Johan Huyck (Gent BC) wins high-quality BIC Final.

The 2018 BIC Final between Johan Huyck and Paul Van Dijke (Brugge BC) started punctually at 6 PM. Johan won the first 13-pointer quite easily with a 7+ luck rate and an astonishing below-3 PR, but Paul managed to win the second match to draw level. The  third and decisive 13-pointer was again a one-sided affair with Johan coming out on top.

Johan (l) and Paul (r) before start of play. XG transcriber Robin can be detected in the background.

The encounter was filmed and transmitted on a screen in the adjoining bridge playing room, with commentaries by Geert Van der Stricht, Marc Van Damme, Paulus Van Rooijen and myself. Robin Bilderbeek transcribed live so the spectators (all five of them…) could enjoy immediate feedback by the computer programme Xtreme Gammon. To everybody’s astonishment, both players rose to the occasion and found their best playing skills. Here are their excellent PR’s :

PR Johan (3 x 13). Johan wins 2-1.

PR Paul (3 x 13). Paul loses 1-2.

Congrats to both for a well-played, high-level match. A video of the complete final (with XG and commentary) will soon be made available on YouTube thanks to the dedication and efforts of Robin Bilderbeek.

Johan presenting the 2018 BIC trophy.

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Johan Huyck and Paul Van Dijke play BIC Final on Friday 21 December in Gent.

(Image made by: Robin Bilderbeek)

For the second time in two years, Johan Huyck (Gent BC) has reached the final of the BIC competition. Last year he lost to current BIC Champion Metin Ates, but he gets a second chance to take the title this year. His opponent is Paul Van Dijke (Brugge BC), who made it to the final after a long campaign which started in Division II.

The match will be played on Friday 21 December at the Sandeman in Gent. The first player to win two 13-point matches will be crowned BIC Champion 2018. Start of play is   6 PM. The players will play in the bar area and the match will be transmitted on a semi-large screen in the bridge area. Robin Bilderbeek will do live XG transcribing and the action will be commentated on by Michel Lamote, with Geert Van  der Stricht and Marc Van Damme as guest commentators.

Everybody is welcome to come and witness the climax of this prestigious competition. All spectators will have to take a seat in the bridge area, as no kibitzers will be allowed in the playing area. Income is free.





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Minutes General Assembly npo 7-Dec-2018

The minutes of the most recent general assembly of the npo can be found on the page Federation. Some other stuff on that page has been updated as well.

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BIC 2019

The rules of the Belgian Individual Championship (BIC) 2019 can be found in the menu via BIC > BIC 2019.

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Update rating list: two-week period

It seems that last weekend, I’ve forgotten to update the rating list. My apologies. This weekend’s update therefore concerns a two-week period, taking into account matches played between Monday, November 26 and Sunday, December 9, 2018. — JS.

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BMS : Master Series 0062 and 0064 wrapped up.

In a continued effort to improve their game, Geert Van der Stricht, Johan Huyck, Robin Bilderbeek and Michel Lamote played, recorded and transcribed ten 13-point matches. Over the past years it has become clear that PR’s achieved in Master Series of that length do not deviate much from the players’ actual playing strengths and thus provide a good indication of where they stand as far as intrinsic skill is concerned :

PR Geert (10*13). MS1 0064 is drawn 5-5.

PR Johan (10*13). MS1 0064 is drawn 5-5.

PR Robin (10*13). MS1 0062 is drawn 5-5.

PR Michel (10*13). MS1 0062 is drawn 5-5.

Encourageing PR’s by all four players. Geert (3), Johan (4) and Michel (2) solidify their BMS ranking, while Robin (9) is edging closer to below-7 status.

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4 Cubes 2018 – Leuven 2 keeps the trophy (again)

Geert (Gent) shaking hands with Odette (Leuven 1). Their match was one of the nine matches between their two teams in the final round of the 4 Cubes 2018, the Belgian backgammon team competition.

All six teams came together to play the last of five rounds of the 4 Cubes 2018, the team competition organized by In the tennis club Longchamp in Uccle, Brussels 2 met Leuven 2, Leuven 1 met Gent, and Brugge met Brussels 1. The main area and the room upstairs were packed with backgammon sets, some cheap and some luxury, clocks, and recording equipment. Players from all over the country (and even from across the border) enjoyed an evening of playing and camaraderie, until the late hours.

