Checkers Youth Tournament
The Future of Checkers/Draughts Game.
Checkers Championship Tournament.
Hardenberg Municipality School Teams Checkers
The photos above reveal novice International Draughts players in action.
Undoubtedly, since before the new millennium the game of checkers and International draughts was of interest to serious young competitors, but since the beginning of the 21st century, a greater emphasis has been placed on the board games as a wonderful mental stimulus as well as a challenging past time activity in all age groups.
Moreover, the opponents who face each other across
the checkerboard no longer only come from the Netherlands,
France or Russia or indeed other European countries
that have a long tradition within the mind sport.
The interest in checkers and its counterpart, International
draughts has stretched its fingers to the far reaches
of the world. In some places the board game is still
a novelty, but the checkers youth tournament challenge
Youth checkers championship
tournament in the Philippines.
European Youth Checkers Tournaments
Challengers at an International Checkers Youth Tournament in Delft.
The faces of concentration at the checkerboards.
Pim Meurs, Dutch Checker Player at a 2004 Youth Tournament Championship.
U.S. Youth Minors
Checkers players, Clayton Nash and Robert Maxwell
compete in Barbados youth tournament championship.
In the summer of 2004, youth Clayton Nash, 20, and
Robert Maxwell, 16, had both earned a place to play
for the 2004 Youth World Championship in Bridgetown,
Barbados. Checkers, Clayton Nash, won the youth
qualifier tournament in Honea Path, South Carolina,
while Maxwell finished second in the event. Both
checkers players are confident heading into the
"I feel very
confident that I can bring home the Youth
World Title", said Nash. "I
may not know what I am up against, but I do
know that I have worked very hard to earn the
rank of 'master level.' All I can do is bring
my best and hope that is enough."
"The United States
is by the far the strongest checkers country in the
world. I am convinced that Clayton Nash and I will
come home bringing back titles of first and second
Maxwell, who only competed in the Youth Tournament.
Clayton Nash also remained in Barbados to compete
in the First International tournament between the
United States and Barbados, as well as the Barbados
Open checkers tournament.
"I'm mainly preparing and training to face off
against the other Barbados masters. That is main focus",
Another American checkers Master player, Michael
Holmes, who also played on the U.S. team in the International
tournament in Barbados as well as the Barbados Open
commented that he had noticed the checkers talent
in checkers player Clayton Nash.
"I've played [Nash] a few times
in tournament play and I believe he is already a strong master".
Both young checkers players are fierce competitors across the checkerboard,
but away from the board they hold each other in high regard and
appreciate each other’s checkers skills, especially playing
together on Team U.S.A. in the International youth tournament.
Clayton Nash has since moved into the senior division
of checkers play and has tasted the challenge presented
in the All Ireland International Draughts Championship
at the Festival of Draughts in Ireland in 2006. Nash
played against Master and Grandmaster players of
a high caliber and will soon begin to dominate the
checkers scene as others retire from the stage.
That same year, in September, U.S. National Women’s
checkers player, Kim Willis, was appointed US youth
director for the ACF. As a result of her 3rd place
in the Women’s Qualifier in Barbados, she received
great recognition in her hometown. Shortly thereafter
Kim began a program to teach the game of checkers
in elementary schools. The local WalMart donated checkerboards
to her program. Kim’s aim through the ACF was
to help children to sharpen their thinking process
and to encourage a new interest in the game.
In 2005, Kim was involved in creating the U.S. National
Youth GAYP tournament comprised of 8 rounds per division
with three divisions based on age and four games per
round. The tournament was held in Dublin, Ohio, but
unlike the large youth, junior or cadet championships
in Europe, there were only a handful of entrants in
U.S. National GAYP Youth Tournament
Kim Willis, Clayton Nash, Tiffany Stanley, Erin Stanley
and Trey Stanley.
Ryan Pronk became the senior youth champ and won the
National Youth Championship Tournament title, whereas
10 year old, Trey Stanley from Greensboro, North Carolina
won the junior championship title. All tournament participants
received prize winnings, certificates and trophies
for their involvement in the national checkers program.
The following year, Kim organized and directed the
2nd Annual National Arthur Niederhoffer Youth GAYP
Tournament, held in Medina, Ohio. Clayton Nash assisted
with the tournament details. There were two divisions
in this competition: a) 16-21 and b) under 16. The
winner of the senior division would be declared the
US National Youth Champion and the top two places would
qualify for the World Youth Championship. The tournament
was held in the checkers 3-Move Restriction style with
8 rounds, using the game point system for scoring.
Ryan and Trey were the winners of this tournament as
National GAYP Youth Tournament
Kim, Clayton (hidden), Teal Stanley and Under 16 players.
