March Tournament Results

It wasn’t quite as wet and rainy as I expected as I headed down for this month’s tournament. I was a bit worried about turnout because we had fewer RSVPs than usual, and a non-raining weekend day means lots of options for other activities. And of course, I hadn’t thought about spring break, which I think took a few people out of their regular routines.

We had 3 people turn up for the pre-tournament lesson, which was nice  – often I have had no people turn up for that. One of them even stayed for the tournament, and did pretty well!

Ultimately, there was a fair turnout for the backgammon tournament – 16 players, which made for an easy two-bracket event. To be honest, it got a little confusing, because as I started things off we only had 14, and so I was going to have the “A” bracket play 5 point matches, since I knew everyone in there was capable of playing a bit faster than average; but a couple of stragglers came in and joined, which led to it being a mix of 3 and 5 point matches (and then one pair in the “B” bracket heard me say 5, and played a 5, which meant they took twice as long as everyone else in the “B” bracket…) Tournament directing – it ain’t always easy!

In the “A” bracket, I started off against Bodger, Dave played Ed, Jeremy played Tim, and Sande played Matt. Dave romped on to ultimately take first place, with Jeremy taking second. Bodger and I had a rematch in the final of the consolation, where I managed to squeak out a win.

In the “B” bracket, Cam played Richard, Ryan played Sheila, Kyle played Greg, and Mark A played Rick. Mark went on to win the bracket, with Kyle taking second, and Richard won the consolation.

Jeremy, Dave, and I stayed to play a chouette for a while post tournament, where Dave won yet more. As I left, Bodger and Kyle were playing an extra match, and Sande and Richard were enjoying a drink. All in all, it was a fun afternoon.



Championship Satellite #1 Results

We had a fine turnout for the first Women’s/Men’s Championship tournament. 18 players came out, 5 women and 13 men. That, unfortunately, makes for two uneven brackets, and so the gender distinctions (which are, as noted in the announcement, a social construct) began breaking down immediately. Molly and Pete had come down from Seattle for the event, and Molly agreed that, for the purposes of the event, she was man enough. So we proceeded with a 4-person and a 14-person bracket.

In the Women’s event, we had two newcomers (Liz & Jackie), and two seasoned pros (Sande & Leah). Fortunately, the draw did not put the newcomers head-to-head, and so the pros were able to help explain the ropes of tournament play. Evidently Sande is better at explaining than Leah, because Sande’s opponent, Liz, was able to advance to the next round. Leah beat out Jackie in round 1, but fun was still had by all. In the championship round, Leah triumphed again, making her the front runner for the championship match in December! But Liz seemed like she held her own, and she is also qualified for the December championship match. It should be noted that Ceci did show up for the tournament as well, although she had misjudged traffic, and so arrived well after the start of the event. We discussed having her play in somehow, but she was content to just play some pick-up games with Jackie after the first round ended. After all, there are three more Satellites to come, so plenty of time to get into the championship later.

In the Men’s event, round one had Tim beating out Dave, Molly defeating newcomer Dan, Chris over Pete, Bodger over Ed, Jesse over Paul, Kyle over Clay, and I beat out Rick. Matches lasted between about 30 minutes and over an hour, which made tournament flow a little uneven. We may have to enforce the use of clocks next time to prevent things from running quite so long. Everyone really appreciated the longer match length, however. Dave and I played some heads up while waiting for the next round, and I think that consoled him since he beat me up by 18 games in about 30 minutes… Anyway, after a bit, for the quarterfinals, we had Molly playing Chris and Kyle playing me. By this point, Leah had finished winning the Women’s, and she and Chris were dramatically overdue for a couple of other things they had planned for the weekend. Kyle finished me off in a very timely manner, and so we got to watch much of the other game. After a drawn out battle, Molly eventually came out on top, putting her and Kyle into the final. But by that point, it was like 5:30, and the place was a zoo as the staff prepared for their “Worst Day of the Year” bike ride event the next day. Kyle and Molly agreed to just chop the prize money and both get a spot in the Men’s championship event for December!

The next satellite event is scheduled for June 6th, although I have not yet sent the announcement about it. Hope to see most of you there again then!


