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Main Flights Underway With 82 Players Attending Inaugural Event by Michael Strato - 07 July 2007
JOHN CLARK
The three main flights of the 1st Nice Casino Ruhl Backgammon Open got underway last night with a total of 82 players registering to play in this inaugural Barrière Group event organized by the Worldwide Backgammon Federation (WBF).

There are 25 players in the Masters flight, 29 in the Champion flight and 28 in the Intermediate flight. We have created the brackets for each of these flights so that you can follow the progress of the players – these three brackets can be found listed under “Ladders” in the Tournaments section - all but a few of the Round 1 matches in each of the three main flights were completed by late last night.

In the same Ladders area, you will also find the updated versions of the Warm-Up and Sperti Trophy events that we had created yesterday. The Warm-Up ladder is completed - Asbjorn Arntzen of Norway was defeated in the final by Mochizuki Masayuki of Japan who wins a free hotel room stay at next year’s 2nd Nice Casino Ruhl Backgammon Open.

And in the Sperti Trophy event, it’s down to the final - Michel Lamote of Belgium will face Fabrizio Lo Surdo of Italy vying for a beautiful Sperti backgammon board worth over €500.

Yesterday evening the players and their companions enjoyed a Welcome Cocktail party offered by Jean-Charles Pitt, the Director of Casino Ruhl who was accompanied by Marco Fornasir, Director of the WBF tournaments.

Director Jean-Charles Pitt with Marco Fornasir.
 
Players inside Casino Ruhl at the Welcome Cocktail and...
 
...also in the patio just outside.

Then the public draws for all three flights were held in the playing room and everyone sat down to play a round of some serious backgammon – check out scenes from the tournament room in our first pictorial from here. Play in the main flights continues today (Saturday) while those that were defeated last night play in the Consolation flight this afternoon.

Backgammon Giant #3 Francois Tardieu of France, former World Champion Peter Jes Thomsen of Denmark, current European Champion Schmucki of Austria and UK Master John Clark were just some of the top players that arrived yesterday. Lest we forget the ladies... Martha Gjelseth of Norway and Tanja Skanstrom of Denmark are also here - their names have often appeared in the results of European tournaments.

Michihito Kageyama, a well-known and highly respected Japanese player, was showing Mochizuki Masayuki, Artur Muradian of Armenia and a few other players some doubling position problems he thought were interesting. This nosey reporter stole a couple for you to ponder:

Here’s the first one:

White on roll
Cube action?


13-point match
Score Black 4 – White 1
Pip count: Black 150 – White 103

 

And this was the second position:

White on roll
Cube action?

13-point match
Score Black 7 – White 2
Pip count: Black 163 – White 150

(Analysis windows for both positions to be found at the end of this article.)

Michihito and Mochizuki are some of the great players that you can meet if you go to this year’s Japan Open from September 21-24. The event is a real backgammon festival attended by more than 200 players. The hospitality is said to be “unmatched” and Backgammon Giant Jake Jacobs usually attends as he is currently based in the Far East, says the event is “very unique and one you will never forget”. The Japan Open is being attended more and more by players from all over the world - some of which are heard saying, “I wish I hadn’t wait (to come)!” Check out details on the event at this link.

Many of the players here in Nice are with their companion and/or family - Michel Serrero of France, 2006 Champion of Europe and a council member of the French Backgammon Federation, often attends events on the circuit with his wife and daughter Scarlett (who is a great player) and when asked what he thought of this tournament replied: “Very nice venue! The Worldwide Backgammon Federation tournaments are my favourite. I really enjoy the atmosphere Marco Fornasir creates, his events are always well-organized and expertly run because he has an exceptional staff.”

John Clark (C) with Michel Serrero and his wife.

The majority of the players here will leave Monday to go to neighbouring Monaco, about 30 minutes away (by car, bus or train) to compete in the 32nd World Backgammon Championships in Monte Carlo all next week - an event that could see anywhere from 375 and 450 players attending. Then many from Monte Carlo head for Partouche Gammon Tour’s 5th Riviera Challenge and the exciting Nations Cup in Cannes. We'll be at the scene of those events to bring you daily coverage.

Here now is the list of money payouts going to the winners of this tournament:


Stay tuned for more news tomorrow...


Snowie analysis windows on the two positions in this article:

Position 1

White on roll
Cube action?


13-point match
Score Black 4 – White 1
Pip count: Black 150 – White 103


Position 2

White on roll
Cube action?

13-point match
Score Black 7 – White 2
Pip count: Black 163 – White 150

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