The world’s largest backgammon tournament, the 9th Merit International Backgammon Open, held November 8-13 in Kyrenia, North Cyprus, welcomed women with a stunning 68 women entered in the Ladies event, and women’s prizes awarded in the Masters and Intermediate divisions. The tournament, directed by Arda Fındıkoğlu renowned and beloved for his warmth and welcoming spirit, drew 555 players to the Main events and a total of 602 including those participating in side events only.
In a sign that backgammon is again thriving, attendance was up 75% from 315 in 2021. The Ladies event was up 125%, growing from 30 in 2021 to 68 in 2022! As a proportion of all Main division players, women in the Ladies event represented 12.3% in 2022, compared with 9.5% in 2021 – slow progress, but progress!
Reflecting the tournament experience generally, the Ladies event was dominated by women from the Nordic countries and from Turkey. Ann Maibritt Ehlers (Denmark) won the Ladies Tournament, with Selin Kurt Talipoglu (Turkey) as finalist. Karina Langhoff de Thurah (Denmark) and Annelie Skoglund (Sweden) finished 3rd/4th.
The Masters division was won by Kåre Aronsson (Sweden), while Serkan Koç (Turkey) was a finalist in a hard fought final. Serkan won a free tournament entry at an earlier tournament in his home city Istanbul – making it possible for him to attend the Masters division for the first time! Pia Jeppesen (Denmark) won the Ladies Prize in the Masters division, finishing 6th-9th overall.
The Intermediate division was won by Seyfi Uslubas (Turkey) with Ulrich Roth (Germany) in 2nd place. Olga Ivanova (Russia) finished third and won the Ladies Prize in the Intermediate division.
Two-time world champion, Akiko Yazawa (Japan), put in a stellar performance winning one of three 1000 Euro Super Jackpots. Benjamin Lund (Denmark) and Gaz Owen (England) won the other two. Jalili Khalili (Iran) won the 2000 Euro Mega Jackpot.
Zdeněk Žižka (Czech Republic) won the Super Speedgammon event with 128 entrants.
The Backgammon Masters Awarding Body Middle East #7 event was capped at 32 entrants, including two women: Karen Davis (USA) and Eva Žižková (Czech Republic) who acquitted themselves with fine 4.82 and 5.33 Master-class Performance Ratings respectively. Art Benjamin (USA) won the event with a 5-0 win-loss ratio. Thomas Tenland (Sweden) had the best PR with 2.69;
Zdeněk Žižka was a close second with an average 2.84 PR, and Sebastian Wilkinson (England) third at 2.89. It was tough competition reflecting the strong field of players in the BMAB event and the tournament as a whole.
Rachel Rhodes (England) was one of 16 entrants in the Wetgammon event played underwater in scuba diving gear!
Karen Davis and Arda Fındıkoğlu presented the Women in Backgammon added money prize to Maral Tahori (Iran), winner of the 2022 World Backgammon Federation Online World Women’s Championship. Karen and Arda are members of the Board of the WBGF.
Congratulations to all the winners and to director Arda!
WBF: 9th MERIT INTERNATIONAL BACKGAMMON OPEN (preliminary results from Chicagopoint.com)
WBF: 9th MERIT INTERNATIONAL BACKGAMMON OPEN (preliminary results from Chicagopoint.com) November 8-13, 2022; Girne/Kyrenia, North Cyprus
MASTERS (364): 1-Kåre Aronsson (Sweden), 2-Serkan Koç (Turkey), 3-Jon Barnes (England), 4/5-Khosrow Jafehvand (Denmark) / Roland Sahlén (Sweden), 6/9-Shay Asraff (USA) / Karsten Bredahl (Denmark) / Pia Jeppesen (Denmark) / Johan Norberg (Sweden), 10/16-Ofir Balali (Israel) / Mikael Westerlund (Sweden) / Marcelo Di Filippo (Argentina) / Hakan Çinal (Turkey) / Fernando Neumark (Argentina) / Hans Liby (Norway) / Alexandru Pascu (Romania); 1LC-Polyxronis Kokkinis (Greece), 2LC-Jörgen Granstedt (Sweden), 3LC/4LC-Brandon Macklin (USA) / Josefin Bichler (Germany); Ladies Prize-Pia Jeppesen (Denmark).
INTERMEDIATE (191): 1-Seyfi Uslubas (Turkey), 2-Ulrich Roth (Germany), 3-Olga Ivanova (Russia), 4/5-Kenan Hasanzade (Azerbaijan) / Mehmet Çakici (Turkey), 6/9-Lise Nielsen (Denmark) / Max Petersen (Denmark) / Tom Rebelo (Canada) / Yalcin Inanc Serin (Turkey); 1LC-Amir Talaei (Iran), 2LC-Emma Axling (Sweden/Malta), 3LC/4LC-Milen Angelov (Bulgaria) / Moti Manzon (Israel); Ladies Prize-Olga Ivanova (Russia).
MERIT 2000€ MEGA JACKPOT (16): 1-Jalil Khalili (Iran), 2-Yuval Yavneali (Israel), 3/4-Alexandra Knupfer (Switzerland) / Sebastian Wilkinson (England).
MERIT 1000€ SUPER JACKPOT #1 (32): 1-Benjamin Lund (Denmark), 2-Oliver Squire (England), 3/4-Tobias Hellwag (Germany) / Vancho Zrncev (Macedonia).
MERIT 1000€ SUPER JACKPOT #2 (32): 1- Gaz Owen (England), 2-Burak Çulhacı (Turkey), 3/4-Sauli Alho (Finland) / Claus Elken (Denmark).
MERIT 1000€ SUPER JACKPOT #3 (32): 1-Akiko Yazawa (Japan), 2-Hans Marius Eikseth (Norway), 3/4-Dana Nazarian (USA) / Jonah Seewald (USA).
"ION RESSU MEMORIAL" DOUBLES CONSULTATION (185 teams): 1-Josefin Bichler (Germany) & Will Cockerell (England), 2-Kemal Okal (Turkey) & Erol Özsoy (Turkey), 3/4-Craig Anderson (USA) & Herb Roman (USA) / Vlad Eydelman (USA) & Roman Fridman (USA).
SUPER SPEEDGAMMON (128): 1-Zdenek Zizka (Czech Republic), 2-Payam Farajollahi #1 (Iran), 3/4-Payam Farajollahi #2 (Iran) / Richard Furborough (United Kingdom).
SPEEDGAMMON #1 (128): 1-Ashkan Yahyazadeh (Iran), 2-Siavash Hooshmandzadeh (Sweden), 3/4-Artur Petrosyan (Russia) / Klaus Switon (Denmark).
SPEEDGAMMON #2 (64): 1-Klaus Switon (Denmark), 2-Gülderen Gücavli (Turkey), 3/4-Dagfinn Snarheim (Norway) / Alexandra Knupfer (Switzerland).
ONE POINT MATCH (256): 1-Reza Barmayehvar (Iran), 2-Claes Dahlstrom (Sweden), 3/4-Vlad Eydelman (USA) / Marvin Khattar (Sweden).
LADIES TOURNAMENT (68): 1-Ann Maibritt Ehlers (Denmark), 2-Selin Kurt Talipoglu (Turkey), 3/4-Karina Langhoff de Thurah (Denmark) / Annelie Skoglund (Sweden).
WETGAMMON (32): 1-Patrick Gebeilli (France/UAE), 2-Rabieh Adnan (Lebanon/UAE), 3/4-Avi Cohen (USA) / Jeremy Limb (UK).
BMAB-ME #7 (32): 1-Art Benjamin (USA), 2/5-Roohollah Amiri Andy (Iran) / Tore Fredriksen (Norway) / Fernando Neumark (Argentina) / Benjamin Lund (Denmark). PR winners: 1-Thomas Tenland (Sweden) at 2.69, 2-Zdenek Zizka (Czech Republic) at 2.84, 3-Sebastian Wilkinson (England) at 2.87, 4-Roohollah Amiri Andy (Iran) at 3.20, 5-Dagfinn Snarheim (Norway) at 3.24.
869BG WARM-UP (352): 1-Roberto Terenziani (Italy), 2-Jonah Seewald (USA), 3/4-Fady Asmar (Lebanon) / Per Hildebrand (Sweden).
MICHY‘S QUIZ (93): 1-Hans Marius Eikseth (Norway) 2- Bakar Matikashvili (Georgia), 3/4- Vincenzo Riceputi (Italy) / Zafer Tas (Turkey). Best speakers: Amir Eshraghi (Iran) & Carter Mattig (USA).