Kim, Erin, Trey, Alex, Alan Solomon and Forest Reece
The 3rd Annual Arthur Niederhoffer National
GAYP Youth Championship was held in Las Vegas
in 2007. Clayton Nash and Kim Willis were the
organizers and also the referees. Both players
devoted a lot of their own time to promote
the checkers game and to encourage participation
from all age groups so that the game gets greater
exposure at the younger level.
In this youth tournament, there were three divisions:
Senior 16-21 “A” Class 12-15
“B” Class under 12.
All youth had to record their own games, though they
could have some assistance from a senior player, but
not with the checkers game itself. Expert youth used
clocks as well. Any youth under 16 who was a qualified
checkers player at the Major or Master level could
play up to the next level in the tournament. Shane
McCosker of Northern Ireland won the senior level
and a $3000 purse, while Ryan Pronk, in 2nd place,
became the US National Youth GAYP Champion for 2007
and he won a prize of $1000. He said that he would
likely not enter any future checkers tournaments until
he was finished with his university education, as
his studies took priority. Colton Cardie placed first
in the junior division of 11 and under and became
the US National GAYP Younger Champion.
“The youth of today
who play Checkers/Draughts are the future of our
game and the future of the ACF.”
Stated Alan Millhone, President ACF Jan. 31/05
Through Kim Willis’ efforts, the
national checkers youth program, though it
attracts a small attendance, is still going
strong. The following article is a clear
indication of the future of this great game.
Denver 9 year old rules when it comes to checkers!
Headline in the Denver Post
Colton Cardie carefully eyes the field of play. He
squints. He sits on his hands. He flexes, stretches.
He then flicks a whippet of an arm and executes a
perfect triple jump, thoroughly demoralizing his stunned
opponent. In checkers, it's good to be the king.
At age 9, Colton is the reigning world youth champion
of a game that's far more complex than most people
ever imagine, including the growing number of those
who keep losing to him.
The national and world checkers tournaments are relatively
small affairs, whose limited attendance is balanced
by the intensity of the organizers and players. Hopefuls
gather for days at a time, with early round victories
scoring points that send the leaders into the finals.
A referee sits at the players' elbows.
Back home in suburban Denver, Colton pulverizes his
Playstation peers, the teen wannabes, the 30 something
pretenders and his septuagenarian superiors. Bring
your board or challenge him online and in a matter
of seconds Colton will have you seeing red in the blackest
At a family Christmas party in December, an acquaintance noticed Colton's
checkerboard and asked to play. Colton was not aware this man possessed
a Ph.D. in chemistry. The distinguished doctor of science was not aware
that Colton possessed a world trophy and a wicked pyramid defense.
Two games, two defeats, the doctor took it well.
Colton hones his game with a higher class of competition,
namely his grandfather and personal trainer, John
Cardie. Cardie is a lifelong checkers teacher and
competitor, offering strategy seminars at local libraries
and on cruise ships and has self published a book
called “How to Beat
Granddad at Checkers.”
There is a library shelf's worth of checkers strategy
books and a generation of players who argue the complexities
of the game make chess look easier than, well, checkers.
Checkers fascinates true gamers, argues John Cardie,
because, first, you must jump an opponent if you can,
requiring strategy planned out 10 to 20 moves ahead
and second, once you touch a checker, you have to
“Would you rather
do a crossword with a pen or pencil?” Cardie
asks. “Chess is like
doing a crossword with a pencil and eraser; you can
bring something back if you make a bonehead move. In
checkers, you make one wrong move and it's all over.”
Colton Cardie won the national youth championship
last summer in Las Vegas and plans to defend his title
this summer. Truth be told, only seven players attended
the national championship tourney in Colton's age
group, but one of them was the fabled grandson of
the president of the American Checker Federation,
the official sanctioning body.
Young Solomon Reece of Ohio plays a brutal game of “speed
checkers.” Although tournament checkers
gives each player five minutes to decide on a move,
Reece attacks the board the second his opponent moves.
“It's really intimidating,”
A flustered Colton lost to Reece in the early round of the tournament,
then employed Grandpa John's refined “sit on
'em” strategy: Sit on your hands. Look at every piece on the board.
Don't move your hands until you've decided.
Beating Reece for the national youth championship
gave Colton the right to return to Las Vegas in September
for the world “challenger” title
the challenge winner gets to demand a playoff with
the reigning world champ. But no players in his age
group showed up, the Czech champ bailing out at the
last minute. And since the reigning world youth champ
turned 19, Colton became world champ by default. “I
hate to see checkers going the way it's going right
now,” John Cardie lamented, “I'd
like to get more people involved. It's my passion.”