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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2010-10-14

My 2010 World GAYP Title Match


It’s been quite a week playing in my first ever World Title Match. Ron “Suki” King from Barbados has been GAYP World Champion since 1991 and racked up another successful defense. The match was held October 4th-9th at the Rodeway Inn in Medina, Ohio. The format was 24 games at GAYP, four games a day. Ron seemed very relaxed for most of the week. Whenever Alan questioned him about playing schedules and start times, Ron’s response was always, “I’m here until the 11th.”

The match started relatively quiet with 12 draws and a repetition of Second Double Corner / Glasgow games, although there was certainly variation from game to game. Between Kondlo and myself, Ron must have seen just about every attack imaginable on the Second Double Corner, as he used this opening nine times in each match. Ron changed things up at the halfway point by opening 11-16 and scoring an ending win. I figured I was out of it at that point. However, the final day became most interesting when the score became tied on Game 22 (one too many Second Double Corner attempts!), with Ron winning the final game #24, where both players seemed to be trying to win. The final score was 2-1 with 21 draws, and it I certainly didn’t do myself any favors by missing one win and a stronger attack in two separate other games. However, people like Ron and Mr. Alex have established themselves as world champions because they don’t miss as many wins as I do.

I want to personally thank Alan Millhone as match referee who donated a week of his life to sit and watch Ron and I play. Alan reflected about what other sporting event could you have a free front-row seat to see two top players go head-to-head. Alan had the room ready each day by having boards, pieces, clocks, country flags, scoresheets, snacks, and apple cider in place. (Of course, Alan also traveled with an ample supply of timeclocks in his large aluminum suitcase.) Alan texted the result of each game immediately as it finished. On top of all this, Alan personally donated a winner’s plaque, flags, and the scoresheets for recording games. Needless to say, Alan responded very well in his quest for “Best Referee from Ohio” title after Steve Holliday’s fine performance last year! Alan perhaps had it easier than Steve. This GAYP match had no illegal moves or any episodes of both players playing multiple rapid moves due to time trouble.

A big thank you goes to Joe LoConti and his Evergreen-Uni firm for yet another $4000 pledge to a Medina match. Alan has described Joe as one of the nicest men he has ever met. I also wish to thank the other donors of Lynn Steelman (checker boards), Sean Phillips (large donation), Jay Hinnershitz, Steve Holliday, Joe Weaver, and John Reade for monetary donations. Steve also provided goodies (prepared by his wife) one day and offered personal assistance to our Barbados guests’ local travel needs. (Wilma Branch accompanied Ron.) Joe LoConti and Geoff Yaw (ThinkMedia Studios) also took us out for meals on a few occasions.

There are many others (who know who they are) who helped me prepare for this match in terms of checker play – a big thank you to them as well.

I am not disappointed in the final result. Being that this was my first ever world title match, I had no idea whether it would be close, or whether I might get skunked. Many of Suki’s past challengers were unable to win a game, so I was happy to tie up the match on the last day.

As far as future projects, I will be working on a match book of the games for the contributors (perhaps something similar to what I prepared last year for Moiseyev-King).
I also plan to do additional annotation work on the 2008 Beijing Games project, and hopefully a second modern “Ohio Book” which will be a compilation of all recent match and tournament games played in Ohio between people like Alex Moiseyev, Lubabalo Kondlo, Ron King, Louis Cowie, Michael Holmes, Alan Millhone, myself (and others who have visited Ohio).

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

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