February 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had an excellent turnout for this month’s event – 22 players showed up to compete, including 6 first timers! We really took over the space… as I was getting everyone settled, one guy who was not there for the event commented about it being quite a good show – I invited him to join in, but he had to demur, although he did take one of the fliers and so maybe we’ll get him next time. Also on the outreach theme – there was a couple who came to play with one another who ended up in the corner of the room – again they got a card and who knows, maybe they’ll come in the future. Also, one of the newcomers found us through a means other than Meetup, which is the first sign of our new push for greater social media presence paying off! Granted she came through Facebook instead of Instagram – it’s just a matter of time. I also got a lot of good feedback about the YouTube channel, so our social media game has really gotten strong!

A big thanks to Mark A, for doing a little bit of tournament maintenance at the outset making sure everyone was well set up, until a late arriving first timer took away what would otherwise have been his first round bye.

In the “A” bracket, we started off round 1 with Jeremy K (fresh back from his victories in the San Antonio ABT tournament) overcoming Bodger, me (fresh off my victories in the Seattle Winter Invitational) over Max (visiting from Seattle), Kyle over Dave (fresh off his victories in the Seattle Winter Invitational), and Michael G (exciting to see him in person again!) over Bob H (ditto!). Jeremy and I went on to face off in the final, and I narrowly defeated him. Dave ended up winning the consolation bracket over Bodger.

The “B” bracket ended up being the small one, with just 6 players, 4 of them first timers. This made it impossible for me to completely pair experienced with new, and so we had first-timer Alex playing first-timer Beebe – but that seemed to go alright. Also in round one we had first-timer Kristin (who by the way wins the award for most consistent participant in the recently concluded online study group) over Mir (who was late getting into the study group but made up for it by his track record once in), and Joel over first-timer Bob M. Kristin went on to win the final over Joel, with Mir taking the consolation bracket.

The “C” bracket started off with Cam over first-timer Neil, Ed over first-timer Gene, Tim T (without his daughter this month) over Julie, and first-timer (and later arriver) Jeremy A over Mark A. Ed went on to win the bracket over Cam, with Gene taking the consolation bracket.

So overall – 6 new players, and 2 of them cashed! We like first-timers to cash, makes them more enthusiastic to come back. But I got the sense that a number of them are going to become regulars – I believe it was Bob M telling me that he couldn’t bring his board this month because they hadn’t finished unpacking yet.

Our next event is going to be the first Championship Qualifier for 2024 – go to meetup and RSVP if you haven’t already. And our regular tournament for March will be pushed forward one day, so it falls on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s day instead of on St. Patrick’s day — just in case that impacts space availability. See you there!


January 2024 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a good start to our 2024 tournament series this afternoon. 16 people braved the (falling) rain, (melting) snow, and (also melting) ice to come out to Lucky Lab for the event. 16 makes 2 perfect 8 person brackets, which makes my life so much easier for keeping things running, I greatly appreciate it when we manage to arrive in multiples of 8…

In the “A” bracket, round 1 saw Mir face off against Bodger, Jeremy (fresh back from cashing in the New York ABT tournament) against Dave (2022 and 2023 Player of the Year, remember), me against Tim T (who came to spend time playing with his daughter, but they ended up in different brackets, so their playing together had to wait), and Andres (with a fancy new board he brought back from Peru) against Kyle. First player mentioned won in each pairing, as usual. After some quite serious backgammon, Jeremy won the bracket, with me taking second, and Dave winning the consolation bracket.

In the “B” bracket, round 1 had Buzz (newcomer and apparently a professional pool player?!?) against Mark A, Leah against Sarah T (who came to spend time playing with her father, but they ended up in different brackets, so their playing together had to wait), Tim E against Shayan (our other newcomer, who did quite well in spite of not having used the doubling cube before!), and Julie against Joel. Once again the first mentioned player in each pair won that round. In the final, Leah took it away from Tim E, while Julie went on to win the consolation bracket.

