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Axe the ABT? Axe the Giants list? Axe the *World Championships*?

Posted By: Henrik Bukkjaer
Date: Tuesday, 26 November 2013, at 11:37 p.m.

In Response To: Axe the ABT? Axe the Giants list? Axe the *World Championships*? (Stick)

ABT? - Don't axe it, yet!

Giants list? - Keep it!

Monte Carlo WC? - Keep it, for now...


As for the ABT, I have never played one, and I must admit, I haven't gone into the details of the points system, etc.

But as I understand, it really is the tournament backbone in the US, and as such it should be cared about and continually improved if possible.

The really big problem here, I suppose, is the lack of a US federation that actually controls and sanction the backgammon played there. So the big challenge is how to get all active tournament players into USBgF, and how to get all tournament directors and tournaments into USBgF, and thus be able to work toward consistency and better planning/execution of all BG activities in the US (starting with a uniform rule set, improved rating/raking/master points systems, etc.).

I'm not in a position to judge, but it seems to early to axe the ABT now. Unless the ABT as it is now, is the biggest obstacle in building the USBgF.


As for the Giants list, I think the only problem is, that people love to think it's something it never claimed to be: A list of who is the strongest player in the world.

It's a list of who the good players consider to be the giants of backgammon. Jake, Yamin and the others behind the list have been doing a great job with it. They don't tell you how to judge. They simply take the temperature of the backgammon community through ballots.

Yes, the list might be skewed geographically. But really, if more votes are cast from one part of the world, maybe that's a suggestion that that part of the world have a higher concentration of top players who care, and as such, maybe the players in high regard there should be listed high on the list.

Remember, it's not an error rate list. It's not a rating list. It's not a master points list.

And by the way, putting yourself as number 2 on the ballot, is one of the most funny and clever things I've seen. It evens out the "vote for myself" problem (if some do and others don't), but in a much better way than having players NOT put them selves on the ballot at all - ie. because it encourage top players to actually vote.


World Championships? Well, over the last 30 years, that tournament has been the biggest one in the world. I think the only tournament to rival it, in terms of participation and high number of skilled players from a lot of countries, are the Nordic Open.

So, even though I totally agree, that it's not good to have a "random" privately arranged tournament simply name itself the WC, I think there's really no alternative out there as of now.

And if I were to choose one tournament that I would like to win the most, the WC would actually be that tournament.

Years ago, as I've been told by fellow DBgF'ers attending, there were a lot of stuff in relation to this tournament that was a problem. Cheating, bad rulings/directing, etc. But It's my impression that things have been cleaned up recent years, and that the tournament directors group is now a good mix of competent people from many countries.

Now, until we see more national federations formed and functioning, and those federations sit down together and come up with a format for the world championships, why not go with Monte Carlo. Even though it should be treated (and referred to) as the "unofficial" world championship.

The issues people have with fees (entry, travel and accommodation) is easily solved by having national federations and other organizers do satellites or other qualifying setups. By doing so, you can play your way to Monte Carlo for a lower fee, if you play well. Take 5$ of the reg for all ABT Open events, and you can send the top 3 to Monte Carlo each year! Or get a tour-wide sponsor. If all the federations in the world send some of their best players, the WC would get more WCish.

I'd love to see another kind of WC, with qualifiers in all parts of the world, and a final that shifted between the major federations - but I'm afraid that is still a few years out. And until then, Monte Carlo is the best thing we have.


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