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GIANTS'2012 REVIEW(very long)

Posted By: Iancho Hristov
Date: Monday, 23 January 2012, at 1:28 p.m.

Every 2 years the most interesting and thrilling theme is the Giants voting and the giants expecting results. Some people blame the Giants as shit stuff, not real one and etc, but still it continue being the best and most prestigious list we have. To be honest i change my opinion a lot lately... before 6 years i was thinking it is only Americans in( and it was mostly American oriented that time), then i was thinking Americans don't know Europeans and don't vote for them so it is stupid list, but what i figure out it is that we should stop crying and blaming people who try to do something for the Bg world, cause this list is made for us the players who enjoy the game, it is not made for Yamin Yamin and Jake Jacobs to attached in their wall. So the best thing we can do is stop complaining but start voting!!!If we can get as much as possible votes from Europe, Asia(mostly Japan i guess) then we can expect the Giants List to be more realistic. It is hard of course to find people who can know everyoneís game but getting more votes will get us close to the reality for sure. Even that i think that with every year the Giants list become better and better.
Before 2 years Stick and me after that wrote similar article for giants candidate list, i donít say anybody should follow what i write or use my suggestions or etc it is just for people who are not sure how to vote for players they donít know-for sure i donít want to put pressure on any votes, u have head use it. Overall i think they are 3 types of personalities when it come to giants voting:

  • One who vote only based on results-People who are mostly recreational players and just check online the results and think whoever win I best and vote for them. No need to remind that this game include a lot of luck and not always winners are strongest players.
  • People who vote for friends, club stars-I Ďve seen so many votes like that-oh yes he is best in my club, he is my friend I will vote for him For me this is ridiculous this is international vote and for me is stupid to nominated someone who never passed the border of his state or city. Of course everybody has his own choice.
  • People who travel a lot-they are basically top players and not only that they see lot of players Ėthey also can judge pretty well who is good , who is overrated and who is bad but cashes 2 times and everyone think he is the new bg star-unfortunately those people are few, second it si not your fault if u canít judge if someone is good or not, third not everybody can afford to travel to all parts of the world.

My personal opinion is that when someone vote few things should be considered:

  • Is this player really strong? Do u have any idea or just guessing, stats etc?If u are not sure u can check data available, search a forum there is PR ranking . But donít trust A who told u B is great cause he saw him playing one match on 2.4-one match is nothing Ėstop bragging about this shit-he played excellent, he is ready to be giant! Anything bellow 30-40 matches is meanness, also online and magazines people play only their best matches. Believe me everybody even top 10 players play sometimes more than 5 even more then 10 PR.
  • Ability to cash and win- this is also very important- There are some great players out there who never win or always loose in finals. As Andy Murray in tennisJ
  • How international is really the player u vote for?- I mean he could be really the best player in your club, in your state, in your country but this is international contest and I think international players should be considered not state ones. Of course I do some exceptions in my own voting cause just there are some great players who did travel in past but for example now play mostly in one country(Steve Sax, Neil Kazaross)
  • How active the player is?-2 years period for next ranking is a lot of times for top players to play at least few events-for me anything less than 3 events for those 2 years is bad. Best players are mean to play and compete in all tourneys in every sport-tennis, chess and etc. OK here again I can make few exceptions but for sure the player should of play in those 2 years.

Now letís consider few groups of players and their chance to appear in the ranking.
First group will be contenders for top 5:

