Sunday, October 31, 2010

Irish Open and World Qualifying Tournament

The 2010 Irish Open and 3-Move World Qualifying Tournament were held back-to-back this past week in Dublin, Ireland, at the Radisson Hotel. Competition was fierce in both tournaments, and they generated lots of commentary and argument at the ACF Forum. The winner of the WQT earns the right to challenge World 3-Move Champion Alex Moiseyev for the title, with a match likely to take place in late 2011.

After the smoke had cleared, Ron King won the Irish Open Masters convincingly, while Bernard Coll topped the Senior division (analogous, I think, to the majors division in US tournaments). In the WQT, Michele Borghetti edged King out for first place, which will make for an exciting match-up in the next WCM. Borghetti is known as the Marion Tinsley of Italian checkers, and he has proven himself to be an extremely strong crossboard player in many variants of the game. Toyeva Hurhagul won the women's WQT over Jan Mortimer and Kim Willis (Amangul Durdyeva, the current Women's Champion, played in the open division), while Maksat Durdyev beat Gechakov Gochmyrat in the youth WQT. Congratulations to all the competitors, and thanks for an exciting week of checkers!

Here are the full standings for both events, courtesy of Graham Young. You can also view the crosstables at Google Docs: Irish Open and World Qualifying Tournament.

Irish Open - Masters

Ron King
John McElhone
Michael Shabshai
Filip Karetr
Igor Martynov
Shane McCosker
Tom Watson
John Webster
Sean O'Drscoll
Tom Kee
Brian Kilgour
Colin Young
Joe Schwartz
Danny Oliphant
Frank Moran
Myles Hannigan
Liam Stephens
Peter Kierans
Anthory Rose
Charlie McKenna
Bill Dobbins
Paddy Doyle
Jaroslav Tichy
Thomas Wien
Sean Phillips
Franice McNally

Irish Open - Senior and Intermediate

Note: Everyone played as one group, but I've grouped the intermediate players below for ease of reading.

Senior
Bernard Coll
John Jolliff
Sean McKenna
Graham Young
Joe Maguire
John Preston
Tommy Canning
Sean Davis
Con Boyle
Jan Mortimer
John Joe McGee
Brendan Murray
Billy Kelly
John Reade
Charlie McElory
Kim Willis
Vencent Beirne
John Davis
Liam Doyle
Ian Caws
Joan Caws
P J Furry
Con McCarrick

Intermediate
Paddy Byrne
John Kelly
Mick Brennan
Mick O'Dowd
Pasty Quinn
Mick Martin
Liam Harkin
Lisa Cuito

World Qualifying Tournament
Michele Borghtti
Ron King
Shane McCosker
John Webster
Joe Schwartz
Garrett Owens
Bagtiyar Durdyev
Robert Tovagliaro
Michael Holmes
Igor Martynov
Micheal Shabshai
Myles Hannigan
James Morrison
Bashim Durdyev
Amangul Durdyev
Filip Kareta
Colin Young
Thomas Wien
Frank Moran
Donald Oliphant
Tony Boyle
Paddy Doyle
Anthory Rose
Jaroslav Tichy

Sunday, October 10, 2010

King Retains GAYP Title

After a victory in Game 24 of their match, Ron King successfully defended his GAYP World Title against Richard Beckwith. King won two games-- one with the white side of 11-15 23-19 8-11 22-18 and one with the red side of 11-16 22-18 16-19-- while Beckwith scored with the red side of 11-15 24-19. The remainder were draws.

Congratulations to Ron King for retaining the title, and to Richard Beckwith for once again proving he is a world-class grandmaster! We look forward to the next title match.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Game # 23

Ron with reds opens " OLD Faithful " and dr beckwith replies 22-18.

Drawn game.

Alan
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Four hour marathon

Second double corner. Dr. Beckwith reds. Red wins. Two games left.

Alan
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Game #21. Final day

Suki has the red pieces for this mornings first game of the final four of the match.

Single Corner. Suki takes 12-16 line.

Draw

Alan
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Game # 20

Dr. Beckwith with reds. 11-15,24-19,15-24,28-19,9-14,22-18,5-9. Drawn game.

Stay tuned tomorrow for last games.

Alan
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Game # 19

11-15,22-17,15-19. Draw.

Dr. Beckwith reds next game.
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Game # 18

Dr. Beckwith reds.

Second double corner. 9-14 line. Drawn.
Alan
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Friday. Game #17

Suki with reds as today's four games begin.

Fife three by two refused. Drawn game. Alan

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Game sixteen

Souter. 9-14,22-17,11-15. Souter.
Draw.
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Game fifteen

Defiance opening with suki reds. Draw
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Another Photo

Game 14: Dr. Beckwith red and 9-14,22-17,11-15 into the Souter and a nice draw. Amishman Joe Weaver visiting today from Mt. Eden, Ohio.
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First Blood

From Alan:

Game 13. Suki opens 11-16. Then 22-18 then 16-19. Two hour game. Suki won.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Game twelve

Dr. Beckwith reds. Second double corner. Played differently. Drawn.
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Game eleven

Suki reds. Glasgow. Draw.
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Game ten

Dr. Beckwith. Red. Second double corner draw. Very interesting game.
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Illinois 101 Correction

Referee Roger Doll discovered an error on the scoresheet for the A class in the Illinois 101, which resulted in an honor point miscalculation. Using the correct values, Gene Ellison placed 6th (instead of 7th) and John Grisley placed 7th (instead of 6th), meaning that Gene is the state champion this year. Congratulations, Gene!

Class A (honor points in parentheses)
1. Michael Holmes 22
2. John Acker 18
3. Don West 16
4. Albert Tucker 15 (99)
5. Bill Wethington 15 (81)
6. Gene Ellison 14 (95, state champ)
7. John Grisley 14 (93)
8. Gary Ellison 14 (78)
9. Arthur Mays 13
10. Flavious Burgess 11
11. Byron Woolum 9

IMG-20101006-00173.jpg

Pa visitors today lloyd auker and laVern wray with match players. Game nine Glasgow with ron reds. Draw.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Game eight

Ron white pieces. Second double corner. Draw.

Alan
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Game seven

Glasgow. Draw.
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Game six

Second double corner with ron white pieces. Draw. Alan
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Game five

11-15,22-17,8-11,23-19. Glasgow. Draw.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Game four

Dr. Beckwith red. 11-15, 24-19. Drawn game.
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Game three

Ron reds. 11-15,23-19,8-11. Glasgow. Draw.
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First two games

First was 11-15,23-19,7-11

Second was second double corner. 28-19 jump

Suki red in game #1

Both games draws.