February 2023 Tournament Results

We had a decent showing for today’s tournament – 19 players came out for a pleasant afternoon of backgammon, braving the rain and snow. Lucky Lab was crowded, with both a Go and Scrabble group, plus the usual smattering of other game groups. But the backgammon boards outnumbered all the other groups combined, I believe!

We broke into 3 brackets, which is clearly not an even number per bracket. In the “A” bracket, I had four players who had signed up for the side pool(s), and we played 5 point matches to make up for the smaller bracket size. It worked out as I hoped – we finished roughly at the same time as the larger brackets. First round, I smashed over Dave C to an easy victory. Tim and Jeremy had a much longer first match, playing for easily 20 minutes longer than Dave and me. Jeremy eventually won that one, and at Dave’s request, he smashed me in the second round to take the winner’s mantel. Tim beat out Dave and then also me in the consolation bracket to win 2nd place.

In the “B” bracket, round 1 had returning player Marty beating out Bodger, first timer David S defeating Joel, Nathan over Mark A, and Richard over Ed. Nathan eventually went on to win this bracket, with Richard coming in second. Marty and David  went on to battle it out in the consolation bracket, with Marty coming out on top.

In the “C” bracket, round 1 had Cam defeating Sande, Dawn over Julie, JB beating Stephen, and in a hard-fought final, Kyle defeating the Bye. JB and Cam went on to meet in the final, with JB taking the title. In the consolation bracket, Dawn and Julie faced off again, with Dawn ultimately winning again. Julie let out a cry during their last game which made some of the Scrabble players jump as one roll went particularly against her…

All in all, it was quite a smooth tournament, I had a great time, and I like to think everyone else did as well. Between now and the next regular tournament, we will be having the first “Championship Satellite” event – I intend to schedule 4 total of these “Satellite” tournaments this year, with the top two players from each getting an entry into a Championship tournament in December. Past couple of years, I have given a trophy for “Player of the Year”, and this year I hope to give out 3 trophies – “Player of the Year” using more or less the same format I did for 2022, and a “Men’s Champion” and “Women’s Champion” trophy for the winners of the December tournament. Participation in each event counts towards the “Player of the Year” event as well, so if you want to maximize your chances of getting a trophy this year – sign up!


High Equity Tournament Results

We had an excessive turnout for the first “High Equity” tournament of 2023 – I limited the entries to 8, which made the 9th person to show up justifiably upset. For the next one, I am thinking about using a Swiss tournament system instead, or maybe just starting it earlier in the day so that we can absorb an extra round without cutting into the evening. We shall see what I come up with.

Molly and Pete made the trek down from Seattle, and Mark S made a return appearance, coming up from Salem, so we were relatively geographically diverse as well. Most players were there early, and I did the initial bracket draw at a quarter to 2 so that people would not just be sitting around idle.

In round 1, David faced off against Molly, Mark S against Jesse, Pete against Tim, and I drew Bodger. In each of those pairings, I have listed the winner first. Second round in the main, David beat Mark S, and I steamrolled Pete, my dice smoking behind me. I squeaked out a win against David, winning the first post-Crawford game. In the Consolation bracket, Pete and Tim faced off again, but Tim sadly did not get his revenge, and Pete won again.

I do not normally post positions based on my opponent’s mistakes, because I make so many of my own that I don’t need the extra material – but this one was an interesting one that came up in my match against Bodger. Here he is leading 5-3 in our match to 7, in other words, he is 2 points away from winning and I am 4 points away from winning, a situation called 2 away 4 away or even 2A4A in the backgammon books. It is typically harder to find a good moment to double when you are leading in the match, but it is especially hard to do at 2A4A. Once the cube is offered as the leader, the opponent, if they take, should immediately recube on the next move, even as the underdog, because the leader wins the match from a win regardless, and so as the trailer you want the same should you manage to turn it around. That is exactly what happened in this case – Bodger offered the cube, and I gave it back to him at the start of my turn.

Screenshot 2023-02-19 4.40.40 PM

I have already given it away, but this was a huge no double for him, and it would have been an even bigger blunder for me to drop. It is far from a comfortable position for me – I have two checkers trapped back on his home board, my board is in messy condition with a big stack on the 6 point and a blot, it is going to take a good amount of luck for me to make a solid board instead of just crunching, and who knows if I will even get a shot? On the other hand, the race is pretty even, and so even if I don’t get a shot, I could win by just racing. I reckoned it was probably a good double for money, but not for this match score. It turns out to be a borderline no double for money as well – if you think about it from the “Position, Race, and Threat” viewpoint, he gets credit for a better position for sure, but as mentioned the race is even or biased towards me, and there are no checkers of mine that he can hit.

Similar story but from the other side, here is a position where I offered the cube to Dave, in spite of being ahead in the match score.

Screenshot 2023-02-19 4.58.55 PM

I am up 5-4, so 2A3A, which is not quite as sensitive as 2A4A but still pretty tricky. For money, this is an obvious immediate drop, and my guess is that it was a money drop for two or three moves prior to this position as well, but I was holding off because of the score. If I had a better log of the game, it would probably show me missing the double two or three times in a row, in other words.

Anyway, if those kinds of positions interest you, I recommend Nick Blasier’s new book, Adjusting to Match Play.

Back to the format question for a minute – one of the challenges in running tournaments is that people RSVP who don’t end up showing up, and people who don’t RSVP do end up showing up – as a result you don’t really know what you are getting into until the cutoff time for an event. When we had the “Road to Vegas” event back in November, I dealt with having more than 8 players by having a couple of “anti-bye” positions, that is, some players who had one more round between them and the cashing positions than other players. That is, obviously, unfair to the players with the anti-bye and to anyone who has to wait around for an opponent as a result of the round mismatches this creates. This time, I dealt with it by being more strict about limiting to 8 players, which ideally I would do by setting the registration limit, but as mentioned, online RSVPs are not equivalent to who actually shows. That is, obviously, unfair to the players who had more traffic getting to the event. The Swiss format solution is that you run the event as an incomplete round-robin instead of a bracket. That has challenges as well, in that you need all of the first round events to finish before you can draw the second round, etc., plus it can require more rounds than a simple bracket to determine the winner. That can be unfair to people with time constraints, who might have to forfeit a match late in the tournament. There is no perfect system, unfortunately.  I do my best, and I do take any feedback about it all seriously.

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!

2022 Backgammon Wrap

We had a lovely tournament this afternoon, with an even dozen players braving the cold to try their luck one more time. We split into two brackets and got rolling.

Not to drag out the wait, David won the 2022 Player of the Year award! Both David and Paul won their first round matches (over Max and me, respectively), then they sat down to face off. It was a fraught moment – if Paul had won, they would technically have the same number of wins minus losses, and we would have had to cut the trophy in half. Fortunately, David pulled it off and was crowned the champion for the year – congrats!


(photo credit: Max Lock)

In the second bracket, Joel pushed his winning percentage for the year back over 50% by sweeping the bracket, and Bodger got himself back up to exactly 50% by winning the consolation bracket. Joel, Rich A, and Bodger all also won door prizes from the random draw – congrats, guys, enjoy the books and/or stickers!

People had a high degree of interest in the full year standings, and so I’m publishing the table for everyone who attended at least 4 tournaments here.

Tournaments Attended Player Matches Played Won Wins-Losses Win %
15 Mark Wyld 49 32 15 65.31%
14 David Cohen 41 26 11 63.41%
13 Bodger Millerd 38 19 0 50.00%
12 Tim Emineth 35 16 -3 45.71%
11 Mark Arel 32 18 4 56.25%
11 Kyle Petersen 29 16 3 55.17%
9 Joel 29 15 1 51.72%
9 Max 23 9 -5 39.13%
8 Mir 25 9 -7 36.00%
8 Julie 21 10 -1 47.62%
8 Paul Swain 18 13 8 72.22%
8 Steve Hoffman 16 7 -2 43.75%
7 Nathan Alter 20 11 2 55.00%
6 Rick Davis 19 13 7 68.42%
6 Jeremy Krieger 19 12 5 63.16%
6 JB Groh 17 8 -1 47.06%
6 Richard Driscoll 16 6 -4 37.50%
6 Matt Hogan 16 4 -8 25.00%
5 Jesse Gerber 15 9 3 60.00%
5 Cameron 13 9 5 69.23%
5 Sandee Flynn 12 6 0 50.00%
4 Bob Hudlow 11 8 5 72.73%
4 Leah Nash 11 8 5 72.73%
4 Terry 6 2 -2 33.33%