I took a bunch of pictures, in support of our club’s new Instagram account. (Did you know that we now have an Instagram account? We now have an Instagram account.) Including this one, the two bracket champions celebrating their early lead in the race for Player of the Year.


Our next regular tournament is coming up on February 18th, and the first Championship Qualifier is coming up on March 2nd. RSVP through meetup today, and I will see you there, then!


December 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results & Annual Wrap-Up

We had a modest turn-out for our final monthly tournament of the year — 11 players came out on a damp and grey afternoon to play a little backgammon. When I told my wife how I was a little disappointed in the low turnout, she noted that we had just had our largest turnout event of the year the weekend before, and so maybe people were worn out on backgammon. I looked at her with a complete lack of comprehension, as I began packing for the upcoming LA tournament (for my third weekend in a row of backgammon…)

Anyway – I was hoping for a few people who had RSVP’d to show up a little late, and figured we had enough for two brackets, so we ended up with one 5-person bracket, and one 6-person bracket.

In the “A” bracket, the first round had Larry versus Bodger, and David versus Leah. That’s only 4 names, you will notice, because taking a first round bye was yours truly. The David versus Leah match was the most consequential one, if you read my note from the Championship tournament, you will recall that Leah went into the day with a narrow lead in the competition for Player of the Year, having one more net win than David. So if David won, he would end up flipping that – adding one win to his tally and one loss to hers. David took an early lead in the match, but then Leah began fighting her way back. Ultimately they went to 4 each in the match to 5, and it all came down to one game! I watched from a distance, as Leah put Dave on the bar, and started moving her checkers around for the close-out; but then Dave got the miracle hit from off the bar and came back for the win!

In the second round, I played Dave, in a very quick, intense, and not particularly well played match. We both had pretty lousy PRs coming off the one-game match – me from a few bad choices for checker play plus a bit of tricky cube choices, and Dave from a single blunder with the cube that cost him almost as much in equity as I got from 3 separate blunders. I am hoping and planning to put this one on YouTube (have you checked out my YouTube channel yet?), but here’s one of the blunders from my side.

Screenshot 2023-12-06 1.55.07 PM

First game in the match to 5, I am holding the cube, I have Dave nearly closed out, and double 2 is one of my better rolls. I immediately made the switch, playing 3/1*(2), then started looking for what to do with the other two 2’s. And then I noticed that, instead of making the switch, I could make a full prime in front of him with 11/7, 9/7, and throw in 8/6 for good measure. It looked so pretty that I went with that, which is only a -0.124 blunder. There are about 8 better moves, and every single one of them includes 3/1*(2) as part of the action, with the best being to add 18/16(2) so that you don’t end up with (spoiler alert) an awkward 6 on the next roll.

After finishing with me, Dave went on to win his third match in a row, bringing him to the highest net wins of anyone in the club for the year, and making him our Player of the Year for the second year running!


Congratulations, Dave!

That’s a lot about the “A” bracket. Over in the “B” bracket, in round 1, Mir took on Mark A, Ed was paired with Tim, and Matt faced off against Nathan. Mir went on to win the bracket over Matt, and Nathan came back through the consolation bracket to cash there.

For the year in review: golly did we play a lot of backgammon! Adding in the Championship series moved us from 15 events last year to 20 events this year. We had slightly fewer people attend an event in 2023 than in 2022, but much higher engagement from the people who did attend, with the average number of events attended per person moving up from 3.4 last year to 3.9 this year. Bodger gets special mention for being the only person (other than me) to make it to every single tournament – what a maniac!

