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Congrats to the finalists and some thoughts

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Friday, 24 May 2013, at 12:50 p.m.

In Response To: Final 8 in the Giants of Backgammon Invitational (rory)

For what it's worth, I felt the event was fantastic and extremely well-conceived and organized and run by Rory. As a group we discussed specific rules and I found that discussion enlightening, and with strong disagreements at the beginning of each rule, pretty much everyone agreed on what was best after hearing the logic of the other side and some reasonable compromises. One of the major concepts that made the rules more palatable for all was the idea that we all trust each other to be good sports and fair and honest players, so we didn't have to worry about instituting strict rules to prevent cheating and shots and abuses. (That was also Chuck and Jeb and my approach to the rules we proposed, as abusers can find a way to take advantage of any rules, so why not make rules that make the game fairer and more enjoyable for all, and let the tournament directors and reputations protect us from the very few bad actors.)

The individual events were fun, and it was challenging to play speedgammon and DMP and score-based matches. About the only tweak I would recommend is eliminating the 3away/6away matches. The leader starts with a 71 percent MWC and most matches end fairly quickly with the leader claiming.

If you truly want to have a competition between the best players in the world, it should at least include some portion that rates play with PR...so something like a combination of Rory's format and Bill and Tara's Dual-Duel would seem to me to be ideal. Reward the players who play the best when playing well is what its all about, and also reward those who know how to beat an opponent. I don't think the two should be scored simultaneously, as that will allow us to truly play the opponent when we are just trying to win, and play XG when we are just trying to prove our raw skills. (You don't have to tell me that my odds in this format would have been far worse competing against the likes of Neil and MCG and Mochy etal.)

I would also change the payouts, guaranteeing the final 8 at least their entry fee back, which I suspect might happen anyway with some hedging since the final 4 are in the money...but why leave this "haggling" to the players and why put them in this position when most players would be happy with this arrangement anyway?

At almost every tournament, with a few exceptions of those people who simply wont hedge, there is hedging to pay more places because the tournament directors don't seem to be willing to pay more places and let more people go away happy at a somewhat small expense to the top finishers (most of whom have hedged anyway.) I know that Jeb Horton agrees with me and will pay more places in Charlotte, and I hope that becomes a trend. The winners will be more than happy to take home 20 percent less because they know they will often get knocked out in the money round in other events and get it back there.

Lastly, it was an honor to play with so many of the best players in the world--there seems to be a direct correlation between skill and good sportsmanship. Rarely have I played in a tournament where I never felt I had to be "on guard" against possible "irregular" play, stupid and insulting remarks about luck or about my plays, odd ways of rolling, cube-handling, or score keeping, or just plain rude behavior. At the same time all were open to friendly, intelligent discussion and some light-hearted fun. I guess when you reach the top of your venue, you learn a level of respect for the game and the players that so many of the average players don't appreciate. I just don't understand why those jerks could make so many horrible plays and still beat me!

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