Edition # 14 - 09/01/04 - Editor: C. Thompson
POOL CHECKER NEWS-CHICAGO
(A monthly e-mail newsletter-pertaining to activities in the area)
-Produced by the 1st-week - monthly-
The Homan Sq. Pool Checkers and Chess Club
Homan Sq. Community Center
3559 W. Arthington St.
Hours: Mon., Wed., Fri. - 2:30 - 9:00 P.M.
Phone - 312-746-6650
Pres. Charles Thompson
Indianapolis Come Calling Again
Master Player, Eugene "Hamp" Hampton brought his usual delegation of four players to the Club's Wednesday Rated-Play Games for Pool Checkers. While Mr. Hampton was the only Class-A player from the group (he finished in a tie for 5th out of a group of ten), his other friends dominated the Class-B group. They took spots 1, 3, and 4 out of a field of eleven. Mr. R. Addair was the player who finished first and was heard telling some of our players he wanted a ‘piece’ of the Class-A players. He will definitely be accommodated upon his return. Mr. Hampton phoned upon their return home to say they had a great time.
Weekly Rated-Play Games for Chess Kicks Off
Legends of "Buster"
The year is 1991. The scene is the site of the 1991 APCA tournament in Los Angeles, California. One of the participants is Iser Kuperman-Russian Grandmaster, seven times APCA champion, and arguably the greatest Pool Checkers player to ever live. Mr. Kuperman, who has dominated American Pool Checkers since his arrival in this country as an immigrant from the former USSR is poised to win his 8th straight tournament.
For seven straight years, he has all but destroyed the field of American players. All the American players, including myself, had been (for all practical purposes) reduced to also-rans in what we used to think of as ‘our game.' Some say he had lost only two tournament games during that seven year span. At the same time, he was packing in tons of wins.
Privately, there might have been a feeling of "Break up the Yankees," on the part of some players. That, of course was the old baseball cry against the New York Yankees when they were winning all those baseball championships in the late twenties, early thirties, and the fifties and sixties. But "Buster" wasn't a part of that thinking. On a number of occasions, he would be heard saying that it was good that the Russian Grandmasters were playing in the tournaments because they would raise the level of play.
But with Mr. Kuperman, even the Grandmaster Vladimir Kaplan, also a former USSR immigrant, himself, had curiously retired during the period of his arrival on the scene. Not only were Iser Kuperman destroying all of his opponents in tournaments, he was doing much the same thing when private matches was arranged for him. One match that was particularly noteworthy was his complete destruction of former APCA champion Momodau Faals who had been one of the few players, it was reported, to have won a game from him in tournament play. The score was, I think, 7 - 1, in a fourteen game match, in favor of Mr. Kuperman.
And so with the dominance of the Russian Grandmasters, (Vladimir Kaplan - 1977-79) and (Iser Kuperman - 1984-90). And with a couple of ‘young lions’ (Momodou Faals and Elton Williams) contesting his dominance (80-83), "Buster" seemed to be fighting for his legacy as much as anything else. According to one observer, I think it was our own APCA President, Dr. Ervin Smith (to a newspaper reporter) and I quote, "In the 1991 tournament, for some reason, "Buster" seemed to be playing like a man possessed." "Never had I seen him play this way before," -unquote.
Keep in mind, at this point, "Buster" is approaching age 64-a time when most players are ready to ’pack it in.’ It is said, that he not only drew Mr. Kuperman the two games they played, he also amassed more points than any other Top Master player-and enough to outdistance even the great Mr. Kuperman and wrest the championship away from him. Furthermore, it's reported that, Mr. Kuperman was so shocked and disgruntled that he ‘Refused to Shake "Buster's" hand ‘upon the declaration that he ("Buster") was the new champion. And finally, the record will show, that Mr. Kuperman exited the stage of the APCA tournaments-never to appear again. "Buster" had Returned!
Although "Buster" is now 64 years old, and while we didn't know it at the time, he would make one final stab at greatness before bowing out - as the Legend continues in the next Issue.