Every year a ship load of brits make the journey over to Monte for the World Championships. A bunch of them stop at the Miramar, just outside Monte and it's from there that Myke Wignall and Tim Mooring base their reports.
The Eden Plaj 2005 Backgammon Tournament
For those who don't know, Eden Plaj is a beach hidden in the Garden of Eden at the bottom of a hill in Cap D'Ail (Monte Carlo). It's a real chill-out place with shaded flower-covered terraces, cool tunes and fabulous views over a blue sea. And once a year, it's also host to a flock of backgammon players. So Paul (Gilbertson) and I got to know Maurice and the lovely girls who work at Eden and decided to start a little backgammon tournament. Backgammon, beach, great food, drink, girls and girls and more girls - what more could we ask for?
This being the second year of the tournament, we had some beautiful agate trophies made and were lucky to have added prizes donated by two of the most enthusiastic supporters of backgammon, John Slattery and Michael Crane. John donated a Hatrick Board for the winner (a great prize, and if you check out Hatrick Boards, you'll see they come in as many colours as John's suits!). Michael generously donated a Hotel Weekend with tournament entry and, for the runner-up, lifetime membership of BIBA. All in all then, plenty of reasons to win.
So, to the tourny. Paul and I decided to play to make up the numbers, but this was a field of quality players and Paul was drawn against Lawence Powell. Paul went 2-0 up and, in the next game, did something very unusual (for him) and rolled double 5s. At this point, he keeled over, literally. I thought it might be the shock of Paul realizing he's actually pretty good at this game and that he can also roll doubles. But no, it seemed my co-organizer was having some sort of Mediterranean Heart Attack!
Within minutes, two Baywatch guys had turned up, then seven paramedics and finally, three doctors (I'm sure there's a song in there somewhere). They decided to take him to the old fogeys' clinic in Monte Carlo, which meant carrying Paul and all the gear up the hill. So I left Julie with the dosh and the trophies and went up the hill with Paul, Doris and the medical team.
My trek up the hill in the wake of Paul and his entourage was a test of my stamina, I can tell you. It's a hard enough climb at the best of times but I was laden down by a clutch of oxygen cylinders! They might have been for Paul's use but I can tell you I was tempted to take a drag myself!
Those of you that know this climb from the beach might also know that it almost claimed Ernie Pick last year when he collapsed on his way up it. As luck would have it Paul and I were on hand to assist - me giving mouth-to-mouth (well, very nearly!) and Paul asking Ernie for his pin number!
Before getting back to the more important news of the tournament, you might want to know how things went with Paul. The hospital was fantastic and after many tests they revealed that Paul had a heart and it was very healthy.
Meanwhile the final of the tournament was between Peter Bennett and Tim Mooring. Tim beat Dods to get to the final, a great result for his first trip to Monte. Ultimately though, the deserving champion of the 2005 Eden Plaj Tourny was Peter.
Of course, this report is about backgammon, but it's also about the friends we meet through the game. Paul wanted everyone to know that he's still alive and kicking. He wanted to thank all the people in Monte - the docs, paramedics, Baywatch, barmaids, oh, and the nurse who shaved him! But most of all he wanted to thank the backgammon crowd for their concern - who knows, maybe next year we'll get the Cardio Hospital to sponsor a prize!
Finally then, a big thanks to all those who made the pilgrimage, with a special mention to David Naylor (great to see you back in Monte, David).
Until next year... Myke
Photos by Joolie Mooring
Tim, with Jo Curl on his right
Jo and Rachel
Impressions of a
World Championship Virgin
By Tim Mooring
For years I have said that I would play at the Backgammon World Championships at least once before I die, and since I was to celebrate my 50th this year I decided I had better not leave it too much longer. So, fifty years old and still a World Championship virgin, I arrived at the Fairmont wondering whether my first time would be a painful experience or a pleasurable one. By the end of the week and my virginity lost I was sure I would be returning to play another year.
Shortly after my return home I was telling Michael Crane about my impressions of the tournament. He thought it would be a good idea for me to submit an article for the Bibafax based on the impressions of a World Championship virgin. Not having a great deal of literary imagination I wasn’t so sure. A couple of weeks later I was certain it was a bad idea.
I struggled to put my impressions of Monte into words that when I read them back sounded even slightly interesting to someone considering the trip for the first time. In fact I think I would have put some off……..”Better not go in case I get stuck with that Tim Mooring”.
Q. What did you think of Monte Carlo?
Q. What did you think of the Tournament?
Q. What did you think of the organisation?
Q. Did you play well?
Q. Where did you stay?
Q. What did you think of Cap D’Ail as a base?
So, I now know I’m not very good at asking open questions either. By this time Michael is e-mailing me every day asking if I had finished it yet, and I’m wishing I had never gone in the first place.
However, I did go. So I had another go at asking myself open questions.
Q. What was your impression of Monte Carlo?
What did impress me was the CCTV big screen coverage of the top matches. I not sure that had much to do with the tournament organizers.
Q. What did you think of the organization?
Q. What was your most enjoyable backgammon moment?
Q. And your worst backgammon moment?
Q. Finally, did you have good accommodation?
I wouldn’t want to advise a first timer where to stay, but I love Cap D’Ail and will stay there again. It has a few good restaurants, a wonderful beach (if you’re OK with steps) and only a short ride into Monaco.
My overall impression is that having surrendered my virginity I would like to go back for more. Isn’t that always the way?
Congratulation to Dennis Carlston (USA), World Champion 2005, who won over John O'Hagan in an exciting final match! The most successful player from the winners of the qualifiers on TrueMoneygames was Stephen Nelson, who got the second place in the second consolation. Congratulations to all!
For more information go to: