Jul 26

Again we are going to Monte Carlo playing at the Worldchampionship of Backgammon. This year I won’t publish a blog at this page but write some reports including photos and tournament ladder at GammonVillage.

 

Mone Carlo

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Jul 17

Some personal thoughts about the WC at Monte Carlo. It was my first participation since 1999, and to sum it up in two sentences: Besides making the main tournament room to a non smoking area nothing has changed. Even the Boyds look like they did 9 years ago ;-).

Missing players, number of participiants:

 I missed Ballard, Magriel, Robertie, Wachtel, Weaver, Woolsey (all USA), Hallberg, Bonding, Kjeldsen, Andersen, Nielsen, Hensen (all Denmark), Royset (Norway) and of course neilkaz … so at least 5 strong former world champions who still play (afaik) didn’t show up.
  • Main 218
  • Intermediate 76
  • Beginners 48

 These numbers were taken from Strato’s ladders. So we had 342 players all in all. Disappointing. In 1993 there were more than 600 players, in 1998/99 between 500 and 600 (afair). I know that this tournament overlaps with the WSOP, but the organizers might think about how to attract more players in future.

Tournament and scheduling:

 Well, there is already said a lot about the tournament rules at r.g.b, stick’s board or gammonu. I also missed clocks, using them is a big MUST (or NEXT, as Neil always says 😉 ). I was lucky enough not being faced with a slow player. They should also use at least progressive consolation and fixed times for each round, not only for the first round a day.

 There is no public draw! I don’t suspect someone and I also have no conspiracy theory, but to avoid all this they should make public draws. Always!

 Regarding the scheduling I’m somehow biased. As it is now it’s fine if you take your darling with you and want to show her/him Monte Carlo or make a one day trip to Nice, Cannes or Saint-Paul de Vence (as I did). For a professional tournament player it’s bad. If you have bad luck you play one match at tuesday at 2 pm, then up to 6(!) matches at thursday/friday and maybe one match at Saturday (I talk about the average players now). If you have really bad luck you’ll wait three or more hours for playing your quarterfinal of 2nd consolation at 2:30 am (it happened to a player this year). The Super jackpot isn’t scheduled at all!

 The tournament is also not qualified for getting the strongest players in main, 1st or 2nd consolation. 11p or 9p matches in knockout format are too short. I’d prefer a mix of suisse tournament (maybe 5 17p matches) and knockout system with progressive consolation after that, as they alreay sucessfully tried in Denmark.

The winner, my own play:

  Pan is not the strongest player, but he’s also not weak. I watched his quarter final against Carsten Sorensen (DK) and parts of the final. He plays quickly, but also during tough decisions. As I wrote somewhere else: He plays like being in his favourite home chouette, not being in the (quarter) final of the biggest tournament of the year. He looked and behaved like a typical money player.

 With my own matches I was partly satisfied. My girlfriend recorded five matches (she doesn’t play backgammon, but she liked recording and did it pretty well!). I already put 4 of them into gnubg (2.8 in a 17p, 4.8(11p), 4.6(11p), 4.1(9p)). My cube decisions were ok, after consequently using Kit Woolseys rule I only missed three doubles in all 4 matches. Still, I have to improve my motivation after losing in the main event. Of course I like winning money, but I’m too fixated on fame and title 😉 and not biting hard enough in the consolations.

Live coverage and recorded matches:

 It’s really a shame that there was absolutely no live coverage for at least the semifinals and the final by one of the bg servers. Nowadays nearly every non-regional chess tournament is presented live or with a small delay. Also, in opposite of what I was assuming at monday last week (see here) there was no sponsorship by TMG.

 People had to fall back on blogs like Strato’s, Foldager’s or mine. I also found only 3 published recorded matches besides my 4 matches (that were bravely recorded by my girlfriend). One semifinal wasn’t even recorded. Well, maybe a few matches will follow within the next days.

