Rosey - The Roving Reporter

Follow the backgammon exploits of our intrepid reporter, Rosey Bensley

as she rolls her way around the world - ably supported by Slats!

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PARIS

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2nd Lucien Barriere Backgammon Open

October 19th To 24th 2004

Report by Rosey Bensley

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 Held at Casino Barriere, D'enghien-Les-Bains. Paris

Whenever I mention to my friends where I am going to play backgammon they are always asking me how much sightseeing I do. None of them can believe I would go to somewhere like Paris and not shop! Well, those of you that know me well enough know I don't do shopping - anywhere!! I have done sightseeing in Paris many times and Enghien-les-Bains is a small suburb far enough away from the centre of Paris for me not to feel guilty about not doing anymore! Having said that Fanika and her friend Sarah (not a BG player) certainly spent a good few hours there and a good few euros I think! I am afraid France is not my favourite destination and Charles de Gaulle airport I think is the worst airport in the world!!

 

There were 120 players from 20 countries, over 70 of which were in the Championship division. All hoping for a share of the 50,000 euros added prize money. For full results go to www.world-backgammon-association.com

 

There was a great crowd of Brits for this tournament. Slatts was the only one in the Championship Division. Martin Hemming, Myke Wignall, Paul G, Ernie, David Fall, David Markwick, Tom Duggan (who ended up having to go home on Saturday morning), Roland and myself played in the Intermediates and Simonetta and Fanika in the Amateurs. I am afraid I caused a bit of controversy when I decided to follow Roland and Simonetta (and Liz Barker last year) into the Amateur division. I was politely asked to upgrade to the Intermediates and did so without too much fuss. Unfortunately, they decided to also tell Roland that he couldn't play in the Amateurs either, despite letting him play a quarter entry, which he won. Understandably he wasn't very pleased with this decision and ended up only playing in the Consolation and Last Chance. MC: Click here to read the Director's explanation.

 

In round one of the Championship Main Slatts played Rageb (USA/Mexico) with a side bet of $300 for the match. After winning the first game Rageb didn't have much luck. He showed me he was even a better dancer than me when he danced 4 times on a 1-point board during the match. When the score was 10-4 to 15 in Slatts's favour, Slatts rolled a very good double 4 which allowed him to win a gammon. In the Crawford game Slatts had 2 men on his 2-point and Rageb had 2 on his 1-point and 2 on his 2-point. Slatts obliged by throwing 51 but Rageb didn't throw the double he needed to save the match.

 

Slatts 2 nd round was against Sami (Germany) which went to 13-13 to 15 after Slatts had been 12-6 up. In the next game Sami cubed early but Slatts managed to roll a required 61 to hit him and put him on the bar against a 4-point board and a 5 prime. He went on to win the match and go through to Day 2.

 

In the Intermediates David Fall fell as Ernie picked him off game by game!! (I hope the play on words are not wasted!) Unfortunately, he lost his next round. Paul and Myke both lost their first round matches but bought back in. Paul was his usual unlucky self in his first game, when at 10-10 to 11 his opponent rolled double-6 and double-5 to win the match. However, we all told him to put that behind him, buy back in and come out fighting. He did win his next two matches despite losing in this position on the Crawford game in one of them. He is black.

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13 point match

Black 12 White 8

White on roll

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I won my first match and was disappointed to lose my 2nd match after fighting my way back from 1-11 down to 11-11 in a 13 point match. In the next game I found myself (white) with a 53 to play, and no idea what was the right move. I showed the position to Paul and Slatts after the match and they said I had made a big error in making the play I did. I had to confess that I hadn't even seen their play, which is terrible (my only excuse is that I am very much a lark and not an owl and was tired by the time the match was played in the early hours of the morning)! As it happens Snowie made my move the 3rd best play but with not much in it.

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13 point match

Black 11 White 11

White to play 53

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My opponent Miki (France) cubed me for match after I had played 13/5. I thought about it for quite a time but decided that as I was 20 pips ahead in the race, and she had a blot in board as well, it was a take. I was pleased afterwards to hear from the British spectators, who had watched me come back from the dead, that it was the right cube decision on my part. Snowie also agreed! She failed to hit the 1, so I gave a big sigh of relief and got on with what I hoped would be winning the game. Alas, it was not to be, I had to leave a 7 shot which Miki missed the first time, I roll 32 and fail to get past, she misses again, I roll 32 again, and of course 3 rd time lucky she rolls 61 to hit me. By this time she had a 5 point board and I had minimal chances of recovery!! Well, at least I qualified for the Consolation!

