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Jack Francis may get huffed for not playing.
Barbados’ reigning eight-time national champ is in serious danger of missing a chance to compete for draughts’ World Three-Move Restriction title, having revealed he is currently short of funding to attend next month’s World Qualifier in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Over the last three months I have been practising hard so now I am in the best shape for Three-Move Restriction, but my focus has been interrupted a bit because of this lack of sponsorship so I have come to make an urgent appeal to corporate Barbados,” said Francis, who disclosed he’s in search of a couple thousand dollars.
“The National Sports Council has been great in providing me with a significant contribution but the responses from prospective sponsors have been slow in coming and I don’t have much time left.
“And as the national champion I honestly would like to have my presence felt as I am second to none in Barbados and I am the only other logical contender [after Ronald “Suki” King] as I have brought honour to Barbados in the field of checkers,” he added.
It would prove a tough opportunity for Francis to miss out as the winner of the World Qualifier automatically advances to a championship match against title holder, Michele Borghetti of Italy.
But apart from a title shot, the tournament will also serve as Francis’ much-needed redemption following his less than encouraging eighth-place finish at the US Nationals earlier this year.
“I’ve been using a World Championship Checkers programme on the computer a lot and a book called The Tinsley Way, so my across the board skills coupled with my three months of training has put me in the optimum position to contend,” said Francis.
However, Francis’ lifelong rival, King, also looks in fine form to contend, having just come off a tournament win in the Irish Open.
“I think he just used it as a build-up for the World Qualifier, but I don’t see the lack of tournament play in the last three months being of any detriment to my play right now because I think I have enough knowledge and experience to put things together and get in the groove for this World Qualifier,” reasoned Francis.
“The World Qualifier has been my only focus because there’s nothing else for me to achieve at this current moment in terms of winning tournaments, so if I win an Irish Open or Barbados Open right now it just doesn’t matter as they won’t get me the right to play for the title.”