Alan millhone
Match referee

King-Beckwith Match: Day 1 Photo

(Note from John: this is the first in a series of reports from Alan Millhone on the World Title Match between Ron King and Rich Beckwith.)

Contract signing on monday morning. Mr joe lo conti (sponsor) in middle
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

IL 101 Final Standings

Class A (honor points in parentheses)
1. Michael Holmes 22
2. John Acker 18
3. Don West 16
4. Albert Tucker 15 (99)
5. Bill Wethington 15 (81)
6. John Grisley 14 (93, state champ)
7. Gary Ellison 14 (91)
8. Gene Ellison 14 (78)
9. Arthur Mays 13
10. Flavious Burgess 11
11. Byron Woolum 9


Class B (round robin so no honor points)
1-2. Roger Doll 20
1-2. Earl Kennell 20
3. Wilma Wolverton 16
4-6. Alex Holmes 15
4-6. Howard Hoover 15
4-6. Leonard Hickman 15
7. Delmar Ripley
8. Jennifer Kelton

2010 IL 101: Day 2

Class A

Round 5
Gary Ellison 2 Woolum 2
Tucker 2 Holmes 2
Acker 4 Grisley 0
West 2 Gene Ellison 2
Wethington 3 BYE

Round 6
Gary Ellison 3 Mays 1
Acker 3 Tucker 1
Wethington 3 Woolum 1
Holmes 3 Gene Ellison 1
Grisley 3 BYE

Round 7
Holmes 4 Acker 0 (Holmes wins tournament with 22, Acker 2nd with 18)
Tucker 2 Gene Ellison 2
Gary Ellison 4 Woolum 0
Wethington 2 West 2
Grisley 3 Burgess 1
Mays 3 BYE

Class B

Round 5
Hoover 2 Hickman 2
Doll 2 A Holmes 2
Kennell 4 Kelton 0
Ripley 3 Wolverton 1

Round 6
Hoover 2 A Holmes 2
Doll 2 Hickman 2
Ripley 4 Kelton 0
Wolverton 4 Kennell 0

Round 7
Kennell 4 Hoover 0
Doll 2 Ripley 2 (Doll and Kennell tie for 1st place)
Hickman 4 Kelton 0
A Holmes 2 Wolverton 2

Saturday, October 2, 2010

IL 101 - Day 1 Pairings and Results

Class A

Round 1
John Acker 4 Gary Ellison 0
Albert Tucker 2 Byron Woolum 2
Gene Ellison 2 Arthur Mays 2
Michael Holmes 3 John Grisley 1
Bill Wethington 3 Don West 1
Flavious Burgess 3 BYE

Round 2
M Holmes 3 Acker 1
Burgess 3 Wethington 1
Mays 3 Woolum 1
West 2 Tucker 2
Grisley 4 Gary Ellison 0
Gene Ellison 3 BYE

Round 3
Acker 3 Gene Ellison 1
Holmes 4 Burgess 0
West 4 Woolum 0
Tucker 3 Wethington 1
Gary Ellison 3 BYE

Round 4
Gary Ellison - Wethington
Acker 3 Mays 1
Tucker 3 Grisley 1
Holmes 3 West 1
Gene Ellison 3 Burgess 1
Woolum 3 BYE

Class B

Round 1

Leonard Hickman 2 Alex Holmes 2
Roger Doll 3 Howard Hoover 1
Wilma Wolverton 4 Jennifer Kelton 0
Earl Kennell 3 Delmar Ripley 1

Round 2

Hoover 4 Kelton 0
Doll 4 Wolverton 0
Kennell 4 Hickman 0
A Holmes 3 Ripley 0 (forfeit)

Round 3
Hoover 2 Wolverton 2
Doll 4 Kelton 0
Kennell 4 A Holmes 0
Hickman 4 Ripley 0

Round 4
A Holmes 4 Kelton 0
Hoover 4 Ripley 0
Wolverton 3 Hickman 1
Doll 3 Kennell 1

Illinois 101 Tournament, 10/2-10/3, 2010

Good morning, fiddlers of the Fife and cobblers of the Souter. I'm in Marion, IL for what will probably be my last tournament of a checkeristically busy 2010: the Illinois 101. Alas, this doesn't mean that there are 100 other tournaments in the home of the Illini, which would make for a rather more hectic schedule. Instead, to quote the ICA site:

Illinois has 102 counties. Players from the Chicago area dominated the state tournament during much of the 20th century, so the remaining 101 counties in Illinois founded this tournament for all players living within them. Players from Cook county, where Chicago is located, where not eligible. The tournament is now open to all players.

Even with those silly Chicago players, though, it's a good tournament-- we play in the rather unusual venue of a local mall's food court, which does get noisy at times (especially if one has the misfortune to sit near the video arcade) but gets a lot of visibility from potential visitors and future players. So far I haven't been over to the mall yet, since in past years the wireless access has been iffy, but will do my best to update as the weekend goes on. So far I know Michael Holmes and Albert Tucker are both here, which is enough to make any lazy major like myself tremble in his sneakers, but I'll try to get a few wins anyway. Two of the Midwest's other heavy hitters, Alex Moiseyev and Rich Beckwith, will have to miss this one-- Rich, of course, has a world title match on Monday-- so I may just beg, borrow, and bribe my way to third place. See you across the board!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

OH Standings and Results

Round 1
Cowie 3 Acker 1
Moiseyev 4 Wenberg 0
Beckwith 4 LoConti 0
Millhone 2 Holmes 2

Round 2
Cowie 3 Wenberg 1
Moiseyev 2 Beckwith 2
Holmes 3 LoConti 1
Millhone 2 Acker 2

Round 3
Beckwith 3 Cowie 1
Moiseyev 2 Holmes 2
Acker 3 LoConti 1
Millhone 4 Wenberg 0

Round 4
Moiseyev 3 Acker 1
LoConti 3 Wenberg 1
Holmes 3 Cowie 1
Millhone 2 Beckwith 2

Round 5
Moiseyev 3 Cowie 1
Millhone 4 LoConti 0
Acker 3 Holliday 1
Beckwith 3 Holmes 1

Round 6
Cowie 4 LoConti 0
Moiseyev vs. Millhone
Acker 2 Holmes 2 (a lucky endgame shot)
Beckwith 4 Holliday 0

Round 7
Cowie 2 Millhone 2
Beckwith 3 Acker 1
Holmes 4 Holliday 0
Moiseyev 4 LoConti 0

Final Standings
Alex Moiseyev 22
Richard Beckwith 21
Michael Holmes 17
Alan Millhone 16
Louis Cowie 15
John Acker 13
Joe LoConti 5
Neil Wenberg/Steve Holliday 3

