Bright 'n' Breezy January 15-17, 2016
No event in 2014
Steve Lee - 2016 Champion
Last Chance (64)
Doggy Paddle (32)
Friday 150 (44)
Jon Barnes & Paul Gilbertson
Mick Vacarey Poker Tankard
Biddle & Bray / Jon & Romolo
(to be updated)
Grand Prix points for this tournament
|10.47||Alison van Loon|
NB: See here for Championship listing
Biba Backgammon Tour points for this tournament
|0.50||1||Alison van Loon|
Click here for BBT web page
Bright 'n' Breezy January 2016
Report by Michael Crane
According to my reckoning I was expecting around 85 or 86 ..... 103 turned out! Not bad at all, but not a record, the highest turnout was 116 in 2002 when the late, Brian Busfield, won it. Getting so many non- Pre-Registered entrants might sound good . . . but it could have been very bad! More on this later . .
It all kicked off Friday night when 44 sat down to play. It might have been 45 but one entrant refused to enter having not read the information sent out via the Bibafax, the web site and Facebook and didn't want to pay to enter. What more can I do to ensure all relevant information gets out there? Knock on your door and tell you face-to-face?
The 44 were whittled down to the semis between Graham Read vs Dorothy Lee and Paul Gilbertson vs Wayne Joseph; fixtures from which Graham and Paul emerged into the Final. Graham prevailed and he took top points (BBT and GP).
Saturday morning saw the draw slowly creep past the 86 mark and there then followed a rush to find more seating! By 1 o'clock we'd got the extra chairs and tables sorted and the draw was made. Defending Champion, Jerry Limb fell in his match to Cecelia Sparke. Former winners; Bob Young fell to Ana Mancino in Round 2, as did John Hurst to Paul Plumptre and Geoff Conn to Kevin Jones - so a new name was going to be added to the list.
In the semis pitched against each other were Steve Lee vs Neil Davidson and Eric McAlpine vs Mike Murton - and Steve and Eric came out to face each other in the Final.
The match began with Steve (black) winning two points in the first game and by Game 7 they were tied at 5-5. By Game 10 Steve had dropped to 6-8 and Eric took the next game to 6-10 Crawford; the score starts to move in Steve's favour 7-10, 8-10 and it's here it all happens ...
It all starts off OK, Steve starts with 63: 24/18, 13/10. Quite correct for today's play making the 'old' play of running a back checker 24/15 an error.
Eric's reply turned out to be a big mistake (a 1296 rollout didn't really cover it attributing it as an error @ -0.024). As expected, Steve cubed and Eric took.
Steve then rolled . . .
. . . which, in itself looks good but it is a blunder according to XG. Preference is given to 25/22, 8/5*(3) avoiding a direct blot on the 5-point. Considering that Steve's looking for a gammon and the match leaving a 5-point blot on isn't the right way to go about it. He needs to make inner points and to make them quickly. Eric came in with 64: 25/21.
Steve misses a great opportunity here to put Eric back on the bar with 8/4*, 6/4; instead he chooses to make his 18-point and lift the 2. As mentioned above his priority is a gammon and this play almost halves his gammon chances (GC).
Eric comes in and hits further reducing Steve's GC into the bargain. Steve comes in followed by Eric with 63: 22/13.
Eric's two blots are back on the bar but Steve still hasn't made his very important 5-point. Slightly better (according to XG) is the simple 13/5*(2).
A great roll for Steve as he keeps on hitting.
Eric dances on Steve's two-point board.
A much better play here is shipping across two checkers from the mid-point, 13/9, 13/8. It blocks off escaping 44 while giving the same covering rolls for the 5-point or other.
At last, the 5-point is made. Eric is now in real trouble; with around 19% game winning chances (GWC) and with Steve on 60% GC it looks very likely that Steve will prevail. All he has to do is close off his remaining open points, bearoff safely and take the match.
One more 4 from Eric and he's back in the game.
Steve has to stop Eric anchoring and this play isn't going to help that plan. He needs to have a direct shot at his 4-point and the only play to do that is 13/8. Eric dances with 65.
Hitting is correct but not as a pick&pass. By far the better play here is 13/10, 13/4*. The 13/10 gives a direct 6 added to the 7 from the 11-point to complete the prime and almost certainly seal Eric's fate. Eric dances again, 51. From here, for several moves, Eric keeps dancing with both checkers and Steve comes around and in but never manages to complete the six-prime. He then rolls this ...
Just one bad roll between Steve and a 95% GC to win the match – he doesn’t roll it. Eric remains static until ...
It's impossible for Eric to win the game but if he saves the gammon he's in with a chance of the match; however, with Steve on 99.95% GC it's in the laps of the Dice Gods. Sadly, for Eric, it was their day off and Steve bore off to be the 2016 Bright 'n' Breezy Champion. Well done, Steve, and hard luck, Eric. This match can be viewed (when available) and/or downloaded from Games.
And now the good news .....
From the Main the Consolation went on with ninety-nine entering, many of them at different stages thanks to the Progressive side. From the non-Prog side the last four were Gaz Owen vs Robert Perry and Antonio Sgambato vs Richard Biddle with the two first mentioned fighting it out for a place in the Final, an encounter that saw Gaz get the better of Antonio. From the Prog side Peter Ozanne saw off Mardi Ohannessian and Phil Churton to sit opposite Gaz; and it was he that came out the Consolation winner.
The Last Chance, an open 64 draw of 5-point matches had Chris Rogers beat Peter Christmas and Neil Webb beat Paul Barwick in the semis and then Chris carried on to take 1st place.
The 3-point Doggy Paddle saw Richard Biddle beat Cecelia Spark in the Final. Also, over the weekend: Mark Calderbank won the inaugural Mick Vacarey Poker Tankard and Jon & Romolo and Biddle & Bray shared 1st place in the Doubles. Rosie's Rollout had two winners - the highest dice rolled and the lowest dice rolled: Jon Barnes and Rosie’s brother, Paul Gilbertson.
It was a hectic but rewarding weekend with lots of backgammon played and just a couple of 'contentions'. One was a 'shaking and rolling' issue - "Give 'em a good shake and throw 'em onto the board," was my advice; the other was an allegation of 'dice manipulation' - not about someone I'd ever suspect of such a thing but using two hands to move the checkers is against the rules!
Finally, the 103 'too many entrants' issue. Over the weekend I was asked by many entrants who hadn't bothered to pre-pay their Registration Fee "what's the point if it's unlimited entry?" The point is a very serious one. Event venues are governed by strict Health & Safety Regulations relating to the number of persons a room can hold - and that number is partly dictated by the amount of 'obstacles' (tables and chairs to you and I) in the room. At 86 we were OK, at 103 we were close to having to turn some entrants away from the playing room! If we hadn't been able to secure an extra playing room we could have been in breach of H&S Regulations .... which would not be good for the The Ship.
Therefore, we need to know who is entering in all future unlimited entry events to be absolutely certain that we have a playing room or rooms to take that number. If we exceed it there's a possibility that the venue hosts will bar some entrants from the room(s) provided.
Finally. I’d like to say “woof, woof woof, woof,” to Dexter for sponsoring the event and to thank him for brining Paul Gilbertson with him. Deana Fawcett worked extremely hard over the weekend and I couldn’t have managed without her; Sharen did her bit and helped us keep going. I’d also like to thank everyone who turned out and a special ‘thank you’ to our friends from Monte Carlo – it was nice to meet you all. When I win the Lotto ......
Lastly, thank you to Simon Kelly from BridgeOverseas who arranged and managed the accommodation. It all went without a hitch.