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Checkers Player Jan Mortimer

Despite Amangul Durdyev’s win in 2007, Patricia Breen will likely be looking to play in the next World Championship Qualifier ready to challenge the reigning champ. The Irish Grandmaster has long been known for possessing a natural aptitude and vision for the checkers game; moreover, she is a talented cross board player who has an ability to accurately visualize complex positions and situations. As well, Patricia Breen is noted to be an excellent endgame player whose skill has conjured up wins from seemingly even positions. With this type of checkers background, Patricia is not likely to sit idle at a checkerboard, but will be honing her game, ready for the next challenge.

Patricia in thought
Checkers Champions Patricia Breen vs Len Chandler
Checkers Champions John Joe & Patricia Breen
Checkers Champions John Joe & Patricia Breen
Checkers Champions Patricia in thought
Checkers Champions Patricia in thought.

Festival of Draughts, Buncrana, County Donegal 2007

The 64 square checkerboard game known as Checkers or English Draughts is still a male dominated mind sport. Ireland has the Breen sisters and England has Joan Caws and possibly other female checkers players, but it’s rare to see many female faces across the checkerboard in the 3-Move or GAYP style, unlike the International Draughts of 100 squares where there are somewhere between 76 and 100 female master players.

Jan Mortimer Checkers ChampionJan Mortimer Checkers Champion 2

Checkers player Jan Mortimer is a skilled women’s 3-Move and GAYP checkers player, who was born in 1952 in Balclutha, New Zealand.

Unlike Patricia Breen and Amangual Durdyev, player Jan Mortimer didn't become actively involved in the game of checkers at an early age, other than playing the typical children’s games that many of us play. The New Zealand master checkers player is a relative newcomer to the arena of competitive mind sports such as checkers/draughts. Mortimer didn't begin playing opponents at the checkerboard in a serious fashion until later in her adult life, and it was through computer games on the Internet that attracted her attention to the board game of checkers. Once her interest was sparked, she spent hours developing and honing checkers skills and techniques.

Although Jan Mortimer loves a challenging game of checkers, she has other interests as well such as her spouse, four children, a bed and breakfast guesthouse and part-time nursing at a local medical center. She currently resides in the central Otago region of New Zealand, when she isn't globetrotting to checkers matches and tournaments around the world.

When not involved with her other ‘interests’, checkers player Jan Mortimer would spend time at the computer in competitive checkers games online that improved her skills to such an extent that she decided to travel to the U.S. in 2002 to compete in the National Championship checkers games tournament. While there, checkers player Mortimer looked forward to the challenge of playing some masterful games as well as a chance to meet some of her Internet checkers friends and opponents.

Through a series of tough games, Jan Mortimer quickly displayed her acquired checkers techniques and board skill as she defeated on her first attempt in the U.S. a strong and well known American female checkers player, Wilma Wolverton to win the national tournament championship title. During her checkers games, Jan Mortimer’s tenacity at the checkerboard was readily recognized and appreciated and she demonstrated an ability to play the checkers game at the highest level. Winning the national championship title earned Mortimer the right to challenge the Women’s 3-Move Champion, Patricia Breen, for the World title. Thus, with the encouragement of her many new friends, Jan Mortimer decided to issue a challenge to Patricia in 2003.

The ACF endorsed Mortimer’s World title challenge and the match between Patricia Breen and checkers player Jan Mortimer took place in 2003 at the International Festival of Draughts in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Although Mortimer played a brilliant game in the second half of the checkers match, it was not enough to allow her to catch the 3-Move champion and Jan Mortimer lost the title checkers game match to the Irish Grandmaster by the score of one win, five losses and ten draws. However, despite her loss, Jan’s primary goal was still realized and in her mind that was to increase the awareness of other checkers players that women were capable checkers opponents and could just as easily play an intriguing and skilled game at the checkerboard.

At the same Festival of Draughts/Checkers in Cookstown, Northern Ireland in October 2003, the WCDF (World Checkers Draughts Federation) held a General Assembly meeting with all the Federation members included, and Jan Mortimer was elected to serve as Second PRO of the Federation.

