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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2009-10-26

Behind the Scenes of the Moiseyev-King Match

Another World Title Match has passed. Congratulations to Alex Moiseyev for retaining the title. An honorable mention certainly goes to Ron "Suki" King, who had not played in a tournament in 2009. Ron, nevertheless, got off to a fine start, taking a two-game lead at one point. Suki managed to hang on to a 4-4 tie with 32 draws. In the end, Ron went awry in some mid-games on 10-14 and 10-15 3-move openings, which allowed Alex to regain momentum. Think Media Studios was on hand to film portions of the match.

Alan Millhone previously shared on the ACF forum some visual observations of both players (excerpts shown in the next three paragraphs):
During my two trips to the match, Suki showed little facial emotion and stayed focused at the board for the most part. At the King-Kondlo match, I kept both players in Ohio Apple Cider, and both really enjoyed this for the first time. This match I kept Suki in apple cider which he really enjoyed. Mr. Alex likes to eat at Waffle House down the road from Rodeway Inn. One waitress there knows what he likes for breakfast to a tee! Suki eats fish and veggies, etc. and no meat. Yesterday I got Suki a banana and some fruit cups and he asked me to go to his room and get his 1/2 gallon of cider. Mr. Alex had a special Starbucks blended drink he enjoyed during the match. I got him one last night and one for myself, and it was really tasty.

Mr. Alex shows more emotion by tapping his feet on occasion and moving his legs in and out in a pattern. Both men get up on occasion and pace the floor back and forth. Perhaps a form of 'posturing' when one has the other in a bad position? Suki used far less time on the clock than Mr. Alex for all the games I witnessed. Also noticed that Mr. Alex on occasion (after asking) would adjust a piece here and there on the board that was not positioned on a square properly. Suki never adjusted any pieces during the games I witnessed being played.

I learned volumes by just watching these two World Champions apply their trade. I tried to look ahead and see where each would move next and why? I did my best to understand attacks and how to defend when attacked.
There were three time clock failures during the match. Two clocks wouldn't tick at the start of the game. One other clock had a sluggish hour hand, but the minute hand worked fine. There was no significant impact on the match since four clocks were provided for ample backup. Steve Holliday occasionally kept himself amused by writing down the next move he predicted Alex or Ron would make and discreetly showing it to an interested bystander. (I'm not sure what his final success rate was, but I think he was a little below 50% in guessing correctly for the whole match.)

Another observation is that Ron seemed to have trouble recording moves and frequently had to look at referee Steve Holliday's scoresheet to get the moves. Occasionally both players would near their one hour time limit and start moving very rapidly to the point where even Steve was unable to keep up with recording moves. Thankfully, Alex Moiseyev continues to be excellent at recording games.

The first day may have been toughest on our referee, Steve Holliday, who was officiating his first ever world title match. The October 5 games went late into the evening, perhaps around 11:00 pm. Both players also made an illegal move (with no malicious intent). Steve called for "7-11" as the third move of the 11-16 22-18 7-11 opening several times. Ron wasn't moving the piece and then finally moved 8-11 instead of 7-11. Later in the day, Alex came back into the room after a smoking break and observed Ron hadn't moved for several minutes, and Alex thought it was his turn to move (which he attempted to do), thinking that Ron merely forgot to punch his clock.

I wish to thank Joe LoConti and his Evergreen-Uni firm for being primary sponsor to the match. Alan Millhone kindly donated a plaque and scoresheets for recording games. There were also some ACF Store contributors to the match. I hope to have the "first look" of the games (briefly annotated by Jim Loy and myself) ready to be mailed to the contributors around the first week or two of November. I also thank Steve Holliday for being a willing (and often enthusiastic) volunteer in his first major referee role. As Ron King relayed on ACF forum, "Steve and Alan Millhone can now fight it out for 'best referee' title."

Looking ahead to 2010 WCDF events, we are still seeking bids for the World Qualifier 3-Move Tournament and for the GAYP match (between Ron and myself). Ron and I have already begun discussions regarding possible arrangements for our match. However, public announcements on this will wait until the bidding deadline and bid acceptance have been reached.

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

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