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Ronald ‘Suki’ King, the reigning Go-As-You-Please world champion


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Barbados bidding to host World Tournament


If all goes according to plan, the world’s best draughts players could be coming to Barbados next year as the country bids to host the World Qualification Tournament for the Go-As-You-Please title. 

Word of this comes from reigning world champion Ronald ‘Suki’ King, the perennial Go-As-You-Please title holder.

King, who will travel to Beijing later this month to participate in the 2nd World Mind Games, revealed that the Barbados Draughts Association (BDA) was in the process of compiling a bid for the 2013 edition of the tournament, which is scheduled for either September or October.

While in China, King is expected to further promote Barbados’ bid to several international stakeholders.

“This is the ideal chance to spread draughts not only in Barbados, but throughput the entire Caribbean,” King opined. 

“I have held my Go-As-You-Please title for 21 years now. It’s been a long time since I played at home in an official tournament, but since Go-As-You-Please is our thing, it would be wonderful if I could defend my title here in Barbados.”

The tournament will serve as the official selection process for the challenger to the Go-As-You-Please title, with the winner of the event advancing to play King for his crown.

The bidding process is already underway, but the BDA hopes to attract the final nod by proposing to stage a draughts festival which will coincide with the world tournament. 

Secretary Dennis Ward said the festival would include a ‘100 square’ tournament in addition to a ‘64 square’ competition. It means that all three formats of the sport would be played simultaneously – a first for draughts and a first for Barbados. 

According to Ward, if Barbados’ bid is successful, it will cost the country somewhere in the region of $300 000. 

He also anticipates that the World Qualification Tournament and the planned festival will attract more than 200 players from 80 countries.

“We are optimistic that Barbados can win the bid,” said Ward.

“This country has a lot to offer and that’s even before we mention our sporting talent. How wonderful it would be if ‘Suki’ could defend his title on home soil.”

King, 56, has won 12 world titles and was twice named Sportsman of the Year in 1991 and 1992.

He also made it into the Guinness World Records in 1998 for simultaneously playing against 385 players and beating them all. 

He is typically referred to as the Muhammad Ali of checkers. (AH)

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