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Backgammon Masters Series (BMS) Group Organisational & Structural Plan

Posted By: David Presser
Date: Tuesday, 16 December 2014, at 4:03 a.m.

In Response To: Backgammon Masters Series (BMS) Group Organisational & Structural Plan (Rick Janowski)

I applaud the initiative and idea. It looks like a serious step toward the high standards that are used in chess and other respectful skilled games. I can see myself interested in going to such a tournament if it is within range.

I quickly read the BMS document and the discussion in the forum. A few comments/questions came to my mind:

1. It seems that in many of the responses you attempt to explain the logic and reason. I think the document lacks a prologue which is dedicated to the goal. I hope such a prologue can answer my next question.

2. Are there added benefits for being a master, grandmaster, or super grandmaster? I understand that recognition is the main benefit. However, I don't know if it is enough incentive to draw many strong players. It can be premature, but perhaps there should be exclusive benefits to being at the M/G/SG level that can help in promoting the BMS and its tournaments.

By benefits I mean something similar to what is offered for USBGF members but that is oriented to the BMS members. For example and of the top of my head (I am sure there are better examples), finding and offering exclusive group deals for master or better players in non-BMS tournaments such as ABT tournaments where the directors are willing to collaborate (they should have the incentive as they should want master or better players in their tournaments).

I recall that Lind Rockwell and her staff provide exclusive accommodating conditions for giants in their Illinois State Championship tournament. That includes reserved VIP playing tables with name plates, pitcher of water, and chocolate at their tables. Perhaps something similar can be offered to grandmasters as well.

3. Since this document is likely to change often in the near future, I recommend adding the word “DRAFT” in watermark to all pages.

4. As unpleasant as it may be, I recommend to add a section for penalties. The purpose is prevention of any attempt to bias the PR results. You are trying to deal with the problem of cherry-picking, but there is also a potential problem of biased PR due to the natural incentive when one transcribes his own matches.

In my relatively short experience I received many transcribed matches that were done by my opponents and were “corrected” in their favor (or against mine). Incidents like changing a 41 roll to 32, changing the place where the cube is taken because it was a big pass at the actual time, and even rolling out selected plays. My guess is that for Mochy's under 4 club, Mochy is re-running all the relevant matches on world class standard to make sure that they are in line with the requested standards and ignores awkward cases when the results don't match. This natural incentive to bias the PR results should be diminished and prevented in advance.

5. I see the discussion about the allocation of prizes to PR results. I wonder whether you thought of the added constraint that all matches have to be transcribed during the course of the tournament and not up to seven days after it ends as stipulated.

6. The grading structure looks great and the PR targets have a lot of logic in my opinion. It is clear that a lot of thought and effort was put into it. I hope that a few years from today there won't be a new arbitrary scale to measure performance which will be the practice, but even in such case, I know that with a little effort you can adjust to it.

7. I noticed that 5 point matches are acceptable if they don't consist of more than 25%. First of all, according to note #3, it is not clear to me whether the percent is from the number of matches or the EP. In addition, I have reservations about 5 point matches. I am certain that you guys discussed it in length, but it is still worth mentioning that in my view, 5 point matches should not be acceptable.

I want to clarify that I have mainly positive thoughts on this initiative. My questions/comments are with the intention of helping, and having a better understanding.

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