My (idiosyncratic) way of ranking players is to take the total number of matches won minus the total number of matches lost for the year, and use that to order people. The idea is that it rewards both winning and participation – in other words, someone can be on the list for showing up a handful of times and playing really dominantly (for example, Sanam or Paul), or for showing up very consistently and playing pretty well each time (for example, David or Kyle). With that explanation out of the way, here is the list of the top players and their stats for 2023:

Player Played Won Wins-Losses % Events Attended
David Cohen 46 28 10 60.87% 18
Mark Danburg-Wyld 57 33 9 57.89% 20
Jeremy Krieger 36 22 8 61.11% 12
Sanam V 14 11 8 78.57% 6
Leah Nash 21 14 7 66.67% 9
Paul Swain 17 12 7 70.59% 7
Nathan Alter 23 15 7 65.22% 7
JB Groh 8 7 6 87.50% 3
Mir 8 7 6 87.50% 2
Kyle Petersen 42 23 4 54.76% 14
Pete Anderson 7 5 3 71.43% 3
Howard 3 3 3 100.00% 1
Bodger Andrew millerd 58 30 2 51.72% 20

Thanks everyone for a great 2023, and we’ll start of 2024 soon!


2023 Backgammon Championship Tournament

What a day! We had the busiest backgammon tournament of the year this afternoon, by a long shot! In addition to the 12 players who made it into the championship bracket, we had another dozen who came to play in the 5-point blitzes “friends” events. I had a slight panic attack as play was starting that we were not going to have enough boards, since I foolishly did not bring my bag of spares. But some of the later arrivals all brought boards, and Diane’s husband kindly brought in her little travel board, and we somehow squeaked by – at one point every board anyone had brought was in use, though!

For the Women’s Tournament, in the first round both Leah and Sanam had a bye. Julie faced off against Hengameh, under Sanam’s watchful eye, and Julie emerged victorious! Diane (on Kyle’s board, not her own) played with Andrea (Ahn-DREY-ah, not AND-rhea, btw), also coming out with the win!

In the second round, Leah and Julie faced off. Leah took an early lead, winning a single in the first game, and 4 points in the second game! Both of them talked to me about the critical decision moment in that game afterwards: with the following position, Leah recubed Julie, who took:

Screenshot 2023-11-25 10.27.43 PM

For those who are not as used to following this: Leah (playing red) is ahead 1 to 0 in the match to 7, and is holding the cube at 2. With two checkers left to bear off, she offers the cube to Julie at 4. If Julie takes, and Leah rolls a 1, other than double 1’s, the Leah will win 4 points. If Julie drops, Leah will win 2 points. Julie was unsure if she should have taken, but it was absolutely correct! 10 times out of 36, Leah rolls a 1 but not double 1’s, and then Julie wins 4 points. So more than a quarter of the time, she wins. If you can win more than a quarter of the time, and cannot lose a gammon, it’s a big take, and here it is – dropping would be a -0.081 blunder. Of course, failing to double would be an even bigger blunder – if Leah had not offered the cube she would have been giving up -0.475 in equity!

Anyway – Julie clawed her way back from this 5-0 deficit, and they went on to a very even match score at the end; but Leah did manage to come out on top!

Meanwhile, Sanam and Diane were going back and forth over Kyle’s board. I got a lot less play-by-play there, but Sanam did secure the victory, and so she advanced to play Leah in the final!


After a closely fought match, Sanam emerged as the 2023 Portland Backgammon Club’s Women’s Champion!


In the Men’s Tournament, Paul had a first round bye. Due to some miscommunications, Andres unfortunately did not make it, and so forfeited to Molly in round 1. Kyle faced off against Dave (on Dave’s board since he had loaned his to the cause), and came out on top. And Tim played against Jesse, securing a first round victory on his own board, making him the only home board advantage of the day I believe.

In the second round, Paul took out Kyle after a fair amount of back and forth. Tim took an early lead over Molly, securing a 5-0 lead – shades of what happened in the match of Julie against Leah! And just as in that match, Molly began clawing her way back, making it a very tight match by the end – one in which Molly came out on top!

And so we had Molly facing Paul in the final round:


Paul got off to a good start, and soon Molly again found herself in a position of trailing 5-0! I happened to get a photo of a position that came up in that next game, where Molly offered Paul the following cube:

Screenshot 2023-11-25 10.54.28 PM


That is, Molly, here playing white, is offering Paul a cube. If he takes and pulls off the win, he wins the match. With a double anchor on Molly’s home board, his winning chances are not bad – but the deficit in the race is not enough for a back game. If he drops, Molly is on the board, trailing 5-1. Should he take?

