International checkers champs face off at Vidor tournament

Published 3:55 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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Members of the American Checkers Federation are going up against the Federazione Italiana Dama in an international checkers competition this week at Vidor City Hall. 

Each country is represented by 12 world-class players. Italy has six world champions in its roster while the United States has six international grandmasters.

Clayton Nash who hails all the way from Columbus, Mississippi, said he got a chance to beat Sergio Scarpetta, the reigning world champion, in a match.

“I just played the world champion and I won a game from him,” Nash said earlier this week. “So that’s a good start. I mean, I lost the second game, but still, I’ll take a split round against the world champion any day.”

The American Checkers Federation includes players from all ages such as 13-year-old Vasilisa Filaretova, who has been playing checkers since she was 7. The former youth world champion, Alex Holmes, is also a part of the USA team roster.

The United States team isn’t the only one with young talent as Italy’s team includes two Italian junior champions in English draughts. Eighteen-year-old Davide Gemma said the competition is very hard despite being a junior world champion.

“The opponents are very, very strong,” Gemma said. “It will be a very good competition, a very good match. Today, it’s not so good because I lost two games, but yesterday I played well in the games.”

This is Gemma’s first time in the United States, especially Southeast Texas, and he said he was surprised by the city.

“I haven’t ever been to America,” Gemma said. “This is my first time. It’s a different reality. I was surprised about the place and the city and people also. It’s a different world compared to Europe.”

Vidor isn’t a stranger to checkers competitions as the city has hosted major tournaments since 2017, including the 2023 World Championships.

The American Checkers Federation team captain Alex Moiseyev, said he is grateful for the city of Vidor for supporting the event.

“ I want to thank Vidor City, and the mayor and his administration for sponsoring and supporting this event,”  Moiseyev said. “This is brilliant and without this help, it would never happen.”

The final day of games begins around 8:30 a.m. and spectators can come in and watch as well as take pictures with the players at the end of the games.