We’re nearly to the end of the year, and the UK Tour is drawing to a close…
The Bristol Open very quickly turned into a tournament that our leading Masters wanted to forget, with the leaders who were present making very little progress in the double-elimination format. Visiting Grandmaster Michy fared a little better, with a first-match exit from the main to Ian Tarr, but surviving a few rounds in the fighters before losing to Daniel Molan. There were to be no heroics in the fighters’ bracket, with the overall final three all coming from the main semi-finals; Ron Slattery stayed undefeated through the main but needed both finals to finish off Mardi Ohannessian. Ron wasn’t a UKBGF member at the time, though, so Mardi gets the TWI Invitational place…
In the Advanced division, Simon Hopper was already well placed with good results in London and Blackpool, and took a big lead in the Intermediate Tour by winning the division outright – having lost the undefeated semi-final to John Plummer, three fighters’ wins brought him back to the final to face John again, and he continued his run by winning both final matches. Simon is now close to unassailable at the head of the Tour.
Masters: Ron Slattery (winner), Mardi Ohannessian (r/u), Cecilia Sparke (3rd), Daniel Molan (4th)
Advanced: Simon Hopper (winner), John Plummer (r/u), Andy Boysan (3rd), John McNeill (4th)
Erhan 869 Warm Up: Jon Barnes (winner), Simon Hughes (r/u)
Speedgammon: Radu Ciortan (winner), Garry Kallos (r/u)
Tombstone Trophy: Seb Wilkinson (winner), Jon Barnes (r/u)
Doubles: Bonnie & Clyde (winners), NoNoNoNo (runners-up)
So on to Manchester for stage 11, and just a single division here. The last 16 after the Saturday Swiss stage was due to take fifteen players with four wins, with Ian Turner, Neil Foston, Sean Jones, Rob Perry and myself making it through undefeated. One well known name was not present, though… Tour leader Tim Cross found himself in the 1-pointer shootout with twenty-five players going for just a single spot; with no margin for error he sailed past five opponents to grab it. The others in the last 16 must have had a sense of deja-vu – from that point on Tim was unstoppable, taking his third tour title this year with apparent ease. You can see the final with Radu here.
Main: Tim Cross (winner), Radu Ciortan (r/u), Brian Lever, Cristian Cozos (sf)
Consolation: Jamie MacPherson (winner), Saul Brody (r/u)
Last Chance: Gregge Madan (winner), Fanika Petkovska (r/u)
Friday Freeroll: Dave Gallagher (winner), Irving Czechowicz (r/u)
Super Jackpot: Mike Levi (winner), Vin Nolan (r/u)
…and there were several conversations over tea in Manchester about exactly what people would need to achieve in Worcester! Tim has clearly sewn up the main Tour title, and Jon Barnes is safely second. Given who we believe will be taking part in Worcester (assuming no dropouts), Mark Calderbank has just enough points to be safely third, as Radu will fall three short if he wins the last event.
The last TWI automatic place is up for grabs for our Worcester winner, and with 280 points for the runner-up, Brian, Lawrence and Martin aren’t entirely safe in the next-best spots.
In the Intermediate tour, Simon is now safe as long as his nearest rivals don’t win the Worcester Chick outright, and even then reaching the semi-final would be enough to stay top. Alex, Cristi and Ana should be pretty confident of remaining in the TWI places whatever happens, but there are lots of possibilities for the final one… and don’t forget that the eventual qualifiers need to have played in two intermediate events.
The final tour results should be available before the new year – keep an eye out here for the announcement!