James Wyllie (born 8 July 1818 in Edinburgh; died 5 April 1899) was a Scottish draughts player who is important to the history of the game. He is often nicknamed "The Herd Laddie". For many years the date of his birth was uncertain. The day was thought to have been 6 July and 1818 and 1820 were both candidates for the year. However, in 2005 research at the National Archives confirmed the correct date.
He was raised in Ayrshire where he became involved in draughts after initial discouragement. By his teens he was winning consistently against players much older than himself. He later became a rival to the English draughts player, Robert Martins, for the next forty years with both men dominating the Scottish championship. By the 1870s Wyllie began touring the world and was internationally known in the game.
He brought in plays and innovations that are still used today.
- Christopher Reekie, The High Priest of the Dambrod, The Scots Magazine, March 2008, p 280, also here