 

Martin went through to Day 2 having encountered two opponents who both helped him win by not playing the cube well. They were either taking when there were gammons on or taking late when they should have dropped. Dave Markwick, who had won his quarter entry, had a good day. He beat Carole Joy Cole in his 2 nd round. All the 3 Brits through to Day 2, Paul, Martin and David, were in separate quarters of the draw so I was hopeful for an all Brits Intermediate Main final.

 

Simonetta won her first 2 matches in the Amateurs but was persuaded to play a 3 rd match on the first night, which she lost at DMP. I think Fanika made the decision to lose quickly so she could shop in Paris with Sarah!!

 

So what had happened to poor old Myke then? He was definitely not having a good day! Having lost his first round match and then his re-buy, he decided to try his luck at the Casino. He was playing roulette and decided to place his last 45 chips on Red. The only problem was that he is colour-blind and couldn't see which was red and which was black!! Paul put him right and Myke waited for the ball to come to a stop. Great, it was red. However, the croupier raked in all the chips including Myke's! Myke couldn't believe it. Fortunately, another member of staff saw what happened and told Myke that the play would be on camera. She watched the replay and paid him what he was due.

 

This is where my report stopped! I got so disillusioned with my play, the dice gods were definitely not looking down on me and I just felt that I was never going to have a decent run of games again!! You would have thought that this would have meant that I would put more effort into the writing, but that was not the case! I watched Slatts go out of the Championship Main with some awful throwing! And then saw Paul (white) lose this game and subsequently the match when he was 12-9 up to 13.

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13 point match

Black 9 White 12

Black on roll

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His opponent threw Double1, Double 2, Double 6 and ended with Double 5!!! As Slatts said when I showed him the position "It could only happen to Paul!" George went on to win the Intermediate Main tournament having knocked out 4 Brits along the way!

 

Martin and David both had a good day and got themselves through to the semi-finals of the Intermediate Main so they were already in the money and were guaranteed a trophy.

 

The rest of us all went out of the Consolation quite quickly and qualified for the Last Chance with the exception of Paul who won a few rounds and then had his usual luck and went out in the Quarters.

 

This meant that on Saturday we had to enter the Doubles Consulting if we wanted to play. Slatts teamed up with Martin, Ernie with me, Myke & Paul, Roland & Kenji (Japan) and Simonetta with Lars Bonding (Denmark). Simonetta was over the moon that she was partnering Lars and had high hopes for being in the money, alas, disaster struck when they were gammoned on a 4 cube in a match to 7! Slatts & Martin were playing Falafel (top Israeli player) and Serge (France) and lost. Ernie and I went out at double match point. Roland and Kenji got beaten in the quarterfinals after their opponents, Durve & Champier (France, white), made an error and cubed them when they were 4-5 ahead. They shipped the cube back to 4 and battle commenced. It got to this position when an amazing sequence of dice happened.

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7 point match

Black 4 White 5

White to play 21

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They make the correct move and clear their 3-point. The rolls were then as follows:-

 

Roland and Kenji
Durve & Champier
31
dance
21
9/7, 2/1
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 bar/22, 6/2
21
     9/6*

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followed by D & C rolling 21 three times more in succession but never getting hit. That was five consecutive 21s!

 

They now met Paul & Myke, the only British duo to go through to the semis, which was to be played after dinner. The prize money was only for the finalists but was 6,700 euros to the winners and 2,900 euros to the runners-up. P & M hoped that they could at least do a saver in the next match. D & C, however, decided that not only did they not want to do a deal, they would like to have 200 euros on the match! This was declined! In the first game Paul & Myke offered an early cube and got into trouble and were faced with a 4 cube, which they took as they were 38 pips ahead in the race. This was the position with them playing as white:-

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7 point match

Black 0 White 0

Black rolls 62

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D & C rolled 62, which didn't do any damage. Unfortunately, Paul was rolling tdice. He rolled double 1. Their next roll hit and they ended up winning the game. They went 6-0 up and although they won the Crawford game Paul & Myke couldn't get into the post-Crawford game and lost the match. This meant that Paul had gone out in 3 elements of the tournament just before the money! It was just as well he was being lucky at Roulette!

