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Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - The Stanly News & Press - "Two kings of the checker world battle for top crown"

Published: July 02, 2008 08:45 am -  

Two kings of the checker world battle for top crown

By B. J. Drye, Managing Editor

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 — The heavyweights are headed to Albemarle.

The heavyweights of checkers that is.

An 11-Man Ballot World Title match is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the Sleep Inn and Suites on the N.C. 24-27 Bypass.

This match is sanctioned by American Checker Federation and World Checkers Draughts Federation.

After winning the Elbert Lowder Memorial 11-Man National Tournament in Albemarle Jan. 31-Feb. 3, Tim Laverty of Sanford was recognized as the U.S. National 11-Man Champion. As such, he can now compete for the world title.

Laverty’s opponent will be 3-Move World Champion Alexander Moiseyev of Ohio.

Moiseyev challenged Laverty for this match, which will fill the world title vacancy left by Albemarle’s Elbert Lowder, who won his 11-Man World Title in 1987 and defended it until his death Dec. 14, 2006.

Stanly County native J. R. Smith, who is secretary of the North Carolina Checker Association, helped promote the tournaments earlier this year and also competed.

Smith, who will serve as scorekeeper for the tournament, says Lowder defended his World Title many times, including a memorable match in Oct. 11-14, 2002 at Richmond, Ky. against Moiseyev.

It was an exciting and even contest, according to Smith, with the end result of the 20 games being six wins each and eight draws, leaving the entire match a draw, which wasn't enough to dethrone Lowder.

Lowder was a 34-time state checker champion and known throughout the checker world for his skills.

Now Moiseyev faces Laverty, the US National 11-Man Champ and a long-time checker playing partner of Lowder.

“This will be a very close outcome, mostly draws, exactly what 11-Man Ballot is all about,” Smith said.

A ballot system is used to generate 2,500 unique openings where each side has 11 men instead of the normal 12. One side is at a disadvantage or has a weak opening, Smith said.

“The idea is to draw your weak side and win the strong. Both players have a chance to play both sides of the ballot opening,” Smith said.

“The intent was to stop numerous drawn games during competition play, hence the 3-Move and 11-Man tournaments.”

Smith said many individuals recognize two champions at the moment: Alexander Moiseyev as 3-Move champion and Ron King of Barbados as champion of the Go As You Please style, which is the form most commonly known by non-professional players.

“Alexander Moiseyev is the top checker player in the world right now,” Smith said.

“That’s the reason he turned around and challenged Tim (Laverty).”

The first time the two competed in 11-man against each other was at the tournament in Albemarle earlier this year, where Laverty narrowly defeated Moiseyev.

The pair will play 16 games throughout the four-day tournament — four games each day. Some games last two to three hours, Smith said.

If this weekend’s tournament ends in a draw, Laverty still becomes champion, as per the contractual agreement.

Albemarle Mayor “Whit” Whitley and Elbert Lowder’s older sister, Helen Louise Cranford of Badin, have been invited to be there for the 9 a.m. Thursday opening ceremony.

Contact B. J. Drye at (704) 982-2121 ext. 25 or

July 5, 2008 - The Sanford Herald -"Two kings of the checker world battle for top crown"

July 6, 2008 - The Stanly News and Press -"see checker results"

July 8, 2008 - The Stanly News and Press -"World champion crowned"