By KIMBERLY JORDAN
Players representing 16 states and two countries converged
on the Best Value Inn and Suites in Lebanon for a three-day checkers
tournament over the weekend.
The annual event attracted 56 checkers enthusiasts from states including New
York, Arizona, Pennsylvania and several others.
“We have 56 players this year,” tournament organizer Mary Davis said.
She noted the event continues to grow each year and the average attendance
is around 40 players. It has become internationally recognized as well. One
returning competitor hailed from London, England and newcomer Irma Sierra
made the journey from Mexico to take part.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Sierra said. “It’s my first time here, and I think
I’ll come back.”
Sierra got involved in the tournament through friends who she met while
playing on the Internet. These same friends sent her an invitation to join
the fun in the Tennessee Open and she accepted.
Also a fixture at the Open is World Three-Move Champion Alex Moiseyev. He
has won the Masters Division of the Open from 2002-2006.
“This is one of the strongest state tournaments,” Moiseyev noted. “I never
miss an opportunity to come out here and play.”
Local competitor Ken Christian of Watertown has come to the event several
times as well.
“I’m having a great time,” he said. “I’ve played in four rounds so far and
I’m doing pretty good.”
Meeting other individuals who share their interest and trying to pass the
skills to the next generation are all part of the motivation for many of the
participants. Davis calls the participants a “close knit group.”
“A lot of them play on the Internet and they come here to meet each other in
person,” she added.
“Checkers can be played from beginner to expert and by young and old,” said
Gene Ellison, secretary/treasurer of the Illinois checker tournament. “This
tournament is one of the best. It’s larger than ours.”
Davis noted the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce and Cracker Barrel
were very supportive and donated door prizes for the event.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 44 or by e-mail