World’s number 3 Michihito Kageyama comes to play at 2nd BMS Belgium tournament!

BMS Belgium is proud to announce that Michihito Kageyama, better known as Michy, has agreed to come and play at the upcoming 2nd BMS Belgium tournament, which will be held at the  ‘Hollandse Vismijn’ in Bruges on Saturday and Sunday 22-23 July. His entourage consists of three more Japanese players (among them Tatsuya Tanaka), who will also be taking part.

Michy (Grandmaster Class 1) playing at the Merit Open in Cyprus.

For those who do not know Michy : he is currently considered one of the absolute best players in the world. On the BMAB Ranking list (which is PR based) Michy is currently ranked nr. 3 with an astonishing aggregate PR of 3,18. Only Victor Ashkenazi (1 – USA) and Mochi (2 – Japan) precede him.

Never before has a backgammon player of such calibre set foot on Belgian soil. Michy is not only an outstanding player, he is also much respected for his strikingly serene table presence.  Michy’s zen approach to the game has, together with his warm and outgoing personality, made him one of the most esteemed and admired players in the world. members are welcome to come and watch this Backgammon Giant (currently nr. 2 on the Giant-32 list) play in Bruges on 22-23 July. Play starts at 10am.


Posted in BMS(BE), Tournaments | Tagged | 1 Comment

Paul and Paulus win 1st Belgian Championship Double Consulting.

Almost all of Belgium’s top-10 players were present at the 1st Belgian Championship Double Consulting. Six teams played five 7-point matches in a round robin. At the end of the day, Paul Van Dijke (Brugge BC) and Paulus Van Rooijen (Brugge BC) came out on top with 4/5 :

Belgian champions Paul (l) and Paulus (r) with the trophies (donated by

Three teams shared 2nd place with three victories and two losses : Walter Meuwis  & Ronny Conaert (Hasselt BC), Luc Palmans & Johan Segers (Leuven BC) and Sonja Custers (Leuven BC) & Michel Lamote (Brugge BC). Johan Huyck & Geert Van der Stricht (Gent BC) (2/5) and Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek (Gent BC) (0/5) were the ones not favoured by Lady Fortune.

Ronny (l) &Walter (r)

Michel & Sonja

Johan S. & Luc (l) versus Geert & Johan H. (r)

Marc  (l) & Robin (r)

The tournament was conceived and organised by Johan Huyck, who did a splendid job setting it all up in a matter of weeks. It took place at the Sandeman Club in Gent, which, for the occasion, was reserved for players and supporters only. Tineke, who tends the bar at the Sandeman, made sure all players received immaculate service.

Only hours after the tournament ended, one of the players (who prefers to remain anonymous) sent out this thank you mail : “Hartelijk dank en proficiat aan Johan Huyck voor een puike organisatie van een geslaagd tornooi. Alles zat goed : formaat, timing, locatie, catering. Echt top, bravo!”

I am sure the other 11 players wholeheartedly agree :

The 6 teams : (from left to right) Geert & Johan, Paulus & Paul, Robin & Marc, Johan & Luc, Ronny & Walter, Sonja & Michel.

Looking forward to the 2nd Belgian Championship Double Consulting 2018!

Posted in Tournaments | Tagged | 1 Comment

Johan and Michel win Double Consulting in Rimini (It).

The 3rd Summer Cup in Rimini attracted about 45 players, who enjoyed an amazing package deal at the fancy Ambassador Hotel (located on the beach promenade): for 80€/day, we got a comfortable room with balcony, airco and electric shutters (which darken the room completely).  Also included is breakfast and … a 4-course dinner, including red and white wine.  As far as I can remember, this is the best deal I ever got in 15 years on the international backgammon circuit.

I was eliminated from the main event by German Championship runner-up Tilman Söhnchen, notwithstanding an acceptable performance (3,59 PR). Johan Huyck, on the other hand, managed one of the great comebacks of the tournament by winning his 1st round match from a 1-10 (11) deficit. Johan even got to the Final Eight, but eventually his luck ran out. He saw a 9-4 (11) lead evaporate against the later winner.

