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Lesson Learned

Posted By: Bill Riles
Date: Tuesday, 21 April 2015, at 7:38 p.m.

Just back from a great week in Las Vegas at the U. S. Open tournament. Can't complain with the results -- I lost in the Championship Division semi-finals at double match point.

One lesson again well reinforced and well learned. Never lose focus even in the most stressful and unfortunate situations. Slow down, take your time, and don't let the moment get away from you.

I all but had the win to advance to the Championship final. I had two on my 8 point and two on my 6 point with the opponent owning my five point. All I had to do was clear to win. I was at 84.9% match winning chance. I rolled 6-1 forcing me to leave a two shot -- which lowered me to 68.8% match winning chance. He missed the two which increased my match winning chance to 94.3%. Then I rolled the unimaginable 2-2 so that I had to leave the shot again. I was so stunned, frustrated, and shaken by this piece of bad luck that I too quickly played the 2-2 -- I misplayed it, badly. Maybe I thought it didn't matter -- he was either going to hit me and win or miss me and lose. But there is always another roll. The opponent again missed the two shot. My subsequent roll again forced me to leave a shot -- this time on the six point. He hit it. Match over. Had I taken my time and played the 2-2 correctly, I would not have left the third shot. I would have won.

In the stress of a very tense situation, I reacted poorly to a most inopportune roll. I lost my focus and my discipline for one play -- the most critical play of the match. Because of that I lost a seat in the U. S. Open Final. It won't happen in another of my matches, ever.

It was a great match -- congrats to Stacy Turner in winning. 2+ hours of tension and pressure. The typical backgammon roller coaster ride of wildly swinging momentum and emotions. But one must always remain cool, focused, and disciplined -- one cannot let up, not even for one roll/play.

Congrats to Joe Russell for winning the U. S. Open title.

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