Vlissingen Blitz Masters International Backgammon Tournament, January 14-15, 2023

Wrapping up the Vlissingen Blitz Masters International Backgammon Tournament that took place January 14-15, 2023, in the Fletcher Hotel, Vlissingen (NL).

10 different nationalities were present.

Live stream replays and final with XG analysis and commentary by Michel Lamote

Live stream of the final between Christian Sørensen (left) and Bert Van Kerckhove (right), by Robin Bilderbeek (standing), aka Rain. Video with XG analysis and commentary by Michel Lamote

Final between Christian Sørensen (left) and Bert Van Kerckhove, with XG analysis and commentary by Michel Lamote: https://youtu.be/z4djhgNDtFM

Recording, transcription, and editing: Robin Bilderbeek, aka Rain.

Masters Tournament

The playing room in the Fletcher Hotel (Vlissingen) during the Masters tournament on January 14-15, 2023.

53 participants

  • Winner: Christian Sørensen (Netherlands)
  • Finalist: Bert Van Kerckhove (Belgium)
  • Semifinalists: Peter van Rooij (Netherlands), Jürgen Schettler (Germany)
  • Quarterfinalists: Pim van Haastert (Netherlands), Ed Baars (Netherlands), Rogier van Gemert (Netherlands), Claudia Göhnert (Netherlands)

Consulting doubles

  • Winners: Marcel Büker & Marcus Reinhard (Germany)
  • Finalists: Sander Weysters & Maurits Pino (Netherlands)


  • Winner: Pierre Viau (France)
  • 2nd place: Ray Joenoes (Netherlands)
  • 3rd place: Arthur Wright (United Kingdom)
  • 4th place: Michel Lamote (Belgium)

Many thanks to:

I hope to see all of you in 2024 at the weekend of January 13-14.

Tournament director Paulus van Rooijen

Sneak preview of some ideas:

  • a Master group (maximum 32 players) and an Amateur group (maximum 24 players)
  • Program for both groups:
    • Day 1: Qualification 5 rounds Swiss system (9 points)
    • Day 2: [a] Playoff of best 8 (11 points) or [b] Consulting Doubles / Speedgammon for who is eliminated from [a] or [b]

Kind regards,

— Paulus van Rooijen

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Vlissingen Masters 2023: Live stream, final with XG analysis and commentary by Michel Lamote

Final between Bert Van Kerckhove (left) and Christian Sørensen of the Vlissingen Masters, January 15, 2023. Streamed by Robin Bilderbeek, aka Rain, with XG analysis and later commented by Michel Lamote: https://youtu.be/z4djhgNDtFM

Final between Christian Sørensen and Bert Van Kerckhove, with XG analysis and commentary by Michel Lamote: https://youtu.be/z4djhgNDtFM

Videos brought to you by Robin Bilderbeek (aka Rain).

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Happy 2023

Dear backgammon friends,

First of all, from myself, and on behalf of BGFed.be, our federation, my best wishes for

~ a splendid 2023 ~

Our desires, of course, include your best of luck with all sorts of doubles in the beginning of the game and mainly double 5’s & 6’s in the bear-off.

I hope (and I’m pretty sure) you can handle these rolls valuably!

I thank particularly Johan Segers (rating list & website), Michel Lamote (articles & Red Beaver League), Toon Van Herreweghen (Ludite), Chantal Lensen (org. Brussels), Bert Van Kerckhove (org. Ghent), Henri Pollet (org. Leuven), Line Vandamme (org. Brugge), Johan Huyck (national teams).

Please, take a (regular) look at our website, where you’ll find some recent articles & photo’s, the rating list and other results and rankings.

Besides the 4 Cubes (interclub competition) and the Red Beaver League (UBC-style individual competition), BGFed.be tournaments include :

  • Brugge club evening (contact Line Vandamme +32 497 41 03 20) 
  • Ghent club evening, every Tuesday evening at Union-Sandeman, Kantienberg 5, 9000 Ghent
  • Leuven Monthly and Leuven Club Championship, organized on Sunday afternoons in Squash Club de Vaart, Kolonel Begaultlaan 15, 3012 Wilsele (starting at 12:45 on January 8, 2023, see announcement)
  • Brussels club evening, every Wednesday Au Bassin, Baksteenkaai 74 Quai Aux Briques, 1000 Brussels (starting at 19:00 on January 11, 2023)
  • Vlissingen Masters, January 14-15, 2023 (contact Paulus van Rooijen +31 6 53 27 68 35, see flyer)
  • Belgian Individual Championship, in Royal Orée, Verbrandendreef 59 Drève des Brûlés, 1150 Sint-Pieters-Woluwe on June 24-25, 2023 (contact Guy Van Middelem +32 476 41 86 88, see flyer
  • Belgian Backgammon Beach Day, in Restaurant Villa Marie Joseph, Westende on September 10, 2023 (contact Johan Brisaert +32 497 15 52 82)
  • Ghent Open (around March/April)
  • Leuven Open on November 12, 2023

We’ll meet on all these occasions and you can improve your rating (which changes every week).

