Senkiewicz Over O'Hagan in the 2008 New York Metropolitan Open
by Michael Strato - 21 January 2008
The 2008 New York Metropolitan Open and the World Doubles Championship backgammon tournaments were held at Hyatt Regency on the Hudson in Jersey City from January 10-15, 2008 and were attended by some 114 players.

Players compete at the 2008 New York Metropolitan Open.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez


Another view of the tournament room.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez

Backgammon Giant #19, Mike Senkiewicz won the Main Championship event and also took first place in the Main of the World Doubles event with partner Kent Goulding, Backgammon Giant #26.

In the Championship final, Senkiewicz faced John O’Hagan, Vice-Champion of the 30th World Backgammon Championship held in 2005 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Trophies were replicas of the Statue of Liberty...

Co-Director Lynn Ehrlich with

New York Champion Mike Senkiewicz.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Carol Joy Cole

Rick Barabino won the 32-player Liberty Cup Masters.

Rick Barabino - Masters Winner.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Carol Joy Cole

Although attendance was dominated by U.S. players, pro player Rikard Persson of Sweden came to compete, as did the #1 and #2 players from Peru, Giancarlo Ratto and Raul Mulanovich respectively. But it was players from Canada and Costa Rica that left their mark, cashing despite the fierce competition.

GammonLife Writer Mary Hickey just returned home to Ohio from the New York Metropolitan Open and World Doubles Championship event, where she won the 16-Team New York Doubles competition with Canadian partner Claude Landry of Montreal.

New York Doubles winners Claude Landry and Mary Hickey.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Carol Joy Cole

"Mike, it is a beautiful location with magnificent views of the New York City skyline across the Hudson River. If you have some spare time, you can ride the convenient PATH train to the World Trade Center area, or take the ferry across the river to see the sights there," Mary told us.

The Hyatt Regency on the Hudson Hotel was the venue of this event.

"The tournament itself drew some of the legendary names you don't see much anymore including Paul Magriel, Mika Lidov and Kent Goulding, along with many of the native New Yorkers and usual suspects," Mary reports. "The tournament was well-run, including a precedent-setting ruling by Howard Markowitz concerning the details of the new fast-roll rule.  I hope they will hold this tournament again next year!"

Several other Canadian players attended and in addition to Landry’s win with Mary, these other Canadians cashed: Reggie Proulx won the Main of the Intermediate; Tom Rebelo the Intermediate Last Chance; and Garry Kallos the second $50 Jackpot.

Three players from the Costa Rica Backgammon Association (CRBA) also attended including Mario Lizano, CRBA President. Mario did not cash at this tournament - probably his dice finally got cold because he has been very hot in recent Costa Rican chouettes, especially against me. However, Milton Gonzalez, CRBA Vice-President, was the Runner-Up in the Main of the Intermediate while the illustrious Costa Rican author, Antonio Ortega, was not only Runner-Up in the Open Championship Consolation but also won second place in the 32-player Limited Jackpot.

Montrealer Reggie Proulx, Winner of the Intermediates (L), with Finalist Milton Gonzalez of Costa Rica.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Carol Joy Cole


Limited Jackpot Winner Bob Tilp of New Jersey (L) with Finalist Antonio Ortega of Costa Rica.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Carol Joy Cole

Legendary “X-22” Paul Magriel also attended and played with Mika Lidov in the New York Doubles – their first round match against Mary Hickey and Claude Landry was taped by Claude and transcribed into a match file which was analyzed by Snowie Professional Software and is published at this link (special thanks to Mr. Landry for the match file). Magriel also played in the World Doubles Championship with Alan Grunwald.

Tournament Director Howard Markowitz told GammonLife he was satisfied with the attendance: “I was pretty happy with the Champion attendance of 67 which was pretty good. In the United States it exceeded most everybody's expectations, but it was right on the button for what I had predicted, I thought it would be in this range.”

In addition to the 67, there were 29 rebuys in the Main while in the Intermediate there were 42 players with 14 rebuys. Five other players competed in the Beginners flight, which was won by Josh Rechnitz of New York.

The Hyatt Regency is just across the Hudson from New York City and only about 20 minutes away from Times Square. Director Markowitz said he will likely organize this event again though not in January, “We were lucky to have good weather but having it again in January is under consideration.”

As for Mary’s reference to the "fast roll rule", this New York tournament was the first in which the new US Tournament Rules (approved by 14 American Backgammon Tour Directors) were used, and in this case, it refers to the premature actions rule, which states:

“4.6 PREMATURE ACTIONS. All premature actions (dice rolls or cube actions) shall stand if otherwise valid. An opponent who has yet to complete his turn or act upon the cube may then do so with foreknowledge of the premature action.”

One example of what this means; if you roll your dice before your opponent has picked up his dice (finished his move), your roll stands. You cannot take it back nor can your opponent ask you to roll again, however, your opponent may finish making his move knowing the numbers of your next roll.

Below are more photos from this tournament followed by the official results, but first, here is a double problem from the Intermediate final:

Milton Gonzalez ponders a double from Reggie Proulx

in the 13-point Intermediate final...

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez

Here's the position: Score: Proulx (White) 9 - Gonzalez (Red) 8
Milton Gonzalez says the position provoked much discussion among the players and when later analyzed turned out to be a take. Milton did take and correctly re-doubled to 8 for the match but Proulx went on to win.

Costa Rica Backgammon Association President Mario Lizano (L)

up against Tom Rebelo of Canada.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez


Mike Senkiewicz versus Joe Freedman watched by (L to R) Antonio Ortega, Mario Lizano and Kit Woolsey, Backgammon Giant #10.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez


Antonio Ortega of Costa Rica (L) versus Dion Hogan of Michigan.

Photo Copyright © 2008 by Milton Gonzalez


The 2008 New York Metropolitan Open

& The World Doubles Championship

January 10-15, 2008.


CHAMPIONSHIP (67+29 rebuys)


1 - Mike Senkiewicz (NY)

2 - John O'Hagan (IN)

3 / 4 - Rick Barabino (NY) /Neil Deutsch (NY)


1 - Jeff Acierno (NJ )

2 - Antonio Ortega (Costa Rica)

Last Chance

1 - Stepan Nuniyants (WA)

INTERMEDIATE (42+14 rebuys)


1 - Reggie Proulx (Canada)

2 - Milton Gonzalez (Costa Rica)


1 - Dave Settles (IL)

2 - Charles Toots (CA)

Last Chance

1 - Tom Rebelo (Canada)


1 - Josh Rechnitz (NY)


1 - Rick Barabino (NY)

2 - Dion Hogan (MI)



1 - Bob Tilp (NJ)

2 - Antonio Ortega (Costa Rica)



1 - Mary Hickey (OH) & Claude Landry (Canada)

2 - Boris Dekhtyar (NY) & Felix Goykhman (NJ)



1 - Charles Silverman (NJ)

2 - Dr. Bob Hill (NY)


$50 JACKPOT #1 (32)

1 - Herb Gurland (MA)

2 - Ira Siegler (NJ)


$50 JACKPOT #2 (16)

1 - Richard Munitz (NY)


$20 JACKPOT #1 (32)

1 - Garry Kallos (Canada)

2 - Charles Silverman (NJ)


$20 JACKPOT #2 (16)

1 - Ira Siegler (NJ)



1 - Howard Markowitz (NV)



1 - Mark Megalli (NY)

2 - Brian Barber (NY)



1 - Mike Senkiewicz (NY) & Kent Goulding (MD)

2 - Howard Markowitz (NV) & Ed O'Laughlin (VA)

3/4 - Alan Grunwald (NJ) & Paul Magriel (NV) / Stick Rice (OH) & Kit Woolsey (CA)


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