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WBF 19th European Backgammon Championships Underway at Casino Velden in Austria
by Michael Strato - 11 May 2007
ARDA FINDIKOGLU
VELDEN, Austria: May 11, 2007 – More than 60 players from 16 different countries arrived at Casino Velden in southern Austria last night to compete in the pre-main event competitions of the Worldwide Backgammon Federation’s 19th European Backgammon Championships and 6th Backgammon Velden Open.

The Sperti Trophy and Warm-Up side events got underway here last night and ladders for these have been created and will be kept updated until their conclusion. The Warm-Up ladder is here and the Sperti Trophy ladder at this link. The 1-Point President’s event and quarter-entries to the main flights were also being played last night.

Another 40 to 60 players are expected to check in this afternoon and all will battle it out over the board for the titles of European Champion in the three main categories - Masters, Championship and Intermediates – which all start this evening and carry on until Sunday afternoon.

The tournament is being directed by Marco Fornasir and is sanctioned by the Worldwide Backgammon Federation and WBF President Alberto da Pra.

Velden is a lovely and quaint little town in southern Austria. Nestled in the foothills of the Austrian Alps at the western end of Lake Worthesee, Velden is a 20-minute car ride from the Klagenfurt Airport, close to the Italian border.

So far players have come from Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

The defending Champion of Europe, Michel Serrero of France is here...

  Michel Serrero, 2006 Champion of Europe, plays in the Warm-Up.

... and the current World Champion, Philip Vischjager of The Netherlands is expected to arrive today.

Here is a list with most of the players that arrived yesterday:

Player

Country

 

 

Adam Robak

Poland

Adrian Jones

UK

Ahmet Baykalogullari

Turkey

Alberto de Pra

Italy

Alfredo Sperti

Italy

Ali Serif Rende

Italy

Andrea Riebler

Austria

Arda Findikoglu

Turkey

Brigitte Zakany

Austria

Bulent Bahar

Turkey

Christos Groutsos

Greece

Damian Plesec

Slovenia

Delia Popa

Romania

Domenico Torrielli

Italy

Feza Diyarbekir

Turkey

Flroin Popa

Romania

Fuat Erdag

Turkey

Gunther Kohlweiss

Austria

Halil Tulan

Turkey

Hamza Nar

Turkey

Hormoz Shahrokhshahi

Germany

Jan Stastna

Czech Republic

Karol Szczerek

Poland

Kemal Asku

Turkey

Kristoffer Hotzeneder

Austria

Lorenzo Rinaldo

Italy

Manos Mastorakis

Greece

Maria Croce

Italy

Maria Grigis

Italy

Marian Popescu

Romania

Marius Veres

Romania

Markus Kuntaritsch

Austria

Martin Barkwill

UK

Mehmet Dagoglu

Turkey

Michel Serrero

France

Mislav Radica

Croatia

Muge Altay

Turkey

Neculai Draganutta

Romania

Oliver Schneider

Germany

Peter Chan

UK

Pierre Horaud

Guadeloupe

Rainer Spörk

Austria

Remus Veres

Romania

Renato Sovani

Italy

Ricardo Malas

Spain

Rudolf Prohaska

Austria

Saine Liebenberger

Austria

Seda Koc

Turkey

Shadi Azizian

Italy

Stefan Bobenhausen

Germany

Stefano Selvi

Italy

Sureyya Sertasi

Turkey

Thomas Kosicka

Czech Republic

Thomas Leitner

Austria

Viorel Popa

Romania

Walter Jarc

Canada

Yalkin Erk

Turkey

Zeki Ozgul

Turkey

Zibigniew Szczerek

Poland

Zoran Maric

France

 

There are many new faces at this tournament and we spoke to Gunther Kohlweiss one of several players who are competing in a live event for the first time. Gunther says that he and two of his friends live close to Velden and get together often to play. When they heard of the event at Casino Velden, they decided to come and check it out and so far are quite happy with how things are going. I sat with Gunther and one of his buddies and explained how tournament rules work (what side of the board to roll the dice on, etc. etc.) and also told him about programs that he can use to train with, such as Snowie, GNUbg and BGBlitz to become better players.

Arda Findikoglu of Turkey, President of the Turkish Backgammon Association and part of the WBF, is back from a two-year mandatory stint in the Turkish Army looking real solid, physically and mentally, and was demonstrating it so with his strong play last night making it to Round 4 of the seven-round Warm-Up event. First prize, a free hotel stay at next year’s 20th European Championships. Go Arda Go!

Arda Findikoglu of Turkey in action.

Also last night, Adrian Jones of the UK, here other well-known Brits, Martin Barkwill and Peter Chan, had also reached Round 4 but in the Sperti Trophy event and is hoping to go all the way to take home an elegant backgammon board worth about €600, donated by sponsor and board maker, Alfredo Sperti of Italy.

Peter Chan of the UK.

A couple of players that would like to get out more often to play, computer programmer Manos Mastorakis and Doctor Chris Groutsos, are here from Greece. They jobs keep them very busy but their passion is this wonderful game which just happens to be the national pastime of Greece. We sat together and chatted over supper about how we can promote live competitions in Greece and encourage more Greek players to get out on the international circuit.

Manos Mastorakis of Greece.

Many strong players have come from the other countries mentioned above and in addition to many more coming today from Italy, we expect to see some top names from other countries such as Austria’s Werner Schmuck and Russia’s Nodar Gagua and possibly Harald Johanni of Germany, who is a two-time European Champion. Francois Tardieu, the only three-time European Champion will not be here as he is competing this weekend in the 2007 Partouche Gammon Tour’s second event in Lyon, France.

More photos from last night can be seen in this pictorial.

More coverage to come daily over the next few days... stay tuned!

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