Saturday, October 12, 2013 03:29:26 GMT   “Second crack at Suki 

Published on Saturday, October 12, 2013 as an article about The Ronald ‘Suki’ King International Checkers and Draughts Festival event being played at the Divi Southwinds Resort Hotel.

              American Alex Holmes making a move on his way to
            capturing the junior title. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

Bajan draughts player Jack Francis (right) moving a piece in last night’s
final-round match against Charles Freeman. (Picture by Basil Griffith.)

By Justin Marville | Sat, October 12, 2013 - 12:05 AM

The Jack of draughts will have to wait even longer for his next shot at the king.

Sergio Scarpetta has all but wrapped up yet another world qualifier championship after opening up an unassailable four-point lead on Jack Francis, ahead of last night’s final round in the Ronald “Suki” King International Checkers And Draughts Festival at Divi Southwinds Resort.

It will be the second title in as many world qualifiers for the highly rated Italian, who now seems certain of booking another title appearance with King for the world go-as-you-please crown following their first title match-up two years ago.

This is also the second successive world qualifier in which Francis has come up just short, with the local No. 2 losing out to Scarpetta by a mere point in the 2011 edition.

“I’m somewhat disappointed but the tournament was pretty rough,” said Francis ahead of his eighth and final match against American Charles Freeman.

“But I thought that Scarpetta was pretty dominant this week and I can say he has tremendously improved from since we last played two years ago in Italy.”

The end result doesn’t come as much of a surprise, though, as Francis all but handed his Italian tormentor the championship two days earlier when he went down 1-0 in their fourth-round encounter.

The hometown favourite still had a chance to erase the then three-point deficit and made a strong comeback by beating Michael Holmes 2-0 in Thursday night’s sixth-round affair.

However, the writing was on the wall when Francis managed only two draws to Joe Schwartz yesterday morning before Scarpetta recorded 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Freeman and Schwartz, respectively.

“I was trying to see if I could have outfoxed him with something different after already beating him one way at the US Nationals because I expected he would’ve corrected his past errors,” said Francis of his match against Schwartz.

“It made no sense going back down that route but he had other things in mind. So, in the end, I had to settle for the draw.”

Scarpetta entered his eighth-round match against Bajan Dwayne Harris with 23 points, four more than Francis, while American Jim Morrison and local Colin Price were third and fourth on 17 and 16 points, respectively.

“It was a very tough tournament because Jack Francis is very, very good,” Scarpetta admitted.

“I get more chances to play more variations than others, so perhaps that is the advantage I have.”

Women’s national champ Wilma Branch also lost her bid to win the championship after falling 1-0 to leader Nadiya Chyzhevska of the Ukraine in Thursday’s pivotal top-of-the-table encounter.

The world three-move restriction champ then increased her lead by gaining a maximum eight points in a 2-0 win over Bajan Wynell Neverson while Branch had to settle for a win and a draw in her subsequent match against The Netherlands’ Vitaliya Dyumesh.

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