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Checkers Champion
John (Jack) Francis

John (Jack) Francis

1961 ~

Bajan Grandmaster, Jack Francis, from St. James, Barbados, has been part of the International American checkers arena for many seasons. For years, Jack has been recognized in Barbados as a checkers champion and in 1991, he was officially ranked locally as the second best player across the checkerboard, next to Ron ‘Suki’ King.
John Francis is an aggressive cross board player who relies on his skills of reading the board to conquer his opponents’ play, and is considered to be one of the most exciting players to burst onto the International checkers scene in recent times. Sources say that Jack possesses quite a dynamic personality and is not intimidated by the checkers champion and compatriot in the mind sport, Ron King. In fact, it’s safe to say that the two checkerists enjoy sparring across the board to see which player can outmaneuver the other by how many wins.

Over the past few years, checkers champion Jack Francis has traveled the checkers circuit to participate in numerous local and national checkers game tournaments in both GAYP and the 3-Move style of play. The Grandmaster enjoys the challenge of both checkers game styles and displays a certain finesse and skill at the checkerboard.

In 1995, Jack placed 3rd with 22 points but ranked 4th at the U.S. National GAYP tournament in Gilbertville, Kentucky. The following year in June 1996, Jack Francis tied with Cornell Checkers a four-game match in the inaugural TOYOTA-ACER computer vs human 3-Move checkers tournament held in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Since the U.S. National 3-Move tournament that was hosted in Danville, Virginia, in November 1996 was won by the Canadian computer program Chinook, Francis finished a joint second in human standing with Richard Hallett and Jim Morrison, but ranked fourth in the checkers competition in terms of honor points.

Jack Francis continued to display his checkers skill and cross-board techniques in the ending years of the 20th century through competition play in GAYP and 3-Move National tournaments held in the United States. During the 1997 GAYP Nationals held in Greensboro, North Carolina, Jack finished in fourth place in a tie with Grandmaster Elbert Lowder, accumulating 22 points and 176 honor points. Then in the 1999 GAYP tournament hosted in Niagara Falls, New York, Francis scored 24 points to place him in a three way tie with Richard Hallett and Malcolm Grimes, but he ranked in third place, again assuming that this was due to honor points, though not listed in the records.

The 21st century brought forth the 42nd National 3-Move ‘Asa Long Millennium Checker Tournament’ in August 2000, held in Toledo, Ohio. This competition saw a unique range of scores, as there were several ‘shared’ placements due to points scored during the match. Jack tied with Gene Lindsay, Earl Morrison (Canada), John Walcott (Barbados), and Richard Beckwith for sixteen points each, but was officially ranked in the tournament roster as taking 11th place. However, if all the tie positions had held, then he could have placed in a shared 5th ranking.

The following year, Francis entered the Tom Wiswell Memorial GAYP Tourney held in Las Vegas, Nevada. During this match, Jack Francis tied with Alex Moiseyev, Richard Hallett, and Jim Morrison for second with a score of 24 points, but he ranked 3rd in the tournament standings.

A similar situation happened in the 2002 Marion Tinsley Memorial 3-Move National Tournament, also hosted in Las Vegas. Although Jack Francis ranked 9th overall, he could have been placed in 5th since there was a four-way tie in points for third to sixth place.

These tie situations appeared to have been a common occurrence in the National tournaments between the Grandmasters who played in the tournaments. Each year it was the same familiar faces bringing a level of checkers game skill and ingenuity to the game. It would also seem that because these same checkerboard experts knew each other’s game so well, that it would be rather difficult to score a highly differentiated point system.

In 2003, a maturing Jack Francis, who was now 42, traveled from Barbados to Anderson, South Carolina, for the GAYP National tournament held there. Again the Grandmaster checkers player displayed a solid set of board techniques and succeeded by finishing in a tie for second with Richard Hallett based on match points of 24; however, Jack Francis had a final ranking in the checkers game competition was 3rd, where he took home total winnings of $1343. Of course, this mind sport is not competitive in terms of financial rewards; in fact, as some Grandmasters have clearly stated, the player barely makes enough to cover travel expenses, if even that. So what is it that keeps checkers players like Jack Francis coming back, especially considering that he has to travel from the Caribbean to attend these National matches?

2003 GAYP Nationals in Anderson, South Carolina

Studying the checkerboard
Jack Francis and Alex Moiseyev
Studying the checkerboard
Jack Francis vs John Ferrell Jim Morrison vs Richard Hallett
Jack Francis vs John Ferrell
Jim Morrison vs Richard Hallett
Jack Francis & Alan Millhone
Jack Francis & Alan Millhone Presentation of his award and prize money.
Jack Francis & Alan Millhone with Bobby Joe Redd
Jack Francis & Alan Millhone with Bobby Joe Redd
Jack Signing the tournament checkerboard
Jack Francis signing the tournament
Many have commented that it’s simply the sheer challenge of the checkers game, never knowing where even the best-laid moves will take the player, and the simple fact that they enjoy the competition and camaraderie across the checkerboard. Most of these tournaments bring out the same checkers Masters and Grandmasters year after year, and eventually strong bonds of friendship have formed. Of course, the good old competitive spirit raises its head and leads these great checkers players to face off at the tournament checkerboard again and again.

