Jack just misses title shot
STILL SEEKING to move from Barbados’ No. 2 to the top spot in draughts, Jack Francis has missed a world title shot by a point.
Francis gave a commendable display at the just ended World Checkers and Draughts Federation’s (WCDF) Qualifying Tournament in Italy, playing unbeaten against eight opponents, but had to settle for third position.
Italian Sergio Scarpetta won the right to challenge long-standing Barbadian world title-holder Ronald “Suki” King for his Go-As-You-Please crown next year by emerging champion with 21 points.
South African Lubabalo Kondlo pipped Francis for second position by virtue of gaining more honour points, 339 to 332 on their opponents’ count back scores after both men ended on 20 points.
In the tournament which was held in San Remo, from October 19 to 22, Francis won four rounds and drew the other four matches.
He beat American Jim Morrison, Filip Kareta of the Czech Republic, Claudio Ciampi of Italy, and Bashim Durdyev of Turmenkistan by 1-0 margins.
But he drew with Richard Beckwith of the United States, Garnet Owen of Italy, Kondlo and Scarpetta.
Francis reckoned that not being able to concentrate on his pre-tournament preparation, as he was still seeking sponsorship, cost him the championship because of doubts surrounding his participation.
“I was under a lot of strain coming close to the tournament and I lost the focus and momentum that I had because of a measure of uncertainty in travelling, but the Barbados Tourism Authority came to my rescue at the last minute and donated the ticket to Italy,” he said.
Francis also thanked the City of Bridgetown Credit Union, TeleBarbados, the Nation Publishing Company and Booth Steamship for their assistance.
Next year, Francis will be making a bid to win the World Three-Move Restriction qualifiers at the United States Nationals in order to challenge Russian-born Alex Moiseyev for the TMR title.