Red Beaver League Final: Geert Van der Stricht leads Marc Van Damme 4-2

In the 23-24 RBL Final (9 matches), Geert Van der Stricht leads Marc Van Damme4-2 after the First Three.

ltr: Geert Van der Stricht (RBL Champion), Michel Lamote (tournament director), Marc Van Damme (RBL Challenger)

Having rested on his laurels for almost a full year, reigning RBL Champion Geert Van der Stricht appeared at the board fit and energetic. His very strong 2,72 PR (!!) in M1 salvaged a point as Marc won 7-3 with an equally remarkable performance (3,15 PR): 1-1.M2 turned into a classic prime-v-prime game where the cube eventually landed on 8. Geert gave an aggressive, but correct initial cube which Marc was able to reship to 4 as he suddenly had Geert’s last man stuck behind a 6-prime. However, as Marc had two men behind a 5-prime himself, Geert found a correct take. After some hair-raising exchanges, Geert was able to wriggle out of Marc’s board as the latter failed to roll the badly needed sixes. Geert then put the match on the line as he threatened to bring his last man home: cube to 8! He succeeded, survived a late shot and so won M2. The decisions in this game were few, but momentous. Marc misjudged some tricky containment checker-plays which cost him the PR point resulting in a 3-1 advantage for Geert.

Marc, however, whose confidence appeared brittle over the board, did not let his head down. As M3 turned into the longest match so far (7 games), he stayed focused and ended up winning (7-3) with an excellent 3,09 PR (!). Sadly for Marc, this was not enough to equalize the duel as Geert played in true Mochy-style and produced a fantastic 2,83 PR (!): 4-2 to Geert.

Belgium’s two best players are dishing up some world-class backgammon. Geert’s OPR of 2,83 is truly amazing, undoubtedly the result of sustained dedicated practice. Can he keep it up in the next session? Marc played solidly at an OPR of 3,54, but although this might be good enough to beat anyone in Belgium, he will have to dig a bit deeper if he wants to take the trophy away from’s current UBC Champ. To be continued.

Michel Lamote (RBL tournament director)

This entry was posted in Red Beaver League. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *