WBF 3rd Caribbean Backgammon Open Underway at Casino Royale in St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles
by Michael Strato - 31 October 2006
The Warm-Up event of the 3rd Caribbean Backgammon Open got underway last night here on the island of St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles with a full bracket of 32 players.

Players in this side event are vying for the first-place prize of a free week-long stay at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort during next’s year 4th Caribbean Backgammon Open.

The progress of the Warm-Up can be seen in the form of a ladder created at this link, where we will also display the brackets of all other side events and the main flights of this tournament in forthcoming days.

The 3rd Caribbean Backgammon Open is being held inside the beautiful amphitheatre of Casino Royal and is organized by the Worldwide Backgammon Federation (WBF) under the supervision of Tournament Director Marco Fornasir.

PartyGammon is sponsoring the event with an added prize of a free $10,000 seat to PartyGammon Million in The Bahamas, being organized by Player International of the UK, this coming January. The seat will go to the winner of the Masters flight here, while Casino Royale is guaranteeing a minimum distribution of $40,000 to the winners of this event. A similar added prize was given away to the winner of the WBF’s 9th Austrian Backgammon Open at the beginning of this October.

As of last night, more than 40 players from around the world had arrived and enjoyed the Welcome Cocktail Party offered by Ermanno Galli, the Manager of Casino Royale. There were hors d'oeuvres and free drinks and lots of socializing amongst the players.

More players are expected to arrive today, and others possibly tomorrow, as the main flights only begin tomorrow evening (November 1). Most of the players that attended the first two Caribbean Backgammon Opens have returned and there are many new participants including some top experts.

Roland Herrera and Simonetta Barone, who married at a backgammon wedding bash in the UK a year ago, are here for a second backgammon honeymoon celebration.

The full list of participants will be available after tomorrow night once registration in the main flights is closed.

Several players have asked Marco Fornasir why his dates clash with the Las Vegas Open that starts tomorrow and runs until November 5. Marco replies that his Caribbean Open events for the last three years have been held during the first week of November and that usually the Las Vegas Open tournaments are held in the second week of November.

“I spoke to Howard Markowitz about the dates and Howie explained that he had no choice but to switch to the first week of November for this year because the facilities as his venue had been committed to a conference or convention that is being held by another group in the second week of November,” Fornasir said. “These things can happen, so I understand. We could not change our dates either so there is no clash on our part; we are running our event on its usual schedule.”

Play in the Warm-Up continues today as well as in the 1-Point President’s Tournament which saw a few matches played last night, and also tonight, play begins in the Sperti Trophy in which the winner will win an exquisite backgammon board (worth about $600) contributed by WBF sponsor, board maker Alfredo Sperti of Italy.

Here are some photos taken yesterday in St. Maarten:

This banner was displayed over the main street near the tournament venue.
The Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel & Resort is right across the street from...
...the Casino Royale where the tournament is being held in the theatre.
The amphitheatre of Casino Royale just before the tournament began.
Food and drinks for all at Casino Royale's Welcome Cocktail Party.
And players get free drinks all week long at this tournament.
Staffers Julietta and Antonio perform the draw for the Warm-Up competition as WBF Director Marco Fornasir looks on.
Odin Spillum, Katja Sophie's brother, is here from Norway.
Rainier Witt of Germany is a well-known international expert.
Katharina Schakermann and hubby Bas love their PartyGammon gear.
Nicolai Skov of Denmark won his first two Warm-Up matches last night...
...as did Audronis Zunde of the USA.
Players in action in the Warm-Up last night.

Watch GammonLife tomorrow for another report, more photos and ladder updates.


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