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San Antonio--Good and Bad

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Monday, 2 February 2015, at 8:56 p.m.

One thing that makes San Antonio a great tournament is all the wonderful side events, including several that USBGF members can take advantage of...like the doubles Tournament of the Stars and some free-roll events.

And one of the things that hurts a tournament is when there are two many side events that run simultaneously to the main event, and San Antonio, and other tournaments have suffered because of this.

For example, I was alive in the main, speedgammon, seniors, Tournament of the Stars, and USBGF Qualifying.

Because I did well in the main, I VOLUNTEERED to be forfeited in the seniors, speedgammon and tournament of the Stars just so I wouldn't hold up the entire tournament. Other players were not so nice and lots of people had to wait quite a long time and play late on Sunday to finish those side events. Keep in mind I didn't enter the Masters or Dual-Duel and some blitzes and other events I could have also entered.

So what is the solution? How can we have our cake and eat it too? I see only 5 solutions, but I am open to ideas:

1. Have all of these side events begin and end before the main tournament starts..or at least get down to the finals to be played on Sunday;

2. Don't allow people to enter lengthy side events that might conflict with the main event, or limit the number of side events they can get in to;

3. Require people who continue to do well in the main to forgeit side events, like I did voluntarily, so other people don't have to wait for hours or days for their match, and make that a condition of entering in front;

4. Don't have so many side events. Much as I love them, too much is too much.

5. Don't let people play in side events until they are knocked out of the main.

I missed the superbowl last year because I had to play in the finals of the USBGF qualifying late on Sunday while the game was being played, and I was not the only one playing at that time (Ray and Mochy were playing their dual-duel final and others had matches as well). Not only did we have to play, but all of my fans who wanted to watch me and cheer for me were not able to be there unless they too, wanted to miss the superbowl or miss their flight. I am sure that is why I lost to Jonah.

And I missed a lot of the superbowl this year because my Tournament of the Stars doubles finals started late and because I was torn between watching the superbowl and the finals of the dual-duel between Mochy and MCG. What a shame to have to make people choose between watching one of the greatest sporting events in the world and one of the greatest matchups in the history of the game, both going on at the same time!

If I had my wish, Mochy and MCG's final would have been broadcast with simultaneous XG running and commentary by Falafel and Carter. (Always nice to know what is really going on and what someone thinks is going on.) How sad this historic event was only witnessed by a few!

I don't blame Bill or anyone who runs a tournament for wanting to offer more fun and variety to the players, but there is NO WAY IN HELL they can run events on time when people, like me, are alive in 3 or 4 or 5 events at the same time. Like everything else in backgammon, it's simple math and it can be easily fixed in the future by applying a little logic.

I hope no one thinks I am criticizing or demeaning Bill or this fabulous event, or other tournaments that run into the same problems for the same reason. I am a huge supporter of these tournaments and I enter all of these events not only because I enjoy them, but because I want to support the tournament promoters by entering as much as possible (and when people see I am entered it encourages others to enter as they know the competition is weak.) I am offering suggestions and hoping others might come up with a better solution. Tournaments will continue to grow and be successful MOSTLY because of how much people enjoy them, not because of how much they win.

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