Giants Candidates Part III
Posted By: Stick
Date: Saturday, 28 November 2009, at 1:48 p.m.
My last installment but I hope others bring up players they will either put on their lists or would like to discuss. I'm sure I've accidentally omitted someone from my listings no matter how thorough I tried to be. There are others I'm sure I didn't list on purpose. I'm expecting a lot of discussion over players that would come near the tail end of one's list moreso than the front end of the list.
- Jon Royset I know next to nothing about Royset. I asked another top player who at least knows of his game and he said he's active and maybe plays between a 3.5 and a 4.0 on average. Iancho tells me he thinks he plays much closer to a 3.4 or 3.5 and that he's active and would put him high in his list. That's all I have to offer. He won Monte Carlo back in 2003 for what that's worth. I'm not going to comb through all tourney results in the past 2 years for these players, hopefully someone will speak up if they know he has succeeded in something.
- Morten Holm Another of many on this particular list I don't know much about. I have at least met Morten and perhaps saw him play in passing but nothing that memorable. As you saw Falafel put Morten in his top 10.
- Matt Donkey-Geier If his results didn't suck I'd know what to do with the newest fish in the US. We played a lot online on Gridgammon and our error rates were almost always impressive. (at the time, we were somewhat training on 7pt matches for the WSOB events, I can't remember anything over a 3 for either of us, you'd have to double check w/MCG as he probably paid more attn.) We also talk online a lot about positions, more often his than mine because he had moved to Chicago to try his specialized bait out in that sea of fish so he constantly had live positions. Backgammon is a fickle game where experience means a lot. If you're a good player the more you play, the longer you've been around the game, the more reference positions you've accidentally amassed in your head, the more positions you're familiar with, and the less likely you are to look up at a position and ask yourself 'WTF is going on here'. I think MCG needs to play more and if he is able to finish ahead of my nemesis Al Faller on next year's ABT list I might vote him #33.
- Petko Kostadinov I've always liked Petko's game. From what I see, he steers away from the stereotypical backgammon game when he can, resulting in more backgames but doesn't overdo it. He's active in the US and on any ABT weekend you'll also see him playing in the chouettes. It was my impression this year before I left the US that Petko hadn't attended the normal amount of tourneys that he usually does but he could have picked up since then. I mention his current activity because his results in the Open division always surprise me, in my opinion, if I went on what I thought on a player's skill alone, Petko would finish much better than he has the past few years on the ABT. Maybe he leads too many matches into backgames and eventually someone gammons him one too many times, maybe he shouldn't be playing so many chous and resting for the main instead, maybe I'm off in my assessment of his play or maybe the year of Petko is yet to come and all we're seeing right now is short term variance.
- Dana Nazarian I'm friendly with Dana but really don't know Dana's game. It's someone I should have made a point to watch in Vegas, perhaps if he's in CA this next week I'll catch him. He's good, of that I'm sure. Active, clearly. Not great results from what I can see on the ABT list in the past couple of years but there are more important things. One thing I'll mention is that he showed us a position just recently in Vegas where my snap judgement was 'how on earth could any donkey think of cubing this'. I was right, it was an enormous blunder to double and I didn't know that it was Dana the one who had cubed it. I give this as testament to how good Dana's game is, not the inverse as it may seem. In my opinion it takes a real player to not only admit their monster mistakes but to willingly bring them up when there's no need to point out that they were a donkey for that one moment in time. Wachtel also brought many positions forth where he may have made the wrong play. They're more interested in what others think and it shows also they took the time to look at the position and they will never make that same mistake again.
- Dirk Schiemann Another player I know less than nothing about. Have never met him, only heard he was a really good player. I'm told by multiple people he's inactive.
- Leo Fernandez Another player I know less than nothing about. Have never met him, only heard he was a really good player. I'm told by multiple people he's inactive. (yes, I c&p'ed)
- Ray Fogerlund I've mentioned Ray in passing so you're about to hear the same thing you've already read. Solid player for sure, attends a lot of events, plays online frequently, and you can see his ugly mug at the top of the ABT list this year (momentarily), in 2007, and #5 in 2008. Again it's the issue of how good he is compared to how many tourneys he attends. Nobody in 2007 except Neil rivaled him in tournament attendance as I understand it though I wasn't as cognitive of it back then...it was around the time I started going to as many tournaments as possible. Now there are a few of us who try to make it to a lot of tournaments. Me, Ray, Neil, MCG, Rod Covlin was until real life got in the way of fun. Ray is capable of playing a low error rate, we've had a few of our live matches recorded and I don't remember anything over the ~4 ballpark. I remember him playing a 2.9 I think it was in one of our finals matches. He makes some zany plays sometimes, and I'd bet the odds on him making such a play double with every 10 people that are watching the match, but you can't deny he knows how to play the game. I don't give Ray as much credit as other people do for 'stealing points' or 'knowing how to play v. the fish' but that's an entirely unrelated subject where more than anything it's a difference of opinion.
