Bull City Checker Club

by Terry Watson | May 5th, 2011
Members of the Bull City Checkers Club (Photo by: Greg Coats)

Members of the Bull City Checkers Club (Photo by: Greg Coats)

It all began in the 1940s in the city of Detroit Michigan. Players would gather all around corners of the city and play checkers. As the interest in the game increased, along with the number of players, the players received papers from officials in Detroit, officially recognizing the group as the American Checker Association in 1961.

In 1966, the first national tournament took place and consisted of clubs throughout the United States. Players came from California, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and North Carolina to the tournament, resulting in a national champion being crowned. Last year in July, the National American Pool Checkers Association came to North Carolina at the Four Points by Sheraton in Research Triangle Park. There are a total of 35 players in the city of Durham, but only 15 are active. Nationally there are nearly 400 members worldwide. The group meets at various locations in the city including Imperial Barbershop, restaurants, and senior citizen centers. To participate members must pay membership dues.

Clarence Gooch, the President-Elect of the American Pool Checker Association is serious about the game of Checkers. He has served as the webmaster of the organizations website until being elected president. Under his leadership, the Durham branch consistently plays and remains active in tournaments.

Tim Moore, an avid player, served as the president of the tournament in RTP. He has been playing for about 20 years. When he started in 1991, he was a Blue Ribbon Champion, and last year after winning the Masters Division, he is now the Top Master, the highest ranking in the clubs organization. He is the first Top Master in Durham.

Twice a year, the organization holds events in their community where they feed senior citizens and others in need. They also sponsor youth who may be interested in playing checkers, by paying the cost for them to travel and attend tournaments outside of Durham. “Hopefully, we can get kids from all over the United States to partake in this game,” says Gooch. “Checkers is like the game of life, you have to have a plan of attack to survive.”

Moore says he loves the friendships and fellowship that takes place with their organization. “It’s like a brotherhood of friends, where we take care of each other as if we were family,” say Moore. Going forward, the Bull City Checkers Club hopes to recruit more players and make the more strides to give back to their community. This years national tournament will be held in Columbus, Ohio in July.

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