2022 Tour of Patios #1 Results

We had a good turnout for today’s tournaments, 15 players came out for a breezy day of backgammon. 4 of us were there well before the official 2:00 kick-off, and so I had already lost a match before most people showed up… 🙂 David won a backgammon on a 2-cube, for the fastest match win of the day. Ultimately, we ended up with 6.5 4-person brackets, many of us entering more than one bracket as we got knocked out of (or won) our first one… I personally entered three times, getting 4 matches out of the afternoon.

The winners list is: Tim, Carlos, Cameron (our only newcomer for the day), Joel, Paul, and Max. I won the half-tournament (that is, one match), so kind of a silver lining for me.

APEX turns out to have been on our tour of patios a few years ago as well – I got deja vu as I drove up. It’s a good location, and a good beer selection. Parking wasn’t too bad on a Sunday, and Mark A really liked it, as it is walking distance for him. But it is limited in drink options, and I heard quite a bit about finding a place with some more options for next time. Well, the next one will have food options at least, but it is a brewery. Hope to see you then anyway.


June 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a good turnout for today’s overheated tournament. I arrived early to do the pre-tournament “lesson”, but none of the RSVP’s showed. Robert T, when he arrived, suggested we move inside since the AC was keeping it substantially cooler there, and so we did. I played some warm-up matches that maybe count as lessons with him and a couple of others as people trickled in. As it hit 1:00, we had 17 players, and so I was prepared to do one play-in match in one bracket; but 3 more people showed up in the next minutes. So we ultimately had 20 players; which I broke unevenly into an 8 person and a 12 person bracket.

In the 8 person bracket, first round had JB over Julie, Kyle over newcomer Leslie, newcomer Jason over newcomer Carrie,and Steve S. over Bob H. Ultimately Kyle won the main bracket over Steve, Kyle’s second tournament win for the year I believe. Bob H fought his way back to win the consolation bracket.

In the 12 person bracket, first round had Max over Bryan, David over Chris (back for his first post-pandemic live event), me over Stevie Ray (who drove all the way from Beaverton only to get stuck by the train a few blocks from the Lucky Lab), Mark A over Robert T, Joel over Aaron, and Bodger over Jesse. My match with Steve was a nail-biter – I won the first game, he won the second, and the third game looked like it could go either way. Second round, I faced off against Bodger – it was a one-game match as the cube ended up on 4. Third round I faced off against Joel. First game, I doubled him out early. Second game, same story, although it was harder to get to that point. Game three, Joel really should have won, but I rolled double-6 twice during the bear-off, and stole it from him. In the final, I faced off against David. Once again, we had a tight match. I took the first game, David took the second, and with how the rolls turned out we did not have the usual automatic double until well into the game. David’s board crunched as I had one of his checkers trapped behind a prime; but once he escaped the race was very tight. Fortunately for me, the doubles came around again and I pulled off the win. In the consolation bracket, Mark A eventually triumphed over Stevie Ray.

Next month we begin the summer series. The tournaments will be a slightly different format – longer matches, smaller brackets, different arenas, and a little more frequency – every other week once we start. Look forward to seeing you all there!


LA-la-land 2022

I spent this past weekend in LA for the 45th annual Los Angeles Open. This was my third time in LA, and Candace puts on a good show. It’s one of the easiest tournaments for those of us in the Portland area to get to as well – multiple direct flights daily, the hotel is super close to the airport, etc. And this year, they hosted the annual USBGF awards dinner (although I did not attend that).

