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Barbados International Checkers Match

on Monday, May 31

The first day of the Barbados International Checkers match is in the evening. Gerry turned on our hotel room TV to catch some news, but the only ongoing newscast we found was from a local, central Tennessee news station! We met in the restaurant as a team now that everyone had arrived. The rest of our contingent consisted of Jim Morrison (KY) and Anthony Bishop (TN). American Checker Federation (ACF) president Alan Millhone arrived with his wife and grandson. Alan will serve as referee and came to Barbados armed with numerous time clocks and related supplies. (Thanks Alan for your efforts on this!) Charles Walker, founder of the International Checker Hall of Fame in Petal, MS, was unable to make the trip due to a personal conflict. Kentucky led the way as the state with the most participants (3) -- Morrison, Holmes, and Freeman. Ohio had two players, Alex and myself, plus Millhone, our referee. Tennessee also had two participants in Gene Lindsay and Anthony Bishop. Alex, as team captain, drew up a team line-up (ten players plus two alternates) for our review. I will be #5, behind Alex and veterans Morrison, Webster, and Lindsay.
I accompanied Gerry and Alan to an Internet store that was a few blocks from the hotel. They wanted to send messages home and check e-mail. A survey of the neighborhood revealed that space is at a premium near the shore. All buildings are very close together. Also, one might find a nice hotel next to a so-so looking house. Many yards have walls up by the sidewalk so that the front yard resembles a small courtyard. This feature was something I also saw in England. The vegetation is tropical and colorful everywhere. Gerry and I walked to a mini mart that was near the Internet store. We found prices of most items to be very high ~ 2-3 times what is typical and a large American grocery store. I bought some bananas, which seemed reasonable ($1 for a bundle), but the apples were more expensive.
Barbados has its own currency. The Barbados dollar is worth 51 cents; a 2:1 ratio is a common estimate. Our hotel offered currency exchange, but the rate was not as good as a local bank. It turned out that I never had to exchange money, since most vendors readily accept either Barbados or American money. If you pay with American dollars, then you receive change in Barbados money. (Next time I come back, I need to bring lots of small bills.) Barbados paper bills, typically in denominations of 2, 5, and 10 Barbados dollars, are colorful bills. A Barbados dollar is a coin similar to a quarter, but seven sided and with a picture of a flying fish. A Barbados five-cent piece is similar in size to a nickel, but gold-brown in color with a lighthouse depicted. The ten-cent and one-cent pieces are similar in appearance to an American dime and penny, except for the picture.

After a late lunch, a bus came to the hotel to take us to the Barbados International Checkers Match playing facility. This was my first trip to the Barbados capital, Bridgetown. A 15-minute bus ride took us down a side street (past a few shacks for houses) and up to the ten-story Central Bank building. The building stood next to a very large church. Our playing room was located in the ground floor ballroom known as the Grand Salle Center. It was a beautiful international checkers match playing room. There were two long rows of tables with large glass windows on opposite sides. Another set of tables was positioned at the back of the room for use by the Barbados checkers match referees.

Originally, we expected to play two evening rounds (two games each) per day from Monday through Friday to achieve ten rounds. The decision to play in the evening was made to accommodate the Barbados players who worked in the daytime. On this first day, Barbados elected to play only one round since time would be consumed for opening ceremonies. This raised the question of when to make up this lost round. (In retrospect, perhaps today's activities should have started earlier to avoid this make-up situation, as today was a Pentecostal holiday anyway for the Barbados players.)

We had a one hour opening ceremony filled with speeches from various dignitaries to open the Barbados checkers festival of draughts and checkers, a three-week event. The first week is the inaugural international match between U.S. and Barbados. The second week is the Barbados international checkers open. The third week is the World Qualifier (WCDF) tournament, where all international checker federations could send two players to play for challenging rights to the world title. Separate youth and women's events were also scheduled. Most of the American team was here for the International match only, but Clayton Nash, Michael Holmes, and Alan Millhone are planning to stay for additional events.

Erskine Bayne (my airport driver) emceed the opening ceremony. Remarks were made by Ron King (President of Barbados Draughts & Checkers Federation.), Mr. Owen Weeks (President of Barbados Draughts Association), Sandy Fields-Kellman (daughter of Randoph Fields, whom event was named for), Erskine King (Dir. of National Sports Council), Alan Millhone (ACF President), Reginald Farley (Minister of Education, Youth Affairs & Sports), and Mr. David Clarke (P.R.O. Barbados Draughts & Checkers Federation). Erskine Bayne noted that we had three presidents and two Kings at the head table! They also recognized checkers (draughts) as a minor sport in Barbados, with the two most popular sports being cricket and football (soccer). We were impressed with the number of sponsors that backed this checkers match festival. They clearly have a model in place that is desirable to follow. Following a reception, it was time to begin play.

Each round of play consists of two games so that both players have a chance to play with the red and white checkers, with red always moving first. Time clocks were used. Each player was required to make at least 30 of his own moves in an hour. If the minimum number of moves is not made, and if the hour is up (signaled by a falling time clock flag), then the player must forfeit the game. In the 2001 England match, we began by having the #1 player of one team play the #1 player of the other team, #2 plays #2, and so on. Then the visiting team would rotate to the next station until all ten rounds were played. However, this format was not used here. They made blind, random drawings for our opponents in each round.

All week long, a dozen or so of the locals closely watched the games. (I wish U.S. checker tournaments consistently had this many interested spectators.) I started play against veteran player Michael Barker. I barely drew the second checkers match game, but managed two draws with Barker. My roommate Gerry Lopez played Ron King, but 'Suki' was full of endgame tricks and lured Gerry into a double corner block loss. At the end of the first day of play, the U.S. led 4 wins to 3, with the remainder of checkers match games drawn. Moiseyev, Holmes, and Nash all won their games using a new Michael Holmes attack on the 11-15, 22-17, 9-13 opening. Anthony Bishop won the fourth game. Unfortunately, this was the only round of play for the day, so that gave the Barbados checkers players time to regroup to prevent the Holmes attack in the future. The American team returned to the hotel happy with a narrow victory, but we were wondering what to do next once they adjust to the Holmes cook.

1st International Checkers Match Checker Match Barbados Hotel First International Checker Game Match Clayton Nash
Checker Match John Walcott Checker Game Match Barbados Boat Trip First International Checkers Game Match
Barbados International Checkers Match Checker Game Match Barbados Players  


DeerLake Online Store Items

Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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