It is a very good cube, and a very close one. The difference between the double  and playing on is about -0.02. But it is an enormous pass – about -0.4  blunder to even consider a take. It was a good start for Molly to begin clawing her way back. However, this time she could not quite get all the way to victory, and so Paul came out as the 2023 Portland Backgammon Club’s Men’s Champion!


Congratulations to both our champions!


Meanwhile, while all this was going on, we ran a total of 6 (!) 4-person blitz brackets – congrats also to Pete, Bodger, Jeremy (twice), and Mir (also twice) on winning those events!

So an awful lot of backgammon got played. You may be wondering what that means for the race for Player of the Year. Well, let me tell you: it’s super close right now. Leah is currently leading – by 1 game! Tied for second right behind her are Dave, Jeremy, and Sanam. And Paul trails them by only 1 more! So depending on who can make next week’s monthly tournament and how they do, it could easily go to any of them! Did I mention that JB and Nathan are right behind Paul? I have no idea who is going to get the prize! Come out next Sunday and let’s see!


November Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a nice showing for this afternoon’s monthly tournament – 17 players made it. The bar was a bit of a zoo – two different birthday parties were happening on the patio, and the line to get food or drink was substantial. Then a couple of hours into the event, the rains began, and they were heavy! But we were all warm and dry inside, and having a grand time.

Two new players showed up this month, plus a number of folks we haven’t seen in a while. With 17 people, I had to have a play-in in one of the brackets, but it all seemed to work out pretty well.

In the “A” bracket, round 1 had Tim defeat Kyle, me over Joel, Jeremy over Philip, and Ed over Bodger. Jeremy and I went on to face off in the final, and I managed to pull it off! Sadly, my camera seems to have died about 12 minutes into the match, and so I won’t be able to put it on YouTube. Maybe one of the others will make it… Bodger went on to win the consolation bracket over Ed.

In the “B” bracket, newcomer Corinna took out Mark A, Nathan beat Larry, Julie steamrolled Dawn, and Steven won over newcomer John. Nathan went on to win the bracket, over Steven, and Mir (who didn’t have a ‘first round’ opponent because of there being 9 players) took the consolation bracket over Larry.

The year is rapidly coming towards a close, we have just two scheduled tournaments on the calendar before 2024 is upon us: the normal monthly tournament on December 3rd, and the Championship + Friends tournament on November 25th. As we head into the end of the year, I thought I would share some statistics. So far this year, we have had 73 people attend at least one tournament, and we’ve had a record breaking 18 tournament events to date! Last year, we only had 15 recorded tournaments total! So in spite of a smaller “Tour of Patios” season than last year (3 events versus 4), the Championship Qualifiers made up the ground. Last year, however, we ended up with over 80 people who attended at least one event, so we have lost a little ground on that metric. Maybe we will get 8 newcomers (or long time missing returners) over the next couple of events, though – you never know! Hope to see you there, and bring a friend!


October 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a nice showing for this month’s (very early in the month) tournament – 14 players showed up to play, plus Christine from the Puget Sound club stopped by to say hello (she had a wedding to attend and so could not stay long enough to actually play). We had 3 newcomers, plus a returning newcomer from last month – overall quite a good turnout for such a sunny and pleasant day.

Bodger and I played a couple of matches of speedgammon before the tournament started, to help him warm up for attending the Denver Open later this week (where he plans to play that event). With a 90 second time bank for a 5 point match, it is a very frantic event! First match we did in one game (with the cube up to 8); the second actually took multiple games. Bodger smoked me in both of them, which hopefully bodes well for his performance in Denver.

In the “A” bracket, I had only 6 players, so there were some second round byes. In round 1, Leah beat out Dave, Bodger defeated first-timer Giless, and Elliott (who has played before in an online event back when we were doing those) skunked me. Leah went on to win the bracket, with Bodger taking second (which hopefully bodes well for his performance in Denver). Dave squeaked out the Consolation bracket win over Elliott.