A number of people thanked me for running the club, and I said what I always say – it’s really selfish of me, as it means I can attend every event since I control the calendar. What I want to add is that it’s really all of you who come out to play that make the club what it is. I appreciate getting to play with all of you! 79 people attended at least one event in 2022 – I hope whether you came to one event or fifteen that we will see you even more often in 2023. Happy holidays everyone!


November 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had an excellent turnout for this month’s tournament – 26 players showed up on a cold wet afternoon to play some gammon! There were a handful of new players, a handful of people who haven’t been out in a while, and a slew of the usual suspects. Competition remains hot for the coveted 2022 Player of the Year award, and a number of people were specifically gunning to up their winning percentages for the year as we come close to finishing it out… More on that in a bit.

We split into 3 brackets, which was not a perfect set-up, but best we could do with the high numbers who showed up. A couple of people have asked, so here’s a brief explanation of the process I use for that. First of all, I put all of the players who opt into one or both side pools into a single bracket if possible. So far, it always has been – if we get more than 8 players in the side pools, I may have to revisit the approach. Then the remainder of the list I break into different brackets using an A-B-A-B kind of scheme. Then I use the random number generator list to pair people within each bracket. This time, I only had 6 players in the side pools, so I randomly assigned a couple of additional (and in my opinion stronger) players into that bracket as well. If we had been just shy of 3 full brackets, I might have done something different, splitting the byes between brackets or whatever. But that’s more or less the process – hope that answers more questions than it raises.

Anyway – in the “A” bracket, we started off with Paul versus Pete, David versus Molly, Mark A versus Max, and Kyle versus me. In all those pairings, the first person listed won the first match. Paul went on to beat Kyle in the final, and I fought my way through the consolation bracket to beat out Pete for the tie-for-second.

In the “B” bracket round 1, Sande beat out Bodger, Richard defeated newcomer Mazda, Steve knocked out Rick D, and Andres won over newcomer Gary. Andres and Richard went on to the finals, with Andres coming out on top. In the consolation bracket, Mazda came back to win.

In the “C” bracket, Leah won over Matt, Cam beat Joel, Philip beat Mir, Jenny beat newcomer Rob A, and Jesse beat out Julie. That was 5 pairings instead of 4, and so there were some complicated second/third round byes imposed to try to keep it fair. Ultimately Leah beat out Philip in the final; with Cam squeaking by Jenny to take the Consolation title.

Now, about Player of the Year. There is trophy on the way, and I believe I will have it physically present at the December tournament. At that point, I expect to have an up-to-date list of everyone who is in the running, and to do an on the fly update calculation to determine the winner and present that trophy. Exciting, no?

I am slightly modifying the conditions compared to last year. The idea is to award the player who has the best record for wins & attendance of events. If it was just the best win/loss ratio, Carlos would be the front runner, but he only attended two events! David has an edge from the participation perspective, having missed only one tournament all year. Rick D and Kyle P are both top candidates based on win/loss ratio. It’s really very much up in the air! Come out to the December event to see what happens!


Road to Vegas Part 2, and then also Vegas

I never posted an update for the second part of the “Road to Vegas” tournament, and then I went off to Vegas for the actual tournament. So here we go. The next round had me over Mir, and David over Bodger. David wanted to immediately start a chouette, so we chopped the prize money and played a one-point match for the title, which David won!

Then, you know, Vegas. Paul went down on Tuesday, but Max, Dave, Tim, and I were all on the same flight heading down on Wednesday. Not one to let transportation get in the way of playing backgammon, we started a chouette at the PDX airport.


I know, I know, but really we only played a couple of games.

