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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2008-07-26

More thoughts on 2008 Las Vegas National

Congrats to Alex for winning the National Tournament for first time since 2004. It was a close Masters division from start to finish with a number of lead changes between Alex, Ron King, and Richard Hallett. The Majors group also produced a tight three-way race with Phil Schwartzberg winning.

This tournament was dedicated to long-time master player Gene Lindsay who left us prematurely last year after a Top 5 finish in the 2007 GAYP National. A picture of Gene was placed on the referee's table throughout the tournament. Gene's longtime girlfriend Betty made a brief visit during a morning round and was greeted by the checker players.

I acknowledge Kim Willis for refereeing both events while competing in the Majors for the first time and winning the U.S. ladies title. Kim also raffled two beautiful wooden checker boards. I also thank Alan Millhone, who traveled to the National tournament (as usual) loaded down with clocks, commemorative scoresheets, rules sheets, etc.

We had 27 players in three divisions (plus 7 in the separate youth tournament). There was some disappointment in the lower turnout. Perhaps the economy is partly to blame, or maybe others are just "Vegassed out." Another issue during the week was the fact that all divisions had a bye in an 8-round tournament with 7-11 players in each division. (This odd-number problem was further complicated by an unexpected late entry due to a canceled flight problem.) As a result, many of the high finishers received byes, and others naturally did not receive a bye since there were more players than rounds in two of the divisions. Alex Moiseyev made a good suggestion to try and even out the numbers in the Masters & Majors at the start of the tournament in the future.

The playing room conditions proved to be a challenge in my Round 4 pairing with Ron King. Our first game lasted over 3.5 hours due to Ron playing a long ending (which eventually drew). To avoid late-night playing room fees, the game had to be relocated to the hallway. During the last game of our pairing (the next day), the power in the playing room kept going out, leaving total darkness. Alex proposed to annotate this select game as the "Game in the Dark." (I was in the dark in a number of ways after Ron's fine win in this game!)

Thursday's round produced a head-to-head matchup of our bulletin/newsletter editors, Jim Loy vs. Wilma Wolverton.

Bids for the 2009 National are welcome until the end of the year. (One basically needs to present to ACF Exec their bid amount, hotel rates, playing room costs, availability of eating places, airports, etc.) I thank Gerry Lopez for bidding for our National tournament (yet again). Gerry claims this was his last bid, although it's possible others from the western 9th District may bid in the future. Many have expressed interest in returning the National back to the Midwest or East where the majority of the players reside. We shall wait and see what develops!

Read more articles from your ACF Players Representative in the Rep's Corner Archive.

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