We had a respectable 10 person field show up to play in today’s tournament. Many of the players from last month came back again, although apologies to Rob who was thrown off by the time shift and so did not get in to actually play. Likewise Pamela and her friend (sorry, I have lost the name) showed up late, but kind of on purpose as they did not want to play in the tournament, but were excited to play each other near other matches going on… Anyway, 7 people from last month, the return of Steve, and two newcomers (Leah and Stephanie) made for a reasonably even playing field. Not enough to break into two brackets, but sort of too many for a single bracket – we made do.
I determined that we needed to do 3 point matches instead of 5 point matches, in order to end timely. This was not without controversy. Several people let me know that they would have preferred to stick with 5 point matches, and Steve even went so far as to pull out of the side pools over it. Keep that in mind, I’m not pointing it out from pettiness, rather it is dramatic foreshadowing. Tim also gave me a rather hard time about it, if I recall correctly.
I drew Max in the first round, in a repeat of last month. I think he’s going to get suspicious if it happens again next month (which I will get on the calendar pretty soon – aiming for a weekend that Max’s parents will be visiting, as he said he will drag them along). Brad faced off against Steve, Jeremy took on Tim, Leah and Stephanie had a novice tie-breaker, and Julie played Aaron to round us out.
Max and I had some pretty significant back and forth. He took the first game relatively quickly, doubling me out after an early blitz. I returned the favor in the next game, and he commented that he probably would have taken the cube in a match to 5 – I think exactly correctly. It was a good take in a match to 5, a good drop in a match to 3; the dynamics of a short match are very accelerated. I cubed him out again in the third game, and we went into Crawford in a match that seemed to take about 20 minutes. Eventually I squeaked out the win.
In the second round, I played Aaron. It was again an intense match – the dice made it difficult for both of us at different points. We ended up attracting a crowd watching for a bit, as people were waiting for Tim and Jeremy to finish their first match so that more second round matches could start. Aaron took pictures of a couple of positions where he wasn’t sure what to do; I don’t think he took records of what he actually did, which pro tip: I’ve regretted that in the past. “Oh look at this picture of a backgammon position on my phone! I wonder what I actually did…” Anyway, I again got lucky and came out on top.
In the meantime, Steve had beat out Brad and then Leah, Max was closing in on a win over Julie in the second round, Stephanie lost out to Brad, and about now I started getting confused about who should play whom. I originally was taking on Jeremy, in what I thought was going to be about the championship match, when Steve and Brad came asking who they should play, and I started to set them against each other. “Oh, again?” they asked. No – no repeat opponents ought to appear in the match. Jeremy and I scraped the game, and I set Brad against Jeremy, and took on Steve myself.
From time to time, someone asks how I manage to keep it all straight while also playing myself. As this example shows, I don’t, at least not always. 🙂
Steve at this point was 2-0, and I informed him that he was in the running to win the tournament. He asked if he could get back into the side pools, which I did not allow. We had a good, if short, match. He won the first game, doubling me out pretty early. I offered the cube early in the second game, and he took, which I think might have been a mistake, but he made it work out for him. Meantime, Jeremy beat Brad, and so I set Jeremy and Steve at each other.
If you are keeping track at this point, which I barely was: Steve was 3-0, Jeremy was 2-0, Max and I were both 2-1. So the outcome of the Jeremy/Steve match could have made things complicated. If Steve won, he was the overall champion; if he lost he was 2nd with a 3-1 record. That much was clear. But since he was out of the side pools, if Steve won, we would have three-way tie in the side pools. Fortunately (?), Jeremy did win, and so I could declare him the overall tournament winner and the winner of the side pools. Max and I split 2nd from the side pools, and Steve took second for the overall.
Also meantime, Nick had shown up, and played a bit of head’s up cash game against Aaron and then Tim. When I left, Jeremy and Leah were playing a practice match as well.
So, overall, a great afternoon of backgammon. Thanks everyone for coming out, and we’ll see you again next month!