The 8th Merit Open International Backgammon Championship directed by beloved tournament director Arda Fındıkoğlu held in Kyrenia, North Cyprus November 3-8 is a must-attend tournament for top players all over the world. It is the largest tournament in the world, and along with the Backgammon World Championship in Monaco, one of the most prestigious tournaments in backgammon. The Masters division drew 215 players, while the Intermediate had 100 entrants. In pre-COVID 2019, the tournament drew over 500 entrants.
David Presser from Israel won the coveted Masters division! David was the Undefeated bracket winner defeating strong challengers every step of the way including Radu Ciortan (Romania) winner of the Second Chance bracket in a lop-sided 17-1 score in the final match-up. Radu won the fun Wetgammon event played underwater in scuba-diving gear. In the final of the Undefeated bracket, David defeated Tony Diamantidis, a businessman who splits his time between Greece and the U.S. Tony competed in the Ultimate Backgammon Contender event in Marbella Spain in August this year.
Six courageous women competed ably in the Masters division, less than two percent of all entrants: Annalisa Agosti (Italy), Anna Clarke (UK), Alexandra Knupfer (Switzerland), Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria), Antoinette Williams (US), and Eva Žižková (Czech Republic). Plan to come next year. If women entered at the same rates as men, it would become almost twice as large! The doubles team of Sergey Erokhin (Russia) and Tim Line (England) won out of 96 teams entered in the Ion Ressu Memorial Doubles tournament. A Norwegian team of Hans Liby and Dagfinn Snarheim finished second., Maya Peycheva teamed up with #2 Giant of Backgammon Michy Kageyama (Japan) to join the competition. Side events including Mega/Super Jackpots; Speedgammon/Super Speedgammon, and the Ladies event are still in progress. Brackets may be found posted on the Merit Open Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MeritBackgammonTournament/