Back to the roots
Once again Easter in the backgammon world means Nordic Open in Copenhagen. It has become the largest tournament in the world and it has an impressive attendance of backgammon stars. There were 7 world champions and 7 former winners of the Nordic Open. On top of that 10 players from the Giants list found their way to Denmark.
See this short introduction to the tournament.
Denmark vs. The World
Last year a new tradition of a team match between Denmark and The World saw the light of day. Denmark won and the world team were looking for revenge. This year the Danes were missing Gus Hansen who of-course is a central figure on the danish team. Nevertheless the danish team took the lead before the final consultation match. After a huge swing in the first game the world cruised on to claim the victory.
Most (if not all) of the games were streamed live on the internet.
See this report.
Mochy - Giant number 1 holds a free seminar
Mochy who is currently ranked number one on the Giants list and world champion of 2009 gave a free seminar that is available on YouTube. See the three parts below.
As always Nordic Open were run in a professional manner with an experienced staff able to handle whatever problems may arise. As a new thing a special VIP area were setup for former Nordic Open champions and world champions to play in. I liked it very much and it certainly made some of the stars feel a little bit more appreciated than usual.
The tournament structure were the same as last year where the four best players from main and the four best players from a progressive consolation are put into a final cup with 8 players. Personally I don't like that system and I think a normal main and progressive consolation is the way to go.
As far back as I can remember there have been a world class player doing the commentary of the final which is one of the highlights of the tournament for me. Strangely enough this has been dropped and the final were played under sub optimal circumstances. People were standing way too close and making too much noise for the players to be able to concentrate. Also this resulted in lack of interest in the final because it was impossible to see the board unless you were among the few lucky people standing close to the board. I hope this will be changed back to the old format next year.
Just to make it clear I think this is the best tournament in the world and I would give it like eight stars out of ten.
A lot has happened in my backgammon life over the last year. I changed team in the danish team championship and became second in the top division with my new team mates. During the year I have regained a lot of my love for the game which have resulted in a higher level of play.
Usually I never play any side events at Nordic Open or the World Championship because I want so focus all my energy into the main tournament. This year I was just too eager to get the dice rolling and win some matches. The first tournament I participated in were the warmup where I lost in the first round. Next up were a consultation tournament were I along with Hans Kristian Mathiesen won the first match. Unfortunately we lost in the second round to two of my team mates that went on to claim the runner up prize.
Now, the main tournament started and I won a long and hard fought match in the first round. In the second round a to me unknown Norwegian played amazingly well and won the match. I was faced with a former danish champion in the first round of the fighters bracket and lost a disappointing match. Last chance didn't go much better and I could put my dice in the pocket and go home after the third round.
Strangely enough I wasn't feeling too bad as I usually am at this point. I had performed at-least up to par when doing post mortem position analysis. And that is certainly one of the most important things.
An old super star from Germany, Ralf Jonas, can now call himself the Nordic Open champ 2011. He beat a young Danish backgammon prodigy who have impressed everybody with his very high level of play at an age of only 17. No doubt that Christian will win one or more big tournaments within the next ten years. Congratulations to both.
I'm already looking forward to Nordic Open 2012.