Japan's Mochizuki Versus Italy's Pescini in Nice Masters Final
by Michael Strato - 08 July 2007
Three rounds in each of the three main flights of the 1st Nice Casino Ruhl Backgammon Open were completed yesterday and we now have the names of the players that will contend in today’s Finals.

In the Masters Semi-Finals, Fausto Pescini of Italy knocked out former World Champion Peter Jes Thomsen of Denmark for his berth in the Final against Masayuki Mochizuki of Japan, Backgammon Giant #28, who defeated Wolfgang Haas of Austria in the other semi-final. Masayuki will likely have the match recorded and hopefully we will get a copy of the file to analyze and publish on GammonLife.

The Haas versus Masayuki match attracted a crowd of spectators

and came down to a straight bear off race.

(We are testing the ability to use movies on GammonLife, if you would like to see the final rolls from the match in the photo above, click here.)

Over in the Champion Semi-Finals, Armenian Lucas Surmeyan fell to Norwegian Espen Selbaek who will go up against another Armenian in the today’s Final, Haroutiun Martirosian, who defeated Turkish hopeful Gurkan Gucer.

And in the Intermediate Semi-Finals, Worldwide Backgammon Federation President Alberto da Pra of Italy triumphed over Conny Schoch of Switzerland and will have his hands full in today Intermediate Final when he encounters Andranik Harutyunyan of Armenian, who won on the other side of the bracket against Tanja Skanstrom of Denmark.

See how all the players progressed to the Finals in the updated ladders in our Tournaments Section.

The Consolation flights were progressing well last night but one of the members of the GammonLife Team was not feeling well so we headed back to our room for some rest around midnight. However, on our last check just before leaving we saw that on the upper part of the Masters Consolation sheet, Artur Muradian of Armenia had reached the Semi-Finals and was waiting to know if he would be playing against Asbjorn Arntzen of Norway or Chris Ternel of the UK who were battling it out in their quarterfinal match, while on the lower part of the Masters Consolation sheet, Doug Mayfield of the USA would play in the other Semi-Final against the winner of the other pending quarterfinal, which was being disputed between Ed O’Laughlin of the USA and Giorgio Castellano of Italy.

Several players, including Francois Tardieu, Michel Serrero, Uli Koch and John Clark were discussing this position offered by Masayuki Mochizuki:

Black is leading 6-1 in a 17-point match and is doubled to 2 by White. Pip count for Black is 159 and 123 for White. One player joked saying he knew the answer to this after only a one-game rollout. Another player said he thought it was a borderline take. GammonLife Editor Michael Strato said that with four checkers on the White’s 1 point and a fifth in immediate danger of being sent to the bar, this was too gammonish and why does one have to take such cubes if they are just borderline?

One player responded that if you do not take when it is a take you might as well not play backgammon while another explained that it is simply because you give away equity when you don’t take.

So if this is borderline take at 6-1, at what score does become a pass? After a moment of silence from all, one player (probably against taking) piped in, “at 6-1” ;-)

Then another player said why don’t you just put it in to Snowie? We did (see the rollout at the end of this article) but a bot can only gives you analysis and one needs a voice to say why a play is right or wrong, which you can learn by discussing such positions with other players, especially those that play at championship level found at tournaments.

The Last Chance in all flights starts at 2 p.m. this afternoon and then at 2:30 p.m. all the main Finals will get underway, ending late afternoon or early evening. Then at 9 p.m., the players will attend the Dinner Party and Awards Ceremony at Casino Ruhl.

Tomorrow we head for Monaco to begin reporting from the 32nd World Backgammon Championships on Tuesday.

Here are some scenes from the tournament room last night:

Players in the tournament room.
Players in the tournament room.
Players in the tournament room.
Italy's Nino di Bella ponders a cube.
Ed O'Laughlin tapes a match against Schmucki.
Peter Jes Thomsen of Denmark (C) 1993 World Champion.
Dr. Jakob Garal and Director Marco Fornasir take a break.

Snowie analysis of the double position in this article:

It's a take and Masayuki Mochizuki apparently took and got backgammoned!


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