Saturday, August 4, 2012 - The Lebanon Democrat - "Checkers champs crowned in Lebanon"    Newspaper Link


Checkers champs crowned in Lebanon
August 4, 2012

Alex Moiseyev studies the board carefully during competition Friday. Moiseyev, who resides in Ohio, is the World Three Move Checker Champion.

The top checker players in the world returned to Lebanon this week to take their shot at being the best in their sport.

The American Checker Federation World Championships were fiercely contested throughout the week at the Best Value Inn as three divisions - Master, Majors and Minors.

John Acker of Ohio is an active checker player and in charge of the federation's website and media relations. He explained the Zen of checkers.

"It's a mind sport - logical and creative. For the left brain or right brain," he said.

This week has seen two champions crowned and one yet to be decided.

"The majors division is finished," Acker said. "A 13-year-old, Alex Holmes, won it. That surprised a few people, but he had done well in previous tournaments."

Holmes won $750, not bad for a young player.

Acker said the Minors division was a small group this year with only four players. That division was won by George Stallsworth of Missouri. He, along with his wife, run that state's checker federation. Stallsworth won $300 for his efforts.

The top division, the Masters will be crowning their champ today at the end of play. The winner of that division will receive $1,500 thanks to the generosity of a former tournament player. Ackers said that everyone in the Masters division has lost a game this year.

"That's unusual, they generally don't lose," he said. "Masters, that's where the big money is. A former player, Gene Lindsay left a large amount of money to checkers."

The championships attract players from all over. At this tournament there were players from 14 states and three foreign countries. Two of the top players Ron King of Barbados and Russian native Alex Moiseyev, put the world in world championships.

King said his play is sponsored by his government because he is very popular at home and they want him to succeed. Moiseyev is a legend in checkers circles. He has been the world champion since 2002 and is defending his title again this week.

Acker said the competition in the top category has been fierce.

"Alex called this the strongest division he's ever played in," he added.

Moiseyev noted that he was born in the old Soviet Union and left in 1990 to try his luck in the United States.

"I'm happy here," he said during a break in tournament play. "Of my three kids, two were born here. I live in Columbus, Ohio and I like it."

Frank Davis of Clarksville is the president of the SSCA. His wife, Mary, oversees the tournament making sure everyone knows their competition assignments and keeping things moving along.

Ken Christian of Watertown is a long time checker player who never misses a tournament in Lebanon. At an earlier tournament he noted that anyone can enter the nationals, not just the winners of previous tournaments. Christian said that checker players come from all over, but it is essentially a small community with a lot of players meeting when they play online.

Most of us don't think of checkers when we think of competitive sports. But with the growing prize money and more young people getting involved, it could be the next big thing. The American Checker Federation Championships are sure to keep getting bigger as more people take up the sport. Think of it as the Olympics of checkers without the delayed broadcast and Ryan Seacrest.

As Moiseyev famously said, "Checkers is a combination of art, sport and science."

If you would like to join, or get more information about the ACF, go to usacheckers.com or go to the Facebook site facebook.com/usacheckers.

Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at maryhinds@lebanondemocrat.com


Articles   |  2012 National