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Giants Candidates Part II

Posted By: Stick
Date: Sunday, 22 November 2009, at 12:41 p.m.

  • John O'Hagan. John has recently retired and will undoubtedly be spending more time on the bg circuit than he has in previous years. I think this accounts for him attending more tourneys this year on the ABT. Most of you here already know enough about John's game and I've never been shy about admitting I like John's overall approach to the game. He told me before that every day he plays a 13pt match against Snowie and then reviews it. On the surface this may appear like not a lot, but if done correctly and thoroughly as I think John does, is a very good use of time. I personally sometimes play 300x more bg than that v. GNU but am doing nothing more than going through the motion of clicking a mouse like I'm playing 6 or more poker tables at once. John knows his match equity table, his gammon values, his take points, and has a reasonable approach to big decisions that even if he's wrong a percent or two in his numbers he's not likely to lead himself too far astray.
  • Steen Grønbech I didn't know of Steen's existence until this year. This is again a big problem with people voting for each other overseas, you just don't know. I played Steen in Cannes and it was recorded and he played well, a 1.9 if I remember correctly. I also watched him play another match along the way somewhere and it felt like the same kind of stellar play. It's rough because I don't know much more than this about him and word of mouth but I only trust what spews from a couple people when it comes to ranking bg players. All good feedback though, hoping to see him again at Nordic next year, even though he won't be playing because he helps run the event.
  • Bob Wachtel It also took me traveling overseas to meet one of the strongest American players, or so I had heard. I got to play Bob once, only a 5 pointer though, and it was neither of his nor my greatest match. Bob wrote down a lot of positions and showed them during the course of the tournaments and hung around that typical group of people for the obsessive bg chat. Again, I don't have a lot more to go on but it's clear Wacky is interested in the game.
  • Steve Sax What a raging donkey. I only wish Steve would get online and visit these forums on a regular basis so I'd have someone else to bash. He's usually too busy mucking off his money at poker. He still plays a lot of backgammon and is always someone you'd rather not draw than draw at any given event. I'd guess he usually plays in the 3s and 4s, averaging on the 4 line. He records a ton of his matches, writes for gammonvillage as some of you know I'm sure, and has a lot of bg experience. We play doubles together when I go to CA and I think we make a good team. There are things he understands immediately because he has a lot of experience whereas I have to think about it and who knows if I would have got the right answer or not in the end. I believe Steve also holds the record for distance of length for throwing both a phone and chair during a backgammon tournament, critical when voting for your Giants list.
  • Paul Weaver Paul, though out of sight in the US, still regularly plays backgammon. He can be found on Gridgammon and I'm sure he plays tourneys regularly wherever he is. (Japan I believe, but don't quote me) I've played Paul a time or two, he has a very deliberate thoughtful approach to playing. You'll never see him make a move without reflection and he's of course very strong in my favorite phase of the game, the opening. I'd take a WAG that he averages in the high 3s ER wise but again, that's a WAG.
  • Ed O'Laughlin Ed is everywhere. He travels a lot it seems for bg, able to show up at any tourney in a single bound. He records all his matches and every match of his I've seen has been solid in the error rate ballpark. I have no idea if Ed has ever played money games, not a big deal, but still something I'd like to know one way or the other. I know all the above mentioned people have but somehow I have a hard time picturing Ed doing so. He does read and sometimes post here so perhaps he'll answer.
  • Fernando Bracconi Unknown I'm sure to most of you. I'd never heard of the guy until I had to play him. He played well unfortunately it wasn't recorded because I had no idea he was anyone beforehand. I can tell you at gammon go for him I opened with 65R and he replied with 65 and knew to play H (13/7 6/1*). Iancho later told me how well Bracconi has played in the matches he had recorded of his online. Always suspect are matches recorded from online play but I saw the guy play live, I imagine it's his game and his game alone. He was the European Champion in 2008. I haven't mentioned the results of other players mostly because they're already known.
  • Lars Trabolt World Champion in 2008 in a field of 199, runner up in a field of 173 in 2009 losing to another champion. Those results speak volumes. Even though in the finals this year he didn't play his best game due to some just WTF cube decisions, everything else I saw, including his semifinal match that I recorded, he played very well. I only saw a few matches of his but they were all lengthy Monte Carlo matches so I got to see a lot. Definitely deserving of an upper part of the Giants list vote in my opinion.

That's it again for now, I'm tired of typing. All interested to hear other ppl's takes on these or other players. (who I may not have mentioned yet or who I may never mention to begin with. I'll probably only do one more of these posts with another 10 or so players before finalizing my own list)


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