European Cup

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European Cup

Postby Igor on Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:00 am

I’d like to inform American Checkers fans about the events in Europe in the last two years. Here was held the European Cup at the suggestion of the Ukrainian Draughts federation. By the way, after Nadja Chizhevska’s victory at the 2nd World Mind Sport Games in Lille (France), Checkers has been recognized as an sport in the Ukraine and some Checkers players have got support from the state. Our poor WCDF liked the idea of organizing the European Cup as it did not require almost any expenses. It was not necessary to organize the separate tournament as such. All national Checkers championships in European countries should be united in a single one and each tournament is declared as one of the stages of the European Cup. The championships have to be open for all the participants from other countries. The best six players of each stage receive points: 1st place – 22 points, 2nd – 18, 3rd – 15, 4th – 13, 5th – 12 and 6th – 11. These points add up, but in the ranking are only taken the 3 best results to avoid the situation when the player participating in a higher number of stages would automatically become the winner. The first of such a European Cup took place in 2013 and consisted of 10 stages. The following countries took part in it: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Nothern Ireland, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy and Ukraine. Danny Oliphant from Scotland became the first winner of the European Cup. He took three times third place in three stages and scored: 3 x 15 = 45 points ahead of Shane McCosker from Nothern Ireland who won two stages: 2 x 22 = 44 points. Many players participated only in two stages and therefore couldn’t compete. It wasn’t without protest, as one of the participants played in 4 tournaments, but he didn’t consider that only 3 best results are calculated to the final standing. However the idea has taken root and in 2014 it was played again. But this time the European Cup consisted of 7 stages, as for various reasons 3 stages disappeared: Denmark – because of pressure of work for Sune Thrane - the main organizer of their championships; Ukraine – for the obvious political reasons; and Italy refused to open their tournament for foreign players. Apparently they had a selection to the World Qualifier tournament in the US and they did not want any influence from the outside. In the absence of Italy with its two current World Champions in 3-move and GAYP-versions Micky Borghetti and Sergio Scarpetta, the players from other countries got chances to win the European Cup, and myself included. I also wanted to win my first international title.

I will describe my impressions of those tournaments where I took part. As I have no financial support from the German Draughts federation and have to pay for everything myself, I decided to play only in three stages, trying to manage with the minimum expenses and thus pursued also the tourist aims. I chose to play in Germany as well as in Czech Republic and Ireland. These were just the last 3 stages of the European Cup when the possible winners should be already known.

My first tournament was held in Prague. From foreigners besides me there arrived two Italians, led by the World Champion Sergio Scarpetta, and Nadja Chyzhevska from the Ukraine – woman World Champion. As expected Sergio won first place with a wide margin. I was lucky and succeeded to take the second place between two Italians before Claudio Ciampi, playing both drawn, although I could have lost both of them. It was impossible for me to get a better place. Nadja took an honourable 4th place, leaving behind all Czech players.

The partipants of Czech Open

Two World Champions are playing

Young and old

Playing hall

Prague is the most beautiful city in Europe. Here it is possible simply to walk and look around even without any excursions. I came to Prague with my wife and we stayed at my friend´s, Philip Kareta. We were lucky with the weather, as there was the golden autumn. We spent a nice time in Prague and my achievement was also quite good!

Old city

River Moldau or Vltava

Children without faces

Before museum Kafkas

Ginger and Fred

I attended the second tournament in my homeland Germany in Korbach. Since I started playing Checkers in 2008, except for once, when I lost the decisive game to Ingo Zachos, I have always managed to win the German championship. I planned a victory this year, too, and again Ingo spilt my blood. He won the first game against me and he could win also the second one. Then it would be unknown how the events should develop further. However in this dramatic game with a lot of mistakes on both sides I finally managed to win. After that I wasn’t mistaken any more, beat all other opponents and quietly brought the tournament to a victory. The second place went to Nadja Chyzhevska – a great success for the Ukrainian player. The third was Juri Geisenblas. He is also from the former Soviet Union and lives now in Osnabruck. He played first the 100-tournament in Korbach and then remained longer there for our Checkers championship. Frustrated by the failure against me Ingo Zachos took only the 4th place.

Ingo Zachos - Juri Geisenblas

Complicated position

Clemens Crucius

Korbach is a little cute Hanseatic city with about 1000 years of history. The competition coincided with the medieval fair, an annual holiday when the whole downtown turns into a solid mass of souvenirs of the national applied arts and different kitchen products. Everywhere around there were knights, witches and colorful outfits. A lot of various games and theatrical performances were organized just like at the times of ancient fairs. Musicians played on rare forgotten instruments. Many people drank a lot of beer, what would Germany be without beer?!