- Kit Woolsey To this day in my opinion has produced the some of the best backgammon literature there is available to learn from. He still attends tournaments regularly when there isn't a big Bridge event getting in the way as he's quite accomplished at that also. Most all of you know his site and his forums and that he still plays an online match v. his entire reading audience taking the time to explain his thoughts without fear or worry of being judged for blundering his way to victory. MCG I think said he has a couple of Kit's matches from the last year or so recorded and that he played well. I recorded one match between him & Petko and it was middle of the road but complicated as far as matches go. I've never understood why Kit hasn't had better results in the Open of the ABT. I remember one year it seemed he was winning a lot of big masters events but still failing spectacularly in the Open.
- Katja Spillum She tries hard and I hope she continues her path back into backgammon. Another bg player who has turned to poker, I'm not sure why none of them can make time for both, I do. We played some matches on TMG trying to get her practiced up for the WSOP and initially she was a little bit all over the place with her error rate. Then, she had a poor match and she was pissed. Writing me on MSN 'if I play over a 4 this next match I'm not even coming to Prague'. I like it, she gets pissed, she gets even with the game. She told me she played like 100 (no lie) matches v. Snowie in the next week or so trying to rehone her game. Clearly not afraid to put her nose to the grindstone and I hope after St. Martin, the sun, the beach...the poker, she keeps coming back to bg.
- Viktor Ashkenazi I don't know how many events Viktor makes it to every year other than to tell you he's active and I see him around. I'm not sure I've ever played Viktor in an ABT event and I'm sure that doesn't make me sad for a minute. If I had my choice Viktor would not be a US based player I'd want to draw. He seems quiet which is why he may not garner as many votes. I have no cute anecdotes about Viktor, all I have is knowing he's a pimp player.
- Chris Yep Part of the terrible trio that resides in magnificient Columbus, Ohio, Chris doesn't get out to tournaments as much as he should. (translation: as much as I think he should) He made the voyage overseas this year and lost to Mochy in Monte Carlo. Before the match it was clear whichever of these two won the match would be a top candidate to take down the title. It happened to be Mochy or perhaps I would have written about Chris before now. I've seen a lot of his play because we're friends, sometimes discuss positions online, and on rare ocassions we get a money session in Cbus. His ER has to be low, I would speculate on average in the mid 3s but that's sheer gut feeling. The technical stuff, math oriented, I'd want him for a doubles partner for sure. Other than that though we've played doubles on at least one ocassion and he hasn't properly carried me so it must be his fault.
- Malcolm Davis Records all his matches, inputs all his matches, sends ppl out the matches they played. That right there proves he spends a lot of time on the game and probably isn't putting them in not to have a look at them or let them gather dust. I've only seen Malcolm's game a couple of times so I'm not the best to comment on it. Perhaps someone else can speak up?
There are more players I'd like to list but I'm leaving shortly to go from Vegas >> CA and crash chez Sax. I may or may not have another installment of Giants candidates so please, if anyone has anything to add, whether it's comments on already listed players or adding players I may have not yet mentioned do so. I realize there are a lot of people I have yet to say anything about so if you'd like to take the time to do it I'm sure myself and others would appreciate it. If you need an upstart: Ralf Jonas, Joe Sylvester, Mike Svobodny, Mike Senkiewicz, George Kleitsas, David Rockwell, countless other Danes perhaps Christian will cover, the Japanese player who goes by 'Othelle' on GG, Mike Corbett, Jeremy Bagai, and on and on and on.
As a last side note in thinking about my Giants list I've noticed there are players who may play on average in the high 3s and that's great, but some of these players don't have the capability in my eyes of having great matches. You can see their game will always be between a 3 and a 5 whereas some of the top top players have the ability to play in the 1s or 2s, or on rare instances, even below a 1. Something to think about...
Messages In This Thread
BGonline.org Forums is maintained by Stick with WebBBS 5.12.