In the “B” bracket, Cam beat out Larry in round 1, as did first-timer Rich over Ceci, Terry over Kyle, and first-timer Diane over Mark A. Cam went on to win the bracket, with Rich taking second; Terry won the Consolation bracket over Ceci.

We will meet again at the end of the month for the final “Championship Qualifier”, followed one week later by the November tournament – as the weather turns colder and wetter I expect more people will see the attraction of spending the day inside playing gammon – hope to see you there!


September 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a good turnout for the return to the fall tournament series, back at our “home base” of Lucky Lab. 18 players showed up for the tournament, plus many more for the “Second Sunday” event that was happening at the same time. We had 5 new players in the tournament this time, which is a record for new participants this year, I think! We actually had 16 when I first started to do the draw, but one more showed up after I had drawn the “A” bracket, and then the last guy about 15 minutes later, but I figured out a way to deal him in too – better a 10 person bracket than a 9 person bracket…

In the “A” bracket first round, Dave took out Bodger, Kyle defeated Cam, Sanam beat Joel, and I squeaked past Tim. Dave went on the beat Kyle in the final of the Main, and I had a rematch against Tim to win the Consolation bracket.

In the “B” bracket first round, Mark A took out first timer Sarah, Ian took down Jesse, Tim (Sarah’s partner) beat out Nathan, visiting player from SoCal Larry defeated Matt, and Jack (also a newcomer) got the bye. Jack then took on Larry, and shortly after that, Brad (also a newcomer) showed up, so I put him in against Mark A. Eventually, somehow, it all worked out, and Mark A won the Main bracket against Larry, while Nathan came back to defeat Jack for the Consolation bracket.

I did record (and subsequently transcribe) all of my matches from the day, so I do have some interesting positions to look at. This one is from my match against Kyle (where I played… very poorly). Kyle is leading 2-1 in our match to 5. Our positions are more or less equal – he’s escaped both his back checkers to my bar point, but I only have one checker back and have started slotting points to build my board. And then this happened.

Screenshot 2023-09-11 8.37.24 PM

So this is a great roll, if I want to jump out and hit him in the outfield – with a one point home board and two blots for him to hit back. Or, I can play quietly, something like 13/8, 6/2 – build my board and wait for a better opportunity. Over the board, I decided that patience was a virtue – but the correct move (by a lot) is to hit! Sure, it will turn into a blot-hitting contest with me as the main course; but he also only has a one point home board, and besides, hitting is fun! This was far from my worst blunder of the match (or indeed of the day), but it’s one that’s typical for me and I’m trying to burn it out of my brain. Hitting feels risky, because it leaves three blots lying around, letting him hit with 2’s, 3’s, and 5’s. But I re-enter 35/36 times if hit, and if he happens to roll a 6, it’s kinda awkward for him even if it’s a hitting number like 6-2. When in doubt, hit!

Anyway – in spite of some longish waits between matches for some players, the afternoon went pretty well and a good time was had by most-if-not-all. Hope to see you all at the next one!


Tour of Patios #3 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a fair showing for our final “Tour of Patios” event of the year – 11 players came out to Breakside Dekum (which, to be fair, is more of a sidewalk than a patio). It was largely the usuals, but a couple of players who haven’t been in for a while as well – Andres (who beat me in a hard fought first round match), and Leslie (who brought her daughter, Nina, and then the random draw set them against one another!)

Anyway, with a smaller field, we only had 4 brackets run – congratulations to Julie, Bodger, Kyle, and me on the bracket wins! Julie noted that she wins just often enough to keep her sense of optimism going, which I think resonates for all of us…

I attempted to record my matches, but I “upgraded” my camera to one that I apparently don’t know how to use – almost none of the recordings are usable. In the first, which was just Dave and I doing some money games before the matches started, I literally can’t see the right-hand side of the board at all. Terrible. But, I did get close enough on my final match, against Jeremy, to be able to transcribe that (single game) match. Here are a couple of points from that one that I think are a little interesting.

First up is a cube decision that Jeremy gave me. Spoiler alert, it’s a great time for him to cube – but should I take, or drop?