Johan and I did manage to win the Double Consulting event, however, which provides some satisfying consolation. We beat two Italian teams, a German team (Tilman Söhnchen, who played with his alter ego), and a French team in the final.

Johan (r) and me (l) celebrating our win at the hotel bar with our trophies and a Hemingway cocktail (foto : Tilman Söhnchen)

This first taste of the Italian tour has yielded only positive impressions. I would like to thank Alfonso Sara and Cesare Nanti for a well-run and beautifully staged tournament.

On Sunday 2 July, you can come and see how Double Consulting works when 6 teams will compete for the title of Belgian Champion Double Consulting at the Sandeman Club in Gent. Start of play : 10:00 am.


Posted in Tournaments | 1 Comment

Draw for Belgian Championship Double Consultation.

Six teams entered the upcoming Belgian Championship Double Consultation, to be held at the Sandeman Club in Gent on Sunday 2 July.  The draw was made at the Ambassador Hotel in Rimini, Italy, by organiser Johan Huyck and overseen by myself. The draw went smoothly and produced the following pairings :

Round 1 (10:00 am)
Paul Van Dijke & Paulus Van Rooijen v Geert Van der Stricht & Johan Huyck
Michel Lamote & Sonja Custers v Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek
Walter Meuwis & Ronny Conaert v Luc Palmans & Johan Segers

Round 2 (12:30 pm)
Geert Van der Stricht & Johan Huyck v Luc Palmans & Johan Segers
Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek v Walter Meuwis & Ronny Conaert
Paul Van Dijke & Paulus Van Rooijen v Michel Lamote & Sonja Custers

Round 3 (14:45 pm)
Michel Lamote & Sonja Custers v Geert Van der Stricht & Johan Huyck
Walter Meuwis & Ronny Conaert v Paul Van Dijke & Paulus Van Rooijen
Luc Palmans & Johan Segers v Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek

Round 4 (17:00 pm)
Geert Van der Stricht & Johan Huyck v Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek
Paul Van Dijke & Paulus Van Rooijen v Luc Palmans & Johan Segers
Michel Lamote & Sonja Custers v Walter Meuwis & Ronny Conaert

Round 5 (19:15 pm)
Walter Meuwis & Ronny Conaert v Geert Van der Stricht & Johan Huyck
Luc Palmans & Johan Segers v Michel Lamote & Sonja Custers
Marc Van Damme & Robin Bilderbeek v Paul Van Dijke & Paulus Van Rooijen


Posted in Tournaments | Tagged , | Leave a comment

4 Cubes : This is Belgium

On Friday, June 16, the Brussels team went to Leuven for the annual 4 Cubes encounter. The Bxl team consisted of a Francophone and a Neerlandophone Bruxellois, a Hungarian and a Dutchman (they left the Greek at home). The home team was a Francophone Iranian, a Frenchman and two Flemish (one of whom is a prof @LLN). Great atmosphere, interesting games. Better, the result was 6-6 – a thriller.

— the Dutchman

Posted in The 4 Cubes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

BMS : Marc, Geert, Michel confirm top-3 status with commanding PR’s.

After an absence of many years, Marc Van Damme has catapulted himself to the number 1 spot in Belgian backgammon. In his slipstream follow Geert Van der Stricht and Michel Lamote, trying to benefit from the leader’s pull.

Marc and Paul Van Dijke played, recorded and transcribed six 13-point matches (6*13) over the past weeks. Here is how they did :

PR Marc (wins 6-0)

An affirmative performance (!) by Marc. It is tempting to ascribe his results to some form of innate talent, whereas, of course, such level of play can only be the fruit of hard work and sustained study.

PR Paul (loses 0-6) 

Paul at the Sandeman Club…

Paul too will surely be satisfied with his result.   Although he was blasted with a numbing 6-0, he can find solace in the unmistakable progress he has made.

