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3rd Merit Open has been played with 408 players from 42 countries at Merit Park Hotel, Kyrenia, North Cyprus during 4-8 of November 2015. Wonderful hosting and added prize money by Merit Park Casino and powerful directing by Marco Fornasir and Arda Fındıkoğlu of WBF made this tournament a high quality, top excitement and one of the biggest in the world. Below I will mention top players first. Then I will add a few suggestions to make this tournament even better. Finally I will provide the detailed results followed by an album with my authentic comments 🙂
English player Gaz Owen won the masters category by with a difficult path by losing his second round match but winning 10 consecutive matches afterwards. Leon Dorel from Romania and Jakob Garal from Ukraine won the second and third places respectively. Merit Open Masters reached the second biggest prize pool with 283 players after Monte Carlo World Championship. With 132 teams in “Ion Ressu” Memorial Doubles Consulting, 3rd Merit Open reached the first place in prize pool among doubles tournaments. Götz Hildsberg and Kimon Papachristopoulos won this activity and presented an example of German teams’ success. Because of scheduling considerations Super Jackpot activity was played as two 32-player events instead of a single 64-player field. With a prize pool second after Monte Carlo and great excitement brought by a lot of top players, we had two winners Yoshiyuki Nakamura and Julian Minwalla from Japon and England respectively. Intermediate category tournament was the biggest of this year with 111 players. Olcay Lökbaş from Turkey won this event followed by Katalin Veszeli from Hungary and Kemal Sağındık from Turkey.
In this third edition of Merit Open tournaments, we witnessed a steady increase in the number of players. We even reached to a level where the beautiful ball room of Merit Park Hotel was even not enough to hold the attendants comfortably. I think the increase will continue in consecutive years and hope to see the problem resolved. When considering the high number players involved and the limits of double elimination system used, Arda Fındıkoğlu managed to run the masters category successfully. But there was a clumsiness due to manual drawing and non-automated handling of the results. Too many announcements, overall noise level and late matches decreased the level of the game for most players. Five days seemed to be not enough for such a big tournament. I hope to see some improvements in these areas next year so that the quality of the hotel environment will be crowned by the quality of tournament execution and therefore increased level of backgammon. I would like to remind that in Merit group’s hands, we as the contributors of the backgammon world are having a great opportunity to cultivate backgammon to another level. Here are the detailed results and an album with my comments:
WBF – 3rd MERIT OPEN INTERNATIONAL BACKGAMMON CHAMPIONSHIP
November 4-8, 2015; Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus
MASTERS (283): 1-Gaz Owen (England), 2-Leon Dorel (Romania), 3-Jakob Garal (Ukraine/Germany), 4/5-Boris Danelja (Georgia) / Avraham Eytan (Israel), 6/8-Laura Monaco (Italy) / Toni Bernaba (Lebanon) / Kasper Nielsen (Denmark), 9/12-Carsten Simonsen (Denmark) / Maik Stiebler (Germany) / Alexey Askurava (Russia) / Josefin Bichler (Germany); 1LC-Stepan Nuniyants (USA), 2LC-Götz Hildsberg (Germany), 3LC/4LC-Zafer Tas (Turkey) / Shahab Ghodsi (Iran/Norway).
INTERMEDIATE (111): 1-Olcay Lökbas (Turkey), 2-Katalin Veszeli (Hungary), 3-Kemal Sagindik (Turkey), 4/5-Vladimir Olchanski (Germany) / Yordan Kirchev (Bulgaria), 6/8-George Miltiadou (England) / István Éger (Hungary) / Moti Manzon (Israel); 1LC-Rochus Wegener (Germany), 2LC-Rosey Bensley (England).
SUPER JACKPOT #1 (32): 1-Yoshiyuki Nakamura (Japan), 2-Petko Kostadinov (USA), 3/4-Zafer Tas (Turkey) / Freddie Noer (Denmark).
SUPER JACKPOT #2 (32): 1-Julian Minwalla (England), 2-Soren Karatorosyan (Armenia), 3/4-Rassoul Zomorodi (Iran) / Akiko Yazawa (Japan).
WARM-UP (256): 1-Sebastian Wilkinson (England), 2-Rainer Witt (Germany), 3/4-Carter Mattig (USA).
869 BG TROPHY (128): 1-Volker Sonnabend (Germany), 2-Philippe Boncenne (France), 3/4-Boris Martinello (Italy) / Eric McAlpine (England).
ION RESSU MEMORIAL DOUBLES (132 teams): 1-Götz Hildsberg (Germany) & Kimon Papachristopoulos (Germany), 2-Peter Carlsson (Sweden) & Liz Johansson (Sweden), 3/4-Luca Martino (Italy) & Vincenzo Riceputi (Italy) / Yasar Gözel (Turkey) & Kagan Karakaya (Turkey).
LADIES TOURNAMENT (45): 1-Antoinette-Marie Williams (USA), 2-Linda Sjörin (Sweden), 3/4-Lise Nielsen (Denmark) / Sibylle Altermatt (Switzerland).
ONE-POINT TOURNAMENT: 1-Linda Sjörin (Sweden), 2-Franck Stepler (France).
MOCHY’S QUIZ (100): 1-Sevdalin Tsvetanov (Bulgaria), 2-Giannis Pasialis (Greece). They scored 7 out of 8 correct answers; Sevdalin had a lower error rate on the one problem they missed.