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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2010-11-12

Mind Games return to Beijing

The following press release (one paragraph) was received this past week.
Press release
Agreement Signed for SportAccord World Mind Games:
The first SportAccord World Mind Games will be hosted in Beijing, China, in September 2011. Today, the city of Beijing and SportAccord signed an agreement. The SportAccord World Mind Games will be in the first week of September, between 2 and 11 September 2011. The event will be composed of the six mind sports Bridge, Chess, Go, Draughts, Xiang Qi and Duplicate Poker and will be accompanied by a cultural program. The competition will take place in an all-in-one venue and will feature the best players worldwide. Winners will be awarded with attractive prize money.
SportAccord will keep you updated with further information in the following months.

The good news is that the prize money will be substantial. The bad news (for checkers folks, anyway) is the field is severely limited to approximately 20 players for draughts, and “draughts” here likely means the 100-square variant will get priority. The matter will be discussed at the next FMJD meeting. The draughts variants of 64-square and our “checkers” are recognized as sections under the FMJD. Hugh Devlin, WCDF President, has recently written FMJD to remind them to give checkers a seat at the table, where possible. FMJD president Harry Otten explained the situation:

“The budget that will be available is unprecedented for draughts. The total prize money for the draughts players (men and women) in the Sport Accord Mind Games is likely to be well over €100,000. No more than 18-20 players will be allowed to participate. That’s a total for men + women. It is therefore impossible to include all types of draughts. Unfortunately. Maybe that can be done in the future but now Sport Accord want to restrict very much."

Nevertheless, this is a good first step at seeing big prizes for draughts. Hopefully the event numbers will expand in the future after this initial run.

In the meantime, dates have been set for the 2nd World Mind Sports Games in Manchester, England on August 11-25, 2012, which will coincide with the Olympic Games held in London (July 27-August 12). The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will take place afterwards on August 29 through September 9, 2012. The 1st World Mind Sports Games was held in Beijing, China in October 2008. The games featured Bridge, Chess, Go, Draughts (all three sections), and Xiang Qi. The Checkers event (3-Move) featured 42 participants from 19 countries. The gold medal was won by Alex Moiseyev.


On another topic of possible big things in Checkers……I met up with Alan Millhone (and family) and Kim Willis in Cleveland on Nov. 6 for a private screening of the checkers documentary film King Me. Recall that Think Media Studios did much shooting at the 2009 National Tournament in Lebanon, TN. Last weekend, the Capitol Theater had 200-300 spectators (almost all non-checker players), and the film appeared to be thoroughly enjoyed by all. The film has been submitted to the Sundance film festival. Let’s hope for the best on behalf of Think Media Studios and for the game of checkers!

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

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