Saturday, September 11, 2010

OH State Tournament, 9/11-9/12

Tonight’s blog post, fellow Duffers of Dama, is brought to you by espresso, specifically the twenty-four ounces of caramel espresso (with a shot of hazelnut creamer) that I procured from the gas station next door to the Rodeway Inn, the site—per usual—of this weekend’s Ohio State Checker Tournament. I’d probably have more points in said tournament had I not waited until after Round 3 to self-caffeinate, but given the crowd points are hard to come by: so far in the round-robin I’ve had matches with Louis Cowie, Alan Millhone, and Alex Moiseyev, and still have to play Michael Holmes and Rich Beckwith tomorrow. That’s a taxing enough schedule given a decent amount of sleep, but on the three hours I managed last night it was mere shades from (or perhaps of) delirium. You see, though the tournament didn’t start until 9:30 this morning, Alex and I drove up from Columbus at a rather tenderer hour: we started out from his house in the north suburbs at around 7:10, which meant I left my apartment at the still-dark 6:15, which further meant that my all-too-persistent alarm klaxoned me awake at five. Even after a concerted effort to limit my Mountain Dew (and Netflix) consumption the previous night, it was well after 2 AM by the time I got to sleep, so even facing the full-on glare of the fresh-risen sun I yawned my way through our requisite chunk of Interstate 71.

In case you’re keeping up with the math at home (and if you are, seriously, go read a book)—and more to the point, since I need a segue into this next paragraph—and are wondering why it took an hour to get from my apartment to the interstate, the answer is rather banal: Alex hadn’t had breakfast yet when I arrived at 6:45, so I hung around while he made and ate a relatively quick meal. Given my past experience with Alex’s alimentary preferences on tournament weekends, I half-expected there to be an entire Waffle House franchise in his kitchen, to ensure that he got his eggs, bacon, coffee, tomato slices, toast, and orange juice in preparation for yet another rating-enhancing romp through the (tournament) field. Or, failing that, even a clich├ęd bowl of Wheaties—or perhaps a Soviet-era top-secret shashki-skill-strengthening equivalent—would have been amusing enough to register in the few non-somnolent brain cells then at my disposal. Instead, I must report, his secret pre-tournament meal was rather ordinary: four soft-boiled eggs, four plain hot dogs, a couple dinner rolls, about a third of a stick of butter, and of course one glass of orange juice and one mug of black coffee. It made my entree of a drive-thru Sausage McMuffin and a can of Mountain Dew seem downright meager, but it seemed to work: so far Alex hasn’t lost any games, though both Rich and Michael could catch up to his score (11) depending on how they do in R4, which is still in progress.

I’m stuck in a likely sixth place after a lackluster first day: my first round opponent was Louis Cowie, and between the drive and a long ending (which I couldn’t quite manage to win) in our first game, I was so tuckered out that I seriously considered changing my name to Albert and learning three hundred ways to play the Cross opening. (Such a move, incidentally, would have helped in my round with Alan, which produced two lines I’d never seen before on 11-15 23-18 8-11. Clearly he didn’t get the memo about rest games.) It all came to a head in Game 2 with Louis, when I got myself into a weak but drawable ending, only to move into an easy two-for-one that I should have seen, well, in my sleep. I knew I was supposed to be nice to Lou this weekend, since the tournament is being held in his honor and all, but after giving that game away I was about ready to turn around and drive back home. But enough about that. We started off the tournament, actually, with a couple of nice tributes to Cowie: Alex presented him with an annotated booklet of all the games the two of them had played in the PA and OH tournaments over the years, and Rich presented him with a nice plaque honoring his career of checkeristic achievements, including his 30+ OH state titles and his unceasing work as a problem composer. The booklet has a lot of good play in it—I was the editor—and should be available as an ebook via the ACF Store later on this Fall. And speaking of new checkers books, if you haven’t already made your way to The Checker Maven today (http://www.checkermaven.com), do take a look at the newest Richard Pask ebook that Bob has generously made available.

Well, that’s about all the news for now. I’m about ready to fall asleep at the keyboard, thanks to a couple tough games with Alex in R4 (I did manage one draw) and a thoroughly formidable meatloaf dinner at Alexandir’s Steakhouse, the not-quite-official restaurant of the Ohio Checker Tournament. If I’m lucky, I might score a win or two tomorrow, and at least come away with enough prize money to support my caffeine habit for another day. Mmmmmmmmmm, caffeine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 Indiana Results (unofficial)

From Pal Bucker:

1st place - 24 points, Alex Moiseyev, OH District 6 Champion
2nd place - 21 points, Michael Holmes, KY
3rd place - 18 points, Anthony Bishop, TN
4th place - 17 points, Clyde McFarland, IN Indiana State Champion
5th place - 14 points, Ramon Dionisio, IL (104-HP)
6th place - 14 points, Mike Choate, TN (101-HP)
7th place - 14 points, Neil Wenberg, PA (94-HP)
8th place - 14 points, Pete Schmucker, IN (82-HP)
9th place - 13 points, Flavious Burgess, KY (97-HP)
10th place - 13 points, James Allen, IN (82-HP)
11th place - 13 points, Earl Kennell, IL (81-HP)
12th place - 12 points, Alex Holmes, IN Dist. 6 and IN State Youth Champion (11 yrs. old)
13th place - 11 points, Lonnie Lambright, IN (78-HP)
13th place - 11 points, Marvin Yoder, IN (78-HP)
15th place - 10 points, Edw. "Pal" Bucker, IN
16th place - 7 points, Eli Raber, IN

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dalton Games

Here are a couple games I played at the Dalton tournament. In a six-round tournament, of course, every win is important, but I picked these two because they kept me in the running. The first game, from Round 2-- as it turned out, our last round on Friday-- put me in position to square off against Rich Beckwith the next morning, and the second game salvaged a drawn round vs. Kenny Miller, putting me in contention to win the tournament.

[Event "2010 Dalton OH Tournament"]
[Date "2010-08-20"]
[Red "Keim, Aden"]
[White "Acker, John"]
[Result "0-1"]
1. 11-15 23-19 2. 8-11 22-17 3. 9-14 25-22 4. 11-16 24-20 5. 16x23 27x11 6. 7x16 20x11 7. 3-7 28-24 8. 7x16 24-20 9. 16-19 29-25 10. 4-8

A standard Glasgow, which I didn't really expect to see much in the tournament since it leads to so many quick draws. Especially after 4-8 (instead of the more aggressive 5-9 or 19-24), I was ready for a rest game, and suspected that my opponent was testing my PP knowledge.


