Another crown for Suki
Another outstanding victory for draughts grandmaster Ronald “Suki” King.
King, who will be challenging for the World Go As You Please title in Barbados later this year, reclaimed the Henderson Layne Memorial Invitational title loaned to second-placed Jack Francis by reaping a rich harvest of 36 points.
Sergio Scarpetta, the Italian champion, has already been warned by King that the Go As You Please trophy he is bringing to Barbados will remain here after the title match is concluded.
Following a 2-0 victory over Glynne Howell in the opening encounter, King was held to draws by Rawle Williams, a former student; Richard Grazette, who did not have his best tournament, and defending champion Francis.
King, however, shrugged off the slow start to reel off eight consecutive wins and secure the title in a competition that observers considered was of a higher quality than last year’s and proved to be one of the most competitive in recent times.
Francis accumulated 32 points with six wins compared to King’s dozen scalps. Unlike unbeaten King, Francis had one loss to the outstanding sixth-placed Julian Burgess, the St George machine.
Carson Farley boosted the quality of the tournament and finished third on 30 points while the ever-consistent Williams was in brilliant form, coming fourth with 28 points.
Jeffrey “Socks” Clarke improved his standing by one for fifth place but was beaten by veteran Nathaniel “Thani” Grosvenor and King, 1-0 in both instances. Grosvenor, Anthony “Rat” Agard, Michael Barker and Sam Marshall had mixed results while playing steadily to finish on 24 points each. Agard was seventh.
Grazette, the 2014 national champion, was 11th; Glyne Howell, who returned to battle from a sabbatical and played exceedingly well with just two losses, was 12th, and Darwin Lorde placed 13th, all three gathering 23 points.
There were 22 players in the Masters division and 20 in the majors, both being a record attendance. (HH)