Even before Jan Mortimer had traveled to Ireland to participate in the World Title Match, she envisaged spreading the importance of checkers and spoke to match officials in New Zealand. “When I return from Ireland, I want to go into the schools here [New Zealand] and to also start a checker club in my area over the winter. My hope is to have more draughts played in New Zealand and also to get more women involved in the game of checkers. It’s a game you can play from home with no real cost.” Upon her return from Northern Ireland, Jan Mortimer did just as she had commented on before her sojourn away from her homeland. On the back of her exciting title match with Patricia Breen, Jan quickly turned her attention and interest to the promotion of the checkers game within her home country with the assistance from a small group of close friends and associates. "We can only start from small beginnings, but start we must rather than sitting apathetically on the sideline doing nothing. We [New Zealanders] want to be part of what's going on in the checker world and a part of the exciting new development of the World Checkers and Draughts Federation." Mortimer’s motivation to develop the interest in the classic game of checkers didn't just focus on New Zealand, but included her Australian neighbors as well and would involve several checkers players that she had met through her game involvement on the Internet checkers sites. Jan Mortimer truly believed that there was a need to promote checkers and its inherent benefits in the Pacific region so that the countries ‘down under’ would become more competitive in the world checkers arena.
One method of achieving this goal was to pool all available resources with other mind sport games and then seek joint sponsorship of the checkers game. "If sports bodies can do it then why not mind sports?" "I think England has the great idea of having an annual mind sports match instead of just checkers or chess, etc. Pooling together to create a huge event is something the public must take notice of." After she had traveled to the U.S. and Ireland to participate in checkers tournament matches, Mortimer was even more inspired to spread the good news of the significance of a great game of checkers and to see it developed as far as possible. As many Grandmaster checkers players have begun to recognize, Mortimer noticed that people’s attitudes towards the classic game were beginning to change and more were coming to appreciate its simplicity yet its inherent intricacies that could make the board game a solid family endeavor once more, and also lead to the interest of novice checkers players with a future as checkers champions.

One way to achieve further recognition of the mind sport was to hold small family orientated board game nights at local community centers, at organizations like the Lions Clubs, or even in private gatherings at home much as people have held a bridge or poker night.

Champion checkers player Jan Mortimer’s endeavor to promote the checker game has brought her recognition by the area Education Trust, wherein they wanted her to teach checkers to adults at night school.

Furthermore, after successfully publishing several articles in local newspapers about her tournament experiences abroad, a greater interest has been created for the competition across the checkerboard in New Zealand such as speaking engagements that promote the mind sports event and discuss the fact that checkers is more than just an old fashioned family game with minimum value as a few hours’ entertainment.

In the same way that Mortimer has encouraged the interest in checkers in local clubs in New Zealand, other checkers clubs, associations and federations around the world are also promoting the checkers game through the Department of Education or Education Trust, with the result that many have already introduced checkers into local schools. So now this brings forth the need for dedicated teachers of mind sports and in some schools teachers have become interested in incorporating the game into the daily curriculum because of the skills set that a knowledge of the checkers game can develop. In other areas paid positions have been created and are waiting for willing participants to step up to the plate, so maybe it’s as simple as asking around in the checkers circuit. "Think about how many people can learn from checkers and how that would snowball. There are so many chances that come along if you're willing to grab them at the right time." Since her challenge of the Women’s 3-Move World Championship title in checkers in 2003, Jan Mortimer continued to develop her checkerboard techniques and then participated in the 2004 Women’s WCDF GAYP Qualifier held in Barbados.

Champion player Jan Mortimer won the qualifier in first place, ahead of Joyann Branch from Barbados, who placed 2nd and Kim Willis from the U.S., who ranked 3rd in the tournament.

The following year, player Jan Mortimer was one of only five checkers participants in the 2005 Women’s World Championship Qualifier in Prague. According to the commentary about the women’s qualifying checkers tournament, there were many entrants but at the final hour, only a handful actually participated: player Jan Mortimer from New Zealand, player Amangul Durdyev from Turkmenistan, player Kim Willis from the United States and Alena Sorokina and Marie Riedlbauchtova from the Czech Republic. Gera Hol and other players from Germany and Belgium just didn't show, but no real reasons were given for their absence in the qualifier tournament.

During the early rounds of the checkers match, the game play at the checkerboard by Jan Mortimer and Amangul Durdyev stood out the most and they basically took charge of the competition and displayed a high level of skill as they played five rounds each with a ballot opening. The final result ended with Amangul Durdyev winning the qualifier, player Mortimer placing 2nd and Kim Willis taking 3rd place, with the Czech challengers finishing fourth and fifth.

To support Jan Mortimer throughout the women’s checkers qualifier, a New Zealand broadcasting crew had been stationed on site and reported on the quality performance of Jan Mortimer and the other female checkers competitors. This covering would assist in further promoting the game at home.

Amangul Durdyev winning the qualifier, Jan Mortimer placing 2nd

Checkers Game Women Joan Caws Women Checkers Player Patricia Breen
Checkers Player Jan Mortimer Checkers Player Terry Thomas

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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