We had a respectable, if slightly down from average, showing for today’s tournament. The sun was out, the breeze was cool, and we all know the rains are coming soon; so I was not surprised that a lot of people were opting for some other kind of adventure, probably outdoors. Still, we had a dozen people show up to play some backgammon – not bad given that I changed up the day as well.
We ended up splitting into two brackets – 4 of us who had entered the side pools played a 7-point, single elimination bracket, while the other 8 did our traditional 3-point, double elimination style.
In the “high equity” pool, I started off playing David. He had me down out the gate – turning around the first game after I had cubed him to a point where he could ship it back to me, and I had to drop. I got a quick win in the second game, but then lost the third, before starting to grind my way back. I pulled the score back up to 3-3, then won a cubed game to pull ahead 5-3, and had a very lucky gammon in the last game to finish it off. We proceeded to play a few games heads-up while waiting for Paul and Max to finish. Max came out on top in that one, and so the two of us faced off. It started out very similar to my match with David, with me down 0-2, then down 0-4, before beginning to claw my way back. I scratched out a single win, then a double, then another single to get it to 4-4. Then we had a dramatic final, where I offered an early cube, Max turned the game around on me, and then I turned it back around on him, managing a lucky gammon to finish the match.
In the main bracket, round one had Rick over Mary, Joel over Jesse, JB over Mir, and Bodger over Tim. Bodger and Rick proceeded to march forward to the final, with Rick coming out on top, for his second straight undefeated appearance at one of our tournaments! With that win, Rick has shot up to an impressive 76.5% win rate for tournament matches this year, making him the clear front-runner for the coveted “Player of the Year” award. That race is far from over, however – recall that someone has to attend at least half the (regular) tournaments for the year and have the best record to win the prize, and Rick just barely is making the attendance requirement. Plus there are a handful of players (David, Mark A, Kyle, Bodger, Jeremy…) who also have high winning records and much more consistent participation. It could go to almost any of them at this point.
In the consolation bracket, Jesse had a revenge match against Joel. Jesse reported that in their first match, Joel had won the match off a situation where he had an 8 out of 36 chance of making a critical hit; so Jesse was looking for payback. Joel accepted his loss with his usual good sportsmanship and grace, of course.
A handful of us stayed behind to play a post-tournament chouette, which was boisterous and fun as well, and gave me a chance to redistribute my winnings from the tournament (and then some). Next event on the calendar is the “Road to Vegas” series, which currently has 7 people signed up and I really hope we get 1 more. There will also be a regular tournament somewhere in November, likely the weekend after Thanksgiving. See you then!