In Red Beaver League (RBL) duels, three matches to 7 points are played whereby one point is awarded for the match win and one point for the better performance rating (PR). Does this mean the best player always wins? Well, not always, but he certainly has an edge.
This is what Guy Van Middelem experienced in his opening duel of the season against Alain Chif. At Orée on 29 May Guy won the opening match (1-0) but squandered away the PR point with a 15+ PR (1-1). This gave Alain a realistic opportunity for an upset. The dice gave Alain a little push in the back (he won M2 7-0), which gave him a 1-2 lead, but sadly Alain could not take advantage of Guy’s 10+ PR, so that the PR point went to Guy (2-2). All to play for in M3 then. Guy, under threat of an ignominious defeat, was able to sufficiently lift his level of play to take one point with a fine PR of 8,33 (3-2) and although he lost M3 (3-3) came out the winner with a better overall PR (OPR). A narrow escape for Guy and a missed opportunity for Alain, whose play was just too erratic to topple the 2022 Belgian Individual Champion (BIC).
The second Level 5 duel was played on 9 June between Itzhak Solsky and Maurits Pino. In the comfortable surroundings of Itzhak’s flat in Uccle, Itzhak made sure he did not fall into the same trap and left no doubt as to his intentions. He won M1 with an excellent 3,73 PR (enough to beat Maurits’ good 7,69 PR) and a match win: 2-0. Maurits, however, had an easy ride in M2 which he won 7-0, but just like Alain, he could not take advantage of Itzhak’s unexpected 10+ PR: 3-1. In M3 Itzhak cruised to a 7-3 victory, which together with a better PR, secured a comfortable win: 5-1.
These two duels indicate that the stronger player toys with fire if he plays below par. The format is sufficiently volatile to give the underdog an outside chance to win if the favourite comes up with a slapdash performance.
Itzhak and Guy now progress to Level 4 where they will meet Johan Segers and Bert Van Kerckhove respectively.
You can find the updated Results and Leaderboard via the RBL 2023 links in the menu.
— Michel Lamote