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  Biography: Patricia Breen

Patricia Breen
Women's World Champion
Patricia Breen, born April 23, 1976, is from Busherstown House, Bennekerry, Carlow, Ireland. She is one of a family of seven girls whose father, Patrick, introduced them to the mysteries of the draughts board. Her father and three sisters have all won national honors at the game of draughts.

Patricia Breen began playing competitive draughts in the Community Games competition in the under-ten age group. The Community Games are a nationwide organisation in Ireland that promote competitions among youths under 17 years of age in a variety of events of which the game of draughts is one. Ms. Breen won a gold medal at the Community Games in the under-14 age group. She became Irish Women's Champion in 1988 while just 12 years old and went on to draw a World Title Match with legendary Women's World Champion Joan Caws of England while still only 13 years old.

Patricia Breen accepted an invitation to play in a youth match in the USSR in 1990, where she finished with the best overall score in the event. Ms. Breen then won the Intermediate Section of the Irish Open Championship in 1990 against predominantly male opposition. In 1992, Ms. Breen was called upon to represent Ireland on the Senior Irish International Draughts Team in a series of matches against the national teams of Scotland, England, and Wales. Here, she astounded everyone with an incredible score of 12 wins and four draws in16 games, for which she was presented with a special trophy as the best player of the International Match series.

In 1993, Patricia Breen played a rematch with World Champion Joan Caws at the Sandringham Hotel in Weston-Super-Mare, England, while yet just 16 years old. Here, the experience and confidence she attained over the previous few years were to stand by her, and she emerged victorious by the score of 8-1 and five games drawn.

In 1995, Patricia Breen was called upon to defend her World Championship Title against a challenger whom she knew very well, her younger sister Karina Breen. Karina had followed Patricia's footsteps by becoming Irish Matchplay Champion and then British and Irish Women's Champion in 1994. This unique World Championship Match between these two sisters took place at Charles Walker's International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, Mississippi. Here, Patricia successfully defended her World Title by the score of 5-1 and ten games drawn.

Patricia Breen continued to represent Ireland at international level with her participation in matches against England, Scotland, and Wales in 1996 and 2000. In 2001, she was called upon to represent Britain and Ireland in a Senior International Match against the United States of America, the first woman player to do so in the 100-year history of this match tradition. In June 2003, Patricia Breen entered the English Open Draughts Championship held at the Isle-of-Wight and finished as runner-up to English Champion Fred Buckby. She was one of just three women who were competing against no fewer than 21 male opponents!

At the International Festival of Draughts in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Patricia Breen contested the Women's World Title a record fourth time. Her opponent was the 2002 U.S. Women's Three-Move National Tournament Champion, Jan Mortimer of New Zealand. Ms. Breen won three of the first four games of the match, and, despite a valiant comeback effort by Mrs. Mortimer in the second half, Patricia Breen retained her Women's World Title by the score of 5-1 and ten draws.

Patricia Breen is known for having a natural aptitude for the game and for being able to visualise accurately in complex positions. She is also noted as an excellent endgame player whose skill has conjured up wins from seemingly even positions.

This biography is based on an excerpt by at the International Festival of Draughts.

© American Checker Federation 2007
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