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) :
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 :
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 :
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 :
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 :
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 :
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.