Showdown on 23 December

Eight participants gathered for November’s Fourth Friday tournament (Nov 27), including the first six players of the championship ranking and new player Nikos Halkias.

As we are getting close to the end of this year’s championship, each match is of particular importance. The high stakes didn’t bother Guy who was the only undefeated player after 2 rounds and we suddenly realized he can win the championship already in November. However, it wasn’t meant to be that way: he was defeated by Johan in the 3rd round so the title will be decided in December.

Guy Van Middelem (White) vs Zsolt Tasnadi (Black), 2-3 in a 5-point match. Guy to play 33.

Guy Van Middelem (White) vs Zsolt Tasnadi (Black), 2-3 in a 5-point match. Guy to play 33.

In the last round, Guy played Zsolt and, after loosing an unlucky backgammon, he was trailing 2:3. In the attached position, Guy (playing white) rolled 33. It is tempting to play 13/10(3) 6/3 but white has to realize that even after playing this roll, he is behind in the race. Therefore, it is better to clear the 8-point and wait for a shot while black is likely to destroy his board. Guy took his time but played correctly.

This was a crucial match; if Zsolt had won, there would be a triple tie between Guy, Johan and Zsolt. However, Guy prevailed which means that he continues to lead the championship ranking, 4 points ahead of Johan and 8 points ahead of Zsolt.

This sets the stage for an exciting finale. Guy has the advantage and he is in a good shape: he won 10 of his last 12 matches in the championship and had a good run in the Leuven Open. Johan is not much behind and he will be desperate to keep the cup in Leuven. Zsolt needs to win all four matches to defend his title, a feat he achieved 3 times in 2014 but not once this year. In fact, we cannot exclude a tie in the final ranking in which case the number of matches won over the year will (hopefully) decide the championship.

If you want to witness (and of course play in) round 12 of the club championsip, please note that it will take place on 23 December, Wednesday!

– ZT

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