Checker Game Match
Barbados Boat Trip
Wednesday, June 2
We went over more games and checker match
openings at breakfast. Alex mentioned his
new attack against the 11-16 opening (an
opening that a couple Barbados players were
playing). I knew it well, since Alex beat
me on that line enroute to winning the 2004
April Illinois state checkers tournament.
(Alex went on to win that tournament by one
point ahead of me.) Alex showed a few formations
of this opening attack. I still didn't know
as much play on it as I would like, but it
was becoming evident that conventional published
play was not enough to beat the well versed
Barbados team, so I thought I would give
the Alex attack a try if the opportunity arose.
Barbados Boat Trip Vacation
Today finally featured my first excursion
of my Barbados Boat Trip vacation. A van
came by the hotel to pick up Alan Millhone
and family, Michael Holmes and girlfriend
Erin, Sue and Al Tucker, Alex Moiseyev,
Mickey Webster, Gerry Lopez and myself
to a Barbados boat trip. The van took us
to a docking area near the edge of Bridgetown.
Glynn Howell, well-known Barbados checker
player, met us there. To board the catamaran,
we had to wade through shallow water and
board a small, steep ladder. The Barbados
boat trip cost $25 apiece.
Barbados measures 14 by 21 miles. The west
and south side of the island feature calmer
waters and is best for swimming. The west
side is also richer and has the most expensive
hotels and resorts. Our four hour boat
trip took us North along the west side
of the island and back. A boat trip completely
around the island would take 5-14 hours,
depending on wind conditions. I found the
ride very enjoyable with a wonderful breeze.
The day was partly sunny, as everyday here
seemed to be. While on our Barbados boat
trip we first saw Bridgetown. The
bank building where we played checkers
was readily visible--this appeared to be
the tallest building in Bridgetown. We
also passed a Carnival cruise liner that
was docked. Further up the coast we saw
many posh resorts and homes, including
some that have recently housed celebrities.
One seaside resort cost $185,000 per week
to rent. Mel Gibson stayed there last.
At the furthest point of our trip, we saw
a cement factory that the boat captain
despised. The plant was expensive to maintain
and not environmentally friendly, in his
opinion. On the return boat trip, we saw
two sea turtles bobbing out of the water,
and we also experienced a brief shower
for a few minutes. Gerry Lopez seemed to
have a tough time with clothing articles
on this boat trip. He left his jacket behind
at the docking area. Then his cap was sucked
through a hatch in the side of the boat.
(Both items were recovered OK). Glynn Howell
took a few group pictures after we reached
After a quick lunch, we headed for our
evening match session. I was first paired
with 'Schoolboy' Williams,
who's a solid player. Wouldn't you know
it...he opened the game with 11-16, so
now was the time to test the new Alex attack.
He appeared to be thrown off by the new
play and got into a weak mid-game, which
resulted in my second win. My next opponent
Junior Walrond played 11-16 too (and was
apparently unaware of the Williams game
I just had). Walrond found a good defense
cross board, and I drifted into trouble
after misplaying the mid-game position.
Due to the newness of the opening, we both
consumed a lot of time on our time clocks.
In the late mid-game, I went down a man
for an early king, but appeared to be in
a loss. After much thought, I finally ventured
a move and punched my time clock, only
to find that my button was already down.
Unfortunately for Mr. Walrond, we were
unaware that he never hit the clock after
his last move, and his flag fell while
I was studying the board for my move. He
had to forfeit the game. This created momentary
disruption, but the referees let the result
stand, as this was a clear time forfeit.
The U.S. had a huge day today. By our headcount
on the bus ride back, we went from two down to
5 wins ahead. Alex was winning half his games
for the week, and was being as dominant for us
as Ron King was for the Barbados team. Things
were finally looking good for the U.S. team.