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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2010-08-11

My Thoughts on 2010 U. S. “Richard Fortman” National Tournament Week


Congratulations to Alex Moiseyev for winning the ACF 3-move "Richard Fortman” Tournament held in Springfield, Illinois on August 1-5 at Days Inn. Three players tied on points for 2nd, with the order of finish by honor points being Ron King (2nd), Richard Hallett (3rd) and Larry Keen (4th). The Majors was won by Teal Stanley. Nick Addante and the ageless Earl Harvell (well into his nineties!) tied for first in the Minors. Kim Willis won the ladies title, and Trey Stanley won the youth title. It was a successful week for the Stanley family, who entered three generations into the tournament. Jack Francis won the inaugural Gene Lindsay "most games won" award for the master player who had the most wins (Jack had 10).

I applaud John Acker for his heavy amount of tournament promotion, which was a year in the making. The hotel lobby featured two of John’s poster boards, one commemorating Richard Fortman, and the other featured various factoids and positions about checkers with photographs of various world champions, past and present. John coordinated with Richard Fortman’s surviving family, who generously catered a barbecued meal for the players on Sunday evening. I also enjoyed paging through a few of the Fortman’s old photo albums of checker pictures. Someone present had already spotted me in the 1986 National tournament group photo, a group that also featured an early appearance of Ron King. John Acker also raised the bar by having an internet site (http://www.checkers2010.info/) devoted to the tournament with daily updates. The blog page contains U-tube player interviews and other features that you may wish to view.

In typical Illinois tournament fashion, the tournament kicked off with a group photo and various Round 1 photos courtesy of John and Judy Grisley. The group photo was taken in front of a National Tournament banner specially prepared for this tournament. During the pre-tournament meeting, Ray Shelly was introduced as interim District 3 manager and will be graciously assisting ACF with help in the area of marketing. I look forward to seeing Ray’s passion and energy benefit the checker community. A “Dream Young” program was reintroduced to help youth and young adult players afford their travel to National tournaments. (Donations to this fund may be made to ACF Store or to an ACF Exec member.)

In Round 3, Joe Schwartz had one of the rounds of his life by defeating Ron King with one win and three draws to take an early tournament lead. Joe displayed a brilliant escape draw in Game 4, which received a round of applause from the spectators at the conclusion of the game. However, Joe’s lead was short-lived as Alex Moiseyev won a round from Joe in Round 4 over a Petterson’s drawbridge ending. Alex never relinquished the lead after that, despite close competition from Ron King and Richard Hallett. It’s always a prestigious win for anyone when these three fellows compete in the same division.

I acknowledge all the hard work by Roger Doll and Kim Willis as co-referees. Kim Willis played in the Majors division, while Roger Doll did a splendid job “holding down the fort” while games were in progress. Donors to the tournament fund ($20 minimum) will receive selected games around Nov. 1, once the World Qualifier is complete.nnTwo playing rooms were used for the tournament. The masters played in a separate, small conference room located in a building near the lobby. The lobby area of the hotel contained a daily continental breakfast, the two poster boards, and the referee’s table. John Acker had several copies of the Basic Checkers reissue for sell. Jim Loy also visited the tournament with many of his books available for purchase.

One “international” rule change for the year restricted the use of cell phones and electronic devices in the playing room. The Masters playing room was subsequently quieter as a result of the rule update. There was one unfortunate instance of a phone going off while a player was in the middle of a game. It turns out that his endgame position was so dire looking (against Richard Hallet, no less), that he joked, “If you have to forfeit a game, then this game is a good one to forfeit!”

My tournament week ended by visiting local family and by performing a giant checkerboard exhibition at the nearby Decatur Celebration. http://www.herald-review.com/news/collection_e7b37e34-a31e-11df-a9b1-001cc4c03286.html?photo=27 Most of these games feature challengers who have not been exposed to checker tactics and strategy. However, the street competition was a little tougher this year, and one game resulted in a draw. Hopefully a couple of these fellows will make it to the next Illinois tournament.

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

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