25th Monte-Carlo Backgammon World Championship

(Grand Hotel Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 10 - 16 Juli 2000)

Katie Scalamandre is the third women to earn the title of a Backgammon World Champion. It was 1973 when Carol Crawford won the World Championship in Las Vegas and in 1981 Lee Genud won the World Championship in Monte-Carlo. With 267 players the Backgammon World Championships had the toughest championship field ever.

Gino Scalamandre is watching Katie´s play round the corner

Semifinalist George Vadiakas

In the semi-finals against the Greece George Vadiakas the score was 21-21 (23-point match) when Katie Scalamandre doubled a little bit late.

Pos. 1: 23--Point Match
Katie Scalamandre (21) (White) - G. Vadiakas (21) (Black)

White on roll. Cube action?!

Pos. 1: George correctly realized that he had no more the 31.5% winning chances he needs to take this double. His winning chances are about 29% in the problem position (#1). The following game Katie showed how to roll to go for the World Championship. 2-2, 6-6, 5-5, 2-2, 4-4, 3-3, 6-6 powered Katie into the finals.

The finals: Katie Scalamandre (left) vs. Thomas Holm (right). The referee was ex-World Champion 1979 Luigi Villa

Finalist Thomas Holm

Semifinalist C. Liebe-Harkort

In the other semi-final the 23 years old Dane Thomas Holm beat the young German Christian Liebe-Harkort.

The televised final between Katie Scalamandre and Thomas Holm was commentated on by Paul Magriel who had a lot of reasons to get excited.

Thomas Holm leaded by 11-3 when he tried to defend his lead by passing takes. For an example diagram #2 shows the third position Thomas Holm incorrectly passed.

Pos. 2: 

White leads the race by only 1 pip (144:145) and has a double only because of his attacking chances. Black is able to win about 36% of the games (cubeless) and has an easy take.
Katie equalized the match by 18 all with game #24.
In game #25 Katie doubled and Thomas was able to turn the game in his favour after a correct take.
When the Dane´s position improved near to a redoubling advantage, Thomas missed a nice conceptional play.

Pos. 2: 25--Point Match
Katie Scalamandre (9) (White
) - T. Holm (12) (Black)

White on roll. Cube action?!

Pos. 3: 

White has one checker on the bar and Black´s game plan is to come home with his three back checkers as fast as possible. Black has to walk home with his three checkers together as a team. Because the team is strong and one lonely man left back is weak and can easily become a punching ball for the opponent.
White has a stripped outfield point and one checker on the bar. Therefore White has to break the outfield point by leaving two blots, if he hits a blot in the outfield. The more checkers Black has distributed in the outfield the more shots he has after a hit by White. For two conceptional reasons (control and team power) 20/15 20/16 is the best play by far.

Holm missed this play, left one checker in White´s board, couldn´t get out into the outfield (2-2) after another dance by White and got hit in the outfield (5-2) after lost outfield control.

Katie won this important game. In game #30 Katie led by 23-20 when Thomas Holm studied the position shown in diagram #4 for a long time. Should he double or not?

Pos. 3: 25--Point Match
Katie Scalamandre (18) (White) - T. Holm (18) (Black)

Black to play 5-4.

Pos. 4: The problem position is very interesting, because it can be used as a reference position.
Five away vs. two away the underdog to win the match should have at least about 20% gammon winning chances as an underdog to win the game for making a double the correct cube action. The gammon wins make the underdog a 68.5% favorite to win the match, but don´t win the match outright.
Four away vs. two away the underdog needs about 5% less gammon wins to make a double the correct cube action, because the underdog wins the match by winning a gammon.
In the problem position Black is able to win a gammon in about 15% of the games (with about 48% game winning chances). Not many enough for a double. Four away vs. two away double-take marginally is the correct cube action in the problem position.
Thomas Holm decided to double and Katie immediately (and correctly) took.

Thomas entered (6-2: Bar/23 12/6), Katie escaped and hid the blot by 6-1 (24/18 7/6) and won the game, match and World Championship 2000 by no more leaving a shot.

According to Snowie 3 analyzes of the finals Katie Scalamandre was favorite to win the match. Katie, always looking for the toughest play never got nervous, never lost concentration. She is the worthy World Champion of the new Millenneum! Congratulations!

Pos. 4: 25-Point Match
Katie Scalamandre (23) (White ) - T. Holm (20) (Black)

Black on roll. Cube action?!

The results of the 25th Monte Carlo World Championship:
Championship (267)
1. Katie Scalamandre (USA) 2. T. Holm (Denmark)
3. Chr. Liebe-Harkort (Germany) 3. G. Vadiakas (Greece)
1st Consol.:
1. S. Vahab (Israel) 2. H. Lyyjynen (Finland)
3. Mika Lidov (USA) 3. Mario Sequeira (Portugal)
2nd Consol.:
1. H. Edy (Austria) 2. F. Gousseinov (Azerb.)
3. Neil Kazaross (USA) 3. Paul Magriel (USA)
Last Chance:
1. R. Almeida (Brazil) 2. P. Lamford (England)
Ladies Prize: Katie Scalamandre (USA)

Intermediate Flight (114)
1. Tanya Lewis (Denmark) 2. Oli Lehto (Finland)
3. Olivier Decultot (France) 3. Robin Neumann (Denmar.)
1st Consol.:
1. K. Natchebia (Georgia) 2. L. Kamalian (Arm.)
3. Torsten Schoop (Germany) 3. Kim Brusgaard (Denmark)
2nd Consol.:
1. L. Ehrlich (USA) 2. K. N. Nielsen (Denmark)
3. J. M. Henrion (France) 3. Hans Libby (Norway)
Last Chance:
1. M. van Toor (NL) 2. O. Werthmüller (Swit.)
Ladies Prize: Tanya Lewis (Denmark)

Beginners (51)
1. Axel Stürmer (Germany) 2. Michele Mannu (Italy)
3. J. Lindgaard (Denmark) 3. Marion Eber (South Africa)
1st Consol.:
1. Boris Gourov (Russia) 2. T. Hollander (Denm.)
3. Marianne Husum (Norway) 3. Ryan Eber (South Africa)
2nd Consol.:
1. T. Meyer (Switz.) 2. H. Hansen (Denmark)
3. M. Meesha (Russia) 3. Eli Mograbi (Israel)
Last Chance:
1. L. Kikvadze (Georg.) 2. R. Willems (Holland)
Ladies Prize: Marion Eber (South Africa)

$1,000 SuperJackpot (128)
1. Peter Heitmüller (Germany) 2. Mike Natanzon (USA)