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Checkers Game
Kim Willis

In much the same way that Jan Mortimer took her love of checkers and personal game experiences back to New Zealand after her International tournament matches and desired to promote the game throughout the school system, Kim Willis has developed a similar checkers game dream. Through her success on the national and international levels, Kim Willis hopes to bring more attention to the game with a checkers program for Eldon elementary school children.

"I want to get women and children to play. Children will use math and think and use strategy when they play. It will keep them motivated and using their brains." Willis also dreamt of holding the 2006 World Qualifying tournament in Mid Missouri, as a way to bring in additional revenue for the area, but more importantly, as a way to spread the word about the benefits of playing a great game of checkers.

According to Kim Willis, some may believe that checkers is merely a children's game that anyone can master, but she contends that it is not because tournament matches can last a grueling amount of time, which will drain even the most experienced of players mentally.

Over the past few years, Kim Willis would practice four or five hours a day in order to perfect her game skills and techniques by playing against opponents online. She has had great support from her husband, Wesley Willis, but he will not play against her anymore. However, checkers game player Kim Willis was encouraged by her spouse to continue seeking her dream by promoting this mind sport wherein she developed such a passion.

"Don't let go of dreams. If you got a dream, go for it. It's not going to come to you."

In September 2004, Kim Willis became the National Youth Director for the ACF. After her trip to Barbados, she gained a lot of recognition in her hometown and was able to start a program that would teach checkers in elementary schools. Through the donation of checkerboards from the local Wal Mart stores, Kim’s program would help youngsters sharpen their thinking skills, but more importantly, create a renewed interest in the game of checkers.

Over the next few months, Kim Willis put her plan into effect and began working on the assemblage of the Rainbow Checker Game Club Beginners Packets for her program. She spent a lot of her time researching and putting together beginner packets for children that teach them the basics of the checkers game and also how to begin learning the game itself.

At the same time, Kim Willis stated that she also had plants for a summer camp where children of all ages could come and enjoy various activities that included swimming, fishing and learning how to play checkers. At the end of the week, Kim Willis would organize a Youth Checkers Game Tournament.

Kim Willis entitled her program as Youth Director, Leave no Child Behind, and again encouraged everyone to never let go of a dream.

Kim’s dream of a Youth Checkers Game Tournament was indeed realized later that year. Kim Willis joined forces with Youth Champion Checkers master, Clayton Nash, to both organize and act as referees for the first National Arthur Niederhoffer Youth Tournament. It was held in June 2005 during the weekend before the GAYP National Tournament Match in Dublin, Ohio. Funds were made available through the ACFD for the provision of trophies and award monies. Furthermore, through the efforts of Josh Bricker of the Dublin Hotel and Tourism Department, Dublin agreed to provide the ACF Youth Tournament with free room for that week-end.

Although the tournament roster of checkers game players was small, all participants had a great time and many exceptional checkers games were played considering the age of these future checker stars.

The ACF checkers bulletin acknowledged clearly in the importance of such a tournament in this statement: “The youth of today who play Checkers/Draughts is the future of our game and the future of the ACF.”

Kim Willis then participated in the National GAYP Tournament held in Dublin and won the women’s division to become the U.S. Women’s GAYP Champion, and this national win qualified Willis for a shot at the Women’s GAYP World Qualifier held in Prague in October 2005. Kim traveled to Prague and participated in the Women’s GAYP World Qualifier and although the field of checkers expertise ran only to five players in total, the tournament witnessed excellent play at the checkerboard all around. Kim placed 3rd behind, Jan Mortimer with 2nd place and Amangul Durdyev taking first and winning the Women’s GAYP World Title.
2005 Checkers World GAYP QT
Checkers Women’s
2006 Checkers Champions Kim Willis vs Raymond Shelly
Checkers Champions
Kim Willis
Raymond Shelly

In 2006, Kim Willis contested in the Edward A. Bruch 3-Move National Checkers Tournament hosted by Medina, Ohio and won yet again to become the US National 3-Move Checkers Champion. The 2nd annual Arthur Niederhoffer National Youth Tournament in checkers was also held in Medina and was directed by Kim Willis.

The following year, Wilma Wolverton defeated Kim Willis in the Derek Oldbury National GAYP Tournament held in Las Vegas to become the US National Women’s GAYP Champion. The 3rd Annual Arthur Niederhoffer National Youth Tournament in Checkers also took place in Las Vegas and again Kim Willis directed the event.

Checkers games will likely be a part of Kim Willis’ life for some time to come, as her checkerboard ingénue continues to blossom, as well as her love of a checkers game.
Although a limited number of women players appear as opponents across the checkerboard in national and international tournaments in the classic game of checkers, one newcomer joined the field of players at the 2007 Irish Open. This new young checkers player was a 16 year old from Turkmenistan and her name was Hurmugul Toyeva. It will be interesting to see how her skill level develops over the next few years in the checkers arena of Masters and Grandmasters.

From Turkmenistan, Hurmugul Toyeva

In contrast to American and English checkers, the circuit of International Draughts has hosted a far broader field of female players from across the European continent for many years. These International Masters and Grandmasters come primarily from the Netherlands, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine. They compete regularly in a variety of International tournaments in the 100 square game of draughts/checkers and also participate in a yearly Women’s World Draughts Championship to determine the Women’s World Champion.

Zoja Golubeva, born in Minsk in 1967, was the Latvian Belarussian reigning Women’s World Champion in 1986, 1988, 1990-92 and from 1994 until 2000. Tamara Tansykkuzhina (Tansikkuzhyna), born in Russia in 1978, defeated Zoja in 2001 and then this checkers champion reigned as the International Draughts queen during 2001, 2002, and 2004 and she recaptured the Women’s World Title in 2007.

However, during Tamara’s role as Women’s World Champion, a new face entered the women’s checkers arena. Darja Tkatsjenko (Darya Tkatchenko) easily became a rising star from the Ukraine, and has been honing her checkerboard skills in the International Draughts/Checkers circuit for a few years. She first made noteworthy appearances in the World Youth Championships in 2001 and 2002. In several accounts about her game skills in checkers, her dark shimmering hair and confident gaze drew the attention to the young cross board player.

Darja Tkatsjenko (Darya Tkatchenko) from the UkraineDarja Tkatsjenko

Checkers Champion Amangul Durdyev Checkers Game Kim Willis Champion Darja Tkatsjenko

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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