William Hopper, undisputed (excuse me..."Unrestricted" ) checkers champion. Born 1897 and learning the game in Greenwich Village (where checkers still rules the streets in certain neighborhoods) He had a good, if unusual mentor...famed baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants Baseball team, himself a top-of the line checker player, shared his moves with William and a champ was created.. There were more sopisticated checker stylists, but Hopper practiced the GAYP technique (Go As You Please) rather than the methods which require one to play several moves ahead.
So Good was Hopper, he taught Checkers on RADIO for a brief time in the 1930s. While demonstrating his chops at the 1939 World's Fair, Hopper took on 5,000 challengers and only lost three times. Hopper also ran a booth at Coney Island, I imagine it was a "beat the champ" game he never lost.
But with the war, the game of checkers took on new meaning and Hopper jumped to new responsibilities. The Troops. He was recruited by the Salvation Army U.S.O to teach his skills to the boys. Our heroes were facing long hours in foxholes, bunkers and tents... and the game they had played at home was perfect to bring soldiers together and pass the boredom. It is said Hopper entertained over 1 million serviceman and traveled 150,000 miles. In fact, Millard was profiled in Life Magazine, November 16, 1942 teaching the game to marines bound for war. And you know what? Dear Millard kept on...the photo above has him still sharing his skills to a group of wounded vets four years AFTER the war ended. THAT is the sign of a true King. Crown him!