Portland had a good showing, with David and Max coming as well, and Bryan came down from Seattle at the last minute after I agreed to let him bunk with me. David and Max went down for the jackpots on Thursday, but Bryan and I both got in on Friday morning. It is more fun having a crew of people you know around, although it sometimes leads to unfortunate pairings, as when Max and Bryan faced off against one another in the 2nd round of the main. That, by the way, is foreshadowing…

My first match went fairly quickly – my opponent, Raid, was not used to the doubling cube, but was excellent with his checker play. So I got to enter (and lose) a number of blitz matches for the rest of the afternoon. I also got a couple of rounds into the DMP – an event I trophied in at my last LA appearance – not to brag. That, by the way, is also foreshadowing…

Round 2 I faced off against Ron, who had trounced me in one of the blitzes earlier in the day. Fortunately, I was able to turn that around in the main; taking the first game and never losing the lead from there. After an especially lucky doubled gammon got us to Crawford (8-2), he pulled back, but I was able to finish him in the game after that. My next opponent was coming out of the 4 unlucky souls who had an anti-buy in the Round 2 draw, so I was able to head up to bed early to finish my first day.

First thing the next morning, I faced off against Babak, who had stayed up late the night before to get to Round 3. We had a good match, with a lot of back and forth. This was his first tournament as well, and he ultimately did quite well – cashing in fact.

From there, I was suddenly in payback mode for having an easy day on Friday – my match was always the one holding up the tournament, and so my next opponent was always waiting for me for the rest of the afternoon. Normally, it’s easy enough to sneak off for a sandwich or something at some point; but I subsisted on some almonds and lots of stress.

Round 4, I played Stephen, brother of Art, who was being inducted into the hall of fame later that day. Stephen is not as much of a backgammon player as his brother, but he was definitely one of my harder matches of the weekend! I have a couple of positions from that match to look at.

In this first position, from our 5th game, I am down 1-4 in the match to 9. After quite a bit of mutual hitting, I am coming off the bar with a roll of 1-4. But, what to do with it?

Screenshot 2022-06-13 4.25.17 PM

At issue, I have 3 blots scattered around the board, in addition to the one coming off the bar. That’s my biggest problem at the moment, and this roll lets me take care of two of them, just… which two? I can play bar/20, giving me two points on his home board, but too advanced for a backgame. Or, I can play bar/24, 13/9 – preventing any additional checkers from being sent back just now, but also giving him a few rolls that extend his 3-prime in front of those back checkers. Finally, there’s also a potential hitting play, if I don’t mind adding yet another blot to the mix. I actually thought about that one, but rejected it pretty easily, which is good as that’s a massive blunder.

Ultimately I went with bar/20. Stephen commented that this was the kind of position where you struggle and struggle, and it doesn’t make much of a difference – and that’s exactly correct! Based on rollout, bar/20 is wrong… by -0.001!

The next position is two games later, and I’ve fought my way back to a 5-4 lead. I cubed him earlier in the game, and now have a 5-6 to play.

Screenshot 2022-06-13 4.42.08 PM

The question at hand is: hit or not? 11/5*, 13/8 puts him on the bar, and gives me a good chance to gammon him and win the match right here. On the other hand, it gives him a chance to roll a 5 (or a 3-2, or a 4-1), put me behind his 6 prime, and potentially win a gammon himself. The more passive play, 13/7, 11/6, still has some potential to point on him the next roll, and is not so terrible – I will have 8 cross-overs before I can bear off versus 7 for him, but then he has a bit of wastage with the checkers on his 3 & 4 points. I did the chicken move, he escaped with a 5 on the next roll, and I felt like I dodged a bullet. But my play was wrong by quite a bit! -0.06 error to not hit…

The final position from that match is two games later, where I am now down 5-7 (I told you there was a lot of back-and-forth!). This was another one with a lot of hitting, but mostly me hitting him – and then him not dancing. Question is, should I now double?

Screenshot 2022-06-13 5.48.47 PM

Yes, yes I should. Down 5-7 in a match to 9 means I’m 4 away, he’s 2 away. That’s a special score, the trailer has good doubles from positions that are too weak to double in a cash game or an early match score; exactly this position for instance. Good double, easy take. Not doubling is only a -0.036 error, so it’s not obvious. I am moderately proud of myself for finding it.