 

Slatts had been challenged by Nadjib Shalamzy (Afghanistan), who was featured in the last Bibafax. He has won the Monte Carlo $100K Super jackpot twice. He wanted to play 5 games at £100 a point. Slatts, never one to turn down a challenge, accepted and during the course of the next few days ended up winning 17 points. Not a bad weekend's work!

 

David and Martin both lost their semi-finals, but were very pleased to pick up their money and a very nice trophy. Chiva and his team had chosen some wonderful trophies. The majority of them were see-through dice about 3-inch cubes, which sat in a box with coloured lights underneath. I had never seen anything similar to them.

 

Overall, I had a thoroughly good time with the social side scoring more points than the backgammon! I couldn't even win one round in the Ladies tournament! The dice gods were a bit kinder to me on Sunday when I got to the final of a 20 euro jackpot - at last I had managed to win two matches in a row! As Roland was the other finalist we decided to split the lolly. The trip was spoiled for me by the chaos at Charles de Gaulle airport and I have vowed never to use it again!! BMI weren't much better, losing our case at Heathrow! We did get it back 3 hours later though! Myke has been telling us for ages that we should let the train take the strain and use the Eurostar, perhaps I'll listen to him next time.

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Chiva K. Tafazzoli replies to the Division decision:

Dear Michael, Dear readers of Bibafax and the Biba web site.

First of all, let me thank you for your support and contribution to help make the second edition of this tournament a big success. As always, we were delighted to welcome British players and see two of them reach money places.

The controversy regarding who should play in which division will always lead to different opinions.

As I had stated before in postings on different sites, we feel that nowadays, more than ever, considering the threat from poker and the migration of players, that newcomers to backgammon should be protected and encouraged rather than scared off.

The Amateurs division of our tournaments are especially dedicated to the rookies in order to attract them to modern backgammon and the tournament variation of it. I personally don´t think that people who have played the game for many years, online and offline, should enter this division at all, just because of an apparently easy equity. In the same way, the intermediate division should only be played in by those who don´t constantly figure among prize winners.

These were the main reasons why we kindly asked the Armenian players who regularly reach money prizes on international events (recently in Venice, Monte-Carlo, Cannes & Scandinavian-Challenge), to enter the champions division. And look what happened, Artur Muradian won it all.....

Of course, we, as tournament organizers, are not safe from making mistakes and Rosey, Simonetta, Roland as well as one or two other players in the Amateurs should not figure there (we have already spoken with them and expressed our disappointment), in the same way as Liz Barker and Lise Howard shouldn´t have been there last year. But since some had already entered satellites and won them and complaints had been taken to the directors about their entries in those divisions, we had to find a solution which was not an easy thing to do. We certainly should have kept watch and not let them into the qualifiers and told them before but on the spot and on a very busy day, things unfortunately happen....

The criteria for admittance to the different divisions is not easy to set. The French Backgammon Federation is vigourously taking entries for the French players based on their rating points. We are working on a WBA rating system which will count in every official match played on our events. We have started with Salzburg and will continue to do this for Enghien and our next tournaments. Once we have reached a significant number of tournaments, we will base entries upon the ratings and we will find a solution to award the highest ranked players. That ranking chart will be put online on our webite once it becomes significant.

However, we did our best to find a just and fair solution and promise to take better care of the entries in the future in order to keep backgammon tournaments a place for a true and sporting competition.

Hope to see all of you on our upcoming events.

Kind regards

We love the game....

Dr. Chiva K. Tafazzoli & Laurent Arnone

Main Office:
9899 Santa Monica Blvd #331-A
Beverly Hills, CA-90212
USA
Tel. / Fax.: +1+ (310) 388-0304
Email: ckt@world-backgammon-association.com
Homepage: www.world-backgammon-association.com

German Office (Munich):
Tel. / Fax.: +49+89+92185600
Mobile: +49+171+5422222
E-Mail: ckt@world-backgammon-association.com

Swiss Office (Zurich):
Tel. / Fax.: +41+1+2742300
E-Mail: ckt@world-backgammon-association.com


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The Pictures

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A very happy (and lucky) Harald Johanni in the safe hands of Fanika and Sarah.
Slats writes down Ernie's home address so that he can go around to his house later on and play him for money!
Paul removes a large piece of chewing gum from his board while his opponent looks sheepishly at him.
Rosey surveys her board while her opponent takes a nap.
Note how Slats is using three score-cards! Now that's the way to keep score!

Myke prays that his opponent doesn't notice the hit & point play.
The Winners

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