As usual, there has been a drop in the number of participants during summer but, mysteriously, the trend continued into the autumn: only 7 players gathered in the September tournament, with Miguer joining us for the last round. Considering that half a year ago we had up to 18 participants, this is rather disappointing; let’s hope it is just a temporary decline. In any case, those who were present (including Lieve who showed up after a long absence) had a good time and some exciting matches.
Guy was back after missing the July and August tournaments. He had a tiring week after coming back from the European Championship in Budapest on an unhumanely early flight on Monday morning but he left no room for doubt that he is a contender for this year’s title: he won all four matches, beating the three leaders of the championship ranking on the way. He jumped to the top of the ranking, joined by Zsolt who scored an important victory over Johan in the last round. The standing in the Club Championship 2015 remains very tight, with Alain and Johan trailing by only 4 points.
This is a position from the match of Alain and Guy played in the first round. After a late hit, Alain (playing white) had good chances to win this game and stay in the match. However, an unlucky 5/5 upset his plans. After the match, Guy and Alain discussed vividly whether it is better to hit (7/2(2) 6/1*(2)) or keep the black checker on the 1-point (12/2 7/2(2)). In both cases, black needs a 6 to escape but in the first case white may have another shot with the checker left on the 12-point. Probably this is the reason that, according to computer analysis, hitting is significantly better. But watch out, there is an even better play! It is easy to overlook 12/2 7/2 6/1*. It leaves 2 blots in white’s homeboard; if black dances, white has good chances to cover the 6-point while if he is hit, he will have a shot at black’s blot on the 24-point. This bold play gives the highest chance of winning the game (28%)!