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Suki stumbles, Scarpetta grabs lead

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Suki stumbles, Scarpetta grabs lead

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A final round loss by World draughts champion Ronald “Suki” King in a White Dyke line handed Italian Sergio Scarpetta the advantage he was looking for in their title match in southern Italy yesterday.
King had escaped with a draw in the opening game and drew twice comfortably at Hotel Nicotel Gargano in the province of Manefredonia. But then he appeared unsure in the follow up moves after responding to Scarpetta’s 11-5 and 8-11 with 22-17 and the 17-19 exchange which initiates the White Dyke. It was a downhill struggle thereafter in the 20th and last game. King now trails 1-2.
With just four games remaining today King is up against the wall. Local followers had anticipated a Maid of the Mill loss for King in the opening game, the 17th of the 24-game match. But he capitalised on some very poor finishing by his opponent.
The two comfortable drawn games raised hopes that King was firmly in control but his White game continued to disappoint and the loss now seems devastating.
A late comeback is now needed if King is to avoid relinquishing the World Go As You Please title he has held since 1991. (HH)