It was my first time in Cannes, a famous city especially for its film festival and red carpet stories. Having read Paulo Coelho’s novel The Winner Stands Alone, I was expecting a cold atmosphere even in the hottest days of summer. Soon, I happily realized that I was wrong. The city is lively and very warm.
The first thing I noticed in the tournament was its organizational power. Hard work and enthusiasm of the organizing team determines the success of tournaments mostly. In that sense, the tournament director Franck Stepler and his lovely staff Scarlet Serrero and Julie Thabauld offered all their energy available. The city, the venue and the time of the tournament was also good. It was a great warm-up activity for Monte Carlo. Actually after playing this beautiful event in Cannes, I felt no need to play in Monte Carlo Open. I was happy to give a break after Cannes so that I can play better in Monte Carlo World Championship. The only thing I can complain about the tournament was the price of the hotel. But I studied Cannes a little bit before going there and selected a more suitable hotel. Since it is a small city, it is not possible to stay very far away from the tournament place.
The Summer Cup started with a cocktail. 32 player field was very strong, might even be stronger than this year’s last 32 bracket of Monte Carlo World Championship. There was not much local contribution but mostly international players. To be able to make big backgammon tournaments there must be a good number of local players available. That is where I see the most contribution can come from locally strong backgammon playing countries like Turkey, Iran and Greece.
Since I arrived in Cannes after the start of the tournament, one of the two main events of the tournament was about to finish soon. I was very tired I couldn’t watch the final match. Denmark won the Nations Cup against Armenia. I heard that this event has a history behind it and it is nice to hear it getting revived. It includes teams of 2 to 4 players where one doubles and two singles matches are played. This year I couldn’t arrange a Turkish national team. Next year’s winter event in Cannes will include a Team Cup event with the same format as Nations Cup. Team Cup will not require teams belong to the same country. I think this is a good move at the era of globalization and availability of backgammon players.
The format of the Summer Cup was a modern double elimination system with a fighters bracket. A new draw was made with first six players from winners bracket and first two from fighters bracket. I was sleepy, tired and lucky to draw Mochy in the first round. After a bad performance in a 13-point match I lost and qualified for fighters bracket. I won against Yaroslav Gusev in the first round and the next day said I said goodbye to the fighters bracket by losing to Vincenzo Riceputi. The Summer Cup was dominated by Japanese players Tanaka and Mochy. Finally, Tatsuya Tanaka won the event.
In Super Jackpot event Alain Babillon (France) defeated Hamza Nar (Turkey) in the final. In Doubles final, Ricardo Malas (Lebanon/Spain) and Sabri Büyüksoy (Turkey) played against Scarlett and Michel Serrero of France. The father and daughter won an easy match to win the title. Kazuko Numazawa (Japan) won the ladies title. As the slowest player of Turkey I won the Speed Gammon against the slowest player of France, Tristan Rémille. In DMP final Scarlett Serrero (France) was unbeatable.
The prize giving ceremony and closing cocktail was satisfactory with lots of drinks and food. There were some funny side events like Beat the Boss and After Tournament Doubles events. In Beat the Boss event, the tournament director Franck placed himself sixteen times in the first round of a 32 players DMP bracket and finally he won the event.
2013 Cannes Nations Backgammon Cup and Summer Cup was a lot more than my expectations. In the winter version of this event I am thinking of going there with my family. I would also like to arrange a strong team to compete in the team event.