Bajan player, Jack Francis, is no different from the rest of the National and International checkers players, as is clearly in evidence from the miles that he travels to attend competitions and National tournaments. Jack joined his Bajan compatriot in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, for the All-Ireland Open Draughts Festival in October 2003. Once again, however, Ron King just edged out the Grandmaster to win the tournament and become the Irish Open Champion. Ron walked away with a total of 29 game points, while Francis acquired a total of 27 points. The competitive edge was still there.

Jack did not appear to play in any National U.S. tournament in 2004, nor did he play in the Barbados Open of that year during the Festival of Draughts. However, Jack Francis was only one point away from tying with Richard Beckwith in the 2005 GAYP competition held in Dublin, Ohio. Both Jack and Richard scored 36 game points, but Richard beat Jack by one in the Honor Points at 257. Alex Moiseyev came just behind also with 36 points and 248 Honor Points. These three players won $722 each, and Richard Beckwith became the U.S. GAYP checkers game champion that year.

Jack has been close to that coveted #1 place on the checkers stage in the U.S. National tournaments, but has not yet succeeded in becoming GAYP or 3-Move Champion. Ron King and Alex Moiseyev are the two Grandmasters to beat.

A roster of checkers masters came together in Las Vegas in July 2007 to compete for the GAYP National title in the ‘Derek Oldbury’ memorial tournament. Outside of the regular players from checkers clubs across the U.S., Jack Francis was joined by Lubabalo Kondlo from Soweto, South Africa, and Shane McCosker from Northern Ireland. Ron King arrived late and began playing in the fifth round. This tournament saw plays across the checkerboard of a high caliber, and the final scores were quite close; in fact, Kondlo and Webster were tied at 31 points but Lubabalo edged out John Webster, IM from Stoneville, North Carolina, by a mere two Honor Points. Lubabalo’s final score was a total of 31 points and 346 Honor Points, while Webster acquired 31 points and 344 Honor Points.

Newcomer Shane McCosker finished in 3rd place with 30 points and 347 Honor Points. Although Lubabalo Kondlo won the tournament, John Webster took the title of U.S.

National GAYP Checkers Champion
Checkers champion Jack Francis commented that the national competition had been highly contested by a checkers playing field of high ranking, quality checkerists. Francis suffered one of his two defeats at the hands of the tournament winner, Lubabalo Kondlo, and the other the American checkers player, Paul Bryan, from Morengo, Ohio.

The Bajan GM admitted that he lost the two matches in the early rounds of the event because he underestimated them both as experienced and skilled opponents, and that he took chances against them, trying to dominate the tournament in the early stages. Unfortunately, checkers champion Jack Francis' strategy backfired on him and certainly cost him a place or two.

Champion Francis shared fourth place with six other checkers players, including current World GAYP Champion Ron King, with a final score of 28 points. King, who entered late, missed the first two rounds of the competition. Jack Francis ranked 10th on the score sheets but this was due to the accumulated Honor Points that separated their individual positions: GM Jim Morrison had 349 HP, IM Clayton Nash ended the tourney with 330 HP, IM Joe Schwartz had 319 HP, and GM Jack Francis finished with 315 HP. Ron King also had 28 points but only 190 HP.

Although Francis did not place as well as he would have liked in the GAYP National, this did not deter his desire from reaching for first place in the 2007 World Championship GAYP Qualifier, also to be held in Las Vegas.

The Bajan player fared credibly well at the US National GAYP Checkers Championships in Las Vegas and was all fired-up to take on the challengers of the World GAYP Qualifier, scheduled for September 17 through to 21, 2007. Although Francis lost two games at the championships, he told the Barbados Advocate Sports after the event that he was pleased with his overall performance. According to Francis, who is rated fourth in the overall World Checkers standings by the WCDF, the tournament certainly provided him with the perfect build-up, peak preparation, and confidence boost to come away as champion of the World GAYP Qualifier.

According to Francis, the recent event has given him an opportunity to judge his competition and develop the winning strategy for the World GAYP Qualifier. “The way to win the qualifier is to play all-out attacking draughts and once I do that no one will stop me from winning. I am ready,” Grandmaster Francis emphasized. Jack’s ultimate goal is to win the qualifier to be able to challenge compatriot, Ron King, once more for the GAYP World Championship title. Let the checkers game match begin!

The GAYP World Championship Qualifier was hosted in Las Vegas in September 2007, but the Bajan Grandmaster checkers player did not manage to pull off the ultimate win to become the World Championship challenger. Jack Francis tied for second and third place with Richard Beckwith at 15 points each. The winner of the qualifier was the newcomer on the checkers stage from Soweto, South Africa, Lubabalo Kondlo, who will now face World GAYP Champion, Ron ‘Suki’ King, across the checkerboard some time in 2008.

Checkers Game in the West Indies The Bajan Checkers Team Northern Ireland Checkers Draughts 2006 Checkers At Stonehaven Ron King
Checkers Champion Ricardo Pierre Haiti Checkers Champion John (Jack) Francis Barbados Draughts and Checkers World Checkers Champion Alex Moiseyev Alan
Checkers Champion Shang Wong Louiceus Checkers Champion Ronald “Suki” King Checkers Game World Title Match Irish Checkers Champion In Action
Checkers Champion Dickson Maughn Checkers Game 3 Move Title Checkers Champion 3 Move Tournament Checkers Champion Kondlo

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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