Geert Van der Stricht becomes number 1 on BMS GT.

At the top of Belgian backgammon, there is little room for sloppiness. Playing a demanding Master Series of six 17-point matches with less than optimal focus can have unpleasant consequences.

I started off this MS1 with another clock violation. My reasonable PR of 5,20 was mercilessly converted into a 9,85, which meant that I could ditch any hopes of improving my overall PR in the coming 6 months. Fortunately,  supportive friends and family kept me from early backgammon retirement and I played the rest of the Series at my known skill level. Better still, I managed to dramatically alter my playing rhythm and have succeeded in avoiding time trouble since then. Even the darkest clouds have a silver lining if you look closely enough …

At times, Geert also flirted with time pressure, but was let off the hook this time. Of course, our new Number 1 can fall back on years of clock experience on the international chess scene, and mostly keeps his composure even with only a handful of seconds left. Noteworthy that  Geert’s PR in this Series is exactly the same as his current overall PR on the BMS Grading Table. Safe to say that it will be hard to knock this ambitious and hard-working backgammon Master off his newly gained top spot :

PR Geert Van der Stricht (wins 4-2)

PR Michel Lamote (loses 2-4)

Four new Master Series are due to start this week : Geert Van der Stricht v Johan Huyck (MS1 0028 : 6 x 17), Johan Huyck v Michel Lamote (MS1 0029 : 6 x 17), Robin Bilderbeek v Michel Lamote (MS1 0030 : 8 x 13) and Johan Huyck v Marc Van Damme (MS1 0031 : 8 x 11).

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Robin Bilderbeek wins 1st Belgium Championship 3-point matches.

At Longchamp, 26 players showed up to contest the 1st Belgium Backgammon Championship 3-point matches. The initiative was taken by President Guy Van Middelem, who also sacrificed his own chance for glory by acting as TD (Tournament Director).

The event was won by Robin Bilderbeek (Gent BC), who celebrated his return from a 2-month backgammon sabbatical by winning 13 out of 14 matches :

Robin “Rain” Bilderbeek with trophy.

This stunning result did not come as a suprise to the members of Gent BC, who have seen Robin make significant progress in the past year. Robin has played several BMS Series ( = pre-designated series of longer matches) and is in the habit of filming, transcribing and analysing his matches as a means to improve. Now hovering on the brink between Advanced and Expert level, Robin is poised to lift his game to an even higher level in 2017.

Closest on Robin’s heels was Maurits Pino (Brussels BC), who won 12 out of 14 matches. Maurits exerted pressure on Robin till the last rounds, but Robin ended his triumphant campaign with resounding victories over team buddy Bert Van Kerckhove (Gent BC) and former (and future?) backgammon master Marc Vandamme. Congratulations Robin!

The classy trophy was donated by and professionally presented by Master of Ceremonies Guy.

Next event on the calendar is the 12th Gent Open Backgammon (Saturday 8 April 2017), where 7 rounds of 7-point matches will be played. For info, contact :

See you there!


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4 Cubes 2017 – Round 1

The results of Round 1 of the 4 Cubes 2017, played on Friday, February 17:

Brugge vs Brussels : 9-3
Leuven 1 vs Leuven Cubers 2 : 4-8
Gent : bye

For detailed results, please check the rating list or the tournament book, see the menubar.

Round 2

Round 2 will take place in April: Gent vs Brugge (Tue Apr 18) and Brussels vs Leuven 1 (Fri Apr 21). The Leuven Cubers 2 are bye.

The four team captains are kindly asked to fix the dates and the line-ups are quickly as possible.

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1st Belgium Backgammon Championship 3-point matches

Dear backgammon friends & members,

Save the date – on Sunday the 26th of February at 10.00 hours :

1st Belgium Backgammon Championship 3-point matches

Format depending on the number of participants : presumably Swiss tournament with everybody playing 14 rounds of 3-point matches. Open to all members. All info on included flyers [ EN | FR | NL ].

Registration is mandatory before Friday the 24th of February ! BYOB (try to bring a board and a clock). Location : Longchamp Tennis Club, chaussée de Waterloo 836, 1180 Brussels.

Registration &/or information : Guy Van Middelem : 0476/41.86.88

Hope to see you then,

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Leuven Monthly replaces 4th Friday

In December 2016, the Backgammon Club Leuven launched a survey to know more about its players’ preferences. Thirty-eight people responded. Following up, the club decided to change the format of its 4th Friday tournament series: the Leuven Monthly was born. In 2017, the tournaments take place on Friday evenings or on Sunday afternoons, depending on the particular month. The tournament format is a mix of 7-point and 5-point matches. The rules of the Leuven Club Championship have been modified too, giving higher winning chances to less regular players. Read more.

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BMS : four high-level Master Series wrapped up.

Losing a backgammon match can be a frustrating affair. You feel you played better than your opponent, but still ended up losing. Fortunately, some satisfaction can be derived from the computer’s evaluation of your stellar performance. The other side of the coin, however, is that a performance you thought was excellent, may turn out to be nothing better than mediocre…

In their quest for mastery, 5 of our best players played, recorded and transcribed 36 long matches in the last months of 2016. Except for Johan Huyck, nobody seems to have made significant progress.

