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Very long reply

Posted By: Bill Phipps
Date: Friday, 20 December 2013, at 11:29 p.m.

In Response To: Ray Fogerlund (Rod)

Ok, I will play along and respond to this. Even though the truth is I view Rod as a sort of BGO Troll, derailing threads left and right with confrontational, argumentative behavior. He has already alienated many people, and I am sure there are many more to come. This post is not directed towards Rod, since I have observed that there is no point in arguing with him. He has shown no sign that he will ever change his mind, admit he is wrong, nor fail to get in the last word.

For the record, this is what I posted about Ray. "It comes across as someone who wants to get credit for being a top player despite lacking the low PR usually associated with world class play. It sounds similar to Ray's situation. Well, I think Ray has been voted a Giant a couple of times. So he obviously has convinced some people. Maybe you can do the same. Personally, I am skeptical."

I meant absolutely no insult to Ray when I wrote this. I respect Ray. I am glad he is in the backgammon community and frequents many events. We have always been amicable towards each other and I hope will remain so. And no, he doesnít fit my vision of a Giant.

According to the USBGF database, Ray has entered 122 events over the last 4 years. He has played 519 matches, winning 55.6 % of them. He has won 6 events and placed second in 10 others.

No doubt, this is a solid record. 519 matches is a good size sample, and this 55.5% result leaves little question that Ray is an above average player in the events he plays. But do those stats scream out Giant? Not to me. During that same span here is the winning percentage for a handful of players.

Ed Oílaughlin- 57% in 496 matches Neil Kazaross - 62% in 399 matches Petco - 58% in 260 matches MCG - 59% in 209 matches Bob Koca - 56% in 225 matches Victor A. - 61% in 184 matches Paul Weaver- 58% in 134 matches Falafel- 62% in 146 matches Stick- 56% in 104 matches Senk- 61% in 128 matches Carter Mattig- 58% in 327 matches And Rod Covlin 54% in 108 matches Bill Phipps 65% in 60 matches

I stopped after this sampling, but I could have easily added many others. I suspect their inclusion would just further my point that while Rayís result is solid, it hardly distinguishes him from other good players and certainly falls short of the top echelon.

I believe there are 2 reasons Ray is regarded as a Giant. 1) He has finished first or second in 1 out of every 8 tournaments he has entered. Certainly an impressive clip

2) Whenever he wins an event, he trumpets it from the highest rooftop and people tend to remember.

Offsetting the nice win rate are his published PRís, which are less than special. I don't think you will find a good player out there who would bet on Ray playing under 4.5 in a series of matches.

Overall, I interpret all of this to mean Ray is a good, not great player who has had some luck and won more than his share of events over the last 4 years.

I donít think there is any reason this opinion should offend anyone. I donít begrudge anyone a dissenting view. But, this is how I look at these things. For me, the PR is by far the leading indicator of ability, with results a somewhat distant second. Rayís results are not impressive enough to overcome my estimate of his PR.

To all of those people out there who are so eager to publicly support Ray as a Giant 32, I would ask - Why not Carter Mattig, who has done nothing but win 58 % of his last 330 matches ? Why not Bob Koca who has won 56%. ? Why not Senk, clocking in at 61% ? Why not Stepan Nuniyants who has won 54.5% Or Frank Raposa who has won 61% of his last 127 matches. Or Robertie who wins 61.5 %. I left off Dana, Dmitiry, and likely a dozen more, in addition to several consensus picks.

And remember, this is all USA centric. I am sure there are just as many viable names in Denmark, Japan and the rest of the world.

So, why Ray and not them?

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