Version reviewed


The Modern Encylopedia of Checkers

1940 Edition with 199 numbered pages.

Published by William F. Ryan, New York, N. Y.

About the Author


William Francis Ryan (1907-1954)

Ryan was nicknamed the Bronx Comet or Willie. Notably, he was one of the most prominent players of his time. Most importantly, he managed to win the American Championship in 1939 and 1946. On top of this, he was as well an accomplished blindfold player.
During his lifetime, he was a very prolific writer and did publish and co-author several books & magazines.

To name just some of his publications

Books & Booklets

  • Scientific Checkers Made Easy
  • Championship Checkers Simplified
  • The Modern Encyclopedia of Checkers
  • Tricks, Traps & Shots of the Checkerboard
  • It’s Your Move: A New Manual of Checkers
  • The Modern Encyclopedia of Checkers
  • World Championship Checkers
  • Streamlined Checkers: A Lucid exposition of Scientific Play and Instructions on the Game of Checkers, Embracing a Precise Treatment of All Major Variations on the 18 – 15 Line of the Double Corner Opening


  • The King-Row Review
  • The Checkergram
  • Checkers: Games of the Blindfold Match Between William F. Ryan and Newell W. Banks
  • The American Checkerist
  • The New Checkergram

However, William Ryan’s crowning achievement is a failed attempt for the World Championship. The match in 1949 against Walter Hellman ended in a drawn score with Hellman retaining. Furthermore, he did have an unsuccessful run on a world title against Newell Banks. This attempt was in 1937 for the World Blindfold Championship.

Book index




Who is this book for?

For any researcher of Ryan as it has some personal stories which describe his character and give you some insight. It has a very specific set of opening and explains the origins of some of the 3-move opening names. I would say a welcome addition to standard 3-move works like Basic Checkers or Complete Checkers if you are looking for something in detail on one of the specific openings covered in this book.


A classic that highlights some specific play lines so it’s overall a good book to add to your library. The private part with personal stories and problem section of Tom Wiswell rounds this book very well. Not a wide variety of openings in it but a must-have if you are looking for something specific. Yet fun and entertaining as Ryan likes to mix up the openings with some nice anecdotes and insights.


5 Star

Where to obtain

Couldn’t locate a free digital version.

If you do like old books and give an commercial seller a go click the image below.


Alternative Opening Books

Basic Checkers

Complete Checkers

Lees’ Guide

The British Draughts Player

Kears Encyclopaedia

…and so many more…