  • Falafel Natanzon- he has been out there from centuries and always considered for one of the greatest. He is playing a lot of events-both in Europe and America-this mean he is active. He has PR of around 3-this mean he is strong. He cash a lot so look like he is great candidate. Iím pretty sure Falafel will be in top 3, Chance for number 1-50%.
  • Mochy-Mochy is great player and last 5 years he improved his game a lot, for sure he is top 3 contender, he was world champion but for 2009 and I guess this gave him the giants number 1 place. He is still very active travelling all over the world and cashing. I think Mochy also is 100% in top 3. He has similar PR to Falafel. Chance for number 1-25%- I really think he is great player, but Falafel was more active last 2 years and I guess more popular in USA which is very important.
  • Sander Lylloff-to be honest Iím not sure if he will be in top 5 this time-Yes Iím not crazy-Iím not saying he does not deserves it just he was not very active last 2 years, and even when he was Backgammon world never appreciate him, when he was clearly the best he was number 34 in the giants, then he was number 4. Now when not so active I guess he will be 7 or 8. Still his inactiveness is more active then for example Ballard activity while he was 6 years number 1. Sander played Denmark vs World both years and showed great stats both years, he play MC and few others. Not meaning to attack Ballard as for sure again some people will react, just I mean that Ballard was so great to keep his number 1 spot only playing Pro Am, so who knows maybe Sander can do it as well, cause he is really great player as Ballard is.
  • Matt Cohr Gier-or whatever I canít remember the right spelling cause this name sound to me as Chinese , anyway everybody knows him as MCG or the donkey. Maybe some will say Iím crazy to put him as top 5 contender, that he is too young or so but I definitely think he grow up a lot, he has very solid game(3-3.3)and won the Most international US event- Las Vegas Open. I Guess he will for sure move into top 10, still not sure how high people will vote on him, so I see him everywhere from number 4 to number 10. I doubt he will get to top 3, cause Giants List is very conservative of accepting new names, he will need another 2-4 years to become real contender for top 3 places or win MC.
  • Stick-is the only player in my list with PR bellow 2.5 on avg and I really think he has very solid game, unfortunately due to luck he did not win yet an event and this costed him higher place in last ranking. Last year he was not very active but he still played the Giants event in Chicago and I really think it will be shame not to see Stick in top 10. Otherwise if he is active for me he is real contender for number 1.
  • Neil Kazaross- He is around the top since I remember myself and I think Him and Tardieu are the most robbed bg players. Neil crushed ABT before 6 years but he got only second in the list. Last 2 years he did not have that great results but for sure he will be top 10 in my opinion. I guess something between 3rd and 7th place. Due lack of the results last 2 years I doubt he will make top 3 this time. Thinking that if he do some European tour he will get much more points for next voting.
  • Michy- I know Michy was top player since he was not even in top 64, I figured out watching him at GG, but Giants list realize he is good finally before 2 years and he was number 9, Iím sure he will move few steps ahead this year cause he had some great results lately, very solid game. My prognosis is 50% chance for top 5, if not top 5 for sure in top 10.

For me those were all people with any chance for top 3 or 5. Now I will consider people with chance for top 10-20:

  • Bob Wachtel-he is great example of international player-traveling a lot,playing a lot of events. He was 10th last giants edition and I think that this year he will move 1-2 steps ahead. But truly I donít think he has chance for top 5 cause he is more loved in Europe than in USA, in Europe everybody speak of him as best American, but while I was in America nobody was mentioning him so I doubt he will collect that many votes to appears in top 5, but I guess 8 place is accurate for him, as players in top 5 are really E.T. or ďweirdĒ and he is quite normal.
  • Lars Trabolt- He is great player and was number 8 in last list but I think this time he will drop few spots, first cause he does not have same great results as world champ and back to back finalist and I just get the impression it is not so much noise about him lately that is very important in the voting. I guess he will hardly make top 10 this time.
  • Jurgen Orlowski-last time he was number 27 but now I guess he will be at least top 20, he improved his game with every day, he play a lot of events, he is pretty popular, he cash a lot and he is working only bg. Personally for me he is top 15 but I donít know how people vote so I would says he will jump into top 20 for sure.
  • Steen Gronbech- he did the tough job of appearing in the Giants so now it should be easier to get higher on the list. Last time number 22, now I guess he will move to top 20,even top 15 maybe. While he is hot he can throw some bombs-I still remember 2007 I was recording match of Falafel with unknown guy in London, this unknown guy to me played 1.x and outplayed Falafel, that was Steen. Od course one match is nothing as I seen him playing bad online as well. Still I think he deserves top 20 spot.
  • Paul Weaver-I really think he is underrated, last time he was 25, he is better than at least half of the players before him. For me he has very solid game and deserves spot in top 20, I would guess he can achieve something as 13 to 17 th place. He has very special sense of humor that probably people donít understand and this is why he is not so well placed-u need an IQ of over 150 to understand what Paul mean sometimes, I feel stupid in his companyJ. Advice if u want to get into top 10 in the giants list-hire an PR agent.
  • Petko Kostadinov- I think he finally deserves to get into top 20, even top 15, he has pretty strong game and proved both live and online. My feeling is that he will move to 16-20 place.
  • Fernando Bracconi- he is the second player with avg PR bellow 3 in the PR ranking. Fernando used to be European champ before 3-4 years, I donít really know how people will vote for him, last time he was 33, so I think it will be really hard to get into top 20. Still I think he deserves it.
  • Steve Sax- he is always top contender and I guess he can be everywhere from number 7 to number 20. He has very solid game,and won the Giants event in Chicago. Only critics I can find he is playing only in USA. I guess he will be somewhere between 7 and 12 place.
  • David Wells- before he used to be number 7 in the giants, then moved to poker and droped in the ranking, now he is back pretty solid. I think he will be somewhere between 12 and 20 place.
  • Victor Askenazi- I have very bi respect for Victor, I know his game pretty well, cause we were playing in same club in NY and he was really great even that time before winning twice New York Metropoliatn event. I really hope he will get to top 32 but I truly think he deserves top 20 spot.
  • Ralf Jonas-if is question about my voting I certainly will put him to top 10, he always belonged there. Problem is he was out of bg world for years but now he is back and won Nordic, played Dk vs world , played in ABT as well. I guess he will be back in top 32. But for me is really hard to predict where exactly-he can be everywhere from 10 to 32.
  • Ray Fogerlund- ray made fantastic 2 years and Iím pretty sure he will improve his ranking. He is proven fighter and winner even not getting best stats on computer analyses he is one of the best in exploring opponent weaknesses. I guess he will be somewhere in top 15.
  • Dana Nazarian -i don't know how active he is now, but i always respected his game and he easily made into my list