Tournament surroundings:

  The backgammon shop is missing books, I’ve only seen two books over there. Well, I don’t have to make money with the shop, it’s up to the “de Bruins”, but I bet they would sell a lot of books if there were a good assortment of backgammon and poker literature (or gambling literature in general).

 The boards at the tournament are cheap but fine and nice to play on. You can and should buy registered dice at de Bruins for 35,- Euro, you can give them back later and get your money back (I kept mine).

Fairmont and surroundings:

Not a lot to say about the room prices, it’s Monte Carlo. Stay there if you can and are willing to afford 300,- Euro a night or search for a cheaper hotel. Welcome party and gala dinner are exactly the same as every year, only the show differs. They still don’t serve any drinks during the show that finishes appr. one hour after the dinner … well, they do, but you have to pay 35,- Euro for a beer then ;-).

 A cup of coffee in the Fairmont at the stand in the tournament area is 5 (five) Euro, it’s lukewarm and served in a papercup. This is nothing but fooling people in my mind.

 There is free internet access at the Fairmont (fine!), and I also appreciated the main tournament room being a non smoking area (though I’m a smoker!).

 I didn’t play any jackpots this year, this was a decision on principle. I think deducting 12% on each jackpot, no matter whether you play a 10,- Euro jp or a 1000,- Euro jp is too much fee. At Nordic they take certain percentages depending on the entry fee, the high roller jackpots are only 4%!

Summary:

Well, it’s Monte Carlo and it’s still the Worldchampionship. If there once will be a winner again with good reputation and a low error rate he/she will get all the respect by the bg community. The equity for strong players isn’t that bad, there are still a lot of really weak players in the championship flight.

 The tournament organization won’t wake up and change anything as long as they make money of it. The number of participants in intermediate and beginners will get down more and more, as long as the registration fee for them is the same as it is now (235,- Euro in all three divisons) and as long as there is no extra equity for them like participating in a seminar held by a world class player (i.e. at Nordic Open). So maybe Baille and his fellows once need something like 200 participant all in as food for thought.

 Anyway, Monte Carlo is still a nice place to visit (combining backgammon with hard days at the beach 😉 ), and I’ll probably show up next year again.

Jul 15

Final and Team Event

  Jorge Pan (Argentinia) is the world champion 2007. He beat Alvaro Savio from Brasil 25-23. The last game of the match was a real comedy. Leading 23-22 Savio doubled a gammonish position (too good to double, easy take). In between it looked like he had the better end, then made an illegal move (53) to his favour(!). Pan didn’t see it and the arbiter didn’t insist. Pan managed to come back, and after Savio danced against a 4-point board several times, the Argentien rolled it home. Congrats!

 Sikko, Rogier and me played the team event and survived three rounds before we lost against O.O.O. (France) in the round of last 16. Our team name was “a lot of cheese with Sauerkraut.” An Italian team with one of the GNU Backgammon contributors, Massimiliano Maini,  won the event. They were rewarded with 1500 Euro and three expensive watches. Congrats again!

Jul 14

Semifinals

Same procedure as every day … well, nearly ;-). Again no bye, but I won the first two rounds in the last chance before losing against Karsten Nielsen from Denmark. I didn’t reord any matches but saved a few positions from all three matches.

The score (after 0 games) is: Frederikson 0, ace 0 (match to 5 points)

ace on roll, cube decision?

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|  '  '  '  '  ' 5X |   | 1O 3X 1X 1O  ' 5O |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
| 3X 1X  ' 1O  ' 4O |   |  ' 3O  '  '  ' 2X |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Frederikson 184, ace 150
Position ID: 4HNhADrIc/CJAA Match ID: cAmgAAAAAAAA

• ace doubles

Alert: wrong double ( -0.018)!

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.436 (Money: +0.440)
0.637 0.234 0.023 – 0.363 0.089 0.003
Cubeful equities:
1. No double +0.668
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.332
3. Double, take +0.650 -0.018
Proper cube action: No double, take (5.0%)

 

During the whole tournament my goal regarding doubles was “better double too early than too late”. This and another position shown below are good examples for it.