After this game, the score stood at 7-7, and we stopped for an extended period to determine that (a) the winner was guaranteed to cash, (b) the loser could still cash as well, and (c) the straight dollar amount to hedge was therefore complicated. At the advice of Pat Gibson (tournament director extraordinaire) we did a final % swap – that is, we would ultimately trade 20% of each other’s final cash position. I had already traded Bryan a 10% equity swap before the tournament started, meaning I was now down to keeping only 70% of any cash I won. But Bryan and Stephen were both still in the running to place ahead of me, so not too shabby.

I went on to win the DMP game based on a late hit, followed by an escape, another hit, ultimately a race, and getting multiple doubles in the bear-off. In other words, backgammon at it’s finest.

Then, without much of a pause for breath, I went on to play Brian V for the semi-finals. We also agreed to a 20% equity swap, which in retrospect was not necessary. It was a pretty drawn out match, but it was again one where I took an early lead and never lost it. As that wrapped up, I had played for roughly 6.5 hours straight. So, all in all, a pretty good day!

The next day, I had a little wait to get my final opponent, but I knew it was one of two people: either Babak (who I had defeated in round 3), or my roommate for the weekend, Bryan! For years we’ve been saying “See you at the final table” at the start of a tournament, and now it had finally happened! Because Bryan smoked Babak in their match… I got a photo of us sitting down to play before the match began:


And it was a great match. I took the first game, Bryan took the second and third. I regained the lead with a doubled win in game four, Bryan tied it back up in game 5. Game 6, Bryan sent me reeling with a doubled gammon, putting him up 7-3. I don’t know the match equity table well enough – it’s possible that’s a score where I should have been aggressive with the cube, but I was afraid to throw it, and anyway he won the game, putting me at 3-8 Crawford! With my back against the wall, I played as aggressively as I could, and survived to be 4-8 post-Crawford. In the next game, I of course doubled immediately, and got to the following position.

Screenshot 2022-06-13 8.34.42 PM

This was the point where I felt the most pressure on a single move probably for the whole weekend. What I wrote down as my move doesn’t make sense, but best I can recall, I played in 14/8, 13/10(2). The alternative I was mainly considering was 14/8, 21/15; but I also thought about 21/15, 13/10(2) for quite a long while. Turns out, those are the three top moves, and I picked the middle one. I’ll leave it as a puzzle for the reader to decide which was better…

Fortunately for me, I ended up winning a gammon on that game, and Bryan and I were at 8-8 post-Crawford – a DMP for the championship! It was another back-and-forth kind of game, too – he was massively up, I got a late hit, got to start bearing off, left a blot, he hit it, came around, and we got down to a very tight race. I don’t remember the exact details, but it was not a lock until the very last roll – where Bryan cleared his last two checkers to my one checker on the ace point! So congratulations to Bryan, the 2022 Los Angeles Advanced Champion!


I’ll get him next time… 🙂

I played a few more side events, and ended up cashing in the DMP again, although I had to leave for my flight before all the brackets for that event had finished. So all in all, my best performance yet at an ABT event, and the fourth ABT event in a row that I brought home some kind of trophy (“Finalist” in this case, but I’ll take it). If I keep this up, they’re going to kick me up into the Open bracket, and I won’t win anything for another 5-6 years. But that’s ok – I’m happiest of all that I’m still getting better at the game as time goes on.



May 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a fair showing for this month’s tournament, in spite of the fabulous weather – 14 players showed up for the event. It was mostly an array of the usual suspects, but we had two new participants: Cici (who came last month but too late to get into the draw), and Bart (who came over from Enterprise specifically and only to play backgammon, but then too also to play trumpet at a gig later in the day).

14 does not quite make two perfect brackets, and so we had a 6/8 split. In the “A” bracket, I faced off against Matt H, Bodger took on Max, and Mark A drew Dave. Note that Dave, Max, and I were the only three in the side pool this month, and all three of us lost our first round match! I promised a second round bye to whichever pair finished first, and Bodger took that prize. Mark A defeated Matt in the second round, but then lost to Bodger in the final. This was a critical match, in that both players now have 13 2022 tournament matches, and they are nearly tied in wins: 10 versus 9 after today. I won’t reveal who is ahead, but these two are clearly the front runners for “Player of the Year 2022”. In the consolation bracket, I beat out Dave and Matt beat out Max, leading to Matt and I having a rematch in the consolation final! Fortunately for me, I was able to reverse my first round results, and beat out Matt in our second face-off. As he noted, he’d had a few more beers by that point, which probably helped me.

