January 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a great start to our 2023 tournament series. 24 players showed up to play. Well, 25, but I had to tell one person that they were too late. Hate to do it, and I hoped that some additional people would show to allow a 4th bracket, but that was very optimistic, and it did not happen – this time.

We divided into 3 brackets. In the A bracket, I ended up winning the undefeated part, beating out Jeremy, which I am very proud of. Kyle (who I squeaked past in round 1) ended up taking the Consolation bracket.

In the B bracket, first-timer Howard beat out Leah for 1st place. Sam, another first-timer, won the Consolation.

In the C bracket, Jesse came out undefeated, beating yet another first-timer, Clay. Julie won the Consolation.

After the tournament wrapped up, a few of us ended up playing a chouette until around 5:30, which allowed me to lose all of the prize money I had won, plus a bit more. So that’s how it goes. Anyway, at the chouette, the following position came up. Here, Paul was in the box and also on the bar, and got the roll the other side wanted with a 6-2.

Screenshot 2023-01-22 9.27.51 PM

Obviously, the 6 is used to come in, and then he had to pick a 2 to play. Coming out 19/17 is terrible, as it moves his checker into direct range of our blot on the 12. Sure, it duplicates 4’s that we otherwise want to use to move the checker on his ace point, but that is not enough protection, and I don’t think he even considered it. He played 3/1* fairly quickly, hitting our remaining blot, and I said that I thought 6/4 was likely to be better, thinking that the chance of us hitting his new blot on his ace point was something he would want to avoid.

In fact, 3/1* is better than 6/4… by about 0.003. Playing 6/4 wins more games, by about 2%. But playing 3/1* wins more gammons, by about 5%. In a cash game, or in a normal score match game, a gammon is worth half as much as a win – that is, you normally need to win twice as many gammons as you lose games to make the more gammonish play worthwhile. And that is the case here. In discussion after, Paul pointed out that, since he did manage to get one checker off already, he could win a gammon but not lose a gammon, and that played into his thinking. Anyway, I thought it was a fun position.

See you next month for the next one!