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2nd Merit Open – Glimpes from Backgammon Paradise

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2nd Merit Open achieved great success for backgammon community. After the first Merit Open Tournament last year, I had thought it was a great opportunity for the backgammon world. Witnessing an increasing care and quality in the second version, I had a recollection of my nearly twenty years of backgammon adventure. Compared to what I have envisioned then this tournament was a peak experience for me as a player. Therefore, it is a good point for me to thank the organizers and all backgammon community for making it happen. What remains is to make sure that these events are repeatable and improvements are contagious. Then we can talk about an official acceptance of backgammon similar to the ÔÇťnobleÔÇŁ game of chess.

Apart from the quality of execution, Merit Open was a very big tournament by size. 325 players from 33 countries provided a good answer to the ÔÇťdeclineÔÇŁ of backgammon during recent years. Among 235 players in the Championship flight Athanasios Katsios (Greece) won the tournament by winning against Henrik Veje (Denmark). In the Intermediate flight 16-year old Zdenek Zizka (Czech Republic) won the tournament. 104 team huge Doubles event was won by Volker Sonnabend and Rainer Witt from Germany. 32 player Super Jackpot went to Steen Gr├Şnbech (Denmark). As as indication of how backgammon improved in Turkey, three players C├╝neyt Argun Gen├ž, Atila Mal├žok and G├╝ltekin Uygur reached to top eight in the Championship level. You can see the complete results at the bottom of the page.

The tournament was well organized and well executed. Both Merit Park Casino and WBF tried very hard to please everybody. Opening and prize giving ceremonies were fabulous. There was more to the eye than the words can tell. Before presenting some pictures from the 2nd Merit Open, I would like to remind our community that we need to think about sustainability of these kind of great events. As the winner Katsios put it what we witnessed there in North Cyprus was the ÔÇťbackgammon paradiseÔÇŁ. Objectively admitting the contribution of all parties involved in the producing of such good results and building on top of that, we can make more than one paradise. More is better!

October 29-November 2, 2014; Kyrenia, North Cyprus

MASTERS (235): 1-Athanasios Katsios (Greece), 2-Henrik Veje (Denmark), 3-Michihito Kageyama (Japan), 4/5-Cuneyt Argun Gen├ž (Turkey) / Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria), 6/8-Paul Gilbertson (England) / Atila Mal├žok (Turkey) / G├╝ltekin Uygur (Turkey), 9/12-Boris Mamporia (Russia) / Ary Nogueira (Brazil) / Kimon Papachristopoulos (Germany) / Jacek Wojciechowski (Poland); 1LC-J├╝rgen Orlowski (Germany), 2LC-Franz Munk Rediin (Denmark), 3LC/4LC-Mehmet Ali Akpolat (Turkey) / Konstantinos Mitrelis (Greece); Ladies Prize: Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria).

INTERMEDIATE (71): 1-Zdenek Zizka (Czech Republic), 2-Kazuko Numazawa (Japan), 3-Sergey Grinev (Russia), 4/5-Gagik Harutyunyan (Armenia) / Kader T├╝rk (France), 6/8-Franco Candeo (Italy) / Ahmet Sirma├žek (Turkey) / Marc Werner (Germany); 1LC-Cengiz Dindar (Turkey), 2LC-Sigrid Seyrling (Austria); Ladies Prize: Kazuko Numazawa (Japan).

SUPER-JACKPOT (32): 1-Steen Gr├Şnbech (Denmark), 2-Shahab Ghodsi (Norway), 3/4-Stepan Nuniyants (USA) / Akiko Yazawa (Japan).

LADIES TOURNAMENT (26): 1-Scarlett Serrero (France), 2-Eva Zizkova (Czech Republic), 3/4-Carol Joy Cole (USA) / Marie Gustafsson (Sweden).

WARM-UP (270): 1-Mario Sequeira (Portugal), 2-Dario Bertola (Italy), 3/4-Gagik Harutyunyan (Armenia) / Sami Sallak (Germany).

869BG TROPHY (128): 1-Scarlett Serrero (France), 2-Philippe Vouh├ę (France), 3/4-Timur Bulekbaev (Russia) / Boris Martinello (Italy).

PRESIDENT’S ONE-POINT MATCH (128): 1-G├Âkhan Kazandag (Turkey), 2-Kemal Aksu (Turkey), 3/4-Honza Czerny (Czech Republic) / Boris Martinello (Italy).

MERIT “ION RESSU MEMORIAL” DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP (104 teams): 1-Volker Sonnabend (Germany) & Rainer Witt (Germany), 2- Philip Kazemieh (Germany) & Thomas Kazemieh (Germany), 3/4-Carol Joy Cole (USA) & Bob Wachtel (USA) / Athanasios Katsios (Greece) & Ioannis Passialias (Greece).

MOCHY’S QUIZ (102): 1-Franck Stepler (France), 2-Honza Czerny (Czech Republic), 3-Michel Serrero (France).

Note: I would like to thank Ian MacFarlane and ┼×ebnem B├╝y├╝ksoy for their photos.


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