10... 22-18 11. 14x23 17-14 12. 10x17 21x14

To my surprise, after I played this standard continuation (Martins' Rest), my opponent declared that he'd never seen it before, and the rest of the match was marked by his running commentary on how unsure he was of the next move.

13. 8-11 31-27

Cake recommends delaying this with 25-22 first, then 11-15 31-27 6-9 and after the jumps both sides can break through to king, for a simple draw. I had it in my head that 8-11 was a loss, though, so decided to retrieve the piece immediately. Instead of 8-11, 2-7 is of course a well-known draw.

14. 19-24 27x18 15. 12-16 25-21 16. 16-19 21-17

By this point I was completely crossboard, but saw that red would eventually have to pitch to get a king. So, I decided to attack the man on 8, and started looking for opportunities to pitch myself in the double corner.

17. 24-28 17-13 18. 19-24

The 6-9 shot is perfectly safe-- at least with Cake's ending database in hand! Though the position is still even, I think once I pitched the man and moved in for a king I got a psychological edge.

18...13-9 19. 6x13 14-10 20. 2-6 10-7 21. 6-10 7-3 22. 10-14 18x9 23. 5x14 3-7

10-14 loses, as the resulting bridge ending will prove untenable.

24. 11-15 7-11 25. 15-18

If 14-18, 26-22 etc and 18-14 lead to an easy white win.

25...11-15 26. 24-27 15x22 27. 27-31 26-23

20-16 leads to a winning bridge ending in Cake's database, but I didn't seriously consider it since I saw an easier path this way.

28. 31-27 30-25 29. 27x18 22x15 30. 14-17 25-21 31. 17-22 15-18 32. 22-26 20-16 33. 26-31 16-11 34. 31-26 11-7 35. 26-31 7-2 36. 31-26 2-7 37. 26-31 18-22 38. 1-6 22-18 39. 31-26 7-2 40. 6-9 etc White Wins.

Red has a few ways to vary, but the idea of holding the red men on the left side of the board is the same. Later review showed that I had a few simpler wins in the ending, but I liked the elegance of restricting the king's movement and forcing the single men to advance.

[Event "2010 Dalton OH Tournament"]
[Date "2010-08-21"]
[Red "Acker, John"]
[White "Miller, Kenny"]
[Result "1-0"]
1. 11-15 23-19 2. 9-14 22-17 3. 6-9 17-13 4. 2-6

The Souter, an opening I've been favoring lately. Kenny had beaten me with the red side of this when I misremembered the proper way to meet a published midgame pitch, so I was glad to get another chance to play it.

4...25-22 5. 8-11 22-17 6. 14-18 27-23 7. 18x27 32x23

The 22-17 advance is sound (see Carl Reno's The Work of the Pentium), but Reno doesn't give play on this 27-23. Instead, he recommends 26-23 4-8 23-14 9-18 and 27-23, returning to his main trunk line.

8. 4-8 26-22

Red is already strong after 4-8, but 26-22 is an outright loss.

9. 15-18 23x14 10. 9x25 29x22 11. 11-15

Here I overlooked the much simpler 11-16 runoff, as white will eventually have to trade 19-15 into the double.

11...31-26 (30-26 draws) 12. 5-9 (15-18 22-15 7-11 RW) 26-23 13. 9-14 24-20 14. 15x24 28x19 15. 10-15 19x10 16. 6x15 17x10 17. 7x14 22-17 18. 15-18 17x10
19. 18x27 13-9 20. 27-31 9-6 21. 31-27 6-2 22. 27-23 21-17

White had equalized the position, but 21-17?? goes into a losing bridge ending.

23. 23-18 30-25 24. 8-11 17-13 25. 18-14 2-7 26. 14-17 7x16 27. 12x19 20-16 28. 17-14 Red Wins.

I hope you've enjoyed these games!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dalton Tournament Report, Part 2

When I mentioned to a friend this evening that I'd played in an Amish checkers tournament over the weekend, his first question-- well, right after "wait, there's such thing as a checkers tournament?!"-- was about the level of cultural engagement among the Amish players, particularly in terms of technology. Did the reality, he wanted to know, match up with the stereotypes of a community "as primitive as can be"? I was curious about that myself, especially since the shops in Shipshewana (the site of the 2009 Indiana tourney) tended to play up the campy Amish stereotypes for the benefit of tourists-- who were presumably never punched, even if they deserved it. Dalton had a much less flashy and more domestic feel to it, with folks were just going about their business like they do in thousands of other small towns. In fact, the back roads I took to get to the tournament site-- after, shall we say, an unplanned detour from the standard GPS route-- weren't that different from portions of my central Illinois hometown, and even closer to my sister-in-law's neighborhood in rural Maryland, notwithstanding the occasional horse-and-buggy and the roads covered with almost as much manure as your average 1/0 chatroom at Kurnik.

Well, that comparison is not entirely fair, I suppose. My beloved Illinois roads, being smack in the middle of the Great Plains, are comfortingly flat and boring, with logical 90-degree intersections and visibility to spare. Dalton, being some 400 miles closer to the Appalachian Mountains, boasts considerably hillier country and tortuously twisty roads. The twists didn't bother me so much, since I was already driving below the speed limit (no doubt annoying any local drivers who had the misfortune to follow me) in the interests of (a) keeping up with my GPS's instructions and (b) not crashing my Camry into a cornfield. But the constant hills really got to me, even in broad daylight with almost no traffic to worry about: every time I would crest one, part of my brain would start panicking, 99% sure that if I didn't brake and proceed with caution then an eighteen-wheeler would come barreling up the hill and blindside me. No, that wasn't a particularly rational response, but type-A drivers like me really really like the predictable evenness of a calm, flat road. (Conversely, my brakes-are-for-wusses little brother rather enjoys driving in the mountains. Go figure.) Remove that predictability, and even the most benign buggy may as well be a mess-making Mack truck. So, Ohio Department of Transportation, let's work on leaving the roller coasters to Cedar Point, hm?

In any case, I made it to the tournament (and back home, via the rather faster-paced curves of Interstate 71) in one piece, so back to Amish culture. To answer your first question, my dear Wormwood, yes, there was electricity. Our playing room, in fact, was both well-lit and air-conditioned, and I found an outlet within easy reach of the referee's table to charge my laptop and Blackberry-- which did in fact get reception, allowing me to post round updates on the ACF Forum (motto: "We Don't Moderate Your Posts, So Why Should You?"). For that matter, aside from the general absence of cars and personal computers, the level of technology was about what you'd expect in any American home. Many of the players carried cellphones (though presumably sans email or texting), and my host for Friday night showed off a snazzy remote control that controlled the ceiling fan and overhead light in the room where I slept. And even with the "missing" technologies, such as my laptop, my impression was that the Amish folks simply chose not to use them for one reason or another, and not that they objected to the objects' existence or to others using them. So, most of the non-locals rented a van (and hired a driver) to get to the tournament, and they left all the tournament data entry to me, but no one objected to the laptop or the van itself. Yes, these choices do isolate them from some methods of communication and some sources of information-- computer analysis of tough positions, for example-- but they've made those choices carefully and keep them in good faith, which is really all any of us can do.

