Thursday, September 15, 2005
Checkers or Draughts
With the increase in paid game sites on the Web, sites about all sorts of competitive games should be a good bet for both bounties for finding game sites new players, and contextual text ads like Google Adsense for similar sites.
With that in mind, I thought I'd do some research on a board game, and the first that came to mind was checkers.
The first search I did was for Draughts -- the British name for the game. In this list, I'm only going to pay attention to the pre-1923 list, since books with the word 'Draughts' in the title are probably published in the UK, and therefore wouldn't have US copyright renewals on record. They'd be covered under an entirely different set of copyright laws, and we just don't want to go there.
Running the term "Draughts" through PDE, I get the list linked here: http://www.publicdomainexplorer.com/sample/draughts.html
"Checkers" produces this list: http://www.publicdomainexplorer.com/sample/checkers.html
One of the entries that shows up on both lists, Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership by Edward Lasker, seems familiar, and a Google search confirms that it's available for download from Project Gutenberg.
Another Google search shows that Checkers by Henry M. Blossom, Jr. is a work of fiction, and not a book about the game.
Scratching those two items, I'd lean toward the following promising picks:
and Chess, La Roux, Maxim 1916 ($5.00)
I don't know who Maxim La Roux was, but I'm certain the book is about the game since it's paired with Chess as the topic. Unless this was the cheapest and most likely candidate, though, I'd probably not buy it, since it's difficult to determine how much of the book would actually be dedicated to Checkers rather than Chess.
Checker Companion.1922 ($7.00)
Wendemuth, I learned from a newspaper archive search, was a Checkers champion from Chicago.
- Inside Checkers for Beginners, Amateurs, Students and Votaries of the Game, Walker, Walton W. 1922 ($9.00) looks promising. The book is described online as "An exhaustive analysis of selected games played between the best masters and amateurs. Being a revelation in scientific play."
Complete Guide to the Game of Draughts, Lees, James 1906 ($9.00)
Lees is a well-known name among Checkers fanatics, and so a reprint of this classic might sell well.
A Practical Guide to Scientific Play , Dunne, Frank 1900 ($10.00)
Frank Dunne appears to be well known in the checkers world as well, primarily for being the first checkers player to succeed at playing blindfolded.
or Checkers for Beginners , Spayth, Henry 1866 ($11.95)
Didn't find a lot of information about Spayth, but a beginners book is always a great place to start when building a new content website.
There are also a number of records of tournaments and matches which, while they would make lousy fodder for Adsense, might make for a good visual product, if you could use a checkers software program and / or screen capture software to record the sequence of moves from championship games.
For this topic, at least, there are enough good choices for information in the Pre-1923 category to begin a solid information site and or product with. If the site proves profitable, it would then be worth while to pursue some of the no-match post 1923 items, and pay for the Library of Congress or a law firm to do a copyright search to confirm availablility.
All of these books, at the prices listed, could earn a profit for a savvy niche marketer, EASILY, within a month of their conversion into a usable format.
Public Domain Research Software