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  Interview with World Champion Alex Moiseyev ACF Website Journalist conducted the following interview with ACF Player Representative and World Champion by phone in November 2003.


ACF Player Representative and World Champion Alex Moiseyev

  Question No. 1: World Championship Match Controversy
Ryan: Can you go over the controversy regarding Game 27 with Mr. Ron King?

Alex: On the 21st move, I made my move and pushed the clock, but evidently, I did not push it hard enough.

The referee [John Reade] then reset the clock.

Ron immediately questioned why John Reade had done this and left the room. At this point, I realized this was an issue between Ron and John and that I should stay out of it. After awhile, John apologized to Ron, and we returned to the game. I had to make three moves before my time was up, and Ron had to make two. The first move I made took Ron by surprise. (In this game, Ron had a winning position, but this move really threw him off guard.) Shortly thereafter, his flag dropped. I was ready to play another opening set, but the organizers decided to postpone play until the next day.

  Question No. 2: On the New Three-Move Deck
Ryan: What do you think of the twelve new openings added to the deck?

Alex: I agree with Tinsley and Hellman when they said,

"If an opening is sound, it should be played."

These openings already have been adopted by other checker organizations and approved for mail-play, so I believe the ACF should play them as well. Right now, a group of people are working on what I termed "Alex's project". These people include Mac Banks, George Miller, Martin Fierz and Ed Trice. Each of them were given three openings to analyze. Once this project is completed, the "manuscript" will be given to all ACF members a few months before the 2004 U.S. National Tournament.

  Question No. 3: Cooking Published Play
Ryan: Your Montrose Cross cook sure got a lot of hype. How did you go about brewing it up?

Alex: I study an opening using the program Nemesis. If I see a published play move that seems suspicious, I will enter in a new move so Nemesis can analyze it. This analysis can take one minute, 30 minutes, or even a few hours. After this analysis, I can see, in fact, if it is a new move and how it differs from the main line. I give a lot of credit to Nemesis, especially to its opening book.

  Question No. 4: On Writing a Book
Ryan: When do you plan on publishing (finishing) your book?

Alex: Ideally, I can publish it in 6 - 12 months. This would include six World Championship matches. However, when I play Mr. Larry Keen next year for the three-move title, I might also want to add those games. The matches I will add for sure are: Lafferty-King, Lowder-King, Lowder-Moiseyev, McCarthy-King and King-Moiseyev 2003.

  Question No. 5: The GAYP World Title
Ryan: Will you go after Mr. King's GAYP World Title?

Alex: No, I have promised him like I promised everyone: my main principle is that the challenger should have rights to play for the GAYP World Championship. The next in line for the GAYP Championship is Richard Hallett. I hope that Hallett and Mustafa Durdyev will play in an eliminator match, but all organizations must find a way to support this.

Another reason is because GAYP is not my favorite style to play. I feel more comfortable and confident and have been more successful in three-move.

  Question No. 6: Young Talent
Ryan: You mentioned that you had a feeling that the next Three-Move World Champion would be a lot younger than you are. Do you have any particular players in mind?

Alex: No, it was a general observation. Past World Champions were around 25 - 35 years old. Take Walter Hellman and Dr. Marion Tinsley for example. Hellman was 35, and Tinsley was 28. Historical evidence has shown that 25 - 35 years old is the ideal age since, after 40 years, energy begins to wane. Of course, there are exceptions such as myself!

  Question No. 7: Ron King's Ability
Ryan: Knowing / Competing with Mr. King in previous matches, did you feel he was not at his usual playing level in this World Championship Match?

Alex: I felt I played my very best (though still making many mistakes). Ron King is stronger than many. One of the reasons why this is: Ron likes to put a lot of pressure on his opponent. Most American and English players do not like this type of pressure, so most of them end up failing. However, having Russian draughts experience really helped me to deal with this pressure. I give a lot of credit to this. Ron does not like to receive pressure, and between games 10-12, I could see him start to decline.

  Question No. 8: The Future of Alex Moiseyev
Ryan: Where do you see yourself in the future of checkers (say, 5 - 10 years from now)?

Alex: I see myself still in this game and still being World Champion. However, I cannot say anything more. Chinook programmer Jonathan Schaeffer said in 1997, in his book One Jump Ahead, that nobody could contend with Ron King. Of course, I was only finishing in the middle of the Master Division then.

In the past couple of years, I have been playing my best tournament checkers. In 2002, I only lost one tournament game (excluding my games with Wyllie and 11-man ballot games). In 2003, I have lost only three games, two of them against Ron King in the World Championship Match. I am going to keep improving to the point where I will not lose a game.

  Question No. 9: Additional Comments
Ryan: Any other comments you would like to add?

Alex: Ron King is an excellent cross-board player. However, during the match, I felt like he could not see everything. He has the ability and he had the opportunity to play much stronger.

After our match, Ron told me, "I do not study books," but this not true. He is very knowledgeable in published play, but he tried to cover this up.

In this match, I felt better prepared psychologically than those who played Ron in the past. Since Ron plays every single game to win, it can be hard on formidable opponents such as Lafferty, who had a lead against Ron King, then faltered. Again, I must give credit to my Russian draughts experience, for it helped me withstand Ron's constant pressure.

Ron and I played our very best checkers. Of course, we made very weak moves, and people should know this. However, we did not have any boring or short games. I believe Ron King's biggest mistake was the fact that he did not accept my challenge for the World Championship Match two years ago. I sincerely believe Ron would have been able to hold at least a drawn match against me at that time.

As of right now, I plan on playing Larry Keen (since he has challenger rights) for the World Championship Match in February, most likely to be held at the International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, Mississippi. The EDA still needs to endorse this match, but I am positive they will.

Sincerely,

Alex Moiseyev, Player Representative and World Champion
American Checker Federation


This interview was kindly submitted by ACF Website Journalist . More about Mr. Pronk is available in his biography.

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