Seeing as I grew up in a multilingual home (my mom is bilingual and my dad teaches various European languages) and have maintained a (very) amateur interest in linguistics, I would be remiss to finish this part of the report without talking about the distinctive linguistic environment at the tournament. As you may already know, many Amish communities speak both English and Pennsylvania Dutch, which itself draws on various German and Dutch dialects as well as some English loanwords. In fact, Wayne County (where Dalton is located) has the eighth-largest PD-speaking population in the US, and in nearby Holmes County one in five residents speak it. So, it's not surprising that all of the Amish players at this tournament (and their families) were fully bilingual, and could code-switch at will, depending on the audience and situation. Since I studied German in high school and college, and since I studied code-switching (in the context of Japan-raised American missionary kids) for a college research project, the whole process piqued my interest.

While I don't think they did so in any attempt to be exclusionary, or even necessarily as a conscious act, many of the players switched to PD when they faced a tricky situation on the board, or (often) to make quick comments on a game or position. And like most checker players, the more animated they got about a given position, the faster they chattered and the more they laughed. At times, I could pick out dialectal versions of German vocab I knew, like when they used "schoen" (though their pronunciation is closer to Wayne Newton's than to the Hochdeutsch version), meaning "nice" or "sweet," to describe a move or technique. And, of course, I picked up some intermixed English words (some adapted to PD dialect and structure, and some representing code switches) like "two-shot" for "double-jump," at least when I knew to listen for them from the context of the conversation. (All of these snippets, I should add, were overheard: everyone switched to English when addressing me or when I was directly involved in the conversation.) But even when the underlying gist of the conversation was clear enough from context, or when I could translate enough of it from PD to German to English to decipher a certain phrase, I couldn't quite get everything quickly and fully enough to participate.

I bring this up because it struck me as a great analogy for jumping among the various levels of competitive checkers, particularly in my current transition from a strong major to weak master player. To be sure, we do plenty of code switching in the checkers world to start with: even if we just switch vocabulary (for instance, when we move from talking about openings in general to debating the relative virtues of the Alma and the Old Fourteenth) and not dialects, there's still a mental and linguistic adjustment. But on a deeper level, every game-- even the published ones-- are multi-layered and combine lots of different elements in ways that are more or less clear to a given player at a given stage of his or her development. After the tournament, one of the players remarked that you have to watch the entire board to play well, and can't just focus on one section of it. He was right, of course, and I would argue that the same thing holds true for the mental processes and strategic ideas involved.

A couple years back, for instance, I played one of my first tournament games against Alex Moiseyev. I lost, of course, but in this particular case we got to the late midgame/early endgame before the weakness in my position became indefensible and I resigned. During the subsequent post-mortem, Alex paused at one position, and I pointed out that I'd avoided a particular move because it led to a shot. He saw the same shot, naturally, but quick as a wink played ten or fifteen moves beyond it into the endgame, showing how I could have recovered the lost piece but ultimately would have been forced into a losing ending. Suddenly, my seeing the initial shot didn't really matter: it was more important, I saw, to know how to play the continuation properly, all the way down to the last move. To draw a linguistic analogy, the shot, like any of the tactical elements or strategic principles comprising our game, is like a word or a sentence in the language of checkers. You or I might make a move because it's published play, because it sets a trap, because it follows a general principle, because it looks interesting, or simply because it seemed like a good idea at the time. But the more I play masters and study their games, the more I realize that the vocabulary and the set phrases-- or even the entire memorized conversations (pet lines) on a precious few openings-- are not nearly as important as grasping the multiple ideas bubbling beneath the surface. What I need, and perhaps what we all need, is not so much a checkers phrasebook (though such an invention might help more than one "checkers widow" cope with tournament chatter!) but rather checkers fluency: knowing how and why to manipulate every aspect of the game, from the opening to the final move. I don't know how far I'll get in that process, and so far Rosetta Stone hasn't come out with a Checkers Immersion Program yet. But in spite of the crybabies, proggers, sophomores, and would-be book thieves that occasionally show up in checkerdom, I have a feeling that I won't be able to quit trying to pick out one more phrase. Schoene games, everyone, and I'll see you back here later to look at some of this weekend's matches.

Dalton Tournament Report, Part 1

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of tough competition at the tournament in Dalton, OH this past weekend. I remembered a couple strong Amish players at last year's Indiana tournament (at which I played poorly) but had not encountered any of them in ACF tournaments, so many were still a mystery. On top of that, I knew that Alex Moiseyev would not be attending the tournament due to work and family commitments, and since Rich Beckwith has a world title match coming up soon, I figured he'd be staying home to study. As it turned out, though, Rich did drive down to play with us, which rather quickly dashed my hopes of coasting to victory! Regardless, though, there was plenty of competition to go around: many of the 18 players had been honing their skills for several decades, especially in Go-As-You-Please, the chosen style for this tournament. Their preferred lines didn't always match up with the books-- I surprised one opponent with the Martins' Rest line of the Glasgow, for instance-- but once you wandered into prepared play, watch out! Since I hadn't played any GAYP tournaments since last year's US Nationals, I brought along my copy of Carl Reno's book The Work of the Pentium: Creating New Lines of GAYP Play to study. I only had time to go over a couple Souter lines, as that's been my opening of choice lately, but even the limited study time paid off, as I got two important wins on the Souter to keep me near the top of the leaderboard.

As I mentioned in my initial forum post about the tournament, we played this weekend in the gallery/lounge area of a woodworking factory, which was a very different environment than the tourist-heavy Mercantile Building that hosted the Indiana tournament last year. Apparently Crist Miller, our host and tournament director, had recently rented the building from a larger company (which had moved to a new facility), so they were in the process of remodeling parts of it. However, the room where we played was just fine for our purposes-- at least once I learned to avoid getting my legs stuck under the relatively low tables! I brought my own board and pieces, unsure of what equipment would be available, but was pleasantly surprised to see a box full of standard ACF boards and pieces, no doubt acquired from ACF Equipment Manager Roger Blaine. Like most checker tournament player-directors, Crist put in a lot of time and effort handling pairings and other logistics, though I helped keep track of pairings and results via my laptop. It was a small enough group (18 players) to handle via Excel, though one of these tournaments I'd like to give ChessArbiter Pro for Draughts a whirl.

