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Bajans win King Draughts Festival


Randy Bennett

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Barbados’ draughts players finally had something to shout about when they defeated a selected USA team to bring the curtain down on the Ronald “Suki” King International Checkers and Draughts Festival on Monday at the Divi Southwinds Resort.
Led by King himself, the world Go-As-You-Please (GAYP) champion, and Jack Francis, the island’s No. 2 player, who both played unbeaten, the home side dispatched a strong USA side 58-46, to lift the Hazeain King Trophy.
Entering the final round with a 12-point lead (48-36), Barbados managed to maintain their dominance, thanks to some strong performances from King, Carson Farley and Colin Price.
The trio recorded victories over Charles Walker, Joe Schwartz and Luba Turiy, respectively, to help Barbados on their way to victory.
In the round’s final two matches, Francis played to a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Richard Beckwith, who is also the president of the World Checkers and Draughts Federation (WCDF), while David Foster was the lone Barbadian to be defeated, going down to Mark Sokolovsky.
According to King, who will defend his GAYP title against Italian Sergio Scarpetta next year, the Barbados team were just too strong for their American counterparts.
“Coming into the match we were the stronger side. Even the Americans knew that,” he told MIDWEEK SPORT yesterday.
“With a team comprising of top class players such as myself, Jack, David Foster and Carson Farley, we were always going to be too much to handle.
“The American side was by no means a weak team, as they had experienced players like Richard Beckwith and Jim Morrison playing for them  . . . but we were the superior side,” he added.
King revealed what made the victory that muh more impressive was the fact that some of the players had neither played in the individual competition nor  practised leading up to the event.
He said that the team event was not initially on the schedule, and had been arranged only at the last minute.
“Barbados has some of the best draughts players in the world. All of the Americans with the exception of Beckwith played in the festival, so they would have been sharp and at their best,” King pointed out.
“But even at their best, our players who were not practising were still able to defeat them.”
The event climaxed the week-long tournament, which saw Scarpetta winning the men’s division, Ukranian Nadiya Chyzhevska becoming the new women’s GAYP champion and Alex Holmes winning the juniors’ division.

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