While the wind blew down south, the weather was cool but sunny on the
Gold Coast for the 2019 Queensland Backgammon Championships held at the
Surfers Paradise SLSC on the Gold Coast.
44 players attended over the weekend, plus 4 novices. Half a dozen
players were stranded in Sydney and Canberra due to the extreme weather.
This took many top contenders out of the equation, including the likes
of Ian Dunstan, Jim Bean and John Symon.
Friday night saw around 25 players turn up, eager for a go at
Speedgammon. We expected to fill a total field of 16, or maybe 32 in
this tournament, but on Friday alone we filled 32. So Speedgammon
quickly became a 64 field. We also ran two satellites for the Masters,
won by Peter Brown and Steve Roberts.
Saturday arrived and the rest of the field turned up and the Open was
quickly under way, filling up by early afternoon. The Masters was held
to a field of 16, with Speedgammon still popular and the Last Chance
tournament now taking entries. Backgammon was played well into the
evening with rounds progressing in all tournaments.
On Sunday, we had a few spots left in the Speedgammon and Last Chance
which the perennial desperadoes soon filled. So we came to the money
rounds and the tension in the room heightened as people gathered around
to watch the lucky/skilful few battle it out for the major prizes.
Incredibly (well, it was all planned this way of course!) we were dead
on time, with all 4 finals under way at the same time, and all
completing shortly after the advertised time of 6PM.
The Open quarter finals saw Steve Clarry defeat Hossein Haydari, Simon
Ustick was incredibly lucky to overcome partner Maricar, who should
probably file for immediate divorce after what Simon did to her! In the
bottom half, Melbourne’s Steve Quinn overcame Barry Ross, and Taeed
Athari from the Persian Rose pipped Bill Marczak to the post in a
marathon. It was to be Melbourne’s final when Uey beat Steve Clarry and
Steve Quinn beat Taeed. Congratulations to Steve Quinn who showed not
only skill but serious stamina after 3 days of playing.
The Masters was limited to 16 players and was keenly fought at every
round. Ivo Zarnic from New Zealand made it to a semi-final date with
Newcastle’s Michelle Taubman who had dismissed Peter Sun and Steve
Roberts (both past Australian champions!) as if they were novices. The
bottom half of the draw saw one of the match-ups of the weekend with
young experts Martin Sagradian and Hossein Haydari caught in a
down-to-the-wire battle that Hossein eventually won. Michelle was not to
be denied, it was destined to be her weekend. In a see-saw battle that
could have gone either way for much of the match, Michelle kept her
cool, playing superbly to claim her title of Queensland Masters
Champion. A well deserved reward for all her hard work behind the scenes
as well as over the table.
The success of the weekend was the Speedgammon tournament, which filled
64 places and everyone took to like ducks to water. People who’ve never
played with clocks, let alone under the pressures of speedgammon
settings, just couldn’t get enough. I hope we’ll be seeing speedgammon
events appear in other tournaments around the country. The top 32 of the
draw had been played on Friday, with Adelaide’s Shane McNally and the
Gold Coast’s Vince Turner reaching the semi. Shane beat Vince sometime
during Saturday, allowing Vince a last chance to re-enter – he bought in
at position 58. Then won all the way through again, beating Simon
Woodhead (aaarggh!) in the semi for another match-up with Shane but this
time in the final. It was to be Vince’s day, he was truly inVincible at
The Last Chance tournament sent another trophy Newcastle’s way for Greg
Mitchell who patiently waited while we caught the tournament up. Dave
Berry from Canberra eventually won through to the final but Greg’s
patience was rewarded with the winners trophy.
Four lovely ladies turned up for the Novice tournament, with Olga
Sagradian winning from local Miranda Miranda on countback in a
The major prize in the raffle was won by local Zoe Anghel Richmond, who
also had a good run in the Open, winning her first two rounds. She now
has Michy’s excellent new backgammon books to cement her game in solid
Thanks to everyone who came, especially thanks to those who booked and
were denied by the weather. Next year – bigger and better! Thanks to our
venue sponsor the Surfer Paradise SLSC Nippers, to our trophy sponsor
George Beyreuthi from FS Securities and to Barb, Margie, Denise and
Maria for their tireless and invaluable work on the desk. Thanks to
Taeed Athari for bringing his wonderful Persian Rose boards all the way
up from Sydney, as did Rob Disney with the Newcastle boards. Special
thanks also to Moya Holmes of the Nippers, who liaised with the venue
and made sure that everything ran smoothly for us. None of this would
have happened without all of you – we sincerely thank you 🙂
You can see completed draw sheets by clicking on the tournament names
Keep following the facebook page for pics from this year and updates for
next year: https://www.facebook.com/groups/357307341547212/
Until next year, happy rolling from Steve Roberts and Simon Woodhead
August 2019, Gold Coast, Queensland