PrimeTime BG Summer 2017

Summer 2017 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Marty Storer, Deputy Managing Editor

Three new American Backgammon Tour (ABT) tournaments kicked off in the first half of 2017: (1) the Boston Open in February; (2) the Viking Classic in Bloomington, Minnesota in March; and (3) the Cherry Blossom Championship in Dulles, Virginia (Washington, D.C. area) in April. The Boston Open was directed by Ross Gordon of the Connecticut Backgammon Club and sponsored by the New England Backgammon Club. The Viking Classic was co-directed by April Kennedy and Michael Mesich. The Cherry Blossom Championship was directed by Bill Riles and organized by Karen Davis. These events provided stunning venues, stirring themes, and innovations that attracted players from across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan.

This issue is replete with reports on these and other U.S. events. Paul Weaver treats us to an analysis of difficult cube decisions in the final of the Cherry Blossom Championship, while Steve Sax hits the high notes of the tournament and his path to winning the Cherry Blossom Jackpot. Blake Fleetwood, former journalist for The New York Times, captures the Nordic lore on display at the Viking Classic in prose and photos — and Stick, host of the popular BGonline forum and one of backgammon’s leading theoreticians, regales us with tales of multiple triumph in his home-state tournament, the Ohio State Championships in March. Stick won the Masters Jackpot and the Open Consolation.

For this quarter’s history lesson, USBGF historian Robert Stoller shares his research on the 40-year history of the U.S. Open. This issue also features Bob’s interview of Neil Kazaross, all-time American Backgammon Tour point leader, and American Backgammon Hall of Fame honoree.

Interviews by Karen Davis introduce us to two relatively unknown top players who showed their expertise at the Chicago Open in May: Grant Hoffman and Gerry Tansey. Grant has directed the New Zealand Backgammon Championship and has won several Australian and New Zealand championships. Gerry, from the “Show-Me” state of Missouri, won the Backgammon Olympiad in Chicago as well as Mochy’s 7th Backgammon Proficiency Test. His score of 37 topped the field in Chicago as well as those who took the test at the Japan Open.

Several articles in this issue contain suggestions for fine-tuning your game. Ed Rosenblum shares his system of producing flashcards tailored to his own errors. I offer shortcuts for calculating the best gammon-saving play as you bear the last checker in. In addition, Art Benjamin and Patrick Gibson explain a mathematical system for equitably compensating players in events with two starting times where only the second group is eligible for byes.

Joe Russell, Chairman of the USBGF Board of Directors, brings us up to date on the draft revised USBGF Tournament Rules and invites suggestions during a 30-day public comment period before seeking ratification of the Rules by a vote of the membership.

Karen Davis, in her President’s Column, reminds us of some of the USBGF’s accomplishments this year, particularly in its programs designed to attract newcomers to tournament play. Almost 200 Novices entered ABT events in 2016, and the numbers for 2017 are trending even higher, with five of the ten ABT tournaments held through the end of May having double-digit Novice entrants.
Karen also outlines an exciting new USBGF Local Club Initiative that will provide added money based on USBGF membership to an annual club tournament, with winners eligible for an inter-club champion online competition leading to award of an ABT tournament entry fee of the winner’s choice.

You’ll also find in this issue a summary of the great benefits offered by the USBGF, with tips on how to ensure you get the most out of your membership. Check out the latest statistics and upcoming events, and work on moving up in the rankings list in 2017.

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