One unique feature of this venue was the large number of kids watching and helping with the tournament: a few of the younger players brought their families, and given the prevalence of banister-sliding and games of tag, I'd say that everyone had a good time. It was certainly a nice change of pace to hear children laughing, and to see the little ones toddle up to Daddy during a break in the checkers action. Understandably, the kids were shy around me and the other "English" (the Amish term for non-Amish people-- even the Irish ones!) players, but several of the boys watched the tournament intently from the second-floor banister or ventured into the playing room out of curiosity about the game and/or my laptop. The girls were less forward, and I think most of them either stayed in the kitchen to help with meals or kept rein on their younger friends and cousins. And speaking of the kitchen, the food was phenomenal! From the moment folks started arriving for play, the ladies kept us supplied with loads of great food, most of it homemade: deli trays, pizza, brownies, coffee, donuts, candy, soft drinks, and a full lunch menu on Saturday. They did put out a donation box for lunch costs, but as with the main tournament all the profits went to benefit the Ohio Crippled Children’s Fund. Though the surrounding area had a few restaurants, it was really nice to have food (and caffeine!) available on-site, and let us have a smooth and well-run tournament.

I have to head out for the evening, but will be back later with more impressions about the tournament and the wonderful people who played in it. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dalton, OH Tournament, 8/20-21

More info on this event later, but here are the final standings.

1-2. Acker, John 18 (83)
1-2. Beckwith, Rich 18 (83)
3. Keim, Aden 17
4. Miller, Kenny 16
5. Keim, Abe 15
6. Miller, Jerry 13
7. Weaver, Joe 12 (88)
8. Miller, Crist 12 (71)
9. Troyer, John 12 (62)
10. Schmucker, Pete 11 (74)
11. Yoder, Marvin 11 (73)
12. Williamson, Ted 10 (77)
13. Miller, Mose 10 (55)
14. Miller, John 9 (69)
15. Hochstetler, Harley 9 (66)
16. Yoder, Ray 8 (59)
17. Lambright, Lonnie 8 (47)
18. Kauffman, Ray 3 (w/d after R2)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Future Posts

I'm planning to use this blog to post news and updates on other tournaments I attend in 2010-- currently I'm planning to attend tournaments in Mt. Hope, OH (August 20-21), Shipshewana, IN (August 27-28), Medina, OH (Sept 11-12), and Marion, IL (Oct 2-3). If you're going to tournaments not on this list (or even the same ones) and would like to try your hand at blogging news and results, drop me a line at acker.jt@gmail.com.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Thanks

Hello everyone,

First off, congratulations to our division champs: Alex Moiseyev, Teal Stanley, Earl Harvell, and Nick Addante. All three divisions had fierce competition throughout the tournament, with the potential for eight-point rounds creating more than one shakeup in the majors and minors. My own goal was to get 50% in the majors, which I surpassed by a few match points, so despite some painful miscues I'm satisfied with my play.

This tournament could not have happened without financial support from our donors, or without moral and logistical support from way too many players for me to list here. The ACF Executive Committee, particularly Rich Beckwith, answered a lot of my questions during the planning stages, and Alan Millhone supported the idea of a Fortman memorial tournament from day one. Likewise, the Ponder and Fortman families took time out of their summers to visit the tournament, provided a great catered meal on Sunday, and also provided cold drinks for the players. It was a real treat to watch them interact with Richard Fortman's checkers family, and to get to know them a little better.

Thanks are also due to the wonderful staff at the Days Inn of Springfield, who gave us lots of space to work with and who were very accommodating and flexible throughout the week. Onsite, Roger Doll and Kim Willis (with assistance from Rich) handled pairings and processed results, and both did an excellent job of keeping things running smoothly and professionally. As was the case last year, there were some concerns about the computer's pairing choices in the last round, but fortunately we have other software options.

But most of all, I'm grateful to the players who came to the tournament and to those who followed it online: even though I didn't get to write as much as I normally do during tournaments, it was nice to see people watching my videos and responding here and on the forum. I believe Wayne Gober is putting together a bid for the next Nationals, and I hope to see the same outpouring of support for his efforts-- see you in 2011!

John Acker

Final Masters Standings and Payouts

Thanks to Rich Beckwith for posting these on the Forum.

1. Alex Moiseyev (OH) 24 $1730 (U.S. National Champion + trophy)
2. Ron King (Barb.) 22-144 $867 (trophy)
3. Richard Hallett (FL) 22-140 $867 (trophy)
4. Larry Keen (TN) 22-134 $866
5. Jim Morrison (KY) 20 $560
6. Joe Schwartz (FL) 18-142 $505
7. Jack Francis (Barb.) 18-112 $505 (Won inaugural Gene Lindsay "Most Won Games" award)
8. Anthony Bishop (TN) 16-124 $445
9. Albert Tucker (LA) 16-122 $445
10. Rich Beckwith (OH) 14-126 $295
11. John Webster (NC) 14-114 $295
12. Phil Schwartzberg (NY) 12 $170
13. Alan Millhone (OH) 10 $160
14. Earle Sweatmon (TX) 2 $140
15. Tim Laverty (NC) 2 (withdrew during 2nd round)
16. Ron Bailey (NC) 0 (withdrew after 2 rounds)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tournament Referee Roger Doll

Checkers Chat With Jimmy and Chas

Alan Millhone Interview

Alex Moiseyev Interview

Interview with Jim Loy

Final Majors and Minors Standings & Payouts

Minors

1. Addante, Nick 45 $340
2. Harvell, Earl 45 $340
3. Wenberg, Neil 44 $160
4. Helterbrand, Gayle 38 $120
5. Kennell, Earl 36 $100
6. Hoover, Howard 34 $85
7. Shelly, Ray 34 $85
8. Martin, James 33 $70
9. Jones, Elbert 32 $60
10. Stallsworth, George 28 $50
11. Atkins, James 25
12. Stanley, Trey 24
13. Stanley, Bill 16
14. Coleman, Joe 14

Majors

1. Stanley, Teal 44 $760
2. Gerhauser, George 41 $460
3. Shuffett, Robert 40 $300
4. Dionisio, Ramon 39 $200
5. Ellison, Gene 37 $170
6. Acker, John 36 $150
7. O'Grady, Jimmy 35 $140
8. Shultz, Ken 34 $130
9. Willis, Kim 27 $120
10. Mays, Shelby 25 $55
11. Williamson, Ted 25 $55 (donated)
12. Hickman, Leonard 23
13. MacIntyre, Charles 22
14. Wolverton, Wilma 20
15. Grisley, John 6 (w/d)

Kim will post the final Masters' standings later on today (on the ACF Forum), as I'll be gone by then.