 

The score (after 0 games) is: Frederikson 0, ace 0 (match to 5 points)

Move number 7: Frederikson on roll, cube decision?

+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+
|  ' 1X 2X 3X 2X 3X | 2 |  '  '  '  '  '  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  |   |                  |
| 8O 1O 2X 2O 2X 1O |   |  ' 3O  '  '  '  ' |
+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+

Pip counts: Frederikson 132, ace 48
Position ID: /zI5AADa7QDADA Match ID: AQGgAAAAAAAA

• Frederikson doubles

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.546 (Money: +0.506)
0.682 0.229 0.004 – 0.318 0.092 0.000
Cubeful equities:
1. Double, take +0.853
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.147
3. No double +0.702 -0.152
Proper cube action: Redouble, take

 

This was a scary cube. I went into the think tank for a few minutes and finally took, but with a lot of stomach pain.

The score (after 0 games) is: Julien 0, ace 0 (match to 5 points)

ace on roll, cube decision?

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
| 2O  '  '  ' 1X 4X |   |  ' 4X 1X  '  ' 5O |
|                   | 1X|                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
| 1X 1O  '  ' 2O 4O |   |  ' 1O  '  '  ' 3X |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Julien 158, ace 157
Position ID: 0PPCAVBiT/ABMA Match ID: cAmgAAAAAAAA

• ace doubles

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.417 (Money: +0.424)
0.606 0.302 0.025 – 0.394 0.108 0.006
Cubeful equities:
1. Double, take +0.614
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.386
3. No double +0.589 -0.025
Proper cube action: Double, take

Good double by me that was rewarded with a pass.

The score (after 1 games) is: Julien 0, ace 1 (match to 5 points)

ace on roll, cube decision?

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|  '  ' 2X 2X 3X 2X |   |  '  '  '  '  '  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
| 2O 2O 3X 2X 4O 4O |   | 3O  '  ' 1X  '  ' |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Julien 164, ace 71
Position ID: bDeAwA4b7x0AAA Match ID: cAmgAAAACAAA

• ace doubles

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.689 (Money: +0.585)
0.614 0.387 0.004 – 0.386 0.034 0.000
Cubeful equities:
1. Double, pass +1.000
2. Double, take +1.144 +0.144
3. No double +0.929 -0.071
Proper cube action: Double, pass

 

The roll before I moved (21) 8/7, 8/6 and my opponent jumped out with a 51. According to gnubg this was already a double, but I’m not convinced.

The score (after 4 games) is: Julien 1, ace 4 (match to 5 points, post-Crawford play)

ace to play 21

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|  ' 1X 2X 2X 2X 2X |   | 2X  ' 1X  '  '  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  |   |        2 1       |
| 1O  ' 2X 3O 1X 6O | 2 |  ' 2O  '  ' 2O  ' |
|                   | 1O|                   |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Julien 125, ace 112
Position ID: 2rYJgAxxfsYAQA Match ID: UQmlABAAIAAA

• ace moves bar/23* 6/5*

# Ply Move MWC
1 0 bar/23* 6/5* 57.47%
0.382 0.159 0.009 – 0.618 0.242 0.012
2 0 bar/24 6/4 51.94% ( -5.54%)
0.239 0.069 0.003 – 0.761 0.213 0.006
3 0 bar/24 4/2 51.21% ( -6.27%)
0.243 0.072 0.003 – 0.757 0.231 0.006
4 0 bar/23* 11/10 47.78% ( -9.69%)
0.266 0.092 0.003 – 0.734 0.320 0.021
5 0 bar/23* 8/7 42.86% (-14.61%)
0.228 0.078 0.003 – 0.772 0.380 0.030

It looks scary hitting twice when a lost gammon will mean also losing the match. But I saw no better play for winning. My unlucky opponent rolled a 64 then.

