A WEEKEND OF ONLINE BACKGAMMON
3rd - 6th May 2002
Tric Trac Tourno 50
Funcom announced they would close their Free Games on 10th May.
We the players organized 1 last weekend before that.
For those of you who do not know the set up at Funcom it has a very good chat box which has made it a very social site. Over the last two or so years we the players have added on a Players Pictures Website, a Ladder, Official Backgammon Tournaments, a Players Monthly Ezine, Live Player Meets and Tric Trac Tournos.
Meanwhile Funcom did less and less to support their Free Games Sector and expected the voluntary Ops to run it all with no support at all. The advertisers dwindled in numbers and it came as no great surprise when Funcom announced they would close.
Friday 3rd May
As all good weekend parties should we kicked off on Friday evening with a full house in the first event of the weekend - a Tric Trac Tourno. The top 3 players from each qualifying TTT (5 of them) would go through to the Tric Trac Tourno Final Play-off on Sunday evening and the 1st placed player in each qualifying TTT would go through to the Champ o Champs Tourney which was set for late Sunday evening (but if fact got moved to Monday evening.) If a player did not qualify for the TTT Final at their first attempt they were allowed, as long as there were free seats, to re-enter in another TTT to try again. We also had a Friday Quiz run by our Friday QuizMaster.
A quick word about the Tric Trac Tournos format. They are all play all (round robin) non-doubling cube backgammon. A straight win scores you 1 point, a gammon 2 points, a backgammon 3 points and when you lose you score 1/2 point. Most serious backgammon players will reject the concept because it seems that in a 1 game match the element of luck is too high for their liking. In fact there is a lot of skill required in winning a TTT. Because a loser scores 1/2 a point for just finishing a game the scores are kept close. Therefore players MUST play for gammons and backgammons. This makes for very exciting and skillful backgammon play. The lack of a doubling cube makes this tournament format far more attractive to the majority of players of backgammon. The Western World of top quality backgammoners tend to forget that most people in this world do not like "that damned doubling cube." To them it ruins the game rather than enhances the game. Backgammon has been played, in one form or another, for approx. 5000 years. Therefore it must do something right for the human brain. The doubling cube was only invented in the 1920s. Therefore it is a tag on to the game rather than an essential part of the game. Tric Trac Tournos are designed to provide a Tournament format for those that wish to play "pure backgammon" if you like. The intention is that this should bring more players into the game some of whom who will then in turn progress to play in Official Backgammon Tournaments. This is being achieved and the British Isles Backgammon Association membership has been increased via TTTs.
TTT50-A was a strong field of TTT players with no less than 7 previous TTT winners. We had a full TTT Crew - T.D. Scorer, BarTender, Reporter, Joker and QuizMaster who set the tone for the weekend - a lot of fun with some good backgammon. Did you read that correctly ? Yes. in an online weekend of backgammon it is actually possible to have a Bar running. As players arrived in the designated TTT room so they were greeted and offered a drink.
|MMM says: Welcome
and reg'd for this TTT -
10) Cugy - Winner of TTT38 - pic on Players
Page after his win smoking a big cigar !!! - good luck
TTT_BarTender says: c(_) of beer for Cugy.
Our Joker was telling jokes all the way
through, The QuizMaster plugging the Quiz, the reporting posting up results in
the Lobby soon after they happened so players had an idea of who might be
winning, the Scorer filling in the scores which were published every 10 games
played, oh, and the players playing !
With such a high quality of players this was a high scoring TTT with 10 gammons won.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50-A|
|45 OF 45 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
We only had 5 or so players pre-registered for TTT50-B later on Friday evening, but registrations soon came in and 15 minutes before start we had 9 new players and Zoe on her second attempt. New player Njaa gave an impressive performance, Maxmary was on par and we had 5 players end on equal points in 3rd place. A play-off looked as if it might be needed, but the rules do cater for this scenario. As you can see from the scorechart we isolate the games those players played to see you gained the most points. If this does not produce 1 clear leader then we would have a play-off. However the play-off was not needed because we had one player on more points than all the others - Zoe.
Meanwhile behind the scenes the TTT Crew were working away like crazy. Drinks were flowing, jokes were being told, the Quiz was being plugged and the Scores were being posted. All ran beautifully.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50-B|
|36 OF 36 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
|Because we have 5 players on 7 points we look at the games played between those 5 player and see who has the most points.|
As usual Lessye ran her Happy Hour Knockout Tournament later on Friday evening. These have been running for about a year now and have have done a lot to improve the standard and knowledge of backgammon played on Funcom. They are always a friendly affair, well conducted and a pleasure to play in or watch. I was a fool unto myself because, even though I'd had a long day getting everything ready I stayed up to watch and got to bed far later than I should have.
