Checker Grandmasters and Masters
Walter F. Hellman: (1916-1975)
Was born June 15, 1916, in Gamla Nordsjö, Nordmaling, Sweden. He moved to Gary, Indiana in 1926 and won a Gary city chess tournament in 1931 at age 15. Later he became interested in checkers and won his first Indiana State Tournament in 1933 at age 17.
His later records were: 10th in the masters (age 18) in the 8th A tournament 1934 at Jamestown, New York; 3rd behind Long and Ryan in the 9th A tournament in 1937 at Martins Ferry, Ohio; 2nd to Ryan in 1939 in the 2nd NCA A tournament at Tacoma, Washington; in 1946 won both the 11th ACA A tournament in Nashville, Tennessee and the 3rd NCA A tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the 18th ACF A tournament at Ocean City, Maryland after winning a round over Asa Long, he withdrew after 8 rounds undefeated to accept 3rd place behind Case and Long. This assured himself as a clear challenger for a 1953 title match. He finished 2nd to Marion Tinsley in the 1956 Galveston, Texas A tournament and won over Newell Banks, Harold Freyer, and others at the 21st A tournament at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He defeated Don Lafferty in the 1964 Rockford, Illinois A tournament and won over Everett Fuller in the 1972 Memphis, Tennessee A tournament. His final appearance was in the 3rd USA-GB Int. Match at Bouremouth, England in which he retired undefeated after 3 rounds, in order to visit his sister in their family home in Sweden.
The record of his world title matches is:
1948: defeated Asa Long 2-1-47 to become the new world champion; 1949: tied
WF Ryan 4-4-42 to retain his title;
1951: defeated Maurice Chamblee 6-1-29;
1953: won over Basil Case 4-1-33;
1955: lost to Marion Tinsley 0-3-35;
After Tinsley's retirement, he returned to play in the following title matches:
1962: tied Asa Long 2-2-36;
1963: again won over Case 2-1-37;
1965: defeated British Champion Derek Oldbury 7-1-27; 1967: won over Eugene Frazier 5-0-31 in his final world title match.
Walter Hellman passed away on July 28, 1975 in Panama City, Florida.
Played in 10 American (US Open) tournaments during 1934-72 winning 5. Had 9 World Title Matches during 1948-67; won 6, tied 2, lost 1.
Note, don't count on checkers, loved a lot in the south but no sponsors. (most above comments from Chess Champ-Kibtzer's Cafe)
7/28/1975 Death of Walter Hellman of Gary, Indiana, age 59, at the home of his daughter in Panama City, Florida. At the time of his death, Hellman had just resigned as the World Champion, due to his failing health. This health condition caused his inability to properly prepare for a defense of his title against challenger Marion Tinsley. Hellman was one of the most successful players to ever compete, winning five American National Tournaments, and competing in nine 3-Move World Championship Matches, with six matches won, 2 drawn, and one match lost to Marion Tinsley. He was also known as one of the greatest analysis on the three move restriction. Most expert analyst/players regard Walter Hellman as one of the two or three greatest players of all time. Walter Hellman was buried in Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville, Indiana Walter's Gravesite
Grandmasters, Masters, & Players Obituaries