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1st International Match: Bridging Checkers Between United States and Barbados

By Richard Beckwith

The following is a report of my trip to Barbados for the 1st International Match of the United States vs. Barbados, June 2004. I was a late addition to the team. Several prominent U.S. Players (such as Hallett, Keen, Lowder, Laverty, Burton) were unable to attend. U.S. Captain and 3-move world champ Alex Moiseyev asked me to play at the April Illinois State Tournament and assured me I was truly needed, given the suspected strength of the Barbados team. I was interested in the Barbados trip anyway since I have never been to the islands, so I said yes. This gave me less than two months to arrange flights, update a passport, and study for my first serious Go-as-you-please (GAYP) checkers competition. This is my second international match, as I went to England in October 2001 for the 7th I. M.

The majority of tournaments in the U.S. use the three-move restriction style of play where the first three moves of the game are balloted from a random draw of a special opening deck of cards. Alex Moiseyev beat Ron King of Barbados last October to become World Champion in this format. The GAYP format, or freestyle format, allows the players to select their own opening moves. Of the seven possible opening moves, the 11-15 move is usually played since it is the strongest, but other moves such 9-14 or 11-16 are occasionally tried. The GAYP format has smaller scope of openings than three-move, but requires greater foreknowledge of 11-15 openings in an event like this. Ron King is still world champion in GAYP.

Travel information on the internet indicates that Barbados is rated highly in terms of both quality of life, and in its rate of repeat visitors (39%). The duty free shopping is supposed to be significantly cheaper than in North America and Europe.

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