Wednesday was the Jackpot day – Paul was playing in the “Limited” (which he made it 3 rounds deep), the rest of us in the “Intermediate”. David and Max drew each other in the qualifier round, and then again (after a re-entry) in the first round! Rory told me that he swore to redraw the main ABT if they got each other a third time… Anyway, Tim made it the furthest of any of us in that event, eventually losing in the semi-finals to Tigran, who had just defeated David as well, and who went on to win the event!

The coolest thing about that is that Tim’s last match ended up on the streaming of the event – if you want to watch him go down, go to about 3:54:00 into this link:

In the ABT event, the PDX pack managed to avoid running into each other until the semi-finals of the Consolation bracket, where I faced off against David. Not to trash-talk, but you know – easiest win of the event. 🙂

Here’s one of a couple of cube decisions I faced in a pivotal match, my first game in the Consolation. This is early on, I am down 0-1 in a match to 9 (and so 9-away, 8-away). I had cubed my opponent earlier, it was going well, but then he got a lucky shot and sent one of my checkers back. I re-entered, and he flipped the cube to me at 4:

Screenshot 2022-11-22 3.21.29 PM

I think I miscounted the race, because I took. My thought was that I just had to escape the one checker, then I ought to be able to outrun him, but I am actually down 10 pips in the race, and it was a -0.224 blunder to take! Nonetheless, I did escape the back checker and outrun him to win the game. So better to be lucky than good.

It gets worse. A couple of games later, I was up 4-2, turned the cube to him (correctly, I think, didn’t record the position so let’s assume I knew what I was doing please), and in the bear-off, he flipped it back to me at 4:

Screenshot 2022-11-22 3.29.53 PM

My thinking here was that he has 4 rolls to bear off, maybe 4.5 if he is unlucky and rolls a 3. I am off in 3 – so long as those three rolls are all 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s. But that’s equivalent to winning three coin tosses in a row, so 12.5%, and if one of them misses I probably am off in 4. So it’s sort of like a 4-roll to 4-roll situation. Well, apparently I am wrong about that, because it was a -0.415 blunder to take! I am, in fact, 13.1% to win, which is above my 3-coin-flips thinking, but not by very much. However, I did win 3 coin flips in a row, and took the game, very unfairly.

In the final of the consolation, I faced off against Lynn, who runs the New York ABT tournament. We spent a good amount of time at the start of the match negotiating the split of the prize money – the way it had worked out was that we were both in the side pool, and so the winner would get 1st for the side pool, and the loser would get half of the 2nd place in the side pool, because half of 2nd was going to whoever made it furthest in the main bracket. Normally there is a 2:1 ratio in the payout, but there was almost as much side pool money as entry pool money, so the default was almost 3:1. We negotiated it down to a 65/35 split, and then almost finished the match in the first game. I cubed her early in the game, she flipped it back to me at 4 a while later, and as we got to the bear-off, I gave it back to her at 8 (which would get us to Crawford!) in the following position:

Screenshot 2022-11-22 3.44.21 PM

I was not sure if it was a take or a pass, given how much wastage I have; but Lynn successfully found the drop. However, it is a good double! It would have been a -0.027 error to not redouble it to 8 here.

I had one other tough double in the match, a couple of games later, leading 5-0 in our match to 9, I chose to offer the cube from this position:

Screenshot 2022-11-22 3.53.09 PM

Again, a -0.017 error if I had not doubled! So I am pretty pleased with myself for finding this one. Alas for Lynn, it was a drop, but she took, probably thinking that the score swung it far enough to take the chance.

That game put me up 7-0, and I started celebrating too soon. Lynn exploited my overconfidence to win the next game, putting us to 7-1. She then took the next game with the cube turned to put us 7-3. Then 7-5, then 7-7. At that point, I suggested we revisit the negotiated split of the prize money, and we agreed to just chop the prize money and play only for the trophy.

At 7-7 in a match to 9, you are supposed to throw the cube early – it’s almost impossible to it to not be a double-take. However, we kept ending in positions where the race was pretty even, there were no blots to shoot at, and it would have taken some thought to decide if the person on roll was actually up or down. Like we opened with her playing 3-1, and I thought, well, I’m down, so why bother. Then I rolled 6-5, and she thought, well, I’m down in the race, so why bother. And it just kept going on like that – rolls where it would have been correct to double and correct to take, and neither of us did, until we were 20 moves or more into the game! Finally, we got to the following position, and I belatedly threw the cube:

Screenshot 2022-11-22 4.03.21 PM

Here, it is finally a double and a pass! Lynn passed, and then beat me by a gammon in the Crawford game, to win the match 9-8, after starting out down 7-0! Super exciting match, to be sure.

