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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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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BMS : Geert and Guy wrap up BIC 2016 series.

Geert Van der Stricht (Gent BC) and Guy Van Middelem (Brugge BC) finished their 7 BIC encounters well within schedule. Here is how they did :

Geert won 10 of his 14 matches, but will not be allowed to promote to Division 1 due to a late entry. His performance in this BMAB-validated Master Series is of Master (Class 3) level, but fails to beat Walter Meuwis’s benchmark 5,17 performance :

BIC : Geert's PR (14 x 11)

BIC : Geert’s PR (14 x 11)

Guy has been playing at Advanced level for some time now, but is finding it hard to confidently cross into Expert territory (< 7,50 PR).  Guy won 8 and lost 6 of the fourteen 11-pointers :

BIC : Guy's PR (14 x 11)

BIC : Guy’s PR (14 x 11)


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BMS : Johan Huyck and Paul Van Dijke narrowly miss Master result.

Johan (Gent BC) and Paul (Brugge BC) played, recorded and transcribed six 13-pointers in the course of a couple of weeks.  Both players keep struggling to dip below 6,50 PR, the boundary which separates Advanced  from Master (Class 3) level :

PR Johan (6 x 13)

PR Johan (Johan wins 4-2)

PR Paul (6 x 13)

PR Paul (Paul loses 2-4)

Since both performances are eerily close to both players’ known skill level, this Master Series causes barely a ripple on the BMS Grading Table. You can view the complete BMS table by clicking on BMS in the black banner above.


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BMS : official BMAB grading results.

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EBTC Denmark 2016 : final selection.

The European Backgammon Team Championship will take place in Helsingor (Denmark) in October this year. As announced, selection for the team is solely based on playing strength as indicated by the assembled data in the 2 BMS tables : the BMS Grading Table (predominantly longer matches) and the BPR Ranking Table (mostly shorter matches).

After 8 months of play (hundreds of matches) the BMS BE data have yielded the following ranking :

BMS BPR combined

Therefore, the selection for Helsingor is as follows : 1. Michel Lamote 2. Geert Van der Stricht 3. Walter Meuwis 4. Johan Segers 5. Johan Huyck 6. Guy Van Middelem 7. Alain Chif. Substitute  : Maurits Pino.

BGFed.be is happy to send this robust team to Denmark. Of course, with no player who plays solidly below 5, we cannot count ourselves among the favourites. However, the team’s skill level and international experience is high enough to warrant some hope for at least an outside chance of success.

As Team Captain I hope that in the coming months  all selected players will conscientiously prepare for this event. Any improvement in whatever aspect of the game can make a difference when crunch time comes.



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BMS Brugge : Zdenek and Michel divide PR prize.

Wonder kid Zdenek Zizka

Wonder kid Zdenek Zizka

As was to be expected, Zdenek Zizka, the timid 17-year-old grandmaster from the Czech Republic, took first prize in the PR contest at Belgium’s 1st BMS event (6 x 13) :

BMS Brugge PR Zdenek

BMS Brugge PR Zdenek

I was able to dip below 5 and thus post the 2nd best PR :

BMS Brugge PR Michel

BMS Brugge PR Michel

The other performance results :

3. Honza Cerny (CZ) : 5,36

4. Johan Huyck (B) : 5,72

5. Geert Van der Stricht (B) : 5,89

6. Pavel Zaoral (CZ) : 6,20

7. Walter Meuwis (B) : 6,33

8. Paulus Van Rooijen (NL) : 6,82

9. Maurits Pino (NL) : 8,00

10. Guy Van Middelem (B) : 9,02

The  question now is : how much improvement can our best players make in the coming 12 months? Belgian backgammon would make a big leap forward if 3 to 4 players could post PRs below 5 next year.

BMS BE hopes that at least a number of players will find the time and motivation to strive towards that goal. It will take study and dedicated practice. We wish everyone good luck in that noble endeavour.

M (for : BMS BE)

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BMS : Johan Huyck remains undefeated at 1st BMS tournament.

With an amazing streak of 6 consecutive wins, Johan Huyck (Gent BC) became the convincing winner of the 1st BMS Belgium tournament.  After having beaten Paulus Van Rooijen (NL), Guy Van Middelem, Honza Cerny (CZ) and Walter Meuwis in the first 4 rounds, Johan won a crucial duel against the young Czech grandmaster Zdenek Zizka to take 5/5. In the 6th and final round, Johan was able to keep Maurits Pino (NL) from a shared first prize by scoring his 6th victory.

Johan (l) with BMS trophy.

Johan (r) with BMS trophy and BMS organizer Michel (l)

Four players shared 2nd place with 4 wins : Geert Van der Stricht (Gent BC), Maurits Pino (Brussels BC), Paulus Van Rooijen (Brugge BC) and Pavel Zaoral (CZ).

Top favourite Zdenek Zizka (CZ) was knocked out of contention in the 4th round by Guy Van Middelem (Brugge BC)  and had to content himself with a meagre 2/6. Same for Michel Lamote (Brugge BC – 2/6). Both players can hope for some consolation in the form of respectable PRs. All 10 players are currently transcribing the 30 matches (13 points) and eagerly (anxiously?) awaiting the performance evaluations.

BMS Belgium would like to congratulate all participants on their gentlemanly conduct and good-humoured competitiveness and especially the Czech delegation for travelling 1000 km to come from Prague to Brugge and being great sports.  Robin Bilderbeek handcrafted the trophy.



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