The score (after 4 games) is: Julien 1, ace 4 (match to 5 points, post-Crawford play)

ace to play 11

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|  ' 3X 3X 2X 2X 2X |   |  '  '  '  '  '  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  |   |        1 1       |
| 3O 5O 1X 5O 1X  ' | 2 | 2O  '  ' 1X  '  ' |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Julien 102, ace 47
Position ID: 7rYBBAn3+RgAAA Match ID: UYmkABAAIAAA

• ace moves 7/5*(2)

Alert: bad move ( -0.065)

Alert: lucky roll! ( +0.363)

# Ply Move Equity
1 2 7/6(2) 4/3*(2) +0.874
0.937 0.265 0.001 – 0.063 0.000 0.000
2 2 7/5*(2) +0.809 ( -0.065)
0.905 0.193 0.000 – 0.095 0.000 0.000
3 2 4/3*(3) 2/1 +0.808 ( -0.066)
0.907 0.185 0.000 – 0.093 0.003 0.000
4 2 4/3*(2) 2/1(2) +0.786 ( -0.087)
0.896 0.180 0.000 – 0.104 0.003 0.000
5 2 7/6(2) 4/3*/2 +0.784 ( -0.090)
0.893 0.168 0.000 – 0.107 0.001 0.000

Wrong play by me, but I haven’t seen the reason yet.

The score (after 0 games) is: Karsten 0, ace 0 (match to 5 points)

Karsten doubles to 2

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|  ' 2O  '  ' 4X 4X |   | 2X 2X 2X  '  ' 2O |
|                   |   |                   |
|        [2]       |   |                  |
|  '  ' 2O 2O 2O 3O |   | 2O  ' 1X  '  '  ' |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Karsten 108, ace 128
Position ID: bLuBARjw3jYgAA Match ID: MBmgAAAAAAAA

• ace accepts

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.524 (Money: +0.526)
0.745 0.061 0.002 – 0.255 0.028 0.000
Cubeful equities:
1. No double +0.844
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.156
3. Double, take +0.844 -0.000
Proper cube action: No double, take (0.2%)

 

The score (after 1 games) is: Karsten 2, ace 0 (match to 5 points)

ace on roll, cube decision?

+-24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+-18-17-16-15-14-13-+
| 1O 2X 3X  ' 2O 3X |   |  ' 2X  '  '  ' 3O |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
|  ' 1X  '  ' 2O 2O |   | 2O 2O 1O  '  ' 4X |
+--1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+--7--8--9-10-11-12-+

Pip counts: Karsten 122, ace 164
Position ID: dpzBAxCwbeGAIQ Match ID: cAmgACAAAAAA

• ace doubles

Alert: wrong double ( -0.073)! [bad]

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.164 (Money: +0.204)
0.607 0.126 0.003 – 0.393 0.136 0.002
Cubeful equities:
1. No double +0.422
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.578
3. Double, take +0.349 -0.073
Proper cube action: No double, take (11.2%)

 

Jul 13

Round V and Quarter Finals

Same procedure as yesterday. In the 2nd consolation there are all but 16 (main) and 4 (1st consolation) players. You’ll win the same amount of money as in the 1st consolation, but there are only 9 point matches now. Let’s see what will happen. I’ll also try to make some pictures today again and publish the prizes you can win in Main, 1st and 2nd consolation and Last chance.

Ok, here are the money prizes of the championship flight.

(update) Really the same procedure. Again no bye and after winning a match against Alex Lehmann from New York I lost my second round match again. Unfortunately Steffi made her one and only mistake while recording in a very long second game of this match, and I’m too lazy now to rebuild it.

Perhaps it wasn’t worth keeping it. I had the slight feeling that my opponent didn’t know a lot about the game (well, at least enough to win 9-5), and Karsten Bredahl, who played him one round later confirmed this. Karsten told me that “our” opponent forgot to double while trailing 8-1 post Crawford!

