4th Brussels Backgammon Day, Sun 30 Oct 2016

Breakfast at 09.30 hours, 10 rounds of 5-points matches with a light lunch around 14.30 hours, end of play & prize-giving ceremony around 22.00 hours. Venue: Brasseries du Lonchamp, Uccle.

Detailed program and registration

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8th Leuven Open, Sunday 20 Nov 2016

  • Brasserie The Abdijmolen, Abdij van Park 4, 3001 Heverlee
  • Swiss format, 6 rounds, 5-point matches, with clock
  • Start first round: 10:00; prize giving: around 19:00
  • Club competition: the Fonske challenge
  • PR competition: the Vesalius challenge
  • Great venue, great food, great fun

Information and registration

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New Venue for Backgammon Club Brugge

De Backgammon Club Brugge heeft een nieuw lokaal vanaf 17.11.2016:

Cultuurcafé de Biekorf
Naaldenstraat 4
8000 Brugge

Onze speelavond blijft donderdagavond vanaf 19.30 uur.
Allen welkom !


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Belgium’s Best in Helsingor, Denmark.

Belgium's Best in Helsingor (left to right : Maurits, Walter, Johan Huyck, Johan Segers, Geert and Alain. Bottom : Michel.

Left to right : Maurits, Walter, Johan Huyck, Johan Segers, Geert and Alain. Bottom : Michel.

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European Championship, Helsingor (DK), 20-23 Oct 2016

The Belgian team: Michel Lamote, Geert Van der Stricht, Walter Meuwis, Johan Huyck, Johan Segers, Alain Chif, Maurits Pino.



Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmHwa16H8IutExiH8P30FWQ

Results: https://www.drawboss.com/Event/Show/7303aabb-cd33-46ff-9824-7d9c9ac61524

Round 1: Belgium – Norway 2-2

Michel Lamote (PR: 4.4) vs Dagfinn Snarheim (PR: 4.6) 1-0
Johan Huyck vs Rune Færevåg 0-1
Johan Segers vs Hall Skåra 1-0
Walter Meuwis vs Tore Fredriksson 0-1

Round 2: Belgium – UK 2-2

Michel Lamote vs Gaz Owen 1-0
Johan Huyck vs Sebastian Wilkinson 0-1
Johan Segers vs Lawrence Powell 0-1
Walter Meuwis vs Eric McAlpine 1-0

Round 3: Belgium – France 3-1

Michel Lamote vs Olivier Decultot 0-1
Johan Huyck vs Raphaël Rosalba 1-0
Johan Segers vs Stéphane Chenevière 1-0
Walter Meuwis vs Gildas Racape 1-0

Round 4: Belgium – Greece 2-2

Geert Van der Stricht vs Nikos Dikaros 0-1
Michel Lamote vs Athanasios Katsios 1-0
Johan Segers vs Haris Christidis 0-1
Walter Meuwis vs Michalis Manolios 1-0

Round 5: Belgium – Iceland 2-2

Geert Van der Stricht vs Hallur Jon Saevarsson 0-1
Michel Lamote vs Stefan Gudmundsson 0-1
Johan Huyck vs Ingi Tandri Traustason 1-0
Walter Meuwis vs Fjalarr Páll Mánason 1-0

Round 6: Belgium – Turkey 2-2

Geert Van der Stricht vs Mahir Kasuto 0-1
Michel Lamote vs Murat Hazır 1-1
Johan Segers vs Gokhan Kazandag 1-0
Walter Meuwis vs Zafer Önder 1-0

Team ranking after the Swiss stage

  1. Hungary 18
  2. Croatia 16
  3. Denmark 15
  4. United Kingdom 14
  5. Greece, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey 13
  6. France, Austria 11
  7. Gibraltar 7
  8. Cyprus 6

We missed the final 4 by a hair. It all ended with an exciting double match point by Michel in extreme time pressure. Just a little bit more luck and we would have made it. Next time perhaps!

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Souvenirs from Budapest

As the countdown to the European Team Championship starts, I picked some of the photos taken during last year’s edition in Budapest to share with you.


The European Championship was preceded by the Budapest Open. The masters division was played in the Panorama room. The shutters had to be closed because of the scorching sun; outside temperatures reached 35°C.


Guy Van Middelem (right) preferred to play in the more spacious lobby; Michel Lamote and Alain Chif are watching. Guy had a good start, winning the first two matches but lost to a Norwegian player in the third round.


Luc Palmans (left) playing Tore Frederiksen (Norway) in the first round. After losing this match, Luc had to continue in the fighter bracket.


