Ian Turner writes:
The 24th Liverpool Open event took place in mid-July as part of the traditional slot on the UK Backgammon annual calendar where a maximum turnout of 80 players assembled at Leo casino against a backdrop of the river Mersey to play in one of the longest established backgammon tournaments in the UK. Backgammon players came from across the UK together with an international field represented from Denmark, France, Norway, Romania and Ireland and over a fifth of the entrants were ladies. It was great to welcome such a strong turnout including 7 former winners of the Liverpool Open and the top 2 players in the current UKBGF rankings.
With a full capacity of 80 entrants,15 players emerged from the Saturday Swiss-format with 4 wins and thus straight through to the Sunday main-knockout. This then left 25 players fighting for the final knockout spot in the main who had achieved 3 wins from the Swiss 5 rounds standard format. Of these 18 opted to enter the 1 point playoffs and the other 7 decided to take their chance in the hat draw. Heidi Andersen from Denmark successfully claimed the last spot by winning her 4 playoff matches and then defeating Richard Carter on Sunday morning who had been pulled out of the hat.
It became a sporting day of drama on the Sunday with Novak Djokovic beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon in a 5 set marathon decided by a tie break and England beating New Zealand to win the cricket World Cup thanks to an incredible super over finale. At the same time as this was happening all of the 5 backgammon finals were being played including the doubles event carried over from the previous evening. This was an extremely exciting match with a couple of local scousers, Frank Fleming and Liam Weston, managing to overcome a 4-0 deficit against the strong female Danish pairing of Lise Nielsen and Marianne Petersen to eventually claim the title with a 5-4 victory – ‘snatching victory from the jaws of defeat’ would probably be the best way to sum this one up !!
In the main knockout Kev Jones beat Richard McQuillan, Heidi Andersen and John Gallagher in the semi to contest the final with Stephen Drake who beat Mike Levi, Roger Porter and in the semi, Brian Lever. The final was a rematch of the Saturday 4th round of the Swiss and Kev Jones was victorious again in a close final overcoming twice a 6 2 roll by Stephen from the bar to hit Kev before he rolled his own magic 8 combination of 5 3 from the bar to go on and claim his first Liverpool Open title – many congratulations Kev who is having a magnificent backgammon season.
Pam Wright won the Swiss consolation event against Anna Price. Steve Bibby claimed the Consolation (Liver Trophy) beating Gaz Owen whilst the Last Chance 3-point resulted in Dorothy Lee beating Eric Maillebiau from France. Finally in the 1-point shootout event played over the weekend Daniel Molan successfully defeated another French player Christophe Guicheteau.
Thanks again to all those who attended for making it a great weekend of backgammon on Liverpool’s waterfront. An e.mail has already been sent to the players asking for feedback comments about the tournament and venue, but equally we are keen to hear from anyone in the backgammon community with comments about casino-based tournaments whilst we plan for next year – please e.mail Liverpoolbackgammon@yahoo.co.uk. Details of next years tournament will be circulated soon and we look forward to welcoming everybody back to sunny Liverpool in July 2020!
– Liverpool Open Organising Committee
The UKBGF Tour Standings now include Kev’s second win and can be found here. No prizes for guessing who’s top! Many of the Liverpool last 16 were already in strong positions before and are even further ahead of the field now. The TWI Masters place reverts to the 5th best overall score, meaning Cambridge finalist Larry Smyth is still in the select group… The Intermediate Tour is now dominated by Alex Polden, who has four very good scores now and is clearly the person to beat. Loads more Tour points available in the near future in Brighton – places are still available, see www.brightonsummeropen.com for more details.