Sat 4th May
Having stayed up late the night before to watch the Happy Hour Tourney, I the T.D. of TTTs woke up late - 15 minutes after the start time of TTT50-C. I was woken by Yabble who phoned me to tell me I was late. How very embarrassing ! I'd set this TTT to start at a good time the DownUnders and I'm not, really not, a morning person. I threw on my robe and got online as soon as my 'puter, who is also not a morning machine, allowed me to do so. I took a fair bit of ragging when I got into the 1600+ Room. But, because of the presence of mind and coolness of the TTT Crew all was well. They had it all in hand and all they needed were the players names loaded onto the Reporting Page and we were up and running. Strong black coffee had been thrust my way by the BarTender and The Scorer was running the show. I could claim I was late knowing full well that the Crew would handle it all, but that would be a lie and a monk has enough Hail Mary's to say everyday without needed to add more.
Mac_the_Dice and Nina were second time players in this 7 player TTT. IndiaTiger and Stallion both won 2 gammons, but India had the better win rate so he came home top of the pile. Abbycaz won all (including 1 gammon) but 1 so cruised home in 2nd place which left Stallion and Derfanh with equal points. By the end of the TTT I had had about 6 cups of strong black coffee so I was able to work out that it should be Stallion to go though to the TTT Final Play-off. Derfanh could try again. Mac_the_Dice would also have to try his luck again. Nina came close, very close, to winning a bag of marbles for losing all her games. No stranger to the game of marbles, Nina has already won a set previously. She did tell me some time ago now that she had lost most of them, but she did assure me that she had not lost her games on purpose and was not after another bag of marbles. I should think not - Nina you've had enough being know as a marble winner !
Many thanx to the TTT Crew who coped perfectly well without me.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50-C|
|21 OF 21 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
Some new players in this TTT50-D but more 2nd or 3rd time players. There were some big guns in this one and I certainly wouldn't have bet on who would go though. Play was especially rapid in the TTT. Mazdaen, always a quick player was the first to finish and Alef, although he finished last was quite out of breath. As I expected from such a quality field a good number of gammons were scored and all players but two achieved at least 1.
Meanwhile the TTT Crew were in fine form with drinks being served and jokes being told by the BarTender, reports being posted up and scores kept up to date.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50-D|
|36 OF 36 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
|Netmusen, Mazdaen and Satin go through to the TTT Final Play-off on Sunday.|
The next Tournament was a Swiss format run by Lessye. How
does a Swiss Format work ? Basically winners player winners until only one
person is left undefeated. If you lose you play another loser. It gets a little
bit complicated if there are not a perfect 8,16 or 32 etc. players but
still manageable. It came as no surprise to me to see that Mazdaen, who won the
Swiss Format Main Tournament at Funcom Backgammon Live in London Nov 2001, won
this one. His stamina does show through during long tournaments.
And so we came to Sat evening European time / afternoon American time and a good turn out for Paradine's Last. I feel very sorry for Paradine who has only recently become a T.D. - All that learning to have Funcom close its door in his face! Mipg and Bedter_far battled it though (without byes) to the final which was won by Mipg.
A couple of weeks ago, shortly after I had proposed the idea of a Weekend of Online Backgammon to my fellow T.D.s, Lessye asked me how the qualification to the Champ o Champ would work. I had been rather vague in my reply because I hadn't really thought it though. It had only been on the Thursday evening when I had an online meeting with Burningheart (who is a Worldwide Backgammon Federation T.D.) that I really addressed the situation. Winners from all the Tournaments help this weekend should certainly go through. Also the Runner-upers from Knockout Tournaments. I also wanted, because this was the last "Meet" while Funcom was up and running, to invite players who had won other Funcom Players Events. So the Winner of the Funcom Players Meet in Oslo 2001 should be invited to play. As too should the Winner of Funcom Backgammon Live in London Nov 2001. And the Current Leader of Cases Ladder. And the player that has won the most Cases Knockout & Swiss / TTT Tournaments. And the Winner of Funcom Backgammon Live in London Nov 2001 TTT. Of course an Op, for all their hard work, should be there as well. Some players might (and did) qualify more than once, so it was going to be difficult to get it to a full 16 players.
As I looked at the list of players that had qualified I realized they were mostly from Europe. And the Swiss Format Champ o Champs had been set (by myself - woops) to start at 1 o'clock in the morning their time. Ummm. Many of them informed me they would not be able to make it but wish others good luck. In fact a majority of them could not make it. We were heading for a Grand Finale Flop unless something was done. I'm not too proud to hold up my hands and admit when I'm wrong, so after a meeting with Lessye (who would be Hosting the Tourney) we decided to extend the Weekend and play the Champ o Champs on Monday evening European time. Emails were sent out to all invited players and registrations started to come in. Grand Finale Flop averted. phew !
