2024 Qualifier #1 Results

We had a terrific turnout for this year’s first Championship Qualifier – 18 players came out for an afternoon of backgammon! We had 16 entries for the Men’s Championship but only 2 for the Women’s Championship. So congrats to both Julie and Paola for qualifying! But rather than having them just play a 21 point match to determine 1st/2nd, we just did it all as one jumbo bracket. This caused some concern about what would happen if one of them won, especially as Julie made it to the semi-final! Alas, or fortunately, or just as it happens, the two finalists were both people who identify as male, so we have two qualifiers for the Men’s Championship as well! But I’ll get to that.

With 18 players, we had to have a play-in match, so I punished Dave and Nathan for finishing their round 1 matches so quickly by making them the winners of the anti-buy. From there, we had an easy to manage 16 person bracket. Things moved along fairly well, although a couple of the first round matches ended up taking 2+ hours. I punished the winners of those matches by making them play a 5-point match in the next round in order to help catch up to the rest of the field. That worked, and we ended up with the final around 5:00, 4 hours into the day…

Most of the field were regulars (or at least semi-regulars), with 2 new players. First was Paola, one of our Women’s Championship qualifiers. In the first round, she faced off against Steve H, in one of the brutally long 2+ hour first round matches. When I went over to check on them, the score was 5-4, and it ended up going to 6-6, pretty much all single games, before she finally clenched it in the DMP game. The second new player was Gary, who (spoiler alert) is one of our Men’s Championship qualifiers. In the first round, he faced off against Ed, then he took on Dave in the second round (third round for Dave). I noticed Dave and Gary then talking for about the next hour while he waited for his next match.

For myself, I faced Bodger in the first round. We had an… interesting match. Our PRs suffered. Here’s a position that came up in our second game.

Screenshot 2024-03-03 10.05.51 AM

I did not count the race at this point, but clearly I am ahead. I was starting to worry about that. I can enter with the 6 and give Bodger a tenth checker back, or I can enter with the 2 and do something else. I decided that sending back the tenth checker was suspect, and instead played Bar/23 13/7, slotting a point I hoped to make next roll. Big mistake! The top 5 possible moves all include Bar/19*. After that, there are better and worse uses for the 2, but even the worst of those is better than my -0.191 mega-blunder.

I did go on to what was looking like a pretty good outcome, forcing Bodger off points on my homeboard and clearing from the rear, until I got to this unfortunate situation:

Screenshot 2024-03-03 10.20.43 AM

It took me a minute to play this one, as I told Bodger, not because it’s hard to see the move (there’s only one legal option), but because I needed to mourn. After 4/off 4/2*, Bodger responded with a 41, hitting both my blots, and then doubled me out. He then went on to win all the rest of the games, as part of his march towards the finals.

So I already mentioned that Gary made it to the finals, and now you know that Bodger did too. Bodger ended up winning, so congratulations!

We have our next regular tournament in a couple of weeks, on Saturday March 16th – normally we have the monthly tournaments on Sundays, but the 17th is St. Patrick’s day, and I figured it might be a little busier than usual at Lucky Lab that day. Hope to see you all there!