Geert and I played six 17-point matches in the course of the past 2 months :

PR Geert (loses 1-5)

Geert looks happy with a surprisingly good roll…

PR Michel (wins 5-1)

PR’s below 5 are both acceptable and encourageing for Geert and I, bringing us closer to the 5 PR boundary on the BMS Grading Table.

I played another Master Series of six 17-point matches against Johan Huyck :

PR Michel (draws 3-3)

PR Johan (draws 3-3)

Probably not a coincidence that my PR seems to hover around the 4,90 mark. I think I will grant myself a small psychological boost by optimistically assuming that my level of play is currently somewhere in that neighbourhood. Johan, on the other hand, surely hoped for something better than 6,80. Mitigating circumstances abound of course : it is hard to play your best after 8 stressful hours on the workfloor, to mention just one.

Robin Bilderbeek and Nick De Ruyck tried their hand at eight 9-point matches :

PR Robin (draws 4-4)

Robin pondering a backgammon position at the recent Gent Open…

In eight highly entertaining matches Robin proved that the progress he made in the past 6 months is real. With this result he has overtaken seasoned players like Luc Palmans (13) and Guy Van Middelem (12) on the BMS Grading Table and only narrowly fails to grab the number 10 spot. Only 0.02 PR separate him from Ronny Conaert (10) : 7,47 v 7,45…

PR Nick (draws 4-4)

Nick for his part knows that the road ahead is long and windy. Although his table presence is admirably composed and professional, Nick will have to be patient and determined to make the step from Intermediate to Advanced.

Posted in BMS(BE) | Leave a comment

Bert slams opposition at 2017 Rotterdam Open.

After winning all 7 matches at the recent Gent Open, Bert Van Kerckhove continued his winning streak by triumphing in 4 consecutive 13-point matches at the Rotterdam Open last Sunday.

Bert receives the trophy from Ed Baars (organizer).

The field of 16 players was slightly stronger than at a regular Super Sunday (held every last Sunday of the month). Two German players of some reknown (Kimon Papachristopoulos and Dirk Leinberger) had made the trip and the field was further peppered with Dutch top players (a.o. Rogier Van Gemert and Paul Van Koningshoven) as well as our own Geert Van der Stricht.

While Geert was unable to stamp his mark on proceedings, Bert seems to relish the air at the little yacht harbour adjacent to the Okay Club, where the tournament is held. He defeated the talkative German Dirk Leinberger in the semi-final and blasted away Paul Van Koningshoven in the final (13-4) thereby ensuring another fine Belgian win on Dutch soil.

Congratulations, Bert!




Posted in Tournaments | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sunday 2 July 2017 : 1st Open Belgian Championship Double Consultation.

In Double Consultation,  backgammon is played between two teams of 2 players. The teams are allowed to consult before executing a checker play or making a cube decision. This usually results in more thorough play, especially since more time is allotted on the clock (3 minutes per point and 18 seconds per move). is proud to announce the 1st Open Belgian Championship Double Consultation.

This tournament is open to players of all levels. Since no money is involved, even players of Beginner/Intermediate level can have a rewarding experience, since listening in on the deliberations of the opponents can be both instructive and – at times – highly amusing.

Denmark (l)  playing Double Consultation against Germany (r)

Here is the practical information :

Date : Sunday 2 July 2017

Venue : Sandeman Club (Gent)

Format : 5 rounds of 7-point matches. Full tournament or truncated Round Robin depending on the number of teams.

The trophy (donated by will go to the team that wins the tournament (optional sidepool available).

Ambitious teams also have the option to compete for a PR based sidepool whereby the winner will be the team with the best overall PR. Only teams that are able to annotate/film their matches and will transcribe their matches within 7 days after the tournament, can compete in this secondary sidepool.

