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

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


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


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
180 $180
170 $170
160 $160
140 $140

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



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.


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


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


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!