Newell W. Banks

10 October 1887 - 17 February 1977

Banks was better known as a Draughts (Checkers) player, having been raconised as a child prodigy at the game. He reportedly 'learnt the rudiments of the game at the age of 5, and by the time he reached 7 was able to conduct blindfold Draughts successfully.' He would later become known for large simultaneous exhibitions of Draughts and Chess at the same time.

In 1922 Banks came to Scotland to contest a match for the Draughts Championship of the World with Robert Kelty of Fife, the match being held in Glasgow. The British Chess Magazine of March 1922 provided the following report:

Banks returned to Britain in 1939, seeking engagements with clubs around the country. Between these visits he had continued to play in occasional chess events; at the Chicago 1926 tournament he scored wins against Marshall and Kashdan and draws against Faktor and Showalter.

During his 1939 visit Banks was a spectator at the Scottish Draughts Championship held at Eglinton Toll, Glasgow in January 1939. The Glasgow Herald of Friday, 6 January (p. 19) announced that Banks would gave a simultaneous chess and draughts exhibition the next day.

On Thursday, 26 January, Banks gave a chess exhibition in Dundee:

The Evening Telegraph, Friday, January 27, 1939, p. 8.

Banks returned to Glasgow and gave an exhibition of both games in the Jewish Institute, South Portland Street, Glasgow, on Tuesday, 7 February. The display lasted 4½ hours, Banks scoring 8 wins and 7 draws at Chess and 10 wins and 8 draws at Draughts.

Irving Chernev: The Compleat Draughts Player, Oxford University Press, 1981.
Glasgow Herald, February 3 p. 18) and 10 (p. 6), 1939.

Alan McGowan