In the “B” bracket, the draw pitched newcomers Bart and Cici against one another, then Paola versus Nathan, Richard versus Terry (who is not a newcomer, but this was his first one back in a long while), and Dirk versus Steve. Second round had Cici versus Steve, and Nathan versus Terry; then in the final it was Steve taking first place over Terry. In the consolation bracket, in a repeat of the “A” bracket, Cici and Bart met again for the consolation championship! But sadly for Bart, he was not able to reverse the results of the first round, and Cici took the consolation championship.

Hopefully we’ll get used to blue skies and warm weather, and also fewer people will have sniffles, and we’ll get back to some higher numbers in the future. But summer has a lot of other attractions, and it’s normal for our numbers to dip for the season. I’ll try to make it more attractive to people by providing some changes of scenery and maybe even some different formats for the summer series. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know once I figure out what I mean by that. Until next time, roll on!


April 2022 Backgammon Tournament

We had an even 24 players show up for today’s tournament, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. We played outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and with 3 even brackets, it was a very smooth running event. It also helped that all the players today were experienced veterans of the tournament scene – I had one player show up for the lesson ahead of time, but he did not stay for the tournament itself.

In the “A” bracket, round 1 had Paul over Bodger, Aaron over Jeremy, Tim over Jesse, and Dave over me. Aaron and Dave progressed to the finals, and Aaron came out on top this month! In the consolation bracket, Jesse and I fought our ways back to the final, where he wiped me out with a doubled gammon win to take the match in one game.

In the “B” bracket, Kyle beat out Rick D, Bob H beat out Matt H (who was the only Matt this month), Nick whipped Sande in the fastest match of the afternoon, and Mark A beat Richard D. Mark A and Bob H advanced to the finals, where Bob took his first tournament victory! Kyle ground it out through the consolation bracket to take the tie for 2nd place from Rick D.

In the “C” bracket, Bill beat Robert T, Phil beat Steve, Joel beat Julie, and late-comer Carlos beat out Nathan, who would have otherwise gotten the bye. Carlos and Joel advanced to the finals, with Carlos taking it! Julie beat out Nathan in the consolation bracket for the 2nd 2nd place.

With Mark A’s 2 out of 3 performance today, he has at least temporarily consolidated his lead in the race towards Player of the Year, currently having an 8 out of 10 overall performance. But of the top 10 players (based on tournament matches played), 7 have winning records so far, so it is still anyone’s prize to take.

Sande brought some flyers to today’s event, she intends to start up a “second Sunday” backgammon event, which will be neither a tournament nor a chouette, but a more loose social gathering with lots of backgammon play time. I’ve added it on meetup, but no need to RSVP, just show up and have fun!

See you all next time!


Backgammon US Open 2022 Report

I spent this past weekend in Las Vegas for the 2022 US Open. Historically, I have been going to the Las Vegas Open in the fall since I got serious about backgammon tournaments, and I had planned to go to the US Open for the first time back in 2020. Guess what caused me to put that one off for 2 years, if you can…

I had an early flight down on Thursday, and got to the Golden Nugget just about 11:00, as the Calcutta auction was starting. By 1:30, I was playing in my first match. My opponent was named Ward, currently from Hawaii, but previously from Bend, Oregon. There were a couple of cube positions in that match that I recorded for posterity.

In the first, I am down 0-2 in our match to 11. After an unlucky sequence, I have two checkers on the bar, and Ward went looking for a quick win for our third game. (Here we’re bearing off to the left)


Looks fairly dire, but: he only has two points made on his home board, and not a lot of checkers in the zone. He’s not a favorite to make a third point on this next roll, and I have an anchor. Plus, I’m down 0-2, so I need to make something happen. It was an easy take; and in fact a no double. At 0-0, the computer says it would have been a close no double, but as is, a fairly big no double/take. I took, and turned the game around to get on the board.

