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  A view from ACF Player's Representative Richard Beckwith : 2012-05-16

Checkers Overseas in 2012

In addition to two world title matches to be held in Italy (King-Scarpetta and Berdiyeva-Rosso), arrangements are in progress for two major international checker events in the second half of 2012. The Olympic-like World Mind Sports Games will play in Lille, France in August for gold, silver, and bronze. We have 29 total entrants so far, with room for a few more. Unlike the 2008 Beijing games, no hospitality was offered in England (host of the 2012 Olympic Athletic games). The Lille venue was subsequently selected, although no hospitality is being provided here either. It is anticipated that Brazil will hold the 2016 WMSG. The 2012 Lille event will feature a notable FMJD General Assembly on August 19. FMJD currently focuses primarily on 100-square draughts, but recognizes 64 (Russian and Brazilian) and Checkers as two separate sections. This General Assembly proposes to adopt new FMJD statutes that, if passes, would leave the 64-square variants as mere associate members of the FMJD with no direct contact to IMSA.

Two other notable events will also take place in Lille. Based on last year’s WCDF General Assembly vote in San Remo, Italy, the women will begin an annual world championship tournament (3-move this year) to phase out the current match system, which often proved costly for challengers, who went to great expense just to reach a qualifier tournament. (The youth have already used this system at qualifiers for similar reasons.) Several international women players are already signed up to compete in Lille. WCDF will also hold its General Assembly in Lille, with elections taking place. Hugh Devlin has served WCDF with much wisdom and insight for many years as president, but he intends to step down.

Alex Moiseyev has declined to go to Lille to defend his gold medal due to another opportunity (see next section). However, I suspect there will still be a spirited fight for the gold medal (and world title challenge rights) when Michelle Borghetti and Ron “Suki” King meet for the first time since the 2010 Dublin Qualifier.

A new opportunity for checkers is slated for December:

The 2nd SportAccord World Mind Games will be held in Beijing, China, during 2012. The FMJD have offered Checkers (WCDF) the opportunity to join them to exhibit the game of “checkers” at this event. The FMJD offer involves the participation of four players and one official / referee (i.e. five persons) with free flights and accommodation to the five individuals concerned, and will offer a donation of $5,000 towards a prize fund. The WCDF nominee’s for this event will be World 3 Move Champion Alex Moiseyev (USA), World GAYP Champion Ron King (Barbados), and Lubabalo Kondlo (South Africa). It is intended that the 4th representative position will be awarded to the top-placed player from either Europe or Asia at the 2nd WMSG being held at Lille, France, with the top placed player not already nominated to be the 1st reserve player should anyone be unable to go.

Much behind-the-scenes planning is in the works by Hugh Devlin and WCDF. We have to provide and transport playing equipment (boards, pieces, clocks), scoresheets, and officials to these venues. Personnel are also needed to enter games and relay results over the internet. The Beijing event will be an important opportunity to offer exposure of our style of draughts to Asia and to SportAccord, which has offered prize money in the tens-of-thousands of dollars for 100-square draughts. I am somewhat skeptical whether checkers will ever reap the same future benefits. FMJD tells us that SportAccord has insisted on focusing their sponsorship on only one variant of draughts, as other games like chess, go, and bridge only come with one style of play. Nevertheless, much work lay ahead to prepare promotional materials for this event.

Back home in USA, ACF will call for nominations and hold elections beginning toward the end of this year. Much like the upcoming WCDF elections, now is the time to begin thinking about putting one’s name forward to serve the checker fraternity.

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

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