Many thanks to everyone who voted in this year’s Awards – a record 137 votes were received and the results themselves were first announced at the AGM. Sadly with no face to face play we can’t have our usual presentation, but the winners – and we certainly have a deserving set – will be getting framed certificates in the near future one way or another.
British Player of the Year (Face to Face): Tim Cross
British Player of the Year (Online): Tim Cross
Tim’s year included the UK Open title and third place in the Bristol Open, as well appearances for the UK in Forges-les-Eaux and Gothenburg; in the online world he’s been anchored fast at #2 on Galaxy’s ratings, only one of three people every to reach a 3000 rating there, and won the Los Angeles Open. On top of that Tim is a superb ambassador and evangelist for the game, always willing to spend time with newcomers and aspiring future champions.
International Player of the Year: Michihito (‘Michy’) Kageyama
A superb player, and again a great evangelist for the game, Michy is a regular figure in the UK in normal times – supporting the UK game by giving seminars while here, and of course a well-known author too with Opening Concepts and Endgame Technique being very popular titles. Volume 3 of the Odyessy is keenly awaited later this year!
Club Organiser of the Year: Richard Biddle
Keeping a club going through the challenges of COVID is an achievement. Keeping multiple clubs going, as well as major online tournaments in the form of the London and Champions’ Leagues is truly awesome. One particular nomination sums up the award well:
Easy to forget as he has been part of UK backgammons furniture for so long, the amount of work that Dicky does for UK backgammon is incredible. It’s easy to come up with great league ideas, but it takes a great organiser to be able to put it into practice year after year.
Online TD of the Year: Julia Hayward
I’m delighted that the somewhat impromptu Clubs Championship worked out well; and of course the Online Championships, the Charity Challenge making a record £800+ for the Alzheimers’ Society, and running the tech behind a number of international fixtures. I should really thank my employers for allowing me to have a lot of state-of-the-art tech at home ready to act as a tournament control room at weekends!
Online Backgammon Site of the Year: Backgammon Studio Heroes
In a year when online play has exploded in popularity, both our nominees (Heroes and Galaxy) have done a massive amount of work to scale up their sites to cope with us all, and roll out new functions to enhance the offerings. Both proved very popular among our voters, but Heroes gets the edge – particularly with the ability to have dedicated tournament rooms, live analysis for spectators, and their integration with the WBIF tournament system.
Most Significant Contributor of the Year: Andrew Selby and David Potter
The UK Open Online set a new high for an online tournament, both in terms of the sheer size – we believe it set an all-time record – and also the professionalism with which it was run. But that’s only part of the story, with Andrew and David running many events in the London backgammon scene up to now. Only one vote behind was Peter Bennet, a past winner and stalwart of the behind-the-scenes work at the UKBGF.
Most Sporting Player of the Year: Kev Jones
It takes a strong player to win as many tournaments as Kev has done – it takes a truly great player to make sure you always have a really enjoyable match as you become the next in the long line of defeated challengers! A big thankyou to Kev and all our nominees for making backgammon the social experience we know and love.
You’ll have noticed we didn’t run all our usual categories this year, as the various lockdowns made some rather difficult – not least the Most Improved Player, with less than half a year’s worth of ratings data to go through. We’re looking forward to having a full set next year!