Korbach - medivial fair

Korbach - medivial fair

Korbach - medivial fair

And finally came the last decisive 7th stage and my third tournament – Irish Open in Dublin. The average level of Irish players is higher, after all Checkers is the British national game. However, their average age is also more senior, the youth prefers modern computer games now. Here, all main contenders for the European Cup could meet face to face. Three such were: Lindus Edwards from Wales – the winner of two stages: 2 x 22 = 44 points and me with Shane McCosker. We both had: 22 + 18 = 41 points – for one first and one second places in different stages. Unfortunately, Lindus didn’t arrive thereby giving us the right to fight for the honourable title in a direct confrontation. And here the fate of the European Cup was decided by Ron Suki King, who came from Barbados, to my surprise. By the way the European Cup is the Open competition and each player from every continent can take part and win it. King had already participated in one of the stages – Scottish Open immediately after his match for the World title against Sergio Scarpetta in Italy and as a compensation for the lost match he won the first place there. Ron King beat me in both games and drew against McCosker. After such a crash I couldn’t recover, to restore a difference was almost impossible, we both won the remaining matches. With a surprising ease King continued his series of double victories over other rivals and confidently won the first place in Dublin with a margin of 4 points. Shane McCosker got the second place in the Irish Open tournament and together with it the desired European Cup. He passed all three stages without a single defeat. I took the third place in the Irish tournament and the second in the final standings of the European Cup. That was also good…

Shane McCosker - the winner of the European Cup 2014 and the 2nd in Irish Open

There is no doping control control in Checkers competitions, left is Myles Hannigan

Danny Oliphant (European Cup 2013 Champion) smiles

Bill Dobbins - Colin Young

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t manage to play against Shane. At the end of the tournament I asked Myles Hannigan how it could happen, how did the judges carry out the draw? He checked it out and then apologized for the error… Of course, after the fight there is no sense in making waves with the fists. However, frankly speaking, it is not clear whether I should cry or rejoice. On one hand I didn’t get a chance to compete for the European Cup, and on the other, in the case of loss, I could have remained without the third place in the Irish Open. You never know…

I was even more surprised of the so called „repairing“, when in the final round of the Swiss draw system the nearest rivals can play again a second time. This practice is often met in the Checkers tournaments. Here it is theoretically possible the improbable situation when a player from below, not playing with any of the leaders but winning two double victories in the finish can become the winner of the tournament. To argue with Irishmen is a hopeless occupation.

Dublin is a very interesting city, and I also was lucky with the weather again. At the end of October Ireland was just preparing to meet its favorite Halloween with ghosts, masks and nightmares. This holiday is celebrated on the Eve of Saints‘ Day (1 November) and originates from ancient times of the Celts in Ireland, Scotland and the North of France.

Ireland is an expensive country, the average price level is one-and-a-half times higher than in Germany. Nevertheless it is possible to travel inexpensively here. The ticket should be bought in advance through the Irish airlines „Ryanair“ or „Aer Lingus“. If you forget the comfort you can find cheap housing. As for me, price and location were the most important criteria of accomodation. In the heart of the city just 5 minutes walk from central Grafton street I found a youth hostel for only 22 Euros a night per person in a double room, including breakfast. I shared the room with my Czech friend Philip who came to Dublin but he didn’t play Checkers. A serious exam at the university was in store but he didn’t want to lose the ticket that he purchased half a year ago. Our room was very tiny, common toilets and showers were in the corridor. So, in the evening one could meet there some lightly dressed young people. But there was a huge kitchen with all accessories placed below. There we could cook our food and communicate with different people from all over the world. We could use our knowledge of foreign languages here. In addition to English Philip could practice in French and Chinese, for me Russian and German are mother languages.

Ireland is a very nice country with rich historical traditions. We made 3 excursions with Philip across Dublin and around it. We visited the picturesque village Glendalough with ancient church of the 6th century and also the most ancient ritual stone construction of Celts – Newgrange, which is 1000(!) years older than the Egyptian pyramids. The chairman of the Irish Checkers Federation Joe McGuire spent some time with us and we walked together to places which usually aren‘t shown to the tourists - numerous churches and their gloomy dark dungeons with deads, skeletons and bloodcurdling stories (Wow!). Of course we sat in cozy Irish pubs, drank a pint of Guinness (5 Euros), listened to live Irish folk songs and enjoyed the extremely pleasant atmosphere there…

Severe nature

Seltic cross



Christy Church in Dublin

For those who are interested in results, crosstables and pictures I can refer to my website where You can find everything:

