There’s an activity in America, with one-on-one contests, and a national championship. The same person won the championship on two different occasions about 65 years apart. Name the activity.

This was a question that Charlie Munger (a partner of Warren Buffet’s) asked a group of students in a speech he gave. This is a fun question to try to answer, because it really is just a test to see your analytical skills. Try to figure this out on your own – we’re sure that you can figure out the answer on your own if you think carefully.

Breaking the problem down

Let’s figure this out. Well, since the championship was won by the same person over a span of 65 years, that means the second time around this person must have won the championship when he was at least 85 years old, and that’s assuming that he first won the championship when he was at least 20 years old.

This also means that there’s no way that this activity requires any hand eye coordination – because anyone over 85 years old will simply not be able to beat someone in his 20’s. So, there’s no way this was a billiards tournament, and definitely not a tennis tournament.

What about a chess tournament? Well, even though it is a mental game, it does require quite a bit of stamina – and is far too competitive for an 85 year old to be competitive at a national level, even if he can beat a lot of other younger people. If not chess, then what about checkers? Well, that sounds like a potential answer! Because, that is definitely a game where experience can make you the best even though you may be 85 years old. And it’s also a game which does not require much stamina, or any athleticism at all. And that is the correct answer – it is a checker’s tournament.

The name of this person, in case you were wondering is Asa A. Long (born on 20 Aug 1904). He became
the youngest US national champion, at 18 years old 64 days, when he won in Boston,
Massachusetts, USA on 23 Oct 1922. He then became the oldest person to win the national checkers tournament in America, at age 79 years 334 days
when he won his sixth title in Tupelo, Mississippi, USA on 21 Jul 1984.

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