Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 13: King Me
Aware of the crowd expected for the four-day Seventh Annual Checker Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, I called in advance to reserve one of the last available rooms.
A 3rd floor room with balcony, gave me a birds eye view of an expansive brick courtyard where the final Adult vs. Adult and Adolescent vs. Adolescent Championship elimination rounds were held outdoors. Once the respective champions were announced, the much anticipated special “Adult Champion vs. Adolescent Champion Face Off” would commence on the final evening of the Tournament..
Last night, returning champ Linus B. Larra, won his final match to become the now seven time undefeated adult champion. Earlier today, against all odds of a family match-up, David, his son became the adolescent champion. Linus has never lost a best of five “Face Off” match”. He also has never lost a checker game to his son.
Game One began. Move after move met with soft ooh’s and aah’s, and occasionally punctuated by the roar of the crowd each time a player shouted “King Me”.
Linus, easily winning the first game, strutted around the courtyard like a rooster, pointing at his custom made “I am the Checker Champ-You’re not” T-shirt, and crowing “Yes, Yes, Yesssssss”
The second game was close but David just managed to win by taking advantage of an overconfident dad. This time a more somber Linus stayed in his seat stewing over his lost, waiting for game three to begin. David, defeating his Dad for the first time, wore a soft smile and a spark of confidence was ignited as he too, waited for game three to begin.
Game Three also started out very close but somehow, Linus, deep in concentration, failed to see his son’s corner set-up move and David was able to sneak a lone checker in for a second “King”. That move tipped the game into David’s favor and he continued on to clinch his second straight win, thus sending Linus into a full fledged tirade.
Down two games to one, Linus won the coin toss for first move of a crucial, must win, Game Four.
I took this picture as David struck with the game’s first “King me”. Linus, already having lost several of his pieces was livid and starting to lose his composure.
David, sensing the “thrill of victory”, made a bold calculated move to the left side, sacrificing his “King”, to strengthen his pieces on the board for an attack on the right side.
It worked, Linus bit at the ruse and didn’t realize his mistake till he lifted his son’s “King” off the board. David, over the next five moves against what little resistance Dad could muster, had called out “King Me” twice, before a stunned adult crowd and an elated audience of kids.
Linus, assured a certain defeat of game and match, rose from his seat and leaving his frustration behind, walked around the table to graciously shake his son’s hand. Linus found himself, with a tear swelling up, extremely proud of his son.
The crowd was ecstatic.
What a wonderful night.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of Journey to Ukazoo Slides are every Monday Evening.