After an easy win in the first round, Walter Meuwis (left) was leading 10:7 (in an 11-point match) against top Danish player Thomas Kristensen. Michel Lamote keeps his fingers crossed but finally Walter had to surrender.


Players of the intermediate division in the Venus room, including Maurits Pino and Alain Chif. The lady on the left, Laurence Sinitzky-Billard went on to win the tournament without loosing a match.

Spectators admiring the skills of the blind British player, Yan Kit Chan (on the right).

Spectators admiring the skills of the blind British player, Yan Kit Chan (right). Occasionally he palpates the checkers but in general he keeps the position of all the 30 checkers in mind.


After several changes of the rules and some discussion with the tournament director, Maurits Pino (left) and Zsolt Tasnádi won a shared third price in the intermediate division – in fact shared with three other players.


Walter Meuwis (right) received the 2014 Belgian Individual Championship (BIC) trophy from BGFed.be president Guy Van Middelem in Budapest. He won the title in December 2014, defeating Maurits Pino in the final.


The start of the team championship was delayed because we had to wait for the EUBGF president Steen Grønbech (opposite) to finish his match in the masters division…


… but finally it started, although without Belgium who was bye. Zdeněk Žižka, the 17-year-old Czech talent is on the right playing Bjørnar Bugge (Norway).


In the second round, Belgium played Austria. Geert Van der Stricht (left) faces Mario Lazzer; German top player Tobias Hellwag stands on the right. Geert won 15:11, making the score Belgium 3 – Austria 1.


Walter Meuwis, Luc Palmans, Maurits Pino and Geert van der Stricht (from left to right) starts the night shift facing Greece in the third round. Luc was the last to finish at around half past 3, the final score was 2-2.


Next day, in the 4th round, Belgium played host nation Hungary. In the foreground, Belgian champion Walter Meuwis (left) faces the Hungarian champion Attila Kenéz. Walter won 15:7.


Michel Lamote (left) playing the Crawford game against János Baranyai (Hungary). Nothing went right for Michel in this match. His opponent finished the tournament with an impressive 7/7 result.


After two draws (against Hungary and Croatia), Belgium faced tournament leader and top favourite Denmark. Luc Palmans (left) contemplates an 8-cube against Mik Larsen. Doble/take, well played by both players. Luc won this game but sadly he lost the match 15:13.


Michel Lamote (right) faces Thomas Kristensen (Denmark), deploying two chairs to get a better view of the board. In the background, captain Guy van Middelem is joking with his Danish colleague. At this time we were confident, with all four Belgian players leading.


Geert van der Stricht plays Steen Grønbech (right). Geert was very close to winning but Steen rolled a 44 to enter his 2 checkers in a 5-point board, turning the game and the match around. This match was live streamed on the website of the Danish federation.


Kristensen redoubled at this position. If Michel takes and redoubles to 8, he can play for the (15-point) match. Tough decision, he preferred to start a new game.


Belgium lost 1:3 to Denmark (Walter Meuwis won his match) but, before the last round, still had a realistic chance to make the final four.


In the last round, we played Italy who already secured their place in the semifinal. Because of the other results, in particular Germany’s surprise 4:0 win against Denmark, the team would have needed to win all four matches in order to qualify for the final four. Alain Chif (right) won his match but the final result was Belgium 2 – Italy 2.


Denmark and Germany met again in the semifinal. After a 2-2 draw, the encounter was decided by a 7-point team consultation match. Germany made it to the final.


The final, played by Croatia (left) and Germany. Croatia prevailed by winning the deciding 7-point consultation match.


An interesting position from the final. Looks simple but in fact white has several options to play the 2:1. Some good players among the spectators could not agree what the best move is.

The European Championship starts on 20 October in Helsingør, Denmark. Good luck to the Belgian team! Read the introduction of the team members here.

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BMS : Johan Segers solidifies top-5 status in demanding BIC Series.

In the past 9 months, Johan Segers recorded and transcribed the 19 matches (11 points) that made up his BIC 2016 BMS Series. Here is how he did :

Johan's PR in BIC Series (19 x 11)

Johan’s PR in BIC Series (19 x 11)

There can be no doubt that Johan has made significant progress over the past year.  Making the step from Advanced Class 1 (or Expert) level to Master (Class 3) level is not a walk in the park. Although Johan has to combine his backgammon study with the duties of a professional career and those of a devoted husband and father, he has succesfully managed to lift his game to the skill level that earns him the title of Backgammon Master. Congratulations!

Johan Segers earns Master (Class 3) grading.

