            1519 

Using a rating system based on a player's winning percentage and a Factor of 2800, the Rated Play Games of Classes A and B have a built in mechanism to generate maximum interest. By permitting the Class B players to amass a large number of winning points in the B division, it allows them to move up and compete against the Class A players. While in Class A, this group of players will take their beatings from the stronger players, and be driven back to the lower Class B They are ‘transient' players because they are continually bouncing from the B class to the A class and then back to the B class.

The ‘transient' player loves this kind of activity because he gets a chance to get the experience of playing against the stronger players. The stronger player, also loves it, because he gets a chance to ‘feast on some easy pickings. ‘And everyone has a great time.

Chess Corner

The Machine is Idle

The greatest teaching tool of our day, the computer, sits idle because few are eager to challenge it. Two relatively modest programs (Dynamo Pro, for pool checkers and CM4000, for chess), gather dust as they are unable to generate much activity because players gingerly step around them, as they (the programs) wait for opponents. We don't know if it's a case of players trying to protect the secrets of their games, or just a case of ‘benign neglect.' But whatever the reason, knowledge is being denied, and we humans deny ourselves a great chance to improve.

Legends of "Buster"

Detroit's Big Guns Rides into Chicago

At one time, in the 60's and 70's, and perhaps even the 80's, Detroit, Michigan had perhaps the finest group of Pool Checker players in America (That distinction would probably go to Atlanta now). Sporting a cast of George "Lil George" Ramsey, William "Bullet Hole Bill" Langley, William Richardson, Carl Thomas, Hank Jenkins, George Sykes, and a host of other top players, it was a hotbed of Pool Checkers activity.

As if to consolidate and verify its dominance, in the early seventies, a contingent of that group, notably Ramsey, Langley, Richardson, and several others, came calling on the Chicagoans for some high-stakes matches. Since I was very young at the game and was vaguely familiar with the significance of these matches, much of what is given here is what was related to me. Although I witnessed many these matches, I didn't stay for some of the all night battles and their final conclusions. They battled all-night, all day, and then back into the night again.

It was said that "Buster" was ‘killing' (beating him badly) Langley. Some estimates were that at one time "Buster" was beating Langley 55-5. It's not clear whether this all happened at this particular setting. But, what is clear, "Buster" was putting and awful hurting (beating him decisively) on Langley. At the same time, "Lil George" was soundly beating Chicago's second top player, Victor "Vic" Krafft. Additionally, William Richardson was outclassing our own 3rd ranked player, "Madcap" Milton Miskel.

It is said that "Lil George" (who was generally conceded the 2nd best player in America) at the time, and was preparing to make his push for the number one spot, looked over at the games between "Buster" and Langley, and said, "Bill let me have that ‘ham' (poor player). At that point, Langley turned "Buster" over to "Lil George" and the battle began. They played all night-52 games all total; and they were all draws!! What was significant about these games, they were all the same. They played the same games over and over-both refusing to change. That's right!, 26 games with the black pieces and 26 games with the white pieces-same games-same results-same draw. They "stunk up the place" is how one observer characterized it.

Finally, in the 53rd game, "Lil George" made a ‘blunder' (a terribly poor move-in chess). And, it ‘s said, "Buster pounced on him like a 'dog in heat' (very aggressively). From that point on, it was all ‘down hill' for "Lil George" several observers agreed. The saying is that in the very next game, "Buster" got "Lil George" in a position where he (George) got up and left his side of the board, went around to his opponent's side and studied the move for an hour and a half (an obvious exaggeration). "But", opined Van Penn ( of local dude infamy), "When "Lil George" returned to his side of the board, the game was still out" (meaning "Buster still had the winning position). There is no reported score of the "Buster" vs. "Lil George" encounter, but one Chicago player commented, "As long as we have "Buster" here, we will never again have to worry about the ‘barracudas' coming into Chicago and feasting on our blood." The legend continues….

…But, there are warning signs on the horizon. There would be some setbacks, down the road, for the "Buster Steamroller." Read some of the coming issues.

Friends, starting February 15th I will be writing two articles a month-on Pecan‘s All-time American Pool Checkers 20 greatest players. They will be featured on Mr. Jake Kacher's Web Site. More information later.