Congratulations to They Might Not be Giants — the winners of the 2012 USBGF National Club Team Championship! After starting with 42 teams from 23 clubs, for a total of 138 players, two Washington, D.C. teams sponsored by the Beltway Backgammon Club made it all the way to the finals. In a Hollywood-suspenseful finish, the first-place team of Grant Schneider, Barry Silliman (Captain), and John Klein survived a heavy assault from second place finisher the Beltway Bandits, composed of Bob Koca, Alfred Mamlet (Captain), and Frank Raposa. Many thanks to Co-directors Justin Nunez clubs@usbgf.org  and Joe Russell Joe@usbgf.org for an exciting event.

It played-out like a Hollywood script down to the final match. On Wednesday, August 15, Grant Schneider came from behind 1-8 against Bob Koca to tie it up at 9-9, and then go on to win 11-9. At one point, his teammates calculated that they only had 12% match equity to win the trophy. Grant notes, “It was looking grim for me at 3-8 with Bob ahead in the game, looking to go up 3-10. I pulled that win out and luckily did well from there.”  (More details forthcoming in the September-October 2012 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon.)  Bob took a commanding early lead in part with a gammon when Grant, faced with a key cube, seven blots, and a two-point board, found the courage to take — a decision supported by eXtreme Gammon analysis, even though his teammates watching the match on GridGammon together from the Silliman home used the phrase “insane take” a lot.


The match between Alfred Mamlet and Barry Silliman was no less exciting. On Sunday, August 5th, Alfred, of the Beltway Bandits, defeated Barry, of They Might Not Be Giants, 11-10 in a very well played and exciting match. Alfred, needing a victory to keep his team alive, fought back from deficits of 3-7 and 9-10, Crawford, to pull out a win and force a one match final between Bob Koca and Grant Schneider.


The finals consisted of best two-of-three 11-point matches played by each pair of players: the A, B, and C seeds for each team. The action went back and forth creating suspense at every turn. A-seeds Bob/Grant split their first two matches, 1-1. Then B-seed Alfred beat Barry in their first match. C-seed John Klein representing They Might Not be Giants won two 2-0 against Frank Raposa of the Beltway Bandits, giving their team its first one-player-out-of-three players victory. Then Barry evened it up vs Alfred 1-1 with team victory in sight, before succumbing to Alfred in their final match giving the teams a tie of one victorious player each. That set up the final Grant/Bob match. It was backgammon at its best — well-played with luck and skill making it thrilling for the spectators who watched the play online and heart-stopping for the players.

The traveling trophy will be awarded to the first place team and certificates will be awarded to players of the top four teams. Photos of winning team players will be featured on the USBGF Hall of Fame website page and the September-October 2012 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon electronic magazine.


The Jersey Boys (Mid-Jersey, NJ) — Jeff Acierno, Alan Grunwald (Captain), Steve Jacobson (Defeated by They Might Not Be Giants

KCBG (Kansas City) — Phil Franklin, Eric Barr (Captain), Kathleen Davis paired with:


Arizona Phoenix (Arizona BC, AZ) — Harvey Gillis, Doug Amenda (Captain), Todd Crosner

GammonNation (Gammon Associates, LA) —  Joe Russell (Captain), Tiran Dangor, Reza Sarabi

The Battery (NYC) — Richard Munitz (Captain), Rod Covlin, Andy Rubien

Northmen (North Metro, MI) — Frank Talbot, Dmitriy Obukhov, Paul Berg (Captain)


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