"It's a pity," Milton Loew of Nashville says, "that so many people stop playing checkers when they pass adolescence." From the time he first learned to play, in New York City at the age of 13, Milton himself has been singlemindedly devoted to the game. Last month at the age of 37, he became the official checkers champion of the U.S.
The road to the championship has not always been smooth. At 15 Loew won the New York Department of Parks checkers title, only to be disqualified as a professional. Some years later, after taking a bride, he belatedly found that she didn't and wouldn't play checkers. And always he has borne the checkers players' major cross, the agony of seeing chess players get all the glory. "Chess may be an art," says Champion Loew, "but checkers is a science. It is the real thinking man's game."
In winning the U.S. championship at Eau Claire, Wis., Loew, a busy trading-stamp company salesman when he's not bent over a board, bested 83 state and regional finalists. "We had to be in real good shape," he says. "We competed each day from 9 a.m. to as late as 3 a.m. the following morning. Then we were at it again at 9.
I lost 10 pounds—just sitting there."