November 5, 2016 Chouette Results

We had five people turn out and play this time (a 67% increase over last month!) – Mark F, Nick, Rob, Paul, and myself. Rob had initially said he wanted to run a cheapskate’s board at $0.50/point, but we all agreed to play on one at $3/point, same as last time. Mark F tried his best to convince us to go up to $5, which would have worked out nicely for him, as he was the big winner of the day. But I think he still had no reason to complain…

Play started by about 1:15 or so, Nick showed up in the middle of the second game and got added in. By that point, I was down a few games already, part of what was to be a long slide. Mark F showed me the easy and professional way to keep track of who was the box and the captain as we went, which made scorekeeping a lot easier, so thanks to him for that. We cycled through the rotation about twice with the box losing each game, before Rob took a stretch of 2 or 3 games holding it, which put him well up. Then Mark F took the box from him, and held it until he’d cycled through the whole field once. We had another rotation through the whole field, then Mark F took and held the box again for quite a few games.

Pro tip: taking and holding the box for more than a game or two puts you well up.

Anyway – about 4:30 Rob had to bug out, and so Nick zeroed out to pay him off. The rest of us went through another 4-5 games in the next half hour, at the end of which everyone owed Mark F some money – me most of all.

Overall, it was quite a good time and a very social game – Mark F and Nick kept us all entertained with stories of some of the big tournaments they’ve done over the years. We’ll do it again the first Saturday in December too, and figure out how to ramp it up in 2017.


Portland Backgammon November 2016 Events

Choutte at Lucky Labs on Hawthorne, 1:00-5:00 Saturday November 5th

Assuming Martin shows, we’ll have one board playing for $3 to $5 per point, and Rob has stated that he’ll run a board at $0.50 per point. We’ll have at most  5 players per board. Bring a board or at least your own doubling cube. BE PREPARED TO PAY OUT UP TO 30 TIMES THE POINTS/GAME. We’re a friendly group, but not necessarily friendly enough to take an IOU… đŸ™‚ If you have to cash out early, mid-afternoon settlements are always an option.

The following rules to be in effect:

1. Jacoby rule
2. No consulting before the turn, that is, players other than the captain don’t get any input until after the first double/take/drop decision is over. Redoubles, you can talk about why you’d want to or not. EXCEPTION: to speed up play, players are free to share the pip count at any point.
3. No minority hold-outs (if 3 of the 4 (or 2 of the 3) playing drop a double, the last player has to take the drop as well). EXCEPTION: if there are only two players on the team, one person dropping is not a majority – if the captain drops or gets dropped, the #2 moves up to the captain mid-game.

3-point Tournament at Circa 33 on Belmont, 3:30 PM Sunday November 13

Play 3-point matches, double elimination tournament. The stakes are optional – there will be a $5 side pool running.

Crawford rule will be in effect for all matches.

This event will repeat on the second Sunday of each month through the spring.

Not so local, but the Las Vegas Open runs November 16-20. See for details. I happened to be in Vegas last week for a conference, and went to the local Tuesday night tournament – nice group of folks. First match I was in, I had the honor of being killed by Howard Markowitz, who organizes the Open. Turns out he has a lot of Portland connections… as we build the local scene, I hope we’ll see him up here one day and I can have another try at him.



October 9 2016 Backgammon Results

Modest turnout for today’s tournament – 5 people in total. However, that meant that we were able to finish in time to rush home to listen to the Presidential debate. In retrospect, I might have enjoyed a little more backgammon instead…

People seemed to like having the two side pools – generally people ponied up for both. Since I ended up winning, I especially appreciate it. Two people – Max & Tim – were not previously ranked and so enter this time with Elo ratings of 1500. Results were as follows:

Player Initial Elo Rating Matches Played Matches Won Final Elo Rating
Mark 1541.3 3 3 1578.17
Max 1500 4 2 1503.05
Tim 1500.0 4 2 1498.59
Paul 1501.0 3 1 1488.08
Ken 1471.7 2 0 1446.17

Next tournament is scheduled for November 13th. See you then!