Geert Van der Stricht challenged Bert Van Kerckhove to a contest of six 15-point matches (6 x 15).  The action took place on Tuesday nights, at the Sandeman in Gent,  after a hard day’s work, so players can be forgiven not to have found their best form. Still, both Geert and Bert might feel slightly uncomfortable when confronted with the numbers. Bert, however, did make progress on the BMS Grading Table. He is only one good performance away from dipping below 7 (current standing : 7,13) :

PR Geert (loses 2-4)

PR Geert (loses 2-4)

PR Bert (wins 4-2)

PR Bert (wins 4-2)

Geert played another series of 15-pointers against Paul Van Dijke (6 x 15). This time, Geert managed to come closer to what is perceived to be his true potential, while Paul comfortably dipped below 6,50. Both players can rightfully feel encouraged by this performance :

PR Geert (wins 5-1)

PR Geert (wins 5-1)

PR Paul (loses 1-5)

PR Paul (loses 1-5)

Johan Huyck and I also played an MS1 (6 x 15). Consistent study and dedicated practice are bearing fruit for Johan.  In the past 6 months he has gained a full PR point on the BMS Grading Table, which is a remarkable achievement. He has elbowed his way past Walter Meuwis to the number 3 spot on the BMS table with a current PR of 5,77. Insiders expect Johan to dive below 5 before June 30, 2017 :

PR Johan (wins 4-2)

PR Johan (wins 4-2)

My PR, on the other hand, is nothing less than a set-back. I had hoped to solidify my below-5 rating, but the 6th match proved one too many. Clearly, focused study will be required to climb another rung on the ladder :

PR Michel (loses 2-4)

PR Michel (loses 2-4)

Walter Meuwis and Luc Palmans opted for 17-point matches (6 x 17). Walter, current holder of the prestigious BIC title (Belgian Individual Champion) and certified BMAB Master (Class 3),  seems to be struggling a bit with his game. His PR in this MS1 is surely below his inherent skill level. Sadly,  this below-par performance is ruthlessly reflected in the BMS Table, where Walter now stands with a worrisome 6,15 behind his name :

PR Walter (wins 4-2)

PR Walter (wins 4-2)

His opponent, Luc Palmans, has recently shifted his attention away from backgammon to chess and … other interests. As the numbers show, it is hard to come up with Expert performances when playing in recreational mode, even as one of the most gifted players in the country :

PR Luc (loses 2-4)

PR Luc (loses 2-4)

Maurits Pino and Alain Chif have also finished an MS1 (8 x 9),  but the data are still being processed. Of others (Kristoffer De Weert, Sassan Kachanian, Leonidas Sotiriadis, Paulus Van Rooijen, Toon Van Herreweghen, a.o.) we remain in the dark as to their playing strengths.


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Belgian 3-point Match Championship 2017 on Sunday, February 26, at Longchamp’s

On Sunday, February 26, will organize the first Belgian 3-point Match Championship.

Venue: Longchamp Tennis Club, chaussée de Waterloo 836, 1180 Brussels.
Starting time: 10:00.
Format: to be decided. Most probably Swiss.
Tournament director: Guy Van Middelem (T 0032 476 41 86 88, E

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Video BIC 2016 final – with live commentary and analysis

This is the second and last 13-point match of the BIC 2016 final between Sassan Kashanian and Walter Meuwis. The match was played on December 16, 2016, at Longchamp’s, Uccle (Brussels).

Live commentary: Michel Lamote and Geert Van der Stricht
Transcription and XG analysis: Luc Palmans
Tournament director: Guy Van Middelem
Video: Nader K. Rad and Johan Segers

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BMS Xmas Trophy 2016 : historic performance by Christian Sörensen.

Grandmaster-to-be Christian Sörensen

Grandmaster-to-be Christian Sörensen

If you record and transcribe a batch of five 9-point matches for a total EP of 45, very seldom will the resulting Performance Rating (PR) deviate substantially from the players’ known playing strength. It was known beforehand that Christian Sörensen (24 – see profile below) played better than Belgium’s Best, but … hey… that remained to be seen, right?

Well, here it is : a PR of 2,99 is absolutely stunning. This is a Super Grandmaster performance (PR < 3) that will resound on all continents. True, the opposition was average, so it is well possible that cube decisions were not as difficult as they would have been again stronger opponents. Christian may also have been circumstantially lucky in that he was mostly crushed in his matches, so was not faced with complex, creative opportunities. Nevertheless, this result proves without any doubt that this player has the potential to reach the absolute top in backgammon. Congratulations, Christian! And thank you for coming to Brussels and showing us the stuff Grandmasters are made of :



In the shade of that oak, some lesser vegetation tried to get a ray of sunlight. I was able to play at Master Class 1 level, which is encourageing, and Geert has to be delighted with a fine 4,78.  Both Johans will probably be slightly disappointed not to have dipped below 6. Further down, Paul and Guy could not rise above themselves and Zsolt, Johan V. and Nick know that the road ahead to Advanced level will be hard.

A word of thanks to BMS(BE) (i.e. Geert Van der Stricht, Johan Huyck and Walter Meuwis) for organizing and orchestrating this event, and to for their encouragement and support.

Happy 2017!

Profile Christan Sörensen :

24 years old

Finalist Nordic Open 2011 (at 17…)

Winner Dutch Championship 2012

Winner Double Consultation Nordic Open 2014 (with GM Bob Wachtel)

Semi-finalist XG Masters Nordic Open 2016.


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BMS : Michel wins BMS Belgium Xmas Trophy 2016.

At Longchamp on Tuesday 27 December, 10 players played 5 rounds of 9-point matches in a truncated round robin. All matches were recorded and PRs will be validated for BMS and BMAB.

Johan Segers, Zsolt Tasnadi and myself each won 4 out of 5 and shared first prize. I was able to win the three-way mini tie-break for the trophy, which was donated by

Zsolt (l), Michel (with trophy) and Johan (r)

Zsolt (l), Michel (with trophy) and Johan (r)


Full report follows when all matches have been transcribed.


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