January 2020 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a great turnout for our first tournament of 2020 – 18 players! There were a couple of brand new people, maybe three if you count Kate who showed up to watch last month but played for the first time this month. And there were a few last minute cancellations as well, plus some regulars who were not available… I am thinking we’re going to break the 20 player threshold in the next few months.

I’m thinking about making some structural changes to deal with the larger turnouts. Rather than run things as one big (and confusing) Swiss-style event, I might break the group up into several double-elimination brackets, which would mean payouts to more players, but lower payouts. It would also mean I need to spend a lot less brain-power on keeping people paired up properly, as those pairings would all be set at the initial draw. Keeping the pairings straight is a challenge with 12+ players. For instance, this month, at one point I had to pair Jeremy (who had 3 wins/no losses at that point) with Brad (who had 2 wins/no losses) because they were the only two undefeated players left. Not such a big deal, if Brad had won; because at the time I was playing Tim and we both had 2/0 records. If Brad had won, then I would have played him, and the winner would have needed 4 wins to win the tournament, which is perfect for an over-16 person bracket.

But sadly, Jeremy won his match against Brad, meaning that he was going to need 5 wins to win the tournament. Sort of unfair, since his opponent only needed 4 wins. We dealt with that by agreeing to a double-win criteria for his opponent – that is, if Jeremy won the first match he won 1st, if he lost then his opponent would have to win a second match to win 1st, since at that point they would be “tied” with 4 wins each.

That opponent, by the way, was me. I had a pretty dramatic match with Tim. I won the first game, he won the second. In the third game, he doubled me fairly early, and I was able to turn it around to where I could re-cube him. I should have taken a picture at that point, because it seemed like a close decision. Tim decided to drop. In the fourth game, I was able to hit and cover my home board on about roll three, and turn that into a successful blitz, winning by a gammon.

Anyway, that’s how I ended up in a position to eventually take second place.

In our first match, Jeremy and I had some good back and forth, I eventually took it 5-3. In the second match, I was not as lucky, and ended up losing 5-1. So Jeremy gets the first tournament win of 2020, and is currently leading the pack in terms of (1) total matches played, (2) matches won, and (3) winning percentage.

I’m not yet sure what format it will take, but there will be some kind of awards handed out for each of those metrics for 2020. I’m taking myself out of the consideration for the total matches played, because I have a unfair advantage as the organizer – I will be at every tournament this year, and most likely I will be the only person with that distinction. Maybe not – Nate, Tim, and Chris all came close to having 100% attendance last year, and there wasn’t a ribbon at stake then.

See you next month!