Roughly an hour later, we got to this position, where I am the one offering a dubious cube. The score is now 9-3 to my advantage; or 2-away, 8-away if you prefer. Winning a gammon here wins me the match, and giving him the cube gave me a lot of pause for thought. If he took, he should automatically redouble, and then a gammon loss hands the match to him! So it was not an easy decision.


At a normal score, say 7-away, 7-away, this is a double/pass. At this score, a HUGE no double/take. I have 35% or so gammons if I play it out. But, I doubled, and he passed, and so it took me two more games to win the match.

After that rousing success, I got suckered into joining the intermediate jackpot as well. In the first round of that, I got into a similar kind of situation. Here I’m leading 7-6, in a match to 9; so 2-away, 3-away. (This one is bearing off to the right…)


There aren’t so many gammons as the last position, but what I could tell was different was his wins after the automatic redouble. Earlier in the match, this would have been a fine double/take. Now, it’s a pretty big no double/take. Fortunately, on this one, I did not make the massive blunder and played on (to eventually win that match as well).

My next match in the jackpot brought me back to humility, as I started out down 0-2, caught up and passed to 7-4, then eventually lost 7-9. It was a fun match, but I didn’t take any positions for later reference. In fact, I took as many pictures in those first two matches as I did the rest of the weekend! The rest of them were relatively straightforward, though, and I don’t want to drag everyone through every match I had all weekend…

In the main event, I got knocked down to consolation after my first match on Friday, but then advanced to the round of 8 in that before getting knocked out. In the last chance, I busted out in the first match. This position is (approximately) an important decision I faced in that one, but a checker play. Hit, or jump past?


The problem with hitting is, what if you get hit back? On the other hand, my opponent has two open spaces on their board, so I might just pop right back out. On the other other hand, I might dance multiple times after the return hit. It’s never easy… I went with no hit, which is… MASSIVELY CORRECT. Hitting is a -0.324 quadruple blunder. Except that I ended up losing the game anyway, when my opponent rolled double 5s and then a multitude of doubles (she went on to second place in the last chance).

I also played in the Blitz, Speedgammon, DMP, and the After Tourney, ending up second in the Blitz Championship and first in the After Tourney, so I came home with some cash and a trophy. All in all, a very nice weekend.


I also brought home a pile of brochures for future events to share with the Portland backgammon club. I am not sure what my next national event is going to be – there are a lot of good ones! I got a couple of asks about when the next Portland national event is going to be, to which I say: sigh. Someday I will have that much energy again, but probably not for a while.


March 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had quite a turnout for today’s tournament – we keep setting new records! 26 players turned out, a full alphabet of backgammon! Well, technically, it was 27, but I did turn away one player who showed up after I had finished the bracket draws. 7 new players, plus a handful we haven’t seen in quite a while. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and so we played (mostly) out on the patio again to enjoy to warm breezes.

The “A” bracket had Bodger over Tim in the first round, Steve over Dirk, David over Max, and (eventually) me over Jeremy. Jeremy and I had quite a match, especially the first game, which easily took over 20 minutes, possible over 30. It turned into a crazy two-sided back game. At one point Jeremy had 3 points on my home board and 2 on his, versus I had 2 points on his home board and 2 on mine. I told him I thought that meant that he was ahead… I have a checker position from our match I’ll come back to later. Anyway – second round had Bodger taking out David, and me facing off Steve, who graciously made the long drive from Beaverton for the event. He gammoned me in the first game, but I survived Crawford, and had a lucky win in the third game. Then Bodger and I had what turned out to be a 1-game match. With a lucky hit after he got his first checker off, I was able to scramble around; but he replied with a double 5 to turn it into a straight race for the bear-off. By the end, he had 3 checkers on his ace-point, I had 4 checkers spread out over the board, but my double 6 sealed the match for me! It was an exciting game… Jeremy and Steve faced off for the consolation bracket winner, and Jeremy pulled that one off.