Martynov - Zachos

1. 10-15 23-18 2. 7-10 27-23 3. 11-16 18x11 4. 8x15 22-18 5. 15x22 25x18 6. 16-20 32-27 7. 10-14 29-25 8. 4-8 24-19 9. 8-11 18-15 10. 11x18 26-22 11. 2-7 22x15 12. 14-18 23x14 13. 9x18 30-26 14. 5-9 26-23 15. 9-14 28-24 16. 6-9 31-26 17. 9-13 15-10 18. 7-11 19-15 19. 3-8? (A) 24-19? (B) 20. 14-17 (C) 21x14 21. 13-17 19-16 22. 12x19 23x7 23. 17-21 26-23? (D) 24. 21x30 14-9 25. 18-22 7-3 26. 8-12 15-11 27. 30-26 23-19 28. 22-25 27-23 29. 26-31? (E) 19-15? (F) 30. 31-27? (G) 23-18 31. 27-23 18-14 32. 20-24 11-7 33. 23-18 15-11? (H) 34. 18-15 9-6? (O) 35. 15x8 7-2 36. 8-11 3-7 37. 12-16 14-9 38. 24-28 7-3 39. 28-32 3-7 40. 25-30 9-5 41. 30-25 7-3 42. 32-27 3-7 43. 27-23 7-3 44. 23-19 3-7 45. 25-22 7-3 46. 16-20 3-7 47. 19-16 / 1-0

A)Image loses, corect: 11-16 15-11 16-19 x 20-24 xx etc.

B)Image misses a win: 26-22 11-16 24-19 etc.

C)Image loses, corect: 20-24 xx 26-22 xx 27-31 10-7 31-27 7-2 1-5 etc.

D)Image easy win after: 26-22 x 7-3 and white remains with one man more

E)Image red had first to play: 1-5 6-9 and only then: 26-31 etc.

F)Image white doesn’t use their chance: 9-5 and red cannot attack: 31-27 because of: 3-7 x 10-6 / 0-1

G) Image again mistake: red had first to play 1-5 9-6 and then: 31-27 etc.

H)Image misses a win, after: 10-7 red cannot escape.

O)Image after missing so many wins red missing now also the draw, corect: 9-5 etc.
It was the most dramatical game I have ever played in checkers.


1. 9-13 22-17 2. 13x22 25x18 3. 12-16 24-20 4. 5-9 28-24 5. 8-12 18-14 6. 9x18 23x14 7. 10x17 21x14 8. 6-10 14-9? (A) 9. 10-15 9-5 10. 16-19 32-28 11. 7-10 29-25 12. 10-14 27-23 13. 3-7 23x16 14. 12x19 25-22 15. 4-8 30-25 16. 14-18 22-17 17. 18-23 26-22 18. 23-26 25-21 19. 26-30 17-14 20. 30-25 22-17 21. 19-23 14-10 22. 7x14 17x10 23. 15-19 24x15 24. 11x18 20-16 25. 8-12 16-11 26. 18-22 10-7 27. 23-26? (B) 7-3 28. 26-30 3-8 29. 30-26 31-27 30. 2-6 21-17 31. 25-21 17-13 32. 21-17 11-7 33. 6-10 (C) 7-2 34. 10-14 8-11 35. 22-25 2-7 36. 25-30 13-9 37. 30-25 9-6 38. 1x10 5-1 39. 17-21 1-6 40. 25-22 6x15 41. 14-17 27-24 1/2-1/2

A)Image loses, after 29-25 x 25-21 – the game is equal.

B)Image misses the easy technical win: 22-26 xx 7-3 18-14 11-8 14-10 etc.

C)Image better to try: 17-14 7-2 14-9 and red maintains the pressure. Now the game is equal.
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Re: European Cup

Postby champion374 on Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:56 pm

good stuff a European cup.
Kent ,,Ace,, Layne checker player from Barbados
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Re: European Cup

Postby liam stephens on Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:03 pm

Hi Igor,

Surprised you did not see the Tube in the Cube in your sight seeing tour.


BTW - Repairing is a well established procedure both here and in the USA tournaments.
The point being - a tournament should end with a bang, and not in a whimper.

The example of "leapfrogging" you refer to is in fact more likely to occur in a Swiss tournament without repairing.
For example in a 10 round tournament by the time of the last 2 rounds when all the top players have already played each other, then a strong player
holding back in the score can meet two weak opponents in the last 2 rounds and score 8 points.
The likelihood of this situation applies especially in the QTs where there is no rating bar and the sharks and minnows are allowed to swim in the same pond.
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Re: European Cup

Postby George Hay on Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:25 am

Congratulations to Shane McCosker for winning the European Cup 2014.

--George Hay
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Re: European Cup

Postby tommyc on Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:43 am

Beautiful pictures from Igor allehluyah...................
Always read "Cannings Compilation 2nd Edition" every day.
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