The encounter between Brussels 2 and Leuven 2 was the de facto final of the competition: the winner of the encounter would be first in the final ranking and earn the right to hold and display the precious 4 Cubes trophy throughout 2019. Around midnight, it was Leuven 2 that came out on top. Congratulations for the team, who already won the 2016 and 2017 editions. Full results can be found in the Tournament Book.

We would like to thank all players and team captains for their participation, sportsmanship, and fair play. Fixing dates and motivating players was not always an easy task, but some team captains showed remarkable patience and gentlemanship. The organizing committee has listened carefully to the feedback and suggestions formulated by the captains and will soon come up with a proposal for the 2019 edition.

Keep on rolling!

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10th Leuven Open – 30 Participants and a Triple Winner

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Johan Huyck is off to Cyprus with good PR’s under his belt.

The 6th Merit Open International Backgammon Championship is a monster event in Cyprus (40.000€ added prize money) which starts on Wednesday 31 October. Johan Huyck will be the only member present. The strike by the luggage handlers in Zaventem forced him to make a costly detour to Warshau, but there is no doubt Johan will be well-rested and eager to perform when he appears at the board on Day 1 (Wednesday, 2 pm).

Johan has been making progress lately. Long stranded with a 6+ PR on the BMS GT, he is now slowly making his way to the 5,50 PR region. Over the past two months, Johan played two Master Series, assembling 188 EP in the process. Here is how he did in the first one, against Paul Van Dijke :

PR Johan MS1 0061 (6*13). Johan wins 4-2.

PR Paul MS1 0061 (6*13). Paul loses 2-4.

These PR’s are a clear indication that Johan is establishing a significant skill gap between himself and his his closest pursuer, Paul Van Dijke.

In the same period, Johan played another Master Series against Geert Van der Stricht, currently Belgium’s second-highest ranked player (PR 4,81).  This series consisted of ten 11-pointers:

PR Johan MS1 0063 (10*11). Johan draws 5-5.

PR Geert MS1 0063 (10*11). Geert draws 5-5.

Again the skill difference is clear. One PR point is close to indisputable in a Master Series of 110 EP. Johan again manages a below-6 PR and seems to have found some solidity in his performances. So has Geert, of course, who will surely dip below 4,50 PR in the months leading up to the European Team Championship in Montenegro next year (8-10 April 2019).

Johan is now firmly positioned on spot 4 on the BMS Grading Table with 5,60 PR.

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BMS : PR’s from BMAB event in Nottingham (UK)

On 15 and 16 September 2018, 26 players competed in a BMAB event in Nottingham. Typical for these BMAB events is that ALL matches are filmed by the tournament organization (i.c. Rick Janowski) and that the overall PR’s of all players are incorporated in the International BMAB list.

Eager to make progress on that list, Geert Van der Stricht and I made the trip. Geert took a Friday night flight and I went by ferry and car on Thursday. Afterwards we were both happy. Geert won the event with 5 victories out of 5 matches (Geert was tied first with Lawrence Powell, but won the 1-point decider for the trophy) and I shared 2nd prize in the PR contest with a morale-boosting performance. Also part of our satisfaction was the fact that the hotel is supremely located close to Midlands Airport, offers great rooms  for about 65€ (with English or continental breakfast) and is organized with strict adherence to the schedule.

Geert (r) and Lawrence (l) present their BMAB certificates.

The PR prize was won by GM Sebastian Wilkinson from England (aged 28) with a PR of 3,2 or thereabouts. For Geert, cube actions in lopsided scores against inferior opponents proved to be a delicate balancing act and this is reflected in his PR. As we can see from the Player’s Profile below, Geert’s cube play suffered greatly from the fact that he was mostly far ahead in matches against weaker players. Adjusting with the cube is the first thing you should consider if there is a significant skill disparity and you play to win, but if you play for PR at the same time, this can have a ruinous effect on your Cube PR. Also Geert’s Checker Play PR, while very strong, is slightly below what he is capable of :

PR Geert (5*13). Won 5/5.

In that respect, I had an easier task. I lost my first round match and could bury my hopes of winning the tournament. I could take the factor “winning” out of my decision-making process and focus solely on making the objectively optimal choices. This benefitted my PR greatly :

PR Michel (5*13).  Won 4/5.

After this event, Geert and I remain in close proximity on the BMS Grading Table. We are both about 0,4 PR point behind Belgium’s uncontested number 1, Marc Van Damme.

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