January 8, 2017 Tournament Results

Well… there wasn’t a tournament. The weather made travel problematic for most people. Didn’t stop a couple of us showing up, though. Jarom and I played a money game for about an hour and then hung it up – one dollar changed hands, but only because we didn’t start keeping track until after the first game. But we’ll be back next month!

January 2017 Portland Backgammon Events

Second Saturday Tournament 3:00-6:00 1/8/2017 at Circa 33

3pm for warm-up games, Tournament Games start at 3:30.

Tournament games are 3-point matches with Crawford rule. The idea is that a short match lets even a beginner occasionally get lucky against a pro, and it also lets us get through the matches fairly quick. We do not use game clocks but quick play is encouraged. Tournament structure can be either a double-elimination bracket or a round-robin, depending on turnout – we try to make it so everyone gets at least two matches. Once you’re out of the running, though, feel free to stick around for more one-off games.

Tournament stakes are optional – those that choose to can ante in. Those that don’t wish to can opt out. If you were “in” and you win, Payday! (actual ante, payout schedule, etc. TBD by Mark or guest host – typically top two or three walk away with something.)

Saturday Chouette 1:00-5:00 1/14 at Lucky Lab on Hawthorne

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… πŸ™‚ 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.

Past few months, we’ve done this one the first Saturday of the month, but this month that would be two days in a row of backgammon with our second Sunday tournament; probably go back to first Saturday again in February…

December 11, 2016 Tournament Results

On a cool and wet Sunday, 5 of us gathered at Circa 33 to play our last Second Sunday tournament of 2016. Five people being a small-ish turnout, Rob suggested a round robin format.

We had two newcomers – Julie and Ben – who comported themselves quite well. There’s a slightly unusual situation in the results, because in the final round, Rob and Julie called it quits when they were at 2 games apiece – Rob was down for the night and out of the running, and Julie locked in for second place, and it was getting late. So I scored each of them as getting 1/2 a match for that one. Reminder that since Julie and Ben were new, they start at an Elo score of 1500. And our rules are that in a round robin tournament, the winner of a match can walk away with up to 4 points, for instance if they win a gammon in the final game. Results were as follows:

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Mark 2 4 4 4 14
Rob 0 0 0 2 2
Paul 3 0 0 2 5
Julie 3 3 3 2 11
Ben 0 4 3 0 7
Player Initial Elo Rating Matches Played Matches Won Final Elo Rating
Mark 1608.4 4 3 1617.33
Julie 1500.0 4 3.5 1513.78
Ben 1500.0 4 2 1501.66
Rob 1501.3 4 0.5 1465.42
Paul 1460.8 4 1 1441.79

I took a couple of positions in my match with Paul because I wanted to check them against the computer. Both were doubling decisions, positions where I in fact did offer Paul the cubes. In the images below, I’m black. First one was in our first game, I had him on the bar and felt like this was a little aggressive. Would you offer the cube? If you were red and offered the cube, would you take?

GnuBG says this is a good double, and a pass for red. Paul did in fact pass.

Second position was similar, in that Paul was on the bar again. Keep in mind that this time, he’s down a game.

This one also felt aggressive, and in fact it is too early to double. Paul properly took, and redoubled me a few moves later – which is proper. Down 1-0 in a match to 3, if you own the cube it does you little good to hold it. However wise Paul was in his handling of the cube, though, I did manage to hold on to win the game.

We’ll be back for another on January 8th – hope to see you there.

-Mark

December 3rd 2016 Chouette Results

We had five people turn out – same crew as last month – and broadly similar results. We really need some reinforcements to show up to keep Mark F. from walking away with the match every time! Someone cart Martin back in…

Play started a little late, using Paul’s board, Mark F’s precision dice, and a motley assortment of doubling cubes. We took a table just by the door, where the noise level was lower and the lighting was better – and the door for smokers as close as possible. Play was more or less even for a few games, until Mark F took the box for the first time and held it for 3 games. From there, he never got close to break-even again, although a few others did. Me, I was sinking like a stone.

There were a number of interesting positions that came up, and pictures were taken for later reference. Mark F said that unfortunately the more interesting position he photographed didn’t turn out, but a position where he was offered the cube did – here it is:

chouette-no-1

Here Mark F was white. If this looks like a massive drop – you are correct. However, because we were playing with the Jacoby rule, there’s no gammon chance unless the cube is offered. Thus, it is only a minor error to not turn the cube here.

I realized after I got home that I should have taken some pictures myself to include in this post. But – there was one position of note that I remember all too well. Here it is:

In this one, Mark F is the box, in red. Paul was captain, with Nick and I the field. Rob had cashed out earlier and missed this fun. Anyway: Paul had kept Mark trapped on the one point during bear-off, and we were heading for not just a gammon but a likely backgammon! With five chips on the two-point left to bear off, Paul rolled doubles, leaving a blot on the two-point! Which, naturally, Mark hit. He proceeded to keep us on the bar and/or hit us until he was well into his own bear off. And when we got to the position above, he did us the favor of returning the cubes.

Now, I’m putting this back together from memory – it’s possible there were actually two chips on his one point and one on his two point instead. But the dynamics are the same. Question: is this a take?

1 time in 6 he gets doubles and bears off. But 5 times in 6, he doesn’t, and the field has a chance to roll. To bear off one chip from the 9 point, there are 12 rolls that make it: double 3’s or better, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5, and 5-4. So the field’s odds of winning are 5/6 * 1/3 = 5/18: 27.8%. This is a clear take.

Nonetheless, Paul and Nick said no. I took, Mark F. did not roll doubles, and I got to make the final roll. 27.8% skyrocketed to only 33.3%, so sadly not a redouble opportunity. I shook the cup vigorously, and produced a 5-3. So close. Well, even when it’s the right decision, it doesn’t always work out.

Next month’s chouette will not be the first Saturday, because first Saturday and second Sunday are the same weekend. So look for us the third Saturday of January…

-Mark

December 2016 Events Calendar

Choutte at Lucky Labs on Hawthorne, 1:00-5:00 Saturday December 3rd

We’ll have one board playing for $3 to $5 per point, and if there’s enough interest a second/third/nth board at higher/lower stakes. 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… πŸ™‚ 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 December 11th

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.

November 13, 2016 Tournament Results

Modest turn-out tonight, just 5 of us again. Rob was the host, and decided a round-robin structure would make more sense – guarantees everyone at least 4 games, top two point takers going to play for the prize. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans… Couple of people ended up needing or wanting to leave before we’d gotten all the way around. As such, we ended up with only 7 games played between the 5 players.

No new players at today’s tournament, and so everyone entered with an established Elo score. Here’s how that changed based on today’s play:

Player Initial Elo Rating Matches Played Matches Won Final Elo Rating
Mark 1578.2 3 3 1608.40
Rob 1487.6 3 2 1501.31
Robert 1486.8 3 2 1501.13
Paul 1488.1 2 0 1460.85
Ken 1446.2 3 0 1415.07

Next month we’ll do the same – that is, a 3-point tournament on the second Sunday of the month. Come on out, and bring a friend – we need to build the community!

Mark

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.

-Mark

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 mostΒ  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… πŸ™‚ 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 http://www.nvbg.com/ 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.

-Mark