The Checker Maven

The Manchester Draughts Club

It's a Wednesday evening, and you've just finished a day at one of the editorial offices of The Checker Maven. You're in the mood for a good game of checkers and you wouldn't mind a beer as an accompaniment.

If you're at our Santa Fe office, you might head out to your favorite cantina for chips and salsa, and a Dos Equis Amber to go along with them, but the only checker competition you'll find is on the internet.

If you're at our Honolulu office, you can catch the live-on-the-beach sunset show on Kalakaua Boulevard, and afterwards maybe have a Hinando at Duke's Barefoot Bar; and you can even play chess at the famed beachfront pavilion at the corner of Kealohilani. But if you want to play checkers, you'd better head back to the office and go online.
If you were in Manchester, England, though, you'd really be in luck. No, The Checker Maven isn't going to be opening an office there, at least not yet. But even better, Manchester is home to the Manchester Draughts Club, which meets Wednesday evenings at The Castle.
Founded in its present form by Dr. John Reade and Bill McKay in 1990, the club chose The Castle because of its old-fashioned ambiance, good service, and fine selection of Robinson's Cask Beers. These draughts players know what enjoyment truly is!

The club was created to provide a venue for casual cross-board play, as a welcome alternative to correspondence play, which had been the only local option for nearly a decade. But under the inspiration of Frank McDonald, the club soon introduced competitive play, which quickly rose to a high level of skill and achievement.

Internally, the club sponsors both 3-move and go-as-you-please (freestyle) leagues and knockout tournaments. Winners from these competitions qualify as challengers for the Lancashire 3-move and freestyle championships each year. As of this writing (April 2005) Frank Bednall is the reigning 3-move champion, while Donald Oliphant holds the freestyle crown. In addition, the club puts on two open tournaments each year, in memory of two former Lancashire players: the Arthur Jones 3-Move Tournament, played in the spring, and the Ronald Bumby Freestyle Tournament, played in the autumn.


Donald Oliphant, 3-Move Lancashire County Champion, and Melvyn Green, Challenger
Photo by Sue Reade
But the club doesn't stop with just that. Lancashire County enters two teams for the British Counties Championship each year, and the Lancashire South team is staffed by the Manchester Draughts Club. Lancashire South won the championship in 2003, and is through to the second round thus far this year (2005).

Lancashire South (Manchester) Win the 2003 British Counties Championship
From left: Matthew Eke, John Reade, Donald Oliphant, Melvyn Green, Eddie O'Gara
Photo by Sue Reade
Dr. Reade extends his invitation to checkers and draughts players who find themselves in the Manchester area on a Wednesday evening to ring him at 0161-643-2985 and arrange for a few games at The Castle. The club plays from opening at 7:30 PM until closing at 11:00 PM, and you're certain to find top-notch competition and the best of British beer.

To be sure, chips and salsa in Santa Fe is fine fare, and the sunset show on the beach in Waikiki is a great experience, but compared with quality over-the-board draughts play and a few pints of Robinson's, you know what our choice would be.

The Checker Maven thanks Dr. John Reade for providing text and photos as the basis of this article.



04/16/05 - Category: General - Printer friendly version
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