On Thursday 5 October, the 4th edition of the European Backgammon Team Championship (EUBTC) gets underway in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. After valiant campaigns in Hungary (2015) and Denmark (2016) Belgium is once again represented by a worthy team.
The championship consists of 6 rounds of play. In each round, four 13-point matches are played between teams of two different countries. Each country can be represented by one team only. After 6 rounds (played on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 October) the four highest ranked countries qualify for the Final Four. These 4 teams play semi-finals and the final on Sunday 8 October. You can find more info on the tournament format here.
In 2015 and 2016 we were just one match win away from qualification for the Final Four. There was disappointment, but also satisfaction. With less than 100 active players, Belgium is a small backgammon nation compared to pioneering countries like Denmark (current European Champion), Germany, the UK, etc. Still, BGFed.be is one of the best structured backgammon federations in the world and many countries envy our professionally organised initiatives, like the 4 Cubes ( = annual club competition), the BIC ( = the Belgian Individual Championship), the BGFed.be result-based ranking, and the BMS ( = Belgium Master Series = PR-based ranking).
The EUBTC is a great opportunity for Belgium to manifest itself on the international backgammon scene. Our top players are not of Grandmaster level, which makes us underdogs against countries who can field one or more GM’s (Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Czech Republic, …). However, all players on the team are seasoned backgammon Masters, with plenty of international experience. They are all ranked in the top-6 of the BMS Grading Table (which ranks players according to acknowledged skill level). So, it is safe to say that, with the exception of Geert Van der Stricht (who could not make himself available because of job obligations), the team consists of ‘Belgium’s Best’. They are : Michel Lamote (1), Marc Van Damme (2), Johan Huyck (4), Walter Meuwis (5) and Johan Segers (6).
As Team Captain, I would like to thank all these players for making themselves available and investing time and money in this joint effort. Let us do our best to play (and roll) well.