  • Malcolm Davies- he is my fav bg personality and I really hope to see him in the list again. My guess is he will be anywhere between 15 and 25 place.
  • Mike Corbett- he is my second fav bg personality- the smartest person in the American circuit I met and his book is amazing. He has great out of the box thinking and strong game. Still I think he will hardly make top 15.
  • Kit Woolsey- He was always one of the best player and great teacher-Kit will be in top 20 for sure, maybe top 15.

Special Cases:

Francois Tardieu and Nack ballard

Unfortunately those great players donít play anymore and I donít think inactive players should be included in the ranking. Tardieu was my fav player while he was active and Iím sure if he com back he can easily get his positions back. I really think he is the most robbed player from bg community-he deserves the first place at least 2 times but he never got it. Still I think some people will vote for them so I find them somewhere in the bottom of the list.

Paul Magriel, Bill Robertie, Joe Silvester

Yes those are probably best players in the past, truly legends-but letís live in the new century-first they are not active, second it is doubtful how good they are now. Mochy once told me something when we spoke about Levermann and Shiemann , he said yes they are great but backgammon is game that require constant training so it is not clear even if Jerry Grandell come back that he will be still best. So I donít really get so much attention when somebody write ďA is backĒ, ď B is back and he played 2.2Ē. They are back but for one event, that for me is not enough and it is not clear how good they really are.
From old guns I will consider only Senk for top 32


So many to consider here so I guess I will forget someone.
The usual suspects are:
1.Morten Holm- he always been in the giants list last few year but now I get the impression he does not play as often as before
2.Gus Hansen-he played Dk vs World in 2010 and he need no introduction. I Guess he will still find place in top 32, even Iím sure everybody knows he is top 3 player if he play.
3.Karsten Bredhal-he is proven winner, as he won Nordic twice, not sure how well he played but he has the mentality of winner and this what it matter in the end. I guess he will be somewhere in top 32.
4. You may also consider ACO, Marc Olsen, Mike Larsen, PJT, Claus Elken they are all great players but for one or another person I doubt they will find place in top 32. IíM SORRY FOR ALL PLAYERS I MISSED, BUT IF I VOTE I WILL PUT AT LEAST 10 IN MY LIST SO FOR ME IS HARD TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF THEM, SO MANY GREAT PLAYERS OUT THERE.

Before few days I already wrote about them but with few words u can consider:
Tore Fredriksen-considered by Norwegians to be best player there
Jon royset- ex world champ and great player, He deserves in my opinion at least top 15 spot but he never got to top 32. Before years he had an avg of 3.5 so I guess now he is even better.
Sondre Rike- he is famous with his ľ final of MC before few years, he won Norwegian Champions League and Championship.
I was quite impressed from Justein Flood, Tommy nesbakk but I really think they donít have chance to appears in the ranking cause just people are not aware of their existence, they need to cash in some international events and Iím sure they will easily make the Giants.


Before 2 years I wrote that Bg in Germany is dead after Levermann And Shiemann, now I want to return my words back. Last 2 years I see renaissance in Germany- Ralf Jonas is back, jurgen orwlowski is doing great.
Tobias Helllwag-he is probably the biggest money winner last 2 years- he won Cyprus twice, played final in Portugal and somewhere in USA. For sure u must consider him for your list.
Bernard Kaiser- This guy is really strong, I never heard of him before that year and this is why I doubt he is very popular and people will vote for him, but he really deserves it . he has strong game and play often in Europe.

Japan- the obvious choice is Michy and Mochy, also Othello is really great player but I guess he is active only in Japan. The new world champ could be considered as well. To be honest Iím not really familiar with players there and I will include only michy and Mochy in my vote.

For sure Iím forgetting someone and Iím sorry for that, u can add your favs as wellJ. I would recommend anyone to vote so we get good and real list-if we want realistic vote we need to get as much as possible votes-talk to your friends about it, send them a link, it is so easy u can send even an e-mail to carol with your vote, spend 10 mins and do it rather than complaining your friends are not in. If u have any questions how to do it ,just e-mail Carol, she is the finest person u will meet and she will never reject her support.To get a ballot or vote, her mail is cjc@flintbg.com

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