The “B” and “C” brackets both had play-in’s to accommodate 9 players. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make that work out with the consolation bracket, but luckily enough one person from each dropped out along the way (the tournament ran a little bit long with so many players…)

In the “B” bracket, Richard lost to newcomer Zach, Nathan lost to newcomer Jamie, newcomer Majid lost to Kyle, and Matt T lost to Bob H. in the play-in match. Mark A got Bob in the first round, and for his patience got kicked down to the consolation bracket right away. Eventually it came down to Zach and Kyle in the main, and Mark A versus Jamie in the consolation. Kyle took 1st place, his first tournament win! Congrats Kyle, you were definitely overdue. Mark A won the consolation bracket, which by the way puts him at an overall 6 out of 7 matches record for the year and (at least temporarily) front-runner position for player of the year. Bodger is lagging behind with a 7 out of 9 record…

In the “C” bracket, newcomer and supposed novice Zack R knocked out Leah in round 1, Philip returned for the first time in a long time to beat out newcomer Jorge, Rick D took out Dave K, and Mary defeated Pam in the play-in match. Mary then also took out Matt H, who had been waiting patiently. It ended up with Philip over Rick in the final, with Leah redeeming herself in the consolation bracket.

Thanks to Dirk for a good conversation after the tournament, where he pointed out that he (and maybe others) have first learned about the Portland Backgammon Club by stumbling across this blog, and so may not know where to go to sign up for tournaments, etc. So: if you want to know about upcoming events, the best way is to register to the group at https://www.meetup.com/Portland-Backgammon. I know there’s the mailchimp as well, but I don’t use it as much as I should.

We have the chouette moved up a week to next weekend, since the week after I will be going to Vegas for the US Open. We’re back to our regular tournament schedule though at the end of the month.

A number of people asked if I’ve thought about moving to twice a month tournaments, and yes, yes I have. Look for more news about that in the near future!

Oh, and here’s the position I mentioned – as entered into GnuBG as that’s far cleaner than the photo I took. We’re at 0-0 in a match to 3.

Screenshot 2022-03-27 6.35.38 PM

It’s not a great roll. Nothing hits, nothing covers, nothing does nothing good. Eventually I settled down to two options: either 17/9; or 20/17, 8/3. According to the computer, that’s pretty good, as one of those is the right choice and the other is the only other move that isn’t at least a blunder. Part of the reason our match took so long, as I probably spent 5 minutes thinking about this one. But I settled on 17/9, and that is in fact the right choice. I’m proud of me on this one…


February 2022 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a phenomenal turnout for today’s tournament – 24 players divided into 3 brackets! Would have been 25, but I told Richard that he was too late when he showed up at 1:03… sorry Richard! There were 9 or 10 new players, plus a handful of people we haven’t seen since pre-pandemic days. In spite of being a bit of a mob scene, the tournament ran pretty smoothly, and I believe a good time was had by all…

Prior to the tournament starting, I did have a special moment for the award ceremony, presenting Bodger with a genuine trophy for his performance as “Player of the Year” for 2021. In case you are wondering, the criteria I used was two-fold: you had to have at least 10 tournament matches for the year, and then have the best record of wins/losses of those players. Criteria for 2022 might be slightly higher, as I expect we will have 4-5 more tournaments than last year, so I may bump the minimum match count to 15 or so – time will tell I suppose. Bodger is off to a roaring start again this year, with a current 5 out of 6 record. I am including the Martin Memorial tournament in results this year, which is how he (and a few of us) have more than 3 or 4 matches after our first regular tournament…

Also, as an FYI, exciting to me at least: the club is officially back in the black! I had been running the club at a loss most of the last 5 years, but after today’s rake, the club has a surplus for the first time in a long time. If we keep having turnouts like today’s, that will even hold up after our next meetup dues… I intend to use the surplus for more door prizes or some kind of end of the year party or I don’t know what exactly. More trophies. More fun. That’s what it’s all about.