Screenshot 2023-08-13 8.09.45 AM

For these kinds of decisions, I like to use the “Position, Race, and Threat” analysis schema to think through it. If your opponent only has 2 out of 3, it’s probably a take. If he has all 3, it’s likely a drop. Here, Jeremy is definitely up in position, having mostly escaped his back checkers, while mine are stuck back on his ace point. He’s also up in the race, something I did not bother to check at the time, but which was obvious because he had rolled double 6’s the sequence before and we were early in the game. And threat – well, yes, he has the threat of priming my back checkers! So I should have dropped. But over the board, I did not actually use the “Position, Race, and Threat” analysis schema, I just said “oh, it’s early” and grabbed the cube to use as a weapon later on. GnuBG rates this as about a -0.152 blunder – my winning chances are good enough, but I also get gammoned a lot, and so it’s a massive drop!

And here’s the point where I decided that I had turned things around enough to offer the cube back to Jeremy – should I have doubled from here?

Screenshot 2023-08-13 8.19.22 AM

For recubes, one key thing is to know what “market losers” you have – what can you roll that would make it impossible for your opponent to take. Here, I escape with any 4, 5, or 6, and I step up my last checker off the ace point with any 3. If I happen to roll just 1’s and 2’s, well, I can safely play those in my home board. So nothing can go wrong, and most of my rolls put me in a much better position, so I figured I was good enough to take it up to a 4-cube. But I am not good enough just yet! GnuBG rates my recube as a -0.166 blunder, so slightly worse even than my take! If my back checker was also on his 4-point, or if my checker on his 4-point was up to where it could directly hit his blot in my outfield – then it would be a proper redouble. So I was premature. However, I was also lucky – Jeremy snatched up the 4-cube, but then the dice went completely in my direction and I was able to win a gammon to win the match in one game.

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon, thanks to everyone who came out. Next event is the Men’s Championship Qualifier/Women’s Championship Qualifier double-event, back at Lucky Lab, on the 27th – hope to see you all there!


Tour of Patios #2 Results

We had a great turnout last Sunday for the 2nd “Tour of Patios” backgammon tournament at Bar Bar. 17 players came out to play, and play we did! We ended up running 8 total brackets, and ended up with 8 different winners! Congratulations to Dave, Kyle, me, Steven, Paul, Nick, Bodger, and Cam on the wins!

I did not end up using my overhead camera set-up this time, but I did take pictures of a number of interesting positions that came up. This first one is a cube decision and a variation that came out of my first round match against Nick (who came out for the first time in quite a while, it was good to see him again…)

Screenshot 2023-08-02 7.17.03 PM

I’m leading 1-0 in our match to 5, but score doesn’t seem to matter in the bit I have played with this on the machine. I did not do a full pip-count over the board, but I am clearly ahead in the race. What I actually did was count cross-overs to get to bear-off: I have 14, Nick has 17. That is, each of his checkers in my homeboard need to do 3 cross-overs to reach his homeboard, those in my outfield need 2 each, etc. Anyway – I have the race lead. My position isn’t amazing but his is terrible, having just had to split a checker off his 3 point to his ace point to avoid leaving a direct shot. And in terms of threats, well – there’s always double 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s but I am not too worried about hitting loose on my 4 point. So I have position (a little), race (a lot), and threat (a smidge) – should be a double and a pass. And it is! It would have only been about -0.025 error to not double, but the drop is huge -0.430 or so mega-monster blunder to take. Nick then pointed out that if he still had his 3 point made, he thought it would be a take, and it is!

Screenshot 2023-08-02 7.24.03 PM

One checker, moved two pips, makes an enormous difference! Now it would be about a -0.105 blunder to not double, but also a -0.044 error to drop! With the fourth point made on his home board, my threats are completely neutralized – hitting loose would be suicidal. I thought that was a great observation, and the kind of thing that I love about this game: a seemingly small change that is, in fact, a huge difference!