Schedule :

9.15 – 9.45 : arrival (registration, coffee, orange juice, ontbijtkoeken, …)

10.00 : Round 1

12.00 : sandwiches, croque monsieur and soup available all day

12.30 : Round 2

14.45 : Round 3

17.00 : Round 4

19.15 : Round 5

21.30 : Prize giving (no prize money)

Clock : 21′ + 18″ per move

Entry fee : 30€ per player (registration, food, …).

This tournament is open to all players, also members.  Note that only an even number of teams will be allowed to enter. The order of pre-registration will be respected.

Pre-registration is required. Send an e-mail to : (before Sunday 18 June).

Draw : Tuesday 20 June at the Sandeman Club (Gent).

Hope to see you on Sunday 2 July in Gent!

The Sandeman, home of Gent Backgammon Club.

Posted in Announcements, Tournaments | Tagged | 2 Comments

BMS : Marc Van Damme dips below 5 on BMS Grading Table.

In the more rarefied regions of Belgian backgammon, persistent efforts are being made to notch up the level of play. Marc Van Damme and Geert Van der Stricht, the current numbers 1 and 2 in the BMS realm, scored ringing PR’s in their respective Master Series.

Marc played eight 11-point matches against top-5 player Johan Huyck :

PR Marc (wins 5-3)

This strong performance was sufficient for Marc to break the symbolic 5-PR barrier and comfortably land on 4,94 on the Grading Table. With an EP of 173 behind his name, Marc has now achieved official Master Class 2 status.

Geert, in full preparation for the 2017 World Championship to be held in Monte Carlo (1-6 August), confidently equalled Marc’s performance in a tough 6 x 17 Master Series (also against Johan Huyck) :

PR Geert (wins 5-1)

Geert is now only a breath away from below-5 status. His current PR on the BMS Grading Table is 5,06.

The opponent of both players was Johan Huyck, trailing the two pack leaders by about 1 PR (currently 6,02 on the BMS GT).  Against Marc (8 x 11) Johan let things slip a little,

PR Johan (loses 3-5)

but he did better against Geert (6 x 17) :

PR Johan (loses 1-5)

Johan is showing great tenacity in his efforts to raise his game and his sustained diligence should soon bear fruit.


Posted in BMS(BE) | Leave a comment

BMS : Guy and Alain show signs of progress in Master Series (8 x 9).

If you play a pre-designated number of medium-length matches, say eight matches to 9 points, you can be pretty sure that your overall PR will give a reliable idea of your true playing strength. That is, if you make an honest attempt to play your best game.

This is what Alain Chif and Guy Van Middelem did over the past month. Both are seasoned bridge players with a subsidiary intrest in backgammon. They play frequently, go through their matches to learn from their mistakes, struggle through  the occasional backgammon book, etc. In short, they are competitve players with a keen intrest to improve their level of play.

Guy Van Middelem

Alain Chif

Here is how they did :

PR Guy  (wins 5-3)

PR Alain (loses 3-5)

These performances will certainly earn both players appreciative nods in the BMS community. Both Guy and Alain scored PR’s below-7 in five of the 8 matches, which is great. Guy even played 2 matches below-4 (!).

Unfortunately, these heartening PR’s are polluted by some disturbing slip ups. In this demanding and mentally challenging format, consistency is key. You  cannot allow a couple of PR’s of 10-plus to mar your overall result.  Sure, backgammon matches can have widely varying levels of difficulty, but PR discrepancies of 6 or more (i.e. the difference between PR 4 and PR 10) do not occur in the Master category, where performances are significantly more solid.

In this Master Series, Guy and Alain have displayed unmistakable signs of expertise. If both players put their mind to it, they could lift their game to Expert level ( PR < 7,50) in a matter of months. Progress, however, is not like manna. It does not miraculously appear out of nowhere. Continued study and dedicated practice are vital ingredients of a backgammon player’s regimen, without which no steps forward can possibly be made.





Posted in BMS(BE) | Leave a comment