Keep on rolling,

— Guy

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RBL Q: Itzhak Solsky storms through RBL qualifiers with amazing PR’s

Three BGFed.be members (Sonja Custers, Nick De Ruyck and Itzhak Solsky) are competing for one or two spots in the 2023-2024 Red Beaver League playing roster. In the first round, they played two duels each, whereby each duel consisted of three matches to 7 points.

Itzhak Solsky is proving to be the man of the hour by winning both his duels with eye-catching PR’s. In his last duel, he beat Sonja Custers 5-1 with an average PR of … 3,52 (!!). For somebody who has only recently appeared on the Belgian backgammon scene, this is phenomenal. His overall PR after six matches is 4,78, an achievement which even our best players – except maybe the top-3 – would be happy with.

The continuation of the RBL Qualifiers (or: RBL Q) consists of a final round whereby Sonja, Nick and Itzhak will once again play two duels against each other. All eyes will certainly be on Itzhak to see how much improvement this highly motivated and dedicated player can make in the coming months.

In the Red Beaver League 2022 spreadsheet, please check the RBL Q Results and RBL Q Leaderboard tabs for detailed results.

— Michel Lamote

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Live Backgammon in December

Club gatherings

  • Brugge: contact: Line Vandamme, linevandamme@gmail.com
  • Brussels: every Wednesday evening at 19h, at Au Bassin, Baksteenkaai 74 Quai Aux Briques, 1000 Brussels
  • Ghent: every Tuesday evening, at 19h, at Union-Sandeman, Kantienberg 5, 9000 Gent
  • Leuven Monthly, Sunday, December 18, at 10h15, at Squash Club De Vaart, Kolonel Begaultlaan 15, 3012 Wilsele

Looking ahead

  • Leuven Monthly and start Leuven Club Championship 2023: Sunday, January 8, 2023, De Vaart, Wilsele
  • Vlissingen Masters: January 14-15, 2023
  • XVI Ghent Open: presumably in April 2023, to be confirmed. Union-Sandeman, Ghent
  • Belgian Individual Championship: June 24-25, 2023. Royal Orée, Sint-Pieters-Woluwe
  • Belgian Backgammon Beach Day: September 10, 2023, Restaurant Villa Marie Joseph, Westende. Contact: Johan Brisaert
  • 14th Leuven Open: November 12, 2023. Venue to be confirmed
  • 4 Cubes 2023 encounter Brussels vs Leuven: to be scheduled. The winning team challenges Ghent, winner of the 4 Cubes 2022, for the trophy.
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Gent Open Backgammon XV

On Sunday November 20th the fifteenth edition of the Gent Open Backgammon tournament was held at the premises of the Union Sandeman, home location of the Ghent Backgammon club. 7 rounds of 7-point matches had to be played during this all-day event. All matches were played with clock, 14m 12s delay. This Swiss style of tournament ensured a lot of action until the final round. Thanks to Toon Van Herreweghen’s tournament management software, entering results and making new pairings was so easy that tournament director Bert Van Kerckhove had the time to join the tournament as well. On top of that the players could follow the ranking and draw on a big projection and on their phones.

Another feature of this tournament was the TV table, a setup from Robin Bilderbeek who has published the matches there on youtube.

32 players showed up and got coffee cakes for breakfast. Between rounds 3 and 4 there was catering provided by Alf Martijn.

All participants were playing in the same tournament mixing 14 masters, 12 intermediates and 6 beginners.

As expected, after 4 rounds there remained 2 players with 4 points who would have to battle for taking the sole lead in the tournament. In the masters division it was Michel Lamote who prevailed in round 5 over Arthur Braacx making him the first player with 5 points, followed by Arthur, Zeki Dogustan and Paul van Dijke with 4 points.

In the intermediates, after 5 rounds, Riza Yalçin and Sonja Custers lead with 4 points on a pack with 3 points.

Beginner Hubert Verstraeten won 3 out of 5. Still without any win by then is Chantal Lensen, who allowed Nardy Pillards to score his first point.

In round 6 it was Zeki who fell for a relentless Michel. Michel made a bid for the sole win if he could also win the final round. Arthur and Paul van Dijke both win their matches and have 5 wins out of 6. Sonja, Line and Mahir Yalçin share the lead in the intermediates with 4 wins.

The final round would be decisive for the final results. If Paul van Dijke won from Michel there could be 2 or 3 players with 6 wins out of 7 and resistance points would decide the winner. Michel did not fail and won his 7th match to claim first prize, the trophy and the title in the masters division. Arthur won too and finished with 6 points taking second prize, followed by Zeki, Paul van Dijke and Paul Van Koningshoven who shared 3rd prize with 5 points.

