September 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a good turnout for the return to the fall tournament series, back at our “home base” of Lucky Lab. 18 players showed up for the tournament, plus many more for the “Second Sunday” event that was happening at the same time. We had 5 new players in the tournament this time, which is a record for new participants this year, I think! We actually had 16 when I first started to do the draw, but one more showed up after I had drawn the “A” bracket, and then the last guy about 15 minutes later, but I figured out a way to deal him in too – better a 10 person bracket than a 9 person bracket…

In the “A” bracket first round, Dave took out Bodger, Kyle defeated Cam, Sanam beat Joel, and I squeaked past Tim. Dave went on the beat Kyle in the final of the Main, and I had a rematch against Tim to win the Consolation bracket.

In the “B” bracket first round, Mark A took out first timer Sarah, Ian took down Jesse, Tim (Sarah’s partner) beat out Nathan, visiting player from SoCal Larry defeated Matt, and Jack (also a newcomer) got the bye. Jack then took on Larry, and shortly after that, Brad (also a newcomer) showed up, so I put him in against Mark A. Eventually, somehow, it all worked out, and Mark A won the Main bracket against Larry, while Nathan came back to defeat Jack for the Consolation bracket.

I did record (and subsequently transcribe) all of my matches from the day, so I do have some interesting positions to look at. This one is from my match against Kyle (where I played… very poorly). Kyle is leading 2-1 in our match to 5. Our positions are more or less equal – he’s escaped both his back checkers to my bar point, but I only have one checker back and have started slotting points to build my board. And then this happened.

Screenshot 2023-09-11 8.37.24 PM

So this is a great roll, if I want to jump out and hit him in the outfield – with a one point home board and two blots for him to hit back. Or, I can play quietly, something like 13/8, 6/2 – build my board and wait for a better opportunity. Over the board, I decided that patience was a virtue – but the correct move (by a lot) is to hit! Sure, it will turn into a blot-hitting contest with me as the main course; but he also only has a one point home board, and besides, hitting is fun! This was far from my worst blunder of the match (or indeed of the day), but it’s one that’s typical for me and I’m trying to burn it out of my brain. Hitting feels risky, because it leaves three blots lying around, letting him hit with 2’s, 3’s, and 5’s. But I re-enter 35/36 times if hit, and if he happens to roll a 6, it’s kinda awkward for him even if it’s a hitting number like 6-2. When in doubt, hit!

Anyway – in spite of some longish waits between matches for some players, the afternoon went pretty well and a good time was had by most-if-not-all. Hope to see you all at the next one!