Anyway, on to the results:

As usual, I put the players who wanted into the side pool(s) into a single bracket to concentrate the higher equity. We also had a couple of players who were just in the main pool playing in that bracket as well, which ended up leading to some complications in the payout at the end… Anyway, in the first round: I beat out Tim, Brad defeated David, Jeremy took out Ed, and Nathan topped Andres. After the second round (in which Nathan came back from a 2-1 deficit to gammon me in the Crawford game!), Nathan and Brad were playing for 1st/2nd. Except – complication – Nathan was not in the side pools and Brad was only in the first side pool. So they were playing for 1st/2nd in the main, but Brad had a lock on 1st in the 1st side pool. In the consolation bracket, it came down to David versus Jeremy, who were both in both side pools. So the consolation winner got the tie for 2nd in the main, 2nd in the 1st side pool, and 1st in the 2nd side pool, while the consolation loser got 2nd in the 2nd side pool. Easy as pie, right? Nathan took 1st, Brad and David got the 2nd places, and Jeremy got the consolation of 2nd in the 2nd, which he proceeded to lose in the post-tournament chouette. So he broke even for the day…

In the “B” bracket, round one had Sandee over Bob, Alec over Robert, Mark (not me, the other Mark) over JB, and Rick over Kyle. Mark and Sandee went on to duke it out for the top bracket, and Rick and Kyle faced off for a second time in the consolation bracket. Mark had first timer’s luck and ended up with the overall win for the bracket, and Rick showed that he was consistent at least against Kyle, beating him a second time for the tie for 2nd.

In the “C” bracket, we had Matt T beating out newcomer Issa, newcomer Matt H beating out newcomer Steve (not really a newcomer, he came to the last chouette, but it was his first tournament), Bodger beating out newcomer Joe, and newcomer Lor beating out newcomer Katherine. What I am trying to get across here is that there were a lot of newcomers in the “C” bracket. Also two different guys named Matt. I try to keep it confusing for everyone… Matt T lost out to Bodger in the final of the top bracket, while Matt H lost out to Joe in the consolation bracket.

We were asked to move from the side of the patio with the heaters to the side of the patio with better lighting at about a quarter to 3, and the party that showed up for the original side took the volume of the place up multiple notches. Fortunately that was late enough in the tournament that many people were free to leave if they wanted, but I was impressed at how many stuck around to keep playing and chatting. When I left (around 4:30), that was mostly the end of the post-tournament chouette, but there were still a handful of folks finishing a drink and playing a bit. March should be significantly warmer if we’re playing outside, and the mask mandate is scheduled to be lifted by then – so I will hopefully see you all again then!


Martin Memorial Board Tournament

We had a good turnout for our first event of 2022, the Martin Memorial Board Tournament. Originally scheduled for our normal home base of the Lucky Lab, we moved it to Claudia’s at kind of the last minute, since the Lab is closed for a week. I am not saying that the ghost of Martin haunted the mind of the Lucky Lab owner to force me to move the event to a location he liked better, but I am not saying he didn’t either.

Seven players showed up to try their luck. Per Martin’s request, we had a brief interlude after the first roll of 1-1, which took place in the match between Bryan and Bodger. We gathered, and Bryan and I each made a short toast to Martin’s memory. It was a lovely moment.

Bryan told the story of how Martin told him, towards the end, that he would have someone contact him when he had passed with an important message. And so, one day in early July 2020, he got a phone call from an unknown number. “Is this Bryan?” the woman asked. “Yes” he replied. “I have a message for you from Martin. Stop taking bad cubes.”

My story was from the first match I played against Martin, back before I had really studied the game, and was really quite a weak player. However, I was having really good dice, which makes you feel like you’re a genius of the game, and at one point I whipped the doubling cube at him. It was either a great cube, or too good. Regardless, Martin gave me such a withering look that I briefly feared for me life.

Over the years, as we played more and I started to become half-decent at the game, I always appreciated Martin’s patient attitude and willingness to help me (and everyone) become better at the game he loved so well.

