American Checker Federation Election


The American Checker Federation (ACF) is having its most important election in decades, as its long-time president, Alan Millhone, has decided to retire from the post. Mr. Millhone has been a major figure in the Anglo-American version of the game, both in America and abroad, but now a successor will be elected.

The candidates are Kim Willis and Victor Habgood. The Checker Maven sent both candidates interview questions, and they are presented here in the order received.

If you are an ACF member, be sure to vote. If you're not a member, consider joining to promote organized checkers in the United States and beyond.

Victor Habgood

Tell us something about yourself.

41 years old, grew up in Oklahoma. Now I live in Brazil, IN. Started playing checkers competitively at 15 and began tournaments at 16. I am a retired Naval Officer that served over 7 deployments and was promoted 8 times in my career. I have two kids (14 and 12). I love church and being a part of a community that is making a difference in people's lives every day.

Tell us about your interest in checkers.

I love playing competitively online and in tournaments. I have been working on artificial intelligence approaches to the game for about 6 years now. I haven't had anything huge come from it yet, but I have some really cool ideas.

What qualifies you to be ACF President?

Leadership from the military and from being a business owner. I also am one of those that has been somewhat pushed to the side, as many
other members feel.

What's your vision for the future of the ACF?

I think it is bright! There are still lots of people within the ACF that are motivated to make a difference. These efforts are just lacking in direction and coordination. I think we need to master the online world. Everything from marketing, videos, website, tournaments, and more. We have to build a solid foundation of people who are going to move the needle. We need to organize them and then take that to make concrete action plans. Also, we need to be transparent to our members and potential members about what we are doing and why. We want to attract as many as possible.

Anything you wish to add?

I don't have anything personal against Alan or Kim. I think Alan did the best he could and that wasn't always easy. I would rather focus on the future and making checkers fun again! Imagine jumping online over a weekend and playing in digital tournaments with real money (fairly regulated) with hundreds of players from all over. Those types of things are really possible and will happen if I am lucky enough to be elected. I feel that I represent a large variety of people and represent our best chance at taking the ACF to the highest levels possible. I pray for everyone that this game brings peace and joy that it was meant to to all of you!

Mr. Habgood, thank you for your responses.

Kim Willis

Tell us something about yourself.

I am from the small town of Barnett Missouri. I was born in 1957 and was a very shy child.

Tell us about your interest in checkers.

I remember when I was still little we would go and visit my papa and granny. Being the first born I was always running around with my papa. I was always going with papa no matter wherever he went. He would take me with him and the one place he would take me was the local barber shop. I never knew why, because papa never needed a haircut, as he was almost bald. But he would go anyway.

One day as we were going to the barbershop i asked him why he went there and he said because he liked the conversations and the checker games. I just giggled. I would sit on his lap and watch while I had a soda pop or a sucker. I would watch him win game after game. i really hated when we had to go home. But I knew I would get to come back during the summer and stay for a week or two.

One time I got to stay two weeks with papa and be his sidekick. As he did for years, he would feed the animals, get all his chores done and then say, come on Kimmy let's go. We'd jump in the old truck and off we would go to the barbershop, and there would be these farmers sitting in the barbershop waiting to play checkers.

It happened one day a little boy came in the barbershop with his papa, saw the old farmers playing checkers, and wanted to play a game. So papa said to me, okay Kimmy, you want to play? I said yes and then I got to play this little boy. But my papa said you's better win or you're walking home! I lost. My papa then said, you better get walking. I cried and went out the door to start walking home. But papa wasn't really going to make me walk. He told me to get in the truck and we headed home.

Papa then asked me if I liked playing. I said yes, but I hated losing. I wanted to win. That was the first lesson papa taught me. If you lose you need to get back up and try again, for the game of checkers has many lessons to teach, so never give up.

That was a time I will never forget. It has been a part of my life. When my papa passed away, checkers became just a memory.

I grew up, got married, had children and raised them, and life went by without checkers until in the late 80s. This was the time of the internet and computers, and I started going online. I discovered Vinco Online Games and I re-entered the world of checkers. I would go into the checker room everyday and watch players play. I later became a system operator or monitor.

I met a lot of checker players and found many went to checker tournaments. Then I met Ron Suki King and he would ask me to play. Of course he just stomped me. Then he said he would teach me.

I was hooked. I remember him teaching me simple things. But then he said I should go to the Nationals in Niagra Falls. So I went. I never won a game, and I found I was the only woman there. Many told me to go home as this was a man's game and I had no place there.

That's when I made my mind up to learn more about the game, as it had re-opened my childhood memories. I have since attended many tournaments.

What qualifies you to be ACF President?

I am running for this position because I believe we all have a mission and mine is to be an advocate for this game, and to be there for every person, no matter what age, no matter where you're from or the color of your skin.

What's your vision for the future of the ACF?

When i came into the ACF there were many members, but now our numbers are declining, and we need to get busy. We must talk, invite others, and help those who are teaching. I want to be take the lead, to be the voice, to be there if needed, to give information, as I do now as Players' Representative. And it's not just for master players. It's for every player, all over the world. We need to connect and join together to keep the game of checkers alive.

We also need more referees for tournaments. We need to have regular Zoom meetings with District Managers. We need open communication channels to help to get more members. For those who are teaching our game we help them to expand, increase, and spread their knowledge.

We must work on youth participation. We have a few that are teaching the youth, but I want us to get together and work on the problem of getting kids into the game.

Anything you wish to add?

I want everyone to know that I will do all I can, and that I will always be there for each and every one of you.

My Platform

  1. To be there for ALL players.
  2. To help with information for those who teach our game.
  3. To be available to everyone.
  4. To promote the game.
  5. To never leave anyone behind, whether past, present, or future players; children, new adults just starting, and senior players.

Ms. Willis, thank you for your responses.

12/03/22 - Category: General -Printer friendly version-
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