The next couple of positions were from that same match, one game later. After a lot of standoffs, we eventually got into a race and in the bear-off I faced the doubling decision below:

Screenshot 2023-08-02 7.31.50 PM

In these kinds of positions, I have been using a technique called the Keith Count to guide my decisions. Here, with perfect rolling but without doubles, I need 4 rolls to get off, but Nick needs only 3. On the other hand, that’s not likely. He’s got a double gap, and I have a gap on the 2 point. So it’s complex. My Keith Count is 33 and a bit, his is 29, so the difference is 4 and a bit. I often ignore the “and a bit” part of that, but a difference of 4 is the cut-off between doubling and not doubling, so here that “and a bit” matters. I decided to roll on. Which is correct by a lot! If I doubled and he took, my equity drops by 0.095, putting a double into the category of a blunder (unless he made an even bigger blunder by passing, but he confirmed that he would have taken here).

A couple of rolls later, I faced the following position:

Screenshot 2023-08-02 7.40.09 PM

Again, perfect rolls would make this a two-roll versus two-roll position, which is a double/pass. But we both have gaps, so it will more likely take 3 rolls each, but 3-roll versus 3-roll is also a double/pass. Keith Count puts me at 19 and a bit, him at 16, for a difference of 3 and a bit, which is a double and a take. So, I doubled. I think I would have doubled just based on it being kind of 3-roll versus 3-roll, but having learned the Keith Count made me far more confident about the move, which is correct! Not doubling would have been about a -0.18 blunder.

The last position is a checker play decision that came up in my match against Kyle. As you can probably guess from the position, there’d been a fair amount of hitting early on in this game…

Screenshot 2023-08-02 7.47.17 PM

This 6-3 roll provides me with a lot of choices! I can anchor on his 5 point, safety the blot on the 14 point, make my own 3 point, and probably a dozen other things! I looked at making my 3 point (9/3, 6/3), on grounds that it strengthens my board and the other side is a mess anyway. I looked at 20/14, 9/6 on grounds that it cleans up almost everything. But ultimately, I went with 23/20 as the strongest use of the 3, which left 14/8 as the strongest use of the 6. When I ran it through the machine, I was glad to see that I was right, but I was also shocked to see that everything else was a massive blunder! The second best move was 23/20, 9/3, which I didn’t even look at, and that’s a -0.195 double-blunder!

Anyway: as I mentioned, we ran 8 brackets, and so play went until around 6pm. I actually left before the last two brackets had resolved, and relied on the players to report back to me afterwards. It was a great afternoon of backgammon. See you all at the next one!


June 2023 Backgammon Tournament Results

We had a pretty good turnout for today’s event – 15 players showed up on a cool and wet afternoon. I was hoping the unseasonably wet weather would inspire more people to show up, but alas. Still, 15 is a good showing. This month we did not get any brand new players, but we did have quite a few who haven’t been in a while.

We had a bye in the A bracket, which by legitimately random chance ended up with me. That was nice, it gave me time to figure out all the payouts etc. The rest of the field started with Jeremy over Bodger, Dave over Tim, and Kyle over Jesse. After my easy start, I did cruise on to victory, beating out Kyle in a tightly fought match. Jeremy won the consolation bracket.

The B bracket was a full field, starting with Andrea (who came in second in the last Women’s Championship Qualifier) over Cam, Elton (who hasn’t been in a while but has been before) over Steven, Joel over Mark A, and Sanam over Julie. Sanam and Andrea went on to face off in the finals, which Sanam won. It’s only a couple of appearances, but this does mean Sanam is currently the only undefeated player with more than one tournament appearance… Mark A won the consolation bracket.

As the tournament wound down, we had a good chouette going for those of us who hadn’t had enough yet, and the rain started to come down pretty hard! Just for a few minutes, it felt like fall.

I did record my matches for the day, and will get those transcribed eventually. Hopefully I got the camera to an angle where you can see the whole board this time. We’ll see, but I am toying with the idea of adding analysis and commentary and loading them to youtube… stay tuned!

Next event is a few weeks out, our first Tour of Patios for the summer, see you there!