April 1932:

Shouts of “king me” came from all corners of Scranton as players practiced for the fourth annual checkers tournament sponsored by Scranton’s Department of Recreation.

group of people

Players in the Scranton Recreation Bureau’s fourth annual checkers tournament gather during the preliminary matches in April 1932. They are, from left, seated: George Carlonas, Thomas Nimmo, Anthony Smolskie and John Comtess; standing: Thomas Irving, Emlyn Davies, Thomas J. Sheppard, William Lucas and Frank McCanna Jr. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES

The tournament began April 5 with 67 players at the Chamber of Commerce auditorium. The players were divided into two groups: junior (up to age 17) and senior (17 and older). Sixteen employees of the Scranton Post Office enrolled in the tournament.
On the second night of play, April 8, all participants played again. Winners in both groups stayed in Division A, while the losers moved to Division B. During the third night, April 15, 33 players were left. That night, Frank McCanna Jr. eliminated Adolph Mackaliunas, who had eliminated him in 1931 and went on to become that year’s checkers champion.
The kings of checkers were crowned on April 22 at the final matches at Weston Field. McCanna won Group 1, Division A, and William Lucas was runner-up. Emlyn Davies won Group 1, Division B, and Thomas J. Irving took second place.
John Comtess won Group 2, Division A, with Thomas Nimmo as runner-up. George Carlonas topped Group 2, Division B, and Anthony Smolskie landed in second place.
The Division A winners received an engraved gold “City of Scranton” medal, while the winners of Division B took home engraved silver “City of Scranton” medals. The runners-up received the checkers boards from their final match.
The city checkers tournament started in 1928. Tournaments also took place during the summer in association with seasonal playground activities the Scranton School District sponsored.