Fischer Wins California State Title,
Munitz becomes 2006 ABT Champ

by Gregg Cattanach - 15 December 2006
The California State Championships were held on the weekend of December 1-3 in the beautiful city of Los Angeles and were won by Ken Fischer of California. The outcome of this final ABT event of 2006 makes Richard Munitz of New York the 2006 American Backgammon Tour Player of the Year.

The Sheraton host hotel is conveniently located just a mile from the Los Angeles airport, so transportation to and from was simple and free. And the Sheraton continues to have those great beds to help make your stay quite comfortable.

This was the final event of the ABT tour and seven of the top 10 players in the American Backgammon Tour (ABT) standings were in attendance. Although there is no cash prize for the winners in each annual ABT race, there certainly is a lot of interest in the American Backgammon Tour title as evidenced by the fine turnout for the last tournament.

I was one of the players in real contention to win the ABT race, but I needed to either come in first or second or win the Consolation, in combination with Richard Munitz (NY) failing to score any points. Things didn't work out for me though I strung together several wins in the Second Chance bracket. Richard was a prize winner by making the semi-finals of the Consolation. This kept him in first place and his year-long performance is certainly worthy of an ABT Champion. He finished the year with 58.56 points; this total has only been exceeded three other times in the 14-year history of the ABT.

Ken Fischer (CA) defeated Saul Meir (CA) in the final to go undefeated for the weekend. These points were quite important as it vaulted Ken into the third-place trophy position in the ABT. I held my second-place spot. Both Ken and Richard won three tournaments each this year, and I won two and came in second in another. It certainly is helpful to put all of one's good results into the same year!

Ken Fischer - 2006 California State Champion.
Saul Meir - California State Finalist

In the Advanced Division it was almost an all 'Armbruster' final as Matt (CA) and his brother Paul (CA) were nearly seeded against each other in the double-elimination final. Matt fell a bit short but cashed as a semi-finalist. Paul was matched against Frank Ley (CA) and though Frank won the first match, Paul came back to win the second and become the Advanced Champion

Paul Armbruster - Advanced Winner
Frank Ley - Advanced Finalist

In other events, Zafer Yasa (CA) defeated Stepan Nuniyants (WA) in the Super-32 final to take home a healthy cash prize. (I was one of his victims on his way to the top). Jennifer Faulk (CA) won the Limited Division, and Mark Antranikian (CA) and Ted Chee (CA) prevailed in the Doubles event.

Here's one 'bad beat' story I have from my last Consolation match. I was poised to win the match in the second game with a gammon on a 4-cube, but managed to roll an unfortunate ace:

Red to play 2-1

Red - Gregg Cattanach, score 1

White - Bill Kennedy, score 0

Match to 9

I played the number correctly as 3/1/off and, of course, I was hit (or there wouldn't be story)! Before rolling the ace, I win the game 98% of the time and a gammon 92% of the time according to a Snowie rollout. The game evolved to this position:

Red to play 3-2

Red - Gregg Cattanach, score 1
White - Bill Kennedy, score 0
Match to 9

I only have four numbers, 3-2, 2-3, 4-2 and 2-4, that prevent me from taking the 8-cube and I managed to roll a 3-2. To get to this spot my previous roll was a 2-1 which failed to advance the trailing checker into the home board. This combination of two anti-jokers in the race and two anti-jokers to get hit from the first position turned a match win into a 4-point loss. Backgammon can certainly be the cruelest game!

Pat Gibson and his staff did another good job with the event, and the playing room and hotel were comfortable and a nice place to spend the weekend. We certainly will put this event on our checklist for 2007.

Congratulations again to Richard Munitz on his ABT victory, and to Ken Fischer for winning this excellent tournament. Full results are below...


December 1-3, 2006 - Los Angeles, California

OPEN (53)

1 - Ken Fischer (CA)

2 - Saul Meir (CA)

3 - Steve Sax (CA)

1C - Azzam Masarani (CA)

2C - Bill Kennedy (CA)

3C/4C - Jeb Horton (NC)

3C/4C - Richard Munitz (NY)


1 - Paul Armbruster (CA)

2 - Frank Ley (CA)

1C - Justin Nunez (CA)

2C - Edward Donigian (CA)

3C/4C - Matt Armbruster (CA)

3C/4C - Albert Lee (CA)


1 - Jennifer Faulk (CA)

2 - Denise Bonfilio (CA)

1C - Christina Cooley (CA)

SUPER - 32 (32)

1 - Zafer Yasa (CA)

2 - Stepan Nuniyants (WA)

3/4 - Doug Mayfield (CA)

3/4 - Joe Russell (CA)


1 - Ted Chee (CA)

DOUBLES (16 teams)

1 - Mark Antranikian (CA) & Ted Chee (CA)

2 - Niel Borden (CA) & Matthew Miner (NY)


1 - Claudia Imatt (CA) & Howard Markowitz (NV)


1 - Lindsay Mattig (IL)




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