Backgammon

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The week-long extravaganza that is the World Championships has been completed, and this year's champion is the very good Swedish player, Jerry Grandell. The event is held at Loew's Hotel in Monte Carlo; this year the various tournaments attracted more than 400 entrants, 213 of whom competed in the main championship. Former world champions Mike Svobodny and Phillip Marmostein made it to the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

In the final, Grandell was pitted against the French player Frederic Banjout. The final was to 25 points and when Grandell raced off to a 13- 3 lead it looked all over, but then Banjout fought back to trail by only 20-17. Grandell won the next game, to lead 21-17.

In the next game Banjout - as White - doubled far too early, and not long afterwards the above position was reached with Banjout having a 52 to play.

The more one plays backgammon the more one learns that leaving anchors prematurely can be costly. When trailing in the race, as Banjout is here, it is important to keep that last bastion of defence in Black's board, thus making it as difficult as possible for Black to bring home his men. Here White trails in the race by 140-158 and has no earthly reason to run from the 5-point.

The best play is 16/11, 16/14 which clears an unnecessary point at very little risk. However, Banjout made the beginner's play of 20/13 and his punishment was swift and sure. Grandell rolled his very best number, double- 3, playing 13/10, 8/5(2)*, 6/3 and very soon afterwards he deservedly won a gammon and the match. This was his second major tournament victory this year, following the Giant Jackpot at the Turkish championships.

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