Tim Cross writes:
The UK Open saw the announcement of the new UK Backgammon Captain and the British Backgammon Awards.
We were pleased to announce at the AGM that the UK Backgammon captain for 2020 and 2021 will be Martin Barkwill. Martin is well respected by the backgammon community both nationally and internationally. We wish him success in his new role and really look forward to his comprehensive social media and blog posts covering the progress of our National teams.
The first BBA award was for British Player of the Year and looking at recent form and two tour wins so far in 2019 (as well as the Winchester final against Tim in late 2018!), how could that award go to anyone other than Kevin Jones.
The International player of the year award went to our friend Mochy. Mochy has again proved he is the number one player in the World, this time with his win against Sander Lyloff in the Ultimate Backgammon Championship.
The next two awards of Club Organiser of the Year and Tournament Director of the Year are getting repetitive for the very good reasons that Sean Jones with his work at Worcester and Mark, John and Kev with their work at the Blackpool Open are almost impossible to beat – but this doesn’t mean that we aren’t incredibly grateful to all the other club organisers and tournament directors around the country who give so much time to facilitate us all playing our wonderful game.
There was a new winner of Board Designer of the Year which went to Guy Haslam of Bone Club for his innovative designs and boards which now range from economy right up to top quality backgammon boards.
The most significant contributor award went for the first time to Tim Cross; whilst he has captained the team this year surely the award is really a thank you from the backgammon community for the work he has done and enthusiasm shown whilst captaining the team since 2014. (Not just the captaincy – all the travelling around being an inspiration to club players across the North and being a champion of improving players too – Julia)
The Most Sporting/Courteous player award was won by Steve Bibby, an award well deserved for his calmness at the board regardless of how the dice are behaving and his willingness to help anyone who asks with a few tips for better backgammon.
The Most Improved Player of the Year goes to whoever has improved their rating by the largest amount over the course of the year. This year there were a number of very strong contenders, including Kev, but with a gain of 171 since last time the award goes to Tariq Siddiqi. In addition, there was a special award for a most impressive year for Oliver Squire who has grown remarkably quickly into an international online team place, and who must surely be a star for the future.
Julia the chair of UKBGF gave a special award to Peter Bennet for all the work he continues to do for UK backgammon. Peter is often overlooked in these awards because Peter and UK backgammon are synonymous but his real popularity and our gratitude are always expressed clearly at election time for the UKBGF Board. (I managed to keep this a surprise… Peter’s been absolutely invaluable on the Board since the very beginning and does so much behind the scenes for the game!)
Finally honorary membership of the UKBGF in recognition of lifetime contribution was awarded to Rick Janowski. Only insiders of BMAB will know what a whirlwind of activity by Rick can achieve in just 3 short months. He set up BMAB International and then ran BMAB UK winning two awards for Tournament Director of the Year. Rick also has been a leading backgammon theoretician famous for the Janowski Formula and was the brains behind doubling cube theory used by all the top bots.
Many congratulations to all our winners, and many thanks to everyone who nominated people and voted for their favourites. All our nominees make a huge difference to our community and we’re very grateful to you all.