Tardieu versus Rohr in Caribbean Open Final at Sonesta's Casino Royale in Maho Beach
by Michael Strato - 3 November 2006
François Tardieu


François Tardieu and Jean-Philippe Rohr are the finalists in the Masters flight of the 3rd Caribbean Backgammon Open here at Casino Royale at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Maarten.

Both of France, Tardieu and Rohr will don their best ‘gammon faces’ this afternoon and tussle in a 19-point match for that free seat in the PartyGammon Million worth $10,000 plus the $23,200 in first place prize money!


While Tardieu is a three-time Champion of Europe and ranked as the #3 Backgammon Giant in the world, Rohr too has had much success in recent years winning or making it to the money in tournaments in Las Vegas, Bucharest, Nova Gorica, Paris and Cannes.


In fact, Rohr trained for many days with Tardieu a few years ago, and then later teamed up together to win the Doubles Consulting event at the 2003 Riviera Challenge in Cannes.


In the semi-finals last night, Rohr faced Audronis Zunde of the USA, who at one point led 16-9 in the 17-pont match. Rohr says he was lucky to make a comeback tying it 16-16 and then in the final game, when Rohr had three checkers back in Zunde’s home board behind a solid five-prime, Rohr rolled 1-6 to hit Zunde and then subsequently escaped with the other two checkers while Zunde either danced on the bar or continued to get hit when he did get back on to try and run the last checker home.

Jean-Philippe Rohr versus Audronis Zunde in Masters semi-final.

Meanwhile, in the other 17-point semi-final, Tardieu was up against Benjamin Lund of Denmark. Through most of the match, Tardieu managed to maintain a lead of several points in the score. In an exciting second-to-last game, Tardieu leading 15-10, found himself on the bar needing exactly a 3-5 to come in on the 3, and hit Lund’s blot on the 8 point. He did exactly that and although Lund danced for a roll or two, he also hit back from the bar with a 6-5 as Tardieu was coming around the bend with his last checker.

François Tardieu versus Benjamin Lund in the other semi-final.

In the next game, score now 15-12, Tardieu was ahead in the race and cubed Lund to 2 in a non-gammonish position – Lund took and immediately re-doubled to 4 and although he did get a shot at Tardieu, needing a 2 to hit, Lund missed and Tardieu went on to win. That match finished at 4 a.m. this morning.


Over in the Intermediate flight,  Michael Strato’s wife, Marjorie Serrano Blanco of Costa Rica fell to Roland Herrera of the UK, and in the other semi, Amir Fateh of Iran beat Antoine ‘Buko’ Bauk of Croatia, so it’s Fateh versus Herrera in today’s Intermediate Final.

Marjorie Serrano versus Roland Herrera in the Intermediate semi-final.

Antoine Bauk versus Amir Fateh in the other Intermediate semi-final

watched by Mirio Branzanti and Brazilian singer Nilce Laps.

All the ladders are now updated and a new one has been added for the Ladies Tournament. Please see all the ladders in the Tournaments Section.


After the finals this afternoon, this tournament will end with a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony hosted by Casino Royale and the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort. Some players will head back tomorrow, Sunday or Monday but others plan on staying an extra week or more – some just to extend their vacation on this beautiful island, while others will play in one or two poker tournaments happening here this month – the first start tomorrow.


Marco Fornasir and staff, and a group of players, will take a 30-minute ferry over to the island of Anguilla tomorrow where there is a beautiful beach and a fantastic lobster fest for only $20.


We’ll have more news from this event late tonight or tomorrow but watch the ladders for the winners as we’ll try to update those early this evening just before the Gala Dinner. Meanwhile here are more photos from yesterday:

Players in action last night.
In this position, Erik Gravgaard trailing 9-12 in the 15-point quarter-final match against Benjamin Lund, doubles to 4. Gravgaard has a checker off but has 9 to bear off of his 6, 5 and 4 points while Lund need only a few big numbers to reach a speed board. Lund took the 4 cube and rolled 6-6 on his next turn and went on to win the match. Gravgaard took a photo of the position with a camera that he claims has a bot built into it that automatically provides analysis... believe that I have some land to sell you in Florida.
Russia's Nodar Gagua - Champion of the 1st Caribbean Open.
Eighteen-year-old Giulia Giannerini playing in the main of the Intermediate.
François Tardieu versus Nino di Bella in the Masters quarter-final.

Tournament Director Marco Fornasir with Danish actor Nicolai Skov who beat GL Editor Michael Strato in the semi-final of the Sperti Trophy event last night.


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