Johan Segers earns Master (Class 3) grading.

Check the current BMS standings by clicking on BMS (BE) in the black banner above.


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BMS : Michel sees fine performance ruined by resign error.

To stay in Div I and remain in contention for the BIC title, I had to win at least one out of 2 13-pointers against Alain Chif.  If I lost both, I would probably be relegated to Div II. Well, for those interested, I lost both, the last one through a Resign Error (read : I lost on time). 3 seconds on the clock just was not enough to play a DMP game…

As if this was not bad enough, this unforgivable time management blunder ruined an otherwise fine  PR : after thirteen 13-pointers, I stood at 4,85, but match 14 proved one too many. A merciless 9,35 PR in this fate decider sadly turned my overall performance from laudable to mediocre :

BIC 2016 : PR Michel Lamote (14 x 13)

BIC 2016 : PR Michel Lamote (14 x 13)

Why hasn’t anyone ever admonished me for managing my time so poorly?


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BMS : masterful cube-handling by Johan Huyck in Master Series (6 x 15).

Johan Huyck is fast becoming a serious threat to Belgium’s top players. Since he stepped back on the backgammon scene, he managed to reach the final of the 2nd Brugge Backgammon Day and – more importantly – won the prestigious 1st BMS Belgium event with a promising PR of 5,78.

Johan is a private math teacher who finds time to devote a couple of hours per day to study the game in earnest. Part of this hard work is playing and recording longer matches against strong opposition and meticulously analysing his errors. In Geert Van der Stricht, Paul Van Dijke, and myself, he has found some sparring partners who are equally determined to improve.

In his most recent Master Series, consisting of six consecutive 15-point matches, Johan was able to solidify his Master Class 3 status with a fine PR of 6,01. Surprisingly, his cube play turned out to be better than his checker play. This is seldom seen, since most good players routinely score World Class PR’s (5 or lower) in checker play, but rarely dip below Advanced level (10 or lower) in cube play. Johan managed to score a stunning 4,96 (!!) PR in the most complex domain of the game :

PR Johan Huyck (loses 1-5)

PR Johan Huyck (loses 1-5)

His opponent, Geert Van der Stricht, took the more straightforward route to a strong PR : World Class checker play, combined with an above 10 cube play PR :

PR Geert Van der Stricht (wins 5-1)

PR Geert Van der Stricht (wins 5-1)

With this result, Geert confidently nestles himself  on the number 2 spot on the BMS Grading Table.

All eyes are now on his closest contender, Walter Meuwis, who will start two Master Series in the coming weeks. Walter will play 2 strings of long matches against Luc Palmans (10 x 19) and Ronny Conaert (6 x 15), both of whom eager to post a Master Class 3 result (6,50 or better). Walter, another hard-working backgammon student, will have to find his best form to improve on his already impressive 5,65 BMS rating. Currently, only 0,29 PR points separate him from Geert. Can Walter close the gap in the months to come?

Two other top-15 players, Maurits Pino and Zsolt Tasnadi, both of Brussels BC, also concluded a MS1 Series. They played, recorded and transcribed eight 9-point matches in the course of some months, but were unable to improve on their Advanced Class 3 status :

Maurits (left) and Zsolt (right) at 1st Brugge Backgammon Day (2015)

Maurits (left) and Zsolt (right) at 1st Brugge Backgammon Day (2015)

PR Zsolt

PR Zsolt (Series drawn 4-4)

PR Maurits

PR Maurits (Series drawn 4-4)

Hats off to all players for competing in this challenging format and allowing their performances to be made public.






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BMS : Geert Van der Stricht shows world class in demanding Master Series (10 x 15).

In less than 3 weeks’ time, Geert Van der Stricht and Johan Huyck found time to play, record and transcribe ten 15-point matches.  The series was drawn (5-5). Both players managed to improve on their BMS rating.

Undiluted praise should go to Geert, who showed that talent, combined with study and dedicated practice, will bear fruit one day :

New number 1 in the making?

Geert edges closer to number one spot…

PR Geert (10 x 15)

PR Geert (10 x 15)

Johan was finally able to dip below the 6,50 PR threshold :

PR Johan (10 x 15)

PR Johan (10 x 15)

With better time management, Johan should be able to avoid costly blunders in the latter phase of his matches and thus improve his PR even more. Thanks to the rolling EP, Johan has now joined a quintet of players who can boast Master level.  Click on BMS (BE) above to see the Grading Table.

Johan (l) en Geert (r) in the final of BBD 2016.

Johan (l) and Geert (r) in the final of BBD 2016.


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