David's Blog

Big changes in the league

Sunday 26th June 2022. As you may know, I do the day to day running of the UKBGF League. We currently have 382 players in the league in over 60 divisions. It was a great initiative and adds real value to the members. However, it's important to review what we do and look for improvements.

So starting in July, we are changing the format from six player division in a round robin with two promotion spots each quarter to 32 player divisions in a Swiss format with seven promotion spots. Players will still have five matches to play each quarter, but it should make the league more dynamic and the cream will float to the top quicker.

Initially, the bottom half of the league will go into the new format league, then from January 2023 the plan is that everyone else will join them.

This change has largely been made possible by the fantastic work done by Alfie Kirkpatrick with Backgammon Hub. He and Tony Lizard are working together to integrate the new league with the UKBGF's rating system. It's a great step forward for British Backgammon.

You can read more about the new league here

Supporting young players

Monday 3th April 2022. It's so important that we encourage new players into our game. There is now so much competition to attract their attention. Now Apps, XBox and everything else seems to draw the new generation to everything from Candy Crush to first play shootouts. How can serious mind sports compete? I don't know the answer, but I do know that we have to do our bit to help the ones that are interested in backgammon to stick with it. Andrew is doing an awful lot behind the scenes to build a structure for the youth and junior players, not just in the UK but world wide.

In the mean time, we have launched a new online competition to raise some much needed funds to support young UK players. 100% of the profits from Support the Juniors will go towards their competition at this years UK Open in September. It starts on 1st May and is played on Backgammon Hub one 11pt match per week. The winner can either take the Entry to the UK Open + two nights stay at Woodland Grange or £400 cash prize. Entry to the competition is just £10. We are not taking a penny for running it. Sign up now at https://backgammonhub.com/tournament/BGLDN-3 and lets see if we can make a difference.

Update; Congratulations to Simon Morecroft on winning the Support the Juniors. He beat David Chapman in the final. We managed to raise £650 for the Juniors and Youth UKBGF members which will go to supporting them at the UKBGF Open this year.

Why equity is important

Wednesday 23rd February 2022. Perhaps a good way to look at equity is if you were playing this game for $10 and you made a 0.01 error, you have given away 10c of value. It's not much, but when you chip away at your $10 with all the little (and big) mistakes, your value in the game becomes less and your opponents value increases. If you make a 0.1 blunder, you have just given away a $1 of value. Of course, when you roll lucky or your opponent rolls unlucky and/or makes mistakes you get some of that value back, but ultimately lost value is lost for ever, even though you may still win the game and $20. This is why we try to reduce our errors and why PR, which is a measure of your errors, is important.

Two new tournaments launched

Wednesday 2nd February 2022. I've been super busy with an online and a live play tournament launch. The UK Online Championships started yesterday with 143 players on Backgammon Hub. And today we started the London Masters with 62 London based players in a completely new format for us. As usual, we have some amazing prizes. UKON has a Golden Gammon Board and £500 + over £1,500 in side pools. The London Masters has a P-40 as the top prize, plus a Wycliff and two Silverman board + £2,300 in side pools.

I played my first live play in nearly two years at the Backgammon in London club night. It was just so nice to see some old friends and meet some new people too. The next club night is on Thursday 17th February if you want to come along. I'll be there and hope to see you.

UKBGF League and Knockout started

Sunday 2nd January 2022. The first season of 2022 has just gone live. It's really grown over the last year from 58 divisions last year to 66 divisions now with over 390 players. It's a big job to get it organised, and I particularly thank Tony Lezard for making it so much easier for me. Next email to send out is to the 425 players in the P-40 Knockout letting them know how to contact their first round opponents. Thank goodness for MailChimp.

The UK National Online now has 110 players registered. This is going to be a great competition and a real challenge to win.

UK National Online launched

Monday 27th December 2021. Just before Christmas we launched our first UKNOC's and already we have 74 signups, which is amazing because we have already exceeded the players in last years which was hosted elsewhere. We have tried to keep the costs down so everyone can take part without stretching the bank balance. Entry is from just £10 for UKBGF members and you could win a $550 Golden Gammon competition board. A slightly higher entry and you could be in for a £500 jackpot too. But the main thing is to be crowned the UK National Online Champion 2022. What a great start to the year that would be.

Covid takes it's toll on live play in London

Friday 17th December 2021. Due to the Covid outbreak and Omicron variant, Andrew cancelled the December Backgammon in London night at the Ambassadors Hotel, and we have decided to delay the start of the London Masters by a month. It will now start in February provided the Government guidelines allow. There is currently talk that restaurants and bars will face another lockdown.

In the mean time, we are putting the finishing touches to the UK National Online Championships which should also be starting in February.

Tournament over but no rest

Monday 13th December 2021. The Players are over. What a fantastic weekend for everyone. We actually ended up with 81 players which made the draw a bit of a nightmare but we managed to get everyone playing the first round with only one bye, and only four byes on the Saturday. Sunday we had a lot more byes in the consolations. Some people were happy with that as the didn't get knocked out but some were less happy as they just wanted to play. Hopefully they managed to find someone to play whilst they waited, or watched one of the exciting matches going on throughout the playing room.

It was exhausting work for us back room staff, without whom it just wouldn't happen. Thanks to Jackie and Jill for all their effort which we hope no one notices because then it is going well. As well as being in the back office, I was also running the streaming. We are improving but need to get better with it. We managed to get three matches recorded from the Main with expert commentary from Simon Barget. Use the links below to take you to the start of each match.

Aref Alipour vs Lawrence Powell Aref Alipour vs Tim Line Cecilia Rogers vs Larry Smyth

With the final match finishing after 9pm, we made it home at 11pm. Now all I have to do is enter the 300+ results on the the UKBGF rating site.

Golden Gammon Players Tournament starts tomorrow

David Friday 10th December 2021. Busy day today. I Picked up a hamper from Selfridges for the Last Chance winners prize, then collected two webcams for the streaming tomorrow, then on to the Ambassadors Hotel where the room has been set up already for us. The tables are really nicely spaced apart, the lighting is good and the seats comfortable. There's a break out room where free drinks are being served all day, well, tea, coffee and water, plus we have pizza and pasta at only £5 per serving. The staff there are doing a really great job. Then it was home to print of all the draw sheets, lists of players, and anything else I could think of.

Andrew and I did the draw for the first round ready for the morning. We could only include the players that have paid in advance. There are a few players who said they are coming but haven't paid yet. So apart from knowing who plays who in the first round, we are going to have to decide on the exact groupings when we see who actually comes along.

Looking forward to the Players Championships

David Thursday 9th December 2021. Just two days to go and we are on tender hooks. The Omicron variant is set to sweep the nation and people are getting scared. Not me though, I don't watch TV news or read the papers, which I think amplify the emotions in order to get more viewers/readers. It's their business. model. However, we are total sympathetic to peoples concerns and circumstances.

We have gone from 96 players with 9 reserves to 89 players. The hotel has been paid for and the prizes bought. I'm sure we will all have a great time. We just ask that everyone is socially aware and respectful of others, then we can all stay safe.

There are eight boards to be won at the Players Championship - A Golden Gammon Tournament board for the Main winner and a Erhan 869 competition board for the runner up, plus three lovely Erhan travel boards (I quite fancy one for myself) and three Silverman boards, plus I am donating the Christmas Hamper I won at the Backgammon Hub Challenge as the last chance prize.

UK National Online

1st prize: Golden Gammon board

Ambassadors Hotel
12 Upper Woburn Place,
London, WC1H 0HX