After that, it was time to head to the airport, where we resumed a chouette until time to board the plane, because hey, why else were we in Vegas?

All in all, it was a fantastic (if slightly exhausting) tournament. It was my second time cashing in an Intermediate event this year, and so I am (voluntarily) moving myself up to the Open level, where I will very likely take another 4-5 years before I get to cash again. But maybe I’ll have time for more side events again… 🙂 Paul cashed in approximately all the side events, plus Tim cashed in the Jackpot, so it was all around the best showing for the Portland crew ever.


Road to Vegas Part 1

We had a great turnout for our unofficial satellite tournament – 9 people showed up to play. Mark S, who hasn’t shown up for a couple of years, came up from Salem; and I finally connected the dots that User 367848122 is Mir. David brought his (very nice) new board, and there were enough clocks to go around.

Nine is, you may know, one more than eight, which is how many people I expected/hoped for – so we started out with controversy and trouble right away by having a play-in round. Max and Paul drew the short straws for that, which meant Bodger had the short straw of having to wait for their match to finish before he could play at all.

Suffice it to say, there were delays.

In spite of that, some backgammon was played. David, Mark S, and I all won our first round matches. David and Mark S then played their second round match. In the meantime, Paul was getting the most out of his time bank in his play-in match against Max. When I started tracking, he was down to about 46 seconds of time bank left. At the end of the match, he had 8.8 seconds – and the win. Paul then sat down to face Bodger, and I joined into a lovely little chouette with David and Mark S. Mir and Kyle faced off in the preliminary consolation bracket, Tim and Max did the “play-in” of the consolation (so Max got stuck with two play-in rounds, which is a little rough), and we were hours in with very clearly hours to go to finish it out!

Paul beat Bodger, and then he and I were set to face off. Mark S negotiated a hedge with both Paul and I, that whoever he faced off in the final would just split the prize money 50-50, then conceded the final and asked for his payout.

My match against Paul ended up being very interesting, especially in cube action. Here’s two cube decisions from a critical game. I’m leading 5-1 at this point, and holding the cube at two.

Screenshot 2022-11-05 10.04.21 PM

The critical thing here is that I’m leading 5-1. I redoubled, Paul snapped it up, but it was a massive -0.262 triple-blunder to redouble here! In a money game, or an even match score, this is a fine cube; but giving up the cube gives him the potential for a very powerful recube. If the cube was centered, it would even be a fine initial cube.

I am still, obviously, wrapping my head around the complexities of the cube in certain match score situations. For instance, this position, which happened a few rolls later. I’m still leading 5-1, but now Paul has the cube at 4, and I had been forced to leave him a turn-around shot…

Screenshot 2022-11-05 10.12.04 PM

I was shocked when Paul turned the cube to 8. He only has 4’s and 3-1 to hit, so 13 out of 36 rolls. Of course, in those 13 situations, it’s terrible for me, but 23 out of 36 I win the match off this cube. So I snatched it up, and Paul rolled 46 I believe.

So was Paul insane to ship it here? No! It’s a good recube, in spite of the fact that he is only 35.1% to win! After turning the cube, he is -0.021 equity, versus if he did not double, he is at -0.179 equity. For me, in turn, it is a -1.021 blunder should I happen to drop (which I didn’t, otherwise how could he have rolled 46 and gone on to win 8 points on this game?)

Paul credited his tutor for teaching him about this position, which I still can’t fully comprehend. One day…

I fought my way partly back, but ultimately lost the match to Paul 11-7. So Paul ends up as our main bracket champion, with Mark S in second.

The fun will continue in one week, when we reconvene to finish the consolation bracket. We will start off with me facing off against Mir, and David playing Bodger. It should be a logistically and timing-wise much easier affair, so come out and watch and join in some of the post-match chouette/whatever else. See you there!


October 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

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!