Ferrer makes major breakthrough in Bristol
by Ian Tarr - Tournament Director
by Rosey Bensley
Thirty-two players, having pre-paid their £50 entry fees,
gathered in the centre of Bristol on Saturday October 11th to
contest the second Bristol “50” tournament, a three
flight, single day event.
The field consisted of many of Britain’s finest players,
together with the cream of talent from in and around Bristol,
which can now arguably be described as the nation’s second
city of backgammon.
Tournament Director Ian Tarr was pleased to welcome – among
others – the new European champion John Slattery, multiple
BIBA event winner Julian Fetterlein, multiple BIBA and Gammonitis
event winner Peter Bennet, and 2001 BIBA British Open champion
Steve Hallett, as well as other BIBA event winners Jeff Ellis,
Jeff Barber and Ed Turner, Gammonitis event winners Roland Herrera
and Wayne Felton, MSO Cambridge winner Uldis Lapikens, 2002 English
Open champion Rosey Bensley, and 2001 BIBA British Open runner-up
and new Bristol Premier League champion, Stuart Mann.
Reigning champion Tim Mooring was sadly not present to defend
The format, a step up from the simple two flight one adopted in
2002, was designed to keep as many players as possible in contention
for as long as possible, with an 11-point main flight, a 7-point
progressive consolation, and a 5-point progressive last chance.
There was even the novelty of a “Lucky Losers 1-Point Shoot-out”,
which allowed the first sixteen last chance losers to fight for
a single place back in the last chance at the quarter-final stage.
Steve Ferrer, a player who has made a substantial impact on the
domestic Bristol scene this year, with five semi-final appearances,
scored what was probably the most notable victory of the opening
round, despatching highly ranked BIBA stalwart Jeff Ellis into
As the results rolled in, there was a good balance of local and
national talent moving into the last sixteen.
In round two we had a re-run of the 2002 British Open final as
Steve Hallett and Stuart Mann met. This time Stuart managed to
turn the tables.
Meanwhile the European champion had been made to fight right to
the wire by both Pat Holly and Jeff Barber, before claiming his
place in the quarter-finals.
Then Slatts, Paul Gilbertson, Dave Motley and Steve Ferrer booked
semi-final places by overcoming Uldis Lapikens, Stuart Mann, Julian
Fetterlein and Steffen Nowak respectively.
Paul is the brother of Slatts’ other half, Rosey Bensley,
so there was a little added significance in their second half
meeting, which eventually went Slatts’ way.
In the other half of the draw Steve, who has appeared jinxed in
so many semi-finals this year, chose the perfect time to break
the mould, and eased past Dave into the final.
This was to be a battle of some sartorial quality.
Slatts’ fashion sense is well documented throughout the
backgammon world. But not quite so well known – yet –
is Steve’s style, which owes a great deal to his time living
The final, as was to be expected, was a hard fought affair, but
in the end it was Steve Ferrer who clinched the £700 cash
first prize with an 11-7 victory, etching his name into the history
books as the second Bristol “50” champion.
Stever Ferrer and
John Slattery with Ian Tarr
There was still plenty of action to be enjoyed, however, as the
other flights approached the final stages.
In the progressive consolation, the sixteen main flight first
round losers had to fight through three rounds to reach the quarter-finals,
Martin Barkwill and Paul Watts coming through.
Simonetta Barone and Steve Hallett were the quarter-finalists
to emerge from the next wave of main flight refugees, followed
by Stuart Mann and Julian Fetterlein, then finally by Dave Motley
and Paul Gilbertson.
The two Pauls, Simonetta and Stuart made the semis for a Bristol
Paul Gilbertson and Simonetta then contested the final, where
Paul – enjoying a recent spate of final appearances –
came out on top.
Meanwhile, there was some doubt as to whether the last chance
would ever finish! But things came together nicely enough, and
the whole thing was wrapped up by midnight.
Uldis Lapikens managed to make two appearances in this flight
by coming through the 1-point shoot-out. That was his lot, however,
and the final was fought out between Kevin White, who had to overcome
six opponents just to get there, and Stuart Mann, who had slotted
in at the quarter-final stage.
Stuart won the final, and the second Bristol “50”
had been successfully completed with barely a hitch.
From a purely Bristol perspective, the event was very satisfying.
All six prize winners had Bristol connections. Steve Ferrer, Simonetta
Barone, Stuart Mann and Kevin White have all played their “bread
and butter” backgammon in Bristol competition in recent
Slatts, of course, plays nearly everywhere, but Bristol is one
of his favourite haunts, and he has twice won the Bristol Premier
And Paul Gilbertson is also an occasional, but very welcome, visitor
to Bristol Grand Prix tournaments.
Tournament Director Ian Tarr will now be looking to establish
the event as a regular fixture in the annual British tournament
calendar, possibly finding a home in September. And he will explore
the possibility of expanding it into a two day event in future