Bright 'n' Breezy
06/07 January 2001

Tournament Report by Michael Crane

Helen Helm-Sagar Wins
Brighton Tournament

Chris Bray, Bright 'n' Breezy runner-up

Albert Tinker, Consolation winner

Arthur Musgrove, Consolation runner-up

Chris Jeans, Last Chance Winner

Paul Lamford, Last Chance runner-up

Fintan O'Boyle, Tidal Wave winner

Karl Simpson, Tidal Wave runner-up

It looks as if the success of women players is continuing. In 2000 Katie Scalamandre won the World Championship, Rachel Rhodes the British Open and now, starting 2001 with her first Main win is Helen Helm-Sagar. Helen also went home with a Bronze medal from the Mind Sports Olympiad last year, coming 3rd in the Championship tournament.

For the first time in four years the emphasis in Brighton this year was on the bright and not the breezy. It was a beautiful weekend, more like April than January. The sea was calm and peaceful . . . which was in direct contrast to what was happening inside the Brighton Metropole hotel on the seafront!

Here we had 100 backgammon players fighting it out for the title amidst a cacophony of dice shaking and rolling. For the first time the noise inside was louder than the noise outside! Ah, well, that's the penalty one pays for an entry of one hundred.

Main (100): This got off to a cracking start for many, but not so for some of the top players hoping to add the B&B trophy to their collection. Notable first match losers were James Vogl, Dod Davies, Andrew Serjeant, Al Hogg, John Clark, Paul Lamford, John Hurst and Julian Fetterlein - almost a Who's Who of top players.

Chris Bray, the backgammon columnist for the Independent newspaper, battled through Dale Taylor and Ed Rogers to meet Kerry Jackson in the last eight on the Sunday morning. He dispatched Kerry and then went on to meet David Nathan in the semis , but David couldn't stop him and he met Helen Helm-Sagar in the final. Helen had cut a swathe through a pride of top players to reach the final and nothing, not even Chris was going to stop her. In a very close match she emerged victorious. Chris, no doubt will find room in his excellent column to report on the match that could have gone either way. Helen now joins Rachel Rhodes as the only two women players to win Biba tournaments . . . but I am certain they will not be the last.

Consolation (96): Albert Tinker (who appeared to have brought his own fan club all the way from Huddersfield!) played his way through to the final from the non-progressive draw to meet Arthur Musgrove who entered the progressive side from the Main 3rd round. Spurred on by his fan club Albert, beaming triumphantly, saw off Arthur's attack and emerged the victor; much to the delight of his many fans.

Last Chance (62): Starting at 10:30 on the Sunday morning, this 5-pointer missed out on a few more entrants due to local flooding around Brighton. However, this didn't retract from the competition and the two finalists, Paul Lamford and Chris Jeans had fought through five rounds each to face each other in the sixth. All Paul's expertise and authoring skills were not enough to topple Chris and he had to settle for Runner-up; much to Chris's pleasure. [Paul will be giving seminars on backgammon throughout the year starting in February at the Jarvis Trophy - details later]

Tidal Wave (64): Tidal Wave, Haggis, Suicide; this little 3-pointer might have different names but it never changes in format or difficulty. The winner has to win at least five (or in this instance, six) rounds up to three points - not an easy task; but, despite this fact someone always manages to do it! This time it was Fintan O'Boyle [well, he said he was Fintan, but, he'd changed so much we hardly recognised him] who beat Karl Simpson in the final.

Friday Night Knockout (39): We could have had a lot more than this taking part but several players preferred to play chouettes in the bar; which pleased our two finalists. Nicky Check, who won this knockout last year, was pitched against Chris Jeans. On their way to the final each fought off attacks by Tonys - Nicky beat Tony Lee and Chris beat top South African player, Tony Patz who was playing in his second consecutive B&B tournament. I think Tony Patz intends to make this a regular attendance - I hope so. In the final Nicky was unable to cobble two victories together and Chris won the free weekend - actually it was night as he wasn't staying in the hotel on Friday night!

Doubles Knockout (25): Lots of old favourites and a few new ones this time. New ones worthy of mention are: Travel Weary Canadians who had traveled form Canada, Eskimo Destroyers which was a composite name using the teams surnames, The Dyslexic Dogs Are On Our Side, don't ask!, and Bun Chops, which I think is a pet name for someone. But, it was a couple of old favourites that sat down to play in the final, Clitoris Allsorts vs Dod Willing from which Allsorts came out on top.

The weekend wasn't without it's problems. A couple of players called me over to adjudicate on a positional problem. One player said the checker was here the other said it wasn't - you know, an easy one to judge! Happily it was resolved amicably and ended without bloodshed.

Another incident wasn't resolved so easily. It concerned the imposition by me of a clock and penalty points on an 11-point match that was threatening to last almost four hours (twice the expected length). After more than two and a half hours play the match score had reached 7-4, a score one would expect to be at after one hours play. I had to severely curtail the remainder of the match time as the Consolation and Main rounds into which these opponents would enter had started almost one hour earlier. My decision to allocate twenty-eight minutes on the clocks and impose a penalty of being 2-0 down in the next round/element wasn't too popular. However, given the fact that these two players were technically 'late' by more than one hour for the next round they were lucky not to have lost the next round/element by default at the rate of one penalty point per five minute period as in the rules. I used my Director's discretion to override that particular scenario (which I could have enforced without difficulty) and chose not to be too harsh. Nevertheless the decision was not fully accepted by one of the opponents and he threatened to stop coming to Biba tournaments as a protest; but, after a cooling off period I said goodbye to him and I think he will return; at least I hope so because my actions were not personal but a burden of responsibility borne by all tournament directors.

Finally I have to end on a sad and sombre note. A body was discovered in a room at the hotel on Sunday afternoon which in all probability was one of our members. The Brighton police have been unable to positively identify the body so far and I am therefore not at liberty to divulge the possible identity of the person at this time.

Bright 'n' Breezy Results:
Main (100)
1 Helen Helm-Sagar
2 Chris Bray
3/4 David Nathan
3/4 David Robbins
5/8 Kerry Jackson
5/8 Harry Bhatia
5/8 Neil Davidson
5/8 Martin Barkwill
Consolation (96)
1 Albert Tinker
2 Arthur Musgrove
3/4 Erik Sorensen
3/4 A. Giannopoulos
5/8 Colin Harrocks
5/8 John Clark
5/8 Harry Bhatia
5/8 Peter Bennet
Last Chance (62)
1 Chris Jeans
2 Paul Lamford
3/4 Andrew Serjeant
3/4 Dave Motley
5/8 Gary Jackson
5/8 Jim Johnson
5/8 Graham Powell
5/8 Simon Morecroft
Tidal Wave (64)
1 Fintan O'Boyle
2 Karl Simpson
3/4 Francine Brandler
3/4 Colin Talbot
5/8 John Thomas
5/8 Jeff Barber
5/8 Tim Mooring
5/8 Miles Illot
Friday KO (39)
1 Chris Jeans
2 Nicky Check
3/4 Antony Patz
3/4 Tony Lee
Doubles (25)

1 Clitoris Allsorts
2 Dod Willing
3/4 Lady & The Tramp
3/4 Pinky & The Brain