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2015 Texas Backgammon Championships -- San Antonio -- Reflections

Posted By: Bill Riles
Date: Monday, 9 February 2015, at 4:29 a.m.

Better late than never. I've promised comments, here they are.

First and foremost, though I am doubtlessly biased, I think it was an incredible event -- not just a great backgammon tournament, but a great event. I thank all who contributed in every manner. I'm honored to have been a part.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to every participant. It cannot happen without you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

From my perspective, the Texas Backgammon Championships could not happen without the partnership, cooperation, and contribution of Tara Mendicino. It is as much, or more, Tara than it is me. Tara, thank you so much.

We have an absolutely incredible, tireless, and capable staff. The weekend doesn't happen without Pierre Mendicino, Connie Riles, Robin Horton, Rynell Nunez, and Phil Simborg -- it's just not possible without them. I can never thank them enough. Becca Thompson and Scott Butki rounded out the staff and served significant roles. Valuable consultation and contributions, before and during the tournament, was provided by Patrick Gibson, Butch Meese, Rory Pascar, CJC, Mochy, and Jeb Horton. We thank you all.

We had sponsors and benefactors -- some wishing to remain anonymous -- that allowed us to provide a great event. Thank you so much to Max Parker and Geoffrey Parker Games. To all the rest of you -- and you know who are -- thank you !!

We are blessed with a great city with the history, the sites, and the dining; a phenomenal, historical hotel venue; and a superb service staff at the Menger. They make it easy to be good.

This year we had so many features beyond the usual ABT and Jackpots events. The Awards Dinner and HOF Inductions exceeded my wildest expectations. I can't wait for the video. All of the videography and still photos associated with the HOF and the USBGF was unbelievable. Thank you so much to Robert Stoller, Julius High, Patrick Thornhill, Robert Amador, and David Rennie. You will not believe all the historical record we have. Can you imagine a terabyte of data? Our Super Bowl parties are unparalleled as social events and help define us as a tournament. The Dual-Duel tournament and the Tournament of Stars are unique to the Texas Backgammon Championships.

The San Antonio tournament was unbelievable -- beyond my wildest expectations. That doesn't mean there weren't glitches. Hopefully, many of the glitches were transparent to the participants -- I knew of everything and it seemed at times a disaster from my perspective. Such is the vantage of the director.

A few scheduling issues resulted from my being tied up with the Awards Dinner and the HOF Induction. Normally I would work through this time frame and be better prepared for the late starts of the Jackpots, as examples, immediately following the Friday night dinner break. You had to be there -- I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. But, I've learned from it as well.

We need to do a bit better job of policing side event entries and side event execution. Some players enter everything, assuming they'll be successful in some and not successful in others. Some are successful in nothing and some successful in everything. This creates scheduling problems. A few are most conscientious -- such as Phil Simborg and Dennis Culpepper, as examples -- racing from event to event and even, on occasion, forfeiting their places in some side events to ease the crunch. Some are not. We can all do better.

We'll do some things differently in the future, and for the better we think. There must be requirements put on the progress of the Tournament of Stars, the Jackpots, and the main events, as examples. Two rounds of the TOS must be finished on Friday. Players will not be allowed to play in the early starts of the Jackpots if they alive in the TOS. Two rounds of the main must be finished before the resumption of play after the dinner break on Saturday. These were not always the case this year, and we all paid the consequent price. All considerations are on the table. We're looking at an extra day, we're looking at main event rebuys, we're looking at every imaginable permutation. We want it to be the best experience for all. Give us your feedback and suggestions.

Tara and I are working diligently on refinements to better execute the tournament in the future. Your input is important to us and everything will be considered.

Again, thank all of you. We think this past weekend, despite some flaws, was a monumental success. We intend to make it even more so next year. Thank you for your support.

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