Checkers Hats, Patches, and Bags for Sale

Updated Prize Fund

There was a calculation error in the last spreadsheet, so here are the updated figures. The pairings and standings are up on the main tournament website, heading into Round 8.



2010 Prize Fund
















Masters with
Place Masters Lindsay $ Lindsay $ Majors Minors
1 1450 280 $1,730 $760 $420
2 870 270 $1,140 $460 $260
3 550 260 $810 $300 $160
4 400 250 $650 $200 $120
5 320 240 $560 $170 $100
6 290 230 $520 $150 $90
7 270 220 $490 $140 $80
8 250 210 $460 $130 $70
9 230 200 $430 $120 $60
10 220 190 $410 $110 $50
11
180 $180
12
170 $170
13
160 $160
14
140 $140

$4,850 $3,000 $7,850 $2,540 $1,410









Total




$11,800

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Standings After Seven

I can't get the SwissPerfect files to behave this evening, but here are the standings after R7 (for the majors and minors) and R5 (for the masters). Pairings for the final round (8) should be up tomorrow morning.

Masters

Moiseyev 16
King 14
Keen 14
Beckwith 14
Hallett 12
Schwartz 12
Tucker 12
Morrison 10
Bishop 10
Francis 10
Millhone 8
Webster 8
Schwartzberg 6
Sweatmon 0

Majors

Teal Stanley 39
Shuffett 35
Dionisio 33
Acker 33
Gerhauser 33
Ellison 30
Shultz 30
O'Grady 28
Willis 24
Hickman 23
Mays 23
MacIntyre 21
Williamson 21
Wolverton 19

Minors

Addante 41
Wenberg 38
Harvell 38
Helterbrand 33
Hoover 30
Jones 29
Martin 28
Kennell 28
Shelly 28
Stallsworth 27
Atkins 23
Trey Stanley 22
Coleman 14
Bill Stanley 13

The masters are still finishing up.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Inside View

Interview with Ray Shelly, ACF Marketing Director

Tournament Press Coverage

So far, we've gotten good press coverage for the tournament: both the Springfield State Journal-Register and a local radio station (Cool 101.9) have been promoting the event, and there was also a news crew here on Sunday. You can read the articles and watch the videos for yourself here:

Article 1

Article 2

News Video

Video: Clint Holmes, Checkers Woodworker

Video: Registration and Socializing

Tournament Picture



Photo by Judy Grisley of United Country Southern Realty. Thanks, Judy!

Back row, left to right:
Trey Stanley, Jack Francis, Nick Addante, Ron King, Teal Stanley, Alan Millhone, Roger Doll, Ramon Dionisio, Richard Beckwith, Ted Williamson, Jimmy O'Grady.
Middle row, left to right: Ray Shelly, Albert Tucker, John Grisley, Elbert Jones, Gene Ellison, George Stallsworth, James Atkins, Joe Schwartz, Ken Shultz.
Front row, left to right: Bill Stanley, Earle Sweatmon, Larry Keen, Earl Kennell, Jim Morrison, John Acker, Shelby Mays, Chas Macintyre, Alex Moiseyev, Joe Coleman, Anthony Bishop, Phil Schwartzberg, Earl Harvell, Leonard Hickman, Neil Wenberg, Howard Hoover, Robert Shuffett.
Seated, left to right: George Gerhauser, Wilma Wolverton, John Webster, Gayle Helterbrand, Kim Willis, James Martin

Not pictured: Richard Hallett, Tim Laverty, and Ron Bailey

Monday, August 2, 2010

Checkers Documentary Update

Many of you will remember the documentary film crew, led by Geoff Yaw of Think Media Studios, that attended that 2009 Nationals and the King-Kondlo match. We had hoped to bring them here to Springfield for a screening of their film King Me, but unfortunately the film is still in the final editing stages. I do, however, have an encouraging update from Geoff Yaw about the film:


We are working diligently to complete King Me in time to submit the movie to some important U.S. And International film festivals. The first deadline is September 24, 2010 which is the deadline for the Sundance Film Festival which is held every winter in Park City, Utah. The film festival circuit is very competitive. For example, Sundance receives close to 10,000 entries every year. Roughly 85 are selected for inclusion in the festival. We’re excited about the quality of King Me and are confident that we will find a home on the festival circuit and on the DVD rental market if not in a few select theaters across the country. After the Nationals are complete we will be reaching out to Richard Beckwith, Alan Millhone and Alex Moiseyev to help us put some finishing touches on the movie. We thank the ACF and its members again for their assistance and participation in King Me. We are confident that you will all find the finished product inspiring and sincerely believe that it will bring positive attention to the ACF and the game. I hope to have news regarding how ACF members can see the movie soon. There is talk of holding a private screening here in Cleveland sometime this winter. I will keep you apprised of details as they become available.

Website Update

I finally got SwissPerfect to export HTML versions of the tournament standings-- you can view them at the tournament site. Now that the framework is in place, it shouldn't take long to update future rounds. We've got about an hour left in R2 for the majors (I split with Teal Stanley, two wins each), so those results will be up later this afternoon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Round 1 Results

Tomorrow I'll have this in nicer format on the tournament page, but for now manual will have to do. The masters played a two-game round (they're working on the first half of R2 this evening), and everyone else played a four-game round.

Masters (winner-takes-all)

Ron King 4 Rich Beckwith 0
Alex Moiseyev 4 John Webster 0
Tim Laverty 2 Phil Schwartzberg 2
Larry Keen 2 Albert Tucker 2
Jim Morrison 4 Anthony Bishop 0
Jack Francis 4 Ron Bailey 0
Joe Schwartz 4 Alan Millhone 0
Richard Hallett 4 Earl Sweatmon 0

Majors (game scoring)

Ken Shultz 6 Charles McIntyre 2
John Acker 4 Jimmy O'Grady 4
Teal Stanley 6 George Gerhauser 2
Gene Ellison 7 Leonard Hickman 1
Wilma Wolverton 4 Shelby Mays 4
John Grisley 6 Kim Willis 2
Ramon Dionisio 7 Ted Williamson 1
Robert Shuffett 6 BYE

Minors (game scoring)

Nick Addante 6 James Atkins 2
Elbert Jones 8 Joe Coleman 0
George Stallsworth 4 Ray Shelly 4
Neil Wenberg 5 Howard Hoover 3
James Martin 8 Trey Stanley 0
Earl Harvell 8 Bill Stanley 0
Gayle Helterbrand 6 Earl Kennell 2

We enjoyed a nice catered barbecue supper courtesy of the Fortman and Ponder families. Kim Willis presented both families with a plaque and certificate of appreciation, on behalf of the ACF, and Judy Grisley orchestrated a group photograph and took care of the prints, with proceeds going to the ACF. Thanks, all!

