Name: Liam Stephens
Residence: Mullingar, Ireland
Title: International Master
Although I played Draughts in my youth, I only became seriously interested in the game following my move to London in the 1960s. After reading the book “International Draughts and Checkers” (which I came across in the local library) I joined the London Draughts Association in 1969. There I met many of the players of yesteryear including John O’Connor, Sammy Cohen, Willie Hicks, Bill Coleman, George Smith and Jack Latham among others. The venue of the London Draughts Association was the St. Bride Institute off Fleet Street in central London. In those days there were regular team competitions with up to 6 teams such as Tottenham, Barking, East End etc., taking part in the London League. Each team had up to 6 players in strength. In addition, there were various individual competitions such as the London Championship, the Wheeler and Kaiser cups, named after their respective donors.
During the 1970’s I frequently visited the reading room of the British Museum which housed a magnificent collection of Draughts books, and I spent many a pleasurable hour there, imbibing draughts lore. My first major tournament was the British Open in 1970, which was held in Ballymena, Northern Ireland (This event was won by Ivor Edwards from Wales with Tom Landry, from London, in second place).
From 1976 to 1980 I was editor of the English Draughts Journal. In 1978 I won the Clacton Open and in 1979 the London Open Championship. In 1984 I co-authored with Tom Landry the book “Draughts – An Introduction to Championship Play”.
During the 1980´s and 1990s I was heavily involved in the London Draughts Association, holding the posts of secretary/chairman/treasurer for various periods. I have many fond memories of that time and feel honoured, during my time in London, to have known personalities such as Leslie Boyd, Tom Landry, Danny Shields, Pat McCarthy and Jim McCarthy, the current chairman of the LDA. After our regular club meetings we would play over the games and analyse them in detail, a practice which undoubtedly helped in increasing one’s skill.
I played regularly for Middlesex in the British Counties Championship and for Ireland in the Home Internationals. Since moving back to Ireland in 2002, I won the German Open Championship in 2006 and 2007. I became Editor of the Irish Draughts Association Newsletter in October 2006 continuing until August 2012.
The final tournaments I played in were the British and Irish Freestyle Open Championship, Naas, 2013, and the Danish Open Championship, Copenhagen, 2013.
I am now retired, but keep up an interest in the game and in correspondence online.
A game by Liam Stephens
One of the weaker 3 movers not as critical as 10-15, 21-17, 6-10.
Move 2. at 17-14 – Attacking Black’s double corner by removing the pieces on squares 6 and 10.
Move 5. at 12-16 – if here 1-6, 25-21, 11-16, is the recommended book line, but 12-16 as played seems more natural.
Move 8. at 19-23 – Black counters Whites attack by establishing an outpost on square 22.
Move 11. at 6-10 – Played to prevent 14-10.
Move 19. at 25-21 – Setting a trap.
Move 20. at 4-8 – The move desired is 14-18 after which 31-27 wins for White.
First published in the London Draughts Association – “Draughts Bulletin” by Jim McCarthy and Liam Stephens, July 1988.
This Biography was submitted by Liam Stephans. Who can be a greater expert about Liam Stephens than the man himself?
Last updated as of 8th May 2021.
Remark by Dennis Pawlek: Liam is always lending a helping hand with the research for most of the articles with this and so many other checkers and draughts projects. I would like to thank him a lot for his ongoing support and to let those of you that do not know he is as well a driving force of the Online Museum of Checkers History which is now unfortunately offline.