In the intermediates 7 players finished with 4 wins out of 7 and shared first and second prize. The trophy went to Line Vandamme who scored the most resistance points.

Hubert Verstraeten scored 5 wins and took home the trophy in the beginners division and a DGT game clock as a bonus.

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all players for attending.

Also thank you to Alf for the catering, Nick for assisting the td, Robin for the feature table and Toon for use of the software. Thanks also to BGFed.be for the financial support.

A special thank you for Ben Van den Brande for tending the bar on his own during the whole day.

— Bert

Winners of the Gent Open Backgammon XV, from left to right: Line Vandamme (Intermediates), Michel Lamote (Masters), Hubert Verstraeten (Beginners)


Player Score RP
Michel Lamote (M) 7 33
Arthur Braacx (M) 6 30
Zeki Dogustan (M) 5 34
Paul van Dijke (M) 5 27
Hubert Verstraeten (B) 5 26
Paul Van Koningshoven (M) 5 24
Line Vandamme (I) 4 31
Riza Yalçin (I) 4 29
Daniel Rozenberg (M) 4 28
Itzhak Solsky (M) 4 28
Sonja Custers (I) 4 28
Mahir Yalçin (I) 4 24
Firat Tekil (I) 4 23
Johan Vervust (M) 4 22
Dominique Leboulenger (M) 4 22
Johan Brisaert (I) 4 22
Ronny Conaert (I) 4 19
Kristoffer Deweert (I) 3 27
Alf Martijn (I) 3 27
Nick De Ruyck (B) 3 23
Vincent Hubert (B) 3 22
Paulus Van Rooijen (M) 3 21
Bert Van Kerckhove (M) 3 20
Christian Standaert (I) 3 16
Ed Baars (M) 2 28
Koen De Poorter (I) 2 26
Marjan Degraeve (B) 2 21
Chantal Lensen (B) 2 12
Eric de Bouter (I) 1 18
Joseph Meyns (B) 1 17
Nardy Pillards (M) 1 16
Toon Van Herreweghen (M) 1 15
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Live Backgammon in November

Club gatherings

  • Brugge: contact: Line Vandamme, linevandamme@gmail.com
  • Brussels: every Wednesday evening at 19h, at Au Bassin, Baksteenkaai 74 Quai Aux Briques, 1000 Brussels
  • Ghent: every Tuesday evening, at 19h, at Union-Sandeman, Kantienberg 5, 9000 Gent
  • Leuven Monthly, Sunday, November 20, at 12h45, at Squash Club De Vaart, Kolonel Begaultlaan 15, 3012 Wilsele


Looking ahead

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BIC 2023 on June 24-25

The Belgian Individual Championship 2023 will take place on June 24-25 in Royal Orée, Verbrandendreef 59, 1150 Sint-Pieters-Woluwe.

More info in the flyer. Registration: Guy Van Middelem, +32 476 418688 or guy.van.middelem@gmail.com.

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Red Beaver League: Robin Bilderbeek wins 4-2 against Johan Segers in Level 3

After winning his duel in Level 5 against Maurits Pino (4-0) and surprisingly beating Bert Van Kerckhove in Level 4 (4-2), Robin faced seasoned Red Beaver Johan Segers in Level 3. Based on the pre-covid BMS Grading Table, Johan was the favourite with a PR of 5,65 behind his name. Robin’s PR of 7,25 indicated a small, but meaningful skill difference. Note that both these PRs were based on the players’ last 600 EP (= Experience Points), i.e. the equivalent of eighty-five 7-point matches. In short, a reliable indication of their playing strength … two years ago.

Johan was conscious of Robin’s recent eye-catching performances and did not take this duel lightly. He won the first match with a respectable PR (5,04), but saw Robin take a point with a better PR (4,57). That meant 1-1 after the first match.

As the tension rose, the second match went Robin’s way. He won 7-2. Moreover, his PR was again better than Johan’s: 3,51 (!) versus 5,22. So although Johan was playing better than his advertised PR (an accomplishment in itself), he had to undergo Robin’s consistently accurate play. Suddenly the score was 3-1 for Robin. Add to this, Robin’s overall PR was a full point better than Johan’s, so the only way for Johan to pull this duel out of the fire was to win the third match and score a significantly better PR.

Everything now hinged on the third 7-pointer. Robin’s efforts in the first two matches had clearly taken their toll. He fumbled some cube and checker play decisions. Could Johan take advantage of this? It looked like he would, but at 3-away 2-away, as Robin insta-cubed from the bar after having been Too Good for several rolls, Johan dropped this bluff-cube (0,056 No Double) which turned out to be a big, big Take (0,504). This gave his PR a brutal knock and from 3-away 1-away Crawford, it’s hard to make up a PR deficit as cube decisions almost become no-brainers. But… Johan did not know this of course.