Moving Forward

We're in between the business meeting and the start of Round 1, so I figured I'd grab a few minutes to update you all on the happenings so far. Most of our players have arrived, and last I heard we had 47 people registered to play-- 20 more than our last 3-Move Nationals. That meant standing room only for our business meeting, as the main playing room seats 48 and we had several checkers wives attend the meeting. As a special treat, eight representatives from the Fortman family attended as well: Richard's sister June Russell, his children Cindy (Ponder) and Mark, Cindy's husband Daryl and their kids Evan and Emily, and Mark's kids Noel and Neil. We're thrilled to have them visit the tournament, and they've been so kind as to cater a meal for us this evening. Cindy and Daryl have been very supportive all along, both with the tournament and with the BC reissue, and I'm glad they could join us.

At the meeting itself, the focus was on honoring Richard Fortman: I said a few words welcoming everyone to the tournament and thanking them for the support, Alex and Rich talked about the impact of Basic Checkers, and everyone gave the family a big hand for helping us out. Afterward, Rich and Kim went over the tournament rules and logistics for the week. We'll be using the main room for the majors and minors, and the masters will have a separate (quieter) room for their matches. Our rules are similar to those at previous tournaments, aside from a new rule banning electronic noisemakers from the tournament room, so everyone should be fairly comfortable. On another topic, Ray Shelly formally took charge of promotion and business networking for the ACF, sharing some of his ideas and exhorting us to help him improve the game. I don't need to tell you that marketing has been a weak point in the ACF for some time, so it's great to see Ray stepping up. He and I actually had a long conversation over dinner last night about promotion and ratings, so look for some updates soon.

Speaking of dinner, I'm starved-- time for a bite. Watch this space for Round 1 updates soon!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Under normal circumstances, I pack light for checkers trips: a board, a bag of checkers, my laptop, and a change of clothes is usually enough to get me through a weekend. To do so, though, flies in the face of 28 years of concerted practice being a type-A logistics-obsessed hoarder—a species that populates much of my family tree. In fact, when I attended my first Nationals back in 2000, I hauled an extra duffel bag of checkers books all the way from Illinois to Las Vegas (by Greyhound!), and all the way from the Greyhound station to the hotel. Those books, of course, sat unread in my room for the entire week, which is probably just as well since I tried my level best not to play safe go-as-you-please draws, rather to the detriment of my final score. In any case, I slowly learned my lesson, and these days if I bring a book at all it’s with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to myself, since I know full well that I’ll be too busy and/or tired to read it.

This week’s circumstances, however, are anything but normal. Not only is this the first real tournament I’ve ever organized, but it’s a big one—big fish are here from little ponds all over the world to play for a share of the Gene Lindsay prize fund, and there are quite a few average-sized fish (like myself) hoping to pick up a few wins and swap a few stories along the way. Already the players are jockeying for position and sizing up the competition, and already everyone (from grandmasters on down!) is playing skittles games for mental and psychological warm-ups. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out if I’ve forgotten anything vital for the tournament, which is rather unlikely since my Camry is pretty much packed to the gills. A lot of the bulk this year is copies of the Basic Checkers reissue, which is already selling well: though it technically debuted at the Southern States Tournament a few weeks ago, the $25 price tag is attracting a lot of interest, and I expect Jim Loy’s book of BC corrections will sell equally well when he arrives later this weekend.

But even beyond the books to sell, I had a packing list a mile long (yet somehow forgot my sunglasses): posterboard to make giant crosstables, exhibits on checkers and on Richard Fortman to entice the public and occupy the players, various office supplies to supplement the referees’ own stashes, sadly neglected books from my candidacy exam reading list, pre-printed nametags for a few dozen players, and of course a 12-pack of Mountain Dew. Of all that, I can pretty much guarantee that the Mountain Dew will get used up, but the rest may be iffy. I just felt better having all of it available, even though technically Roger Doll and Kim Willis are running the show. And somehow I doubt I’m the first tournament organizer to take comfort in that fact, as every TD and ref I’ve seen has at least three times as many papers, scoresheets, and pencils than are actually needed.

In any case, we’re well underway here: Kim and Roger are running the registration table with assistance from Rich Beckwith, Alex Moiseyev is socializing with some of his competition (and more than a few fans), and Ron King, by all appearances, is staying in his room and plotting new cooks. We won’t have full registration data until tomorrow afternoon—play starts at 1 PM—but so far I’d guess we have about 25 players at the hotel, with more en route. Our main playing room here at the Days Inn holds 24 boards comfortably, but we’ve also made arrangements to spill out into the breakfast area and another meeting room or two as needed, particularly if the talking gets too loud. I brought my camera and digital camcorder with me, so will work on getting some footage up here, if the technology and the wireless network decide to behave at any point this week.

As for me, it’s been a very busy few days: I had a full day of teaching and grading on Thursday, and then went right home to pack and hit the road to my mom’s house in Illinois. We had a little time to catch up that evening, but since I had a 1 PM meeting here in Springfield (a couple hours west of my mom’s place) and since Interstate 72 is currently one giant orange construction barrel, we didn’t exactly have the luxury of a leisurely Friday morning. After a brief stop in Decatur, IL to pick up some brochures for their “Decatur Celebration” event (which will have a checkers event run by our own Rich Beckwith), I got here just in time to do a final walkthrough of the tournament space and to talk logistics with the hotel staff. Once that was done, I made the rounds of restaurants in the immediate area, to hand off info about the tournament to any managers on duty and to encourage them to sponsor the event. So far it looks like Bob Evans will be giving us some sort of sponsorship, but other than that it’s anyone’s guess. If I ever try to put another tournament together, I’ll definitely have to factor in at least one scouting trip (doing so this time wasn’t practical since I had to teach summer school in Columbus) to bug local businesses. But for now, I’m just going to do what I can, and try to enjoy the tournament!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to the Checkers 2010 blog-- I'll be posting news updates, games, and commentary about the 2010 American Checker Federation Richard L. Fortman National 3-Move Tournament here. The tournament runs from August 1-5, and will be held at the Days Inn in Springfield, IL.

Comments are welcome, as are guest bloggers: if you're at the tournament and would like to publish your thoughts about it, let me know and I'll get you set up. Have a great tournament week, everyone!