Two Women in Last 16 of World Backgammon Championships
by Michael Strato - 13 July 2007
MONTE CARLO, Monaco: By the end of today we will know the names of the players that will face off in tomorrow’s matches that determine which two players will contend on Sunday afternoon for the title of the 2007 World Backgammon Champion.

Tension is mounting here, for the players, their family, friends and fans back home. Matches get longer and harder as they advance further toward the goal of being the champ - clocks are not being used and matches can last three hours or more - and so the pressure and fatigue augments daily.

But someone always winds up going forward, and on this Friday the 13th there will be some lucky Backgammon players heading for the forthcoming money rounds.

For most players the cash jackpot is only secondary: “I am only interested in this,” says Martin Foldager of Denmark (now in the Last 16 or Round 5), as he points to WINNER on the far right of the bracket sheet.


So will he give the €78,400. to charity? Martin says the money is nice too but the title is more important to him. He has been playing live for many years, has done very well in Denmark where competition is extremely tough and Martin has played in probably six or seven international events outside of Denmark so far this year. If he wins, Martin has promised us an interview.


Among the Last 16 are four U.S. players – John Rockwell, Howard Markowitz, Tom Zarrinnam and Richard Munitz – of which Rockwell and Markowitz are experienced veterans. Tom Zarrinnam has made it to the money in many events too, at the Pro Am in the USA and also in Cannes. However, watch out for the younger Munitz who was last year’s American Backgammon Tour Player of the Year.

If you have checked the updated Championship bracket you will know that Munitz in Round 5 (Last 16) today plays against someone by the name of Herrera – it is not Roland Herrera of the UK but rather his wife, Simonetta Barone-Herrera, whose name many of you will recognize as a regular tournament participant in UK and various international events.

After a bye in Round 1, Simonetta, who is of Italian origin, knocked out Mario Fenocchio of Italy in Round 2 and then Robert Lindbom, a Swedish Champion, in Round 3 followed by yet another Swedish player, Thomas Ronn in Round 4.

Simonetta Barone-Herrera of the UK.

Will our next Champion be a lady? Well why not? The other lady in the final 16 is Maya Peycheva of Bulgaria who has some tournament results and who just knocked out Pia Jeppesen in Round 4. Pia is one of the strongest female players ever to come out of Denmark. Pia told GammonLife it was a big disappointment for her since Maya took the lead and she could not catch up, Pia also said there were not any really big cubes in the match that end 19-6.


In the previous round, Maya eliminated Karsten Nielsen, another Danish favourite. Now, Peycheva faces John Rockwell of the USA and therefore it will be the performance of two U.S. players today that determine if a woman will advance to the Last 8, and onwards.

Maya Peycheva of Bulgaria.

Because Maya is in the top part of the bracket and Simonetta in the lower, it just could happen that this World Championship title will be disputed between two women.

There were two results not posted in ladder of the bracket of the final 32 last night because they were still playing very late. We packed it in at about 3:30 a.m. poor Susan Boyd said she would probably be waiting there until 6 a.m. for the results of those and other matches in the First Consolation, however, we did update the Championship Main bracket today.


Also in the final 16 is one of Argentina’s best, Jorge Pan, who has attended these World Championships forever and is determined to prevail until the end. And just for the record if you saw the surname of Carlsson is the final 16, it should not be confused with American Dennis Carslton (2005 World Champion) because it’s really Oscar Carlsson of Sweden.


The First Consolation began yesterday in all three flights and for the first time participants were asked to complete it all the way to the semi-finals so that the entire Second Consolation could be played in the same way today and the Last Chance tomorrow. Susan Boyd said this is the first year that Director James Ballie is trying this. It meant that a few Championship Consolation players (those that did advance to the semis) had to play six matches each yesterday – which they did, finishing probably just before 6 a.m. this morning.


You can see the photos of the actual bracket sheets of each First Consolation the Tournaments section, or click on them here below – each image will open in a new window, give it a few seconds to load:



We also published images of the money payouts for each flight in the Tournaments section yesterday along with a pictorial from the Gala Dinner, and three new video clips.


We will be uploading more photos later today, maybe a video or two but most importantly we’ll be updating the ladders on the fly, every few hours, so stay tuned!


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