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)
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)
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)
PR Zsolt (Series drawn 4-4)
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.