So, Johan kept up the fight and invested all the mental energy he had in every decision. He clawed his way back in the match from 3-away 1-away Cr. and even won this gruelling 7-pointer after eleven games: 6-7. A better PR would have secured a 3-3 draw and then, who knows, maybe the overall PR would clinch the duel. In the end, however, the PR’s turned out to be close, with Robin – for the third consecutive time – having slightly the better of it: 6,33 v 6,58.

This 4-2 victory catapults Robin from a modest Level 5 starting position to Level 2 where he will meet one of Belgium’s four backgammon heavyweights. His noteworthy improvement is also reflected in the RBL Leaderboard, where he is far ahead of the pack with twelve points and an overall PR of 5,56 (after eight 7-pointers). Surely the man of the hour in Belgian backgammon!

Commiserations to Johan, who battled hard, but ended up playing slightly below his pre-covid standard. He will surely be looking to elevate his game in his Level 3 barrage duel against Paulus van Rooijen.

(Check Results in the menu on the side, including the leaderboard).

— Michel Lamote

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4 Cubes remain in Ghent for at least another year

On Tuesday evening, October 25, 2022, challenger Brussels took up the gauntlet and traveled to Ghent, eager to earn the 4 Cubes which stayed there during the covid period. The final encounter the 4 Cubes 2022, Belgium’s backgammon interclub championship took place in the well known Sandeman, where all of the Ghent Backgammon activities have taken place since many years. In July this year, Brussels had narrowly defeated Leuven (report) to decide who would become Ghent’s challenger, Ghent holding the trophy since 2019 already.

Brussels’ line-up could have been stronger, but with Kristoffer De Weert, Paul Van Dijke, Guy Van Middelem, Alain Chif and Vincent Hubert, it was soon clear that everything could happen that evening. Ghent’s line-up wasn’t the strongest possible either, missing Marc Van Damme, who couldn’t find any motivation this year. This meant that, according to the BGFed rating, it was a close call to claim a favorite that evening. Ghent decided to line up their most experienced players Geert Van der Stricht, Johan Huyck, Robin Bilderbeek, Bert Van Kerckhove and Nick De Ruyck. Firat Tekil, Zeki Dogustan and Alf Martijn were available as potential substitutes but gave priority to mental support the whole evening.

In the first round, things started badly for Ghent. At one point Brussels was leading 1-3, after which yours truly could limit the damage: 2-3.

Geert Van der Stricht Vincent Hubert 1-0
Johan Huyck Alain Chif 0-1
Robin Bilderbeek Guy Van Middelem 1-0
Bert Van Kerckhove Paul Van Dijke 0-1
Nick De Ruyck Kristoffer De Weert 0-1
Ghent Brussels 2-3

In the second round, Ghent managed to equalize and retained hope to keep the Cubes.

Geert Van der Stricht Alain Chif 1-0
Johan Huyck Vincent Hubert 1-0
Robin Bilderbeek Kristoffer De Weert 1-0
Bert Van Kerckhove Guy Van Middelem 0-1
Nick De Ruyck Paul Van Dijke 0-1
Ghent Brussels 3-2

So 5-5 after 2 rounds, with 5 more matches to play. Luckily for the home players, Ghent won the first match, where an 8-cube in the first game was decisive. Nick De Ruyck was happy to bring an important point home. Robin Bilderbeek, always motivated to play for the team, added the second point, beating Alain Chif. Things were looking very bad for Brussels at this point, trailing in all remaining matches.

Around midnight, the match Bert Van Kerckhove – Vincent Hubert attracted most attention, as the match was about to end.

Bert Van Kerckhove was the match winner after all, when he managed to win from a scary position and secured the last needed point for overall victory. The two remaining matches were no longer important but, of course, were still played till the end “for the gallery”. Johan Huyck and myself were lucky to add one more victory, smashing down Brussels by 5-0 in the last round.

Geert Van der Stricht Kristoffer De Weert 1-0
Johan Huyck Paul Van Dijke 1-0
Robin Bilderbeek Alain Chif 1-0
Bert Van Kerckhove Vincent Hubert 1-0
Nick De Ruyck Guy Van Middelem 1-0
Ghent Brussels 5-0

Final result: Ghent – Brussels: 10-5.

Around 0u30, BGFed.be president Guy Van Middelem reached out the 4 Cubes officially to the Ghent team, after which a group picture of the winners was the conclusion of an entertaining backgammon evening.

— Geert Van der Stricht

PS: In 2023, Brussels will have the home advantage in the contest with Leuven to decide who will be Ghent’s challenger.

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