October 2 Chouette Report

The game was a modest success – Lucky Labs is probably a better place to hold games than Circa 33. The parking situation is better, the lighting is better, not quite as noisy, wider food selection. But the beer is maybe not as good, or at least not as many options. We’ll probably have the next chouette at the same location.

Mark F, Martin, and I played. Thanks to them both for their patience in teaching me how a chouette works, and for every time I needed a couple of minutes longer than them to do a pip count. Those guys are fast!

Here’s what I learned:

  1. The “buy-in” wasn’t meant to be a “buy-in”, it was more a guideline on what to have on-hand to settle when the game ends. The actual required to settle was quite a bit below that.
  2. We used a rule that no consulting was allowed before a double was in effect. I would suggest we amend that to allow sharing the pip count at any time – I held up the game more than once while working toward the same answer they had already reached.
  3. Score-keeping: initially I was concerned to track the actual change per game in addition to the running total. Only the running total really matters. I also was tagging who was the Box and the Captain per game, which I think was a good idea.
  4. We need to be clearer up front how long the match is to run. We didn’t discuss until about 2 1/2 hours in, when I promised another half hour to hour of play. Well, I actually held out almost 4 hours. But it’d have been more fair to set that we were going for 4 hours at the outset. As it was, felt like I was busting up the party.

As I said, next time we’ll have a lot more advance warning – aim to schedule a couple of more Chouettes in this year, and get onto a regular schedule in 2017.


Portland Backgammon Events for October 2016

Chouette at Lucky Labs on Hawthorne, 1:00 PM Sunday October 2

We’ll have $100 buy-in, playing for $3 per point. Max 5 players per board – if there’s enough interest and some want to play for more or less stakes, we’ll set up a second board and adjust on the fly. Bring a board and your own doubling cube.

Jacoby rule, no consulting before the turn, and no hold-outs (if 3 of the 4 (or 2 of the 3) playing drop a double, the last player has to take the drop as well).

The intention is to make this a regular event – probably only manage once a month through the end of the year but maybe go to twice a month in the less holiday-intensive time periods.

3-point Tournament at Circa 33 on Belmont, 3:30 PM Sunday October 9

Play 3-point matches, double elimination tournament. The stakes are optional – there will be a $5 ante and a $10 ante side pool running, with the top 2 players from each splitting the pot. Enter one or both!

Crawford rule will be in effect for all matches.

This event will repeat on the second Sunday of each month through the spring.

Sept. 4, 2016 Tournament Results

Great turnout for this one – 9 people in total. Four brand new people attended: Ken, Will, Gints, and Samantha. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of any of them – I hope not anyway.

I started a spreadsheet to track people’s Elo score based on Portland Backgammon tournaments. Everyone coming in starts at 1500, and your score goes up or down based on whether you win. Well, I started Rob and myself off 1500 because I knew results from one prior meetup for sure, when he beat me. Anyway: here’s the table of Elo scores based on the Sept. 4 tournament. I will update it with results from all future tournaments.

Player Initial Elo Rating Matches Played Matches Won Final Elo Rating
Mark 1484 4 4 1541.34
Samantha 1500 6 4 1525.15
Gints 1500 5 3 1514.80
Paul 1500 4 2 1501.04
Robert 1500 3 1 1486.77
Emerald 1500 3 1 1486.09
Rob 1516 2 0 1487.57
Will 1500 3 1 1485.57
Ken 1500 2 0 1471.67

Hello world!

Welcome to the Portland Backgammon Club. Also known as the Vancouver, Washington Backgammon Club, since I happen to live across the river. Anyhoo: this site is being set up to be the new home for backgammon in the Portland (Oregon) metro area. The intent is to use this website mainly as a place to put out information about tournaments in the Portland area. Depending on how organized this all becomes, it is a central online location for calendars, announcements, etc.

My history: I’ve been in the area for a couple of years, and playing with the Portland group. The problems with that are:

  1. Many people join it not out of an interest in backgammon per se, but just because they’re signing up for every possible meetup game group. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t lend itself to developing a core of local backgammon players.
  2. Meetup has an unreasonable pricing structure for groups over 50, when they are mainly an email distribution tool and there are other options.

So. This is a work in progress, but if you’re a backgammon player in the Portland area, stick around. We’ll build something good.