As this was the third year of the Croydon tournament I decided to make it a two-day event. The Croydon Backgammon Club membership has expanded over the last year and so I believed that it was time, with the experience gained in previous years, to offer a more complete weekend.
I felt the best way to do this was to offer the players a good deal: for the £20 per day the players all received their choice of meal from the full menu offered by the Spread Eagle, plus their choice of drink, along with many other extras offered over the weekend.
The Saturday with no clashes with other UK events had a good attendance of 28 players from all over the south of England’s BG Clubs and many Gammonitis and BIBA regulars, all raring to go with four separate tournaments and a Doubles competition, as well as plenty of chouette and side action play available.
The Main event’s 7-pointers were hotly contested with Kenroy Brown (a new member at the Croydon BG Club, attending his first organised event) making it to the semi-finals. Kenroy seemed to be on fire with strong checker play and ever- improving use of the cube.
Also making it to the semis were Bob Bruce and Chris Roberts, both attending members of the Broomfield BG Club. Final place in the Semis went to Crispin Duke. Crispin is a Daily Gammon Player and has attended the Croydon and London Live every time it has been held in the last three years. He only decided to attend at 8 a.m. on the Saturday itself. Obviously a good decision on Crispy’s part as after beating Chris Roberts in the semis he went on to win the final over Kenroy Brown. Crispin’s first Main tournament win has been long overdue and thoroughly deserved.
The Consolation (5-pointers) had 12 entries having John Nephytou and George Miltiadou drawn against each other in the semis. The pair are good friends; George took John to his first live tournament at London Live 2006, and John caught the BG bug after coming fourth on Sunday. Nick Boles from The Hurlingham Club backgammon section and Neil Foston of the Cambridge Blue Club (and when possible Croydon) BG Club contested the other semi. Neil won the tournament over John - however he had not entered the pool, leaving John with 100% of the pot!
For the Last chance (3-pointers) I included buy-backs into the first round with a mandatory pool entry to increase the pot. Various players took advantage of buy-backs to tactically re-enter making the pot £132.
Unusually none of the buy-backers made the final, both finalists came from the first round entering just once - Chris Roberts making the semis in both the Main and Last Chance tournaments, and The Camden BG Club (and Croydon’s) T.D. Adam Tansley. Adam won the Final and again as the only finalist to enter the pot took all of the pool.
The (Doubles) Suicide a 2-point Crawford match always causes discussion. Most players argue that it is an immediate double-take.
However many players forget in practice. Two regular Croydon players making the final with Martin Blatman winning over Eric McAlpine, but yet again since the tournament winner had not entered the pool, Eric scooped 100%. In Martin’s matches he had two immediate double-takes and one late double. Martin attended his first tournament in November 2006 (London Live) and has got a medal in both.
Players then entered the Doubles with one short only six teams. I asked if any of the players objected to my entering with new player Dave Moon - no objections were made, however in the semi-final, I was forced to rule against my own doubles partner who had accidentally scored the match incorrectly, an unusual situation but accepted by all sides.
Due to both players in the Doubles partners final having to leave early, rather than abandon the tournament I decided to let the other two players play on anyway - Steve John (without Eric McAlpine) overcoming Adam Tansley (without Jon Kinsey) in a three-point final.
With the tournament wrapped up for the evening, on offer for local players or those staying at the Fairfield Hotel for the evening, was late night play in the hotel or partying at The Black Sheep Bar. As a sponsor, Black Sheep owner Paul Bossick gave all players free VIP entry and 2-4-1 drinks vouchers as he also did in the previous year.
The second day of the tournament was devised as a more lengthy process with an emphasis on longer matches with a league basis.
Based on the champion’s league in football system, 16 players were registered, offered pool entry, and then an auction of four randomly-drawn pools. After the auction, for playing purposes the players were randomly drawn again into four leagues of four players, each player playing three seven-point matches.
The league positions were decided by (in this order):
• Point difference (like goal difference in football)
• Total Gammons and Backgammons
In each league the winner and runner-up were entered into the Main knockout, and third and fourth were entered into the Consolation.
In the third league (consisting of Kenroy Brown, Sue Keeble, George Miltiadou and David Rogers), Kenroy won all his games while each of the other three players succeeded in winning one each, to formulate the decision on points difference, which was Sue -1 and both George and David on -4 with equal Gammons and so the decision on who was third and fourth went to the Head-to-Head element with David having triumphed over George to come third in the league.
The main final was contested between John Broomfield (Champ o’ Champs of London Live 2006) and Neil Foston. A moral quandary was created, in that John owned Neil In the auction and would be better off financially if Neil won! Some players who had been at the Nordic Open the previous week, commented that it is for this reason they do not have auctions. John however still triumphed over Neil in the Main tournament final.
George Miltiadou beat David Rogers in the Consolation, however David was consoled by winning the raffle for a Hat-Trick board worth over £400 provided by Jon Samuel. Most players had a punt with tickets from £5 each or five for £15 definitely worth a go and I hope Jon will organise this again next year.
Rounding off the evening; two chouettes were being played by other knocked-out players and a super-cup final between George and John with John emerging victorious again.
The main part of the day over and most of the players “gammoned out”, those remaining (CorrinaJayne, Eric, Alex George and I) retired to the post tournament party at the Black Sheep Bar night club where the extreme tournament is played. We decided upon a round robin which was won by me for the third year running :-).
Thanks to all the players for making it a great weekend, and also thanks to our sponsors Black Sheep Bar, The Fairfield Hotel and The Spread Eagle and all their staff... and finally for the invaluable assistance of Mike Main who wrote the spreadsheets whilst on walkabout in New Zealand, and Adam Tansley for his help during the days of the event as well as to Jon Samuel for running the raffle.
I hope to see you all next year, if not sooner...
Croydon Backgammon Club