At the top of Belgian backgammon persistent efforts are being made to reach higher degrees of proficiency. Study, play, and analysis are key ingredients in that endeavour. To measure improvement, there is nothing like a challenging Master Series : a pre-designated series of longer matches, played live, recorded, transcribed, and mercilessly analysed and evaluated by the world’s absolute best player, the masterfully engineered robot : eXtremeGammon.
Marc Van Damme, currently ranked 2 on the BMS Grading Table, and Paul Van Dijke (6) wrapped up the 40th Master Series. Their MS consisted of six 13-point matches, played at the Sandeman Club in Gent over the course of a month.
Here is how they did :
As usual, the difference in acquired skill, no matter how small, is reflected in the respective PR’s. Seldom, if ever, will a lesser player come out of a 6*13 MS with a better overall PR than his opponnent.
Marc will be slightly disappointed not to have dipped below the 5 PR threshold, but his performance is still comfortably within his Master Class 2 range. Paul, for his part, confirmed his Master Class 3 status, but would have loved to see a 5 behind his name. In short, pretty routine stuff by two Masters of the game.