So here is my first match (error rate 4.1). After winning a doubled backgammon against a 3-point anchor and some more luck later I won 9-0 in only 3 games.

Some positions from this match:

The score (after 0 games) is: Lehmann 0, ace 0 (match to 9 points)

Move number 7: ace on roll, cube decision?

+-13-14-15-16-17-18-+---+-19-20-21-22-23-24-+
| 3O 1X  '  ' 1X 2X |   | 3X 2X  '  '  ' 2O |
|                   | 1X|                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
| 4X  '  ' 1O 1O  ' |   | 3O 2O 2O  ' 1X 1O |
+-12-11-10--9--8--7-+---+--6--5--4--3--2--1-+

Pip counts: Lehmann 161, ace 141
Position ID: sFvkAUixncIBMA Match ID: cAkgAQAAAAAA

• ace moves 8/2* 6/1

Alert: missed double ( -0.148)! [very bad]

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.538 (Money: +0.536)
0.609 0.415 0.028 – 0.391 0.118 0.007
Cubeful equities:
1. Double, take +0.792
2. Double, pass +1.000 +0.208
3. No double +0.644 -0.148
Proper cube action: Double, take

Here I thought it’s not enough for a double because of whites 5-point.

 

The score (after 0 games) is: Lehmann 0, ace 0 (match to 9 points)

Move number 25: ace on roll, cube decision?

+-13-14-15-16-17-18-+---+-19-20-21-22-23-24-+
| 2O  '  '  ' 1X 1X |   | 3X 2X 2X  ' 1O  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  | 1 |                  |
| 1X  '  ' 3O  '  ' |   | 2O 2O 2O 4X 1X 2O |
|                   | 1O|                   |
+-12-11-10--9--8--7-+---+--6--5--4--3--2--1-+

Pip counts: Lehmann 175, ace 133
Position ID: 2K4ggBdjG4cBSA Match ID: cAkgAQAAAAAA

• ace doubles

Cube decision
2-ply cubeless equity +0.725 (Money: +0.719)
0.658 0.443 0.061 – 0.342 0.098 0.003
Cubeful equities:
1. Double, pass +1.000
2. Double, take +1.199 +0.199
3. No double +0.864 -0.136
Proper cube action: Double, pass

In a similar position from a yesterdays match I missed a double. Here I didn’t. Somehow recording and analysing your matches seems to help.

 

The score (after 0 games) is: Lehmann 0, ace 0 (match to 9 points)

Move number 29: ace to play 22

+-13-14-15-16-17-18-+---+-19-20-21-22-23-24-+
| 2O  '  '  ' 1X 2X | 2 | 3X 2X 2X  ' 1O  ' |
|                   |   |                   |
|                  |   |        2 2       |
|  '  '  ' 3O  '  ' |   | 2O 2O 2O 4X 1X 2O |
|                   | 1O|                   |
+-12-11-10--9--8--7-+---+--6--5--4--3--2--1-+

Pip counts: Lehmann 169, ace 133
Position ID: 2G4BgBdjG4cBSA Match ID: QQkpAQAAAAAA

• ace moves bar/23 9/7(3)

Alert: bad move ( -0.096)

# Ply Move Equity
1 2 bar/23 13/11 4/2*(2) +0.303
0.600 0.358 0.019 – 0.400 0.124 0.005
2 2 bar/23 9/7 4/2*(2) +0.272 ( -0.030)
0.591 0.359 0.020 – 0.409 0.131 0.006
3 2 bar/23 9/7(3) +0.207 ( -0.096)
0.593 0.285 0.012 – 0.407 0.123 0.004
4 0 bar/23 13/9 13/11 -0.058 ( -0.360)
0.516 0.237 0.008 – 0.484 0.149 0.005
5 0 bar/23 13/11 9/5 -0.082 ( -0.384)
0.506 0.248 0.012 – 0.494 0.160 0.007

I “overlooked” the “switch-hit.” This play is oviously correct because of whites blot on his 8-point.

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