Anyway – on to the results. Round 1 as already mentioned had Bodger versus Bryan, which Bodger managed a win. I had Kyle in the first round, in a match that felt like it would never end – he started out up, I fought my way back, but it was a lot of single games, no gammons, to finally beat him. Tim had his first match against Jeremy, squeezing out a win there. And Paul had the easiest first round of any of us, with the bye.

Second round, Bodger took me out of the running in a 2 game match. Second game he doubled me early, and I redoubled him when I thought I had it turned around. To my surprise, Bodger took, and then turned the cube back to me at 8 to make it for the match. I was down again at that point, but far from a drop, but he managed to finish me off. Tim, warmed up from his first round, rolled over Paul, and so Tim and Bodger went into the final round for the prize.

Meanwhile, we got a good chouette running – Kyle just watched, but we all had a grand time. Bryan took the box initially and it took some doing to get him out; later Jeremy had a good run in the box as well.

In the final round, it turned into a longer slugfest kind of match. In the end, Tim pulled out the win! So congratulations to Tim, our currently undefeated 2022 Portland backgammon player. I will count this tournament towards 2022 results, so it’s a strong start for him. 🙂

Thanks everyone who came out, thanks everyone who read this and remembered our friend Martin.

See you all at the next one!

December 2021 Tournament Results

We had a fair showing for a holiday weekend/snow hazard/omicron variant final tournament of the year, with 11 players risking their lives to play backgammon.

Before I get into the tournament results, a reminder of how good the Lucky Lab is to our group – turns out they will be closed for the next week, and so we will have to find a new venue for the Martin Memorial tournament next week. The bartender came over to check with me, and apologized because they were also told to close early today. So we had a very brief window to get the tournament done today! The bartender said she was happy to keep the place open a little past when the owner had said to close, if we needed it to finish the tournament. We switched from 5 point matches to 3 point matches at that point (which I should probably have done from the get-go anyway), and wrapped up around 3:45. So look for a venue change announcement soon, and remember to tip the staff the next time we’re back at the Lab.

4 players wanted into the side pool, so I did that as a mini-bracket and put 7 into the main bracket. Main bracket results first: Kyle started off against his “+1”, Bob; Nathan took on Richard, Aaron (not that Aaron, the other one) took on Bodger, and late-comer Nick got the first round bye. Kyle, Richard, and Bodger advanced, Bodger took out Kyle in the second round, and Nick took out Richard. Then in the final, Bodger came out on top, for his third-in-a-row undefeated showing! As the clock was moving, I gave Nick a second place instead of having him stick around until the consolation bracket finished to determine second; Richard eventually came out on top of that bracket, defeating Kyle 3-0 in a flourish of a finish.

In the side-pool bracket, Paul took out Brad in the first round, and I squeaked past Jesse. Paul then proceeded to crush me for 1st place, and Jesse fought his way past Brad to take me on AGAIN for 2nd. I took the first game, then took a cube in the second game which I lost to get us to Crawford; I survived Crawford to get us to 2-all post-Crawford, and then I must have run out of steam because the last game is a blur. I think I spent most of it on the bar…

Thanks all for coming out, and now I can share the much anticipated year-in-review rankings! Here’s the list of everyone with at least 10 tournament matches for 2021, along with their total wins:

Player Played Won %
Mark 21 11 52.38%
Max 17 10 58.82%
Julie 16 7 43.75%
Tim 16 6 37.50%
Brad 14 7 50.00%
Stephanie 14 6 42.86%
Bodger 13 11 84.62%
Kyle 12 6 50.00%
Nathan 11 5 45.45%
Leah 10 6 60.00%
Aaron 10 5 50.00%
Carlos 10 5 50.00%

Max gets the nod for highest participation level – I don’t count for that one since by dint of organizing the events I never ever miss one – with Julie and Tim close behind. But the clear player of the year award has to go to Bodger, with an incredible 11-2 record for the year! Congratulations, Bodger! I’ll bring your trophy to the next regular tournament.

See you all in 2022!