The Last Laugh: The Endless Checkers Tournament

The Great Plumtree Crossing Checkers Tournament of 1979-1980 far outlasted the cold winter that spawned it.

| January/February 1980

  • 061 the last laugh
    Our correspondent recounts the exceptional staying power of the two finalists in a winter checkers tournament.

  • 061 the last laugh

"Anybody can win . . . unless there happens to be a second entry."
George Ade  

"There may come a time when the lion and the lamb lie down together, but I'm betting on the lion. "
Josh Billings   

Well sir, what with the out-of-doors bein' so cold hereabouts thet the wind splits a lip ev'ry time it starts in whistlin', folks in Plumtree Crossin' have pretty much stayed holed up of late. An' seein' as how winter figures to set a spell afore takin' its leave, lots of people have been turnin' to indoor entertainments to make the hours (an' days) pass a tad faster.


O'course, some folks seem to be able to amuse theyselves by jist flickin' on their telly-vision sets (an' half of them people git so danged caught up in whatever they're watchin' thet they'd be hard pressed to know what season it were, ennyway). The ol' coots over to the Gen'ral Store ain't partic'larly partial to the boob tube, howev'r, an' it weren't long into the first big blizzard till them fellers hit on the notion of havin' a checkers tournament!

The boys wasn't content to lay out enny little one-afternoon's-fun-an'-thank-you-kindly competition, neither. No sir, the cold an' snow were a sure bet to be around fer a spell, an' the ol' loafers planned to use up as much of the inhospitable season as possible . . . by organizin' a real granddaddy of a match. They set theyselves up a no-foolin' double elimination tournyment . . . with one of them "who beat who" wall chartsmade up of little name boxes an' connectin' lines—what appeared to be nigh as tall as last year's town-square Christmas tree!

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