It was topsy turvy 19-point match with Mochizuki, who is Backgammon Giant #28, taking the early lead but struggling to stay ahead - every time he managed to get a few points up on Pescini, Pescini would bounce right back and do something like win a gammon on a 2 cube to tie the score, as was the case when Mochizuki led 10-6.
But Mochizuki did maintain a slight distance ahead through most of the battle. In the game when Mochizuki lead 15-11, and Pescini had been cubed to 2, it sure looked as if Pescini would lose a gammon and the match - Mochizuki was bearing off and Pescini still had four checkers on Mochizuki’s 1 point and a fifth on the bar! However, Mochizuki distribution was awkward (heavily stacked on his 3 point) and he was forced to leave a blot in the bearoff, which Pescini hit. Mochizuki then danced on Pescini’s 4 point homeboard for about three or four rolls and Pescini manages to bring his checkers around and went on to win.
They eventually tied the score to 16-16 a couple of games later and Mochizuki, just needing to clear his 13 point, and Pescini with two checkers on Mochizuki’s 9 point, waiting for a hit, took a 2 cube from Mochizuki. Mochizuki then rolls a 5-5 clearing his 13, and seemingly, Pescini is left holding the bag. But Mochizuki still has to bear in checkers on his 8 and 7 point, and rolls low, 2-1, 2-1 and at least two or three other small rolls forcing him to stack up on his 6 and 5 and 4 points, while Pescini skates home with bigger numbers to begin bearing off on a more evenly distributed homeboard. Mochizuki continues to roll badly and eventually Pescini doubles him out. Score now 18-16 for Pescini.
Mochizuki then wins a bearoff race in the Crawford game, score is 18-17 for Pescini, and now Mochizuki, in the next and last game, cubes Pescini immediately and the final conflict is on. Mochizuki eventually has a broken 5-prime with his 8, 7, 6, 5 and 3 points made and just one of Pescini’s checkers back on Mochizuki’s 1 point – Pescini can escape to the outfield with a 3-5 or 3-6 which if he rolls hits a blot Mochizuki has on the 10 point. Mochizuki also has a blot on his 13 point, which he had left in order to make his 7 point on the previous roll.
On the other side of the board, Mochizuki has a lone checker on Pescini’s 2 point and Pescini has a solid 5-prime made from his 8 to 4 points. Pescini rolls a 3-5, jumps the prime and Mochizuki fails to roll a 4 or 1 to hit Pescini’s blot and then Pescini comes around, to make a 6, and eventually 7-point prime to hem Mochizuki in and roll to victory.
The match was recorded by one of Mochizuki’s friends and will be made available soon.
Here is a video clip of the last few moments of the final game - click here to see it but be aware that it might take a few momentos to download.
There was much celebration by the many Italians at this tournament. We spoke to Fausto Pescini who hails from Lodi, Italy. Fausto told GammonLife he is considers himself to be just a beginner. He plays sometimes at the clubs in Milan and previously in Rome and this was only his second international tournament – he played two years ago in the WBF’s Nova Gorica event in Slovenia.
Ironically, Pescini had intended to play in the Champion flight but took a shot at trying a quarter-entry to the Masters event, which he won the final of against, more ironically, the same Masayuki Mochizuki.
But this reporter, and Masayuki Mochizuki, in a conversation we had after the match, both agree that Pescini is a very sound player, he carefully took time to consider his moves and made very solid plays.
Congratulations to both of these fine players who were true gentlemen throughout the event.
Masters Champion Fausto Pescini with his wife.
Masters Runner-Up Masayuki Mochizuki.
All the ladders created for this event are now completed and can be seen in the Tournaments section along with two new pictorials - one from the tournament room on the final day and another from the Awards Ceremony. Full results are also there.
This article and the pictorials were worked on and uploaded this morning. However, we did the updates to the ladders last night just after midnight so our readers could see who the winners were, just before we got some sleep. But, being very tired from four days of reporting and very little sleep, we made a grave error marking Haroutiun Martirosian of Armenia as the winner of the Champion flight when the real winner was Espen Selbaek of Norway!
Thankfully Sondre Rike and Espen himself advised us by email of the mistake and it was fixed just after 6 a.m. this morning. So of you saw Martirosian, that was wrong, and we sincerely apologize to Espen and hope not to make such errors at this week’s coverage of the World Championships, which is where we are going in about one hour from now.
GammonLife has received many compliments on our coverage from here and past events, and the website in general, and as a journalist from the real world, Editor Michael Strato prides himself in always providing true and accurate information... but we are only human and thus prone to error.
Here is what Sondre Rike has to say about our coverage in the rest of his email:
“Keep up the excellent work bringing news to the bg-world. Looking forward to some brilliant reports from Monte Carlo! Watch out for the Norwegian vikings!
And just a few minutes ago Espen wrote us backing thanking us for making the correction and has this to say as well:
"I would also like to thank you and tell how much I and a lot of other Norwegians appreciate your efforts on the excellent articles at the gammonlife.com website. I know there is a lot of Norwegians and other nationalities following the events from the Riviera at gammonlife.com and are really appreciating your coverage. Next stop Monte Carlo, see you there.
We're on our way Espen, see you there!
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