The Checker Maven

Checkers in Hawai`i: A Grand Success

Mililani Town Center, Mililani, Hawai`i

In an earlier Checker Maven column, we reported on what was then the upcoming unofficial Hawai`i State Checker Tournament, to be held at the Mililani Town Center in Central O`ahu. Today, we're happy to report further that the tournament was a grand success with an excellent organizational effort turned in by tournament director Geoffrey Pang.

The tournament took place on July 24, 2010, in the gazebo area of the Town Center. Nine adults and seven youth players turned out on a warm and sunny Hawaiian summer morning, with just the gentlest of cool breezes to accompany some very hot checker action.

Play took place in two sections, adult and youth; the format was single-knockout, random pairing, with each match played for the best of five games. The finals in each section were best of seven. Director Pang was aided by assistant tournament director Brandon Ho and a number of game referees. A Go-As-You-Please tournament open to all skill levels, the Director told players that the only real requirement was to have a good time and enjoy the games.

Keiki Division Championship Match

Action was fast and furious as with each successive round, the field got smaller, finally narrowing down to just two players in each section. It was time to play for the championship! The Keiki (children's) Section championship round came first. Championship contestants were Kobe and Prescott (in conjunction with our publication of photos, we only give first names for the protection of the children). After a spirited struggle, Kobe won the match, a $50 gift certificate, and the title of Unofficial Hawai`i State Keiki Checker Champion. Prescott won the title of runner-up and a $25 gift certificate.

Kobe is the Keiki Champion

The adult section finals took place between veteran player Harold Afuso and none other than your Checker Maven editor. Play went the full seven games with one win each and five draws. A sudden death phase then took place, and Mr. Afuso won the next game to become Unofficial Hawai`i State Checker Champion. With the title went a $100 gift certificate. Your editor was declared runner-up and received a very nice $50 gift certificate.

Harold Afuso, Unofficial Hawai`i State Checker Champion

And did the players have fun? If the photos in this column don't tell you that clearly enough, you can view our full, unedited set of photos here.

Director Pang describes himself simply as a checker enthusiast who wishes to promote checker play. Clearly, much time and effort went into this tournament, and Mr. Pang feels it was worthwhile. He is already planning next year's tournament, with an eye to working with the American Checker Federation to have the next tournament winner recognized officially as State Champion.

The Checker Maven thanks Mr. Pang for his efforts in promoting the great game of checkers in beautiful Hawai`i. We also want to thank the Town Center of Mililani for their civic-minded support of the tournament. Not only did they provide space and logistical assistance (at no charge), they donated $225 in prize money in the form of gift certificates. Hawaiian checker players certainly owe these folks thanks and patronage in recognition of their spirit of aloha.

Games weren't recorded, but we noted that the 9-14 Double Corner opening was seen frequently (and rather surprisingly). We looked through our library and found a game that was quite similar to one that we recall being played in the tournament. We'll give you the run-up to the diagram below and then ask you to finish the game by finding the winning path.

9-14 23-18 14x23 27x18 12-16 18-14 10x17 21x14 6-9 14-10 7x14 22-18 14x23 26x12 11-15 25-22 8-11 29-25 1-6 24-19 15x24 28x19 6-10 22-18 4-8 25-22 9-13 31-27 2-6 27-23 11-16 30-25 5-9 18-15 10-14 25-21---A

A---22-18 was necessary here for White to draw.


Black to Play and Win


Now, picture yourself in Hawai`i at the Mililani Town Center gazebo. It's about 11 AM, the temperature is around 84 F, and there is a soft breeze off the mountains. It's your move. You're playing for the state championship and a very nice first prize award. And once you wrap up the game, you know you'll head back to the south shore for a cool drink, a swim in the Pacific, and a relaxing couple of hours on the beach. So let's get on with it!

2nd Round Action in the Adult Division

Cinch the win, then click on Read More to check your solution. And if you couldn't make the tournament this year, plan a Hawaiian vacation for tournament time next year. You won't be disappointed!


While there are alternative wins, this one is most spectacular, and well worth your while to play through to the end. Fireworks worthy of Madame Pele herself!

3-7 12x3 7-10 19x12 10x26 3-7 26-30 7-11 30-25 22-17 13x22 12-8 22-26 11-15 26-31 8-3 9-13 3-7 6-9 7-2 25-22 2-6 14-18 15-19 9-14 6-9 22-26 19-15 18-22 9x25 13-17 21x14 31-27 32x23 26x17 Black Wins.

08/14/10 - Category: General -Printer friendly version-
You can email the Webmaster with comments on this article.