Sun 5th May
A Midday start today so I was on time ! TTT50-E was mostly made up of 2nd and now 3rd time players. Mac_the_Dice and Kissmyring, both previous worthy TTT Winners were having trouble this weekend and this was the last chance to make it into the TTT Final Play-off. Only 4 gammons won in this TTT and those by two players - this was enough to take them into the TTT Final Play-off while Jensa sat on cruise control an lost only 1 game. So far, in this massive Tric Trac Tourno 50 no player had lost all their games and thus won a bag of marbles. But as the late George Harrison sang "All things must pass" and it is my proud duty to inform you that the one and only TopazJ won a bag of marbles for losing all her games in this TTT. Congrats !!!
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50-E|
|21 OF 21 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
|Derfanh, Kissmyring and JensaNZ go through to the TTT Final Play-off on Sunday.|
And so after 159 games played we came to the TTT Final Play-off. This would be a massive 105 game TTT. I'd allowed 5 hours for it. We had a full, and now very capable TTT Crew to run it who were online an hour before start. The Bar was open and all players were invited to a drink before we started. Bedste_far could unfortunately not make it so Lessye (who had worked like a Trojan all weekend) was invited to take his seat.
It was one of the easiest start we've ever had. Obviously all players knew the rules so there was no need for me to post up my Pre-Tourno scripts. When players started they started off like Bats outta Hell. The pace was frantic. Results were flying in 10 to the dozen. The Scoring team were having trouble keeping up. Out in the Lobby all seemed well but behind the scenes it was difficult to to say the least.
The Joker was joking away and flirting with Thierry. Players were too busy to stop for a drink - as soon as they had played one (and the loser had reported) off they went and played another with hardly a breath taken. I tried to slow it all down at about 1/2 way through to give the Scoring Department a chance to catch up, but players soon pressed on with their games. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a train out of control but the players kept on shoveling more fuel into the burner and the train kept up its relentless pace. Never before was a TTT such fast frantic fun !
There were a good number of gammons scored and 2 backgammons as well. It was these that would decide it all. There was only 1 real "fall guy" though Derfanh did win two of 14. IndiaTiger and Maxmary didn't have a great time of it either and ended on 10 points each. Next came Thierry, Mazdaen and Lessye (though Lessye, as she had warned she might have to, had to leave so was replaced by Joker) on 11.5 points. Abbycaz finished on 12 and Satin on 12.5. Next came Kuhenur, Zoe and Netmusen on 13 points and Jensa on 13.5. Kissmyring came home 3rd on 14 points, 2nd came Njaa on 15.5 points and with 4 gammons and 1 backgammon the Winner by half a point was regular Online and Live TTT player who has never before won a TTT - Stallion - Congrats !
The TTT had managed well even if we were not quite with the tremendous pace the players played at.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50 FINAL PLAY-OFF|
|105 OF 105 THE GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
|Stallion wins Tric Trac Tourno 50 - Bravo|
In place of the scheduled Champ of Champs Tourney (which had been pushed back to Monday evening) Lessye set up another Knockout Tourney. Was there no stopping us ? I'd flopped into bed and was unaware of this Tourney happening. Sleep claimed me. But it's good to see that even more names got to play in a tournament on this full weekend.
Mon 6th May
And so the the Champ o Champs Tourney.
No prize was offered or asked for - the title alone would be enough !
Not all the invited players could make it and time, which had not been on my side this weekend, had run out to make it a full 16 player Tourney.
Meanwhile some mischief was being cooked up !
The TTT Crew were, having worked so hard, up for a bit of fun. They decided to pay a visit. In disguise. And so, having been ragging me all weekend about about my monk's robe and calling it a dress they got me in drag. New usernames where create and allocated. I was sent as Snow White into the Ladder Room.
Somebody wooped and whistled upon my arrival and asked if I had my friends with me.
After a minute or two one arrived.- it was Happy
Shortly later another arrived - this was Doc
The Ladder Room filled further when Sleepy arrived
Next came Bashful
Then came Dopey
And Grumpy too
I'm not sure where Sneezy was
but you must understand it is very very hard
for a young lady to keep control of so many little Dwarfs
Dwarfs like to sing you know. And soon they did;
After a while Snow White called to all of them to
stop. And they did too.
Soon it was time for Snow White and the 6 Dwarfs to leave.
So when players had guessed who they were they took a bow and took their leave.
I'd love to be able to tell you who was who but to be honest I was laughing so hard I don't remember !
When the last of them had left Snow White left too
and the Champ o Champs players were left in peace.
Meanwhile the Dwarfs and Snow White stopped a short while in the 1600+ Room for a quick breather.
Then Snow White went downstairs to the Social Lobby and told players
that a troupe of Dwarfs was just passing though.
In they all came, all at once this time, singing their song.
The Lobby filled with the sound of their voices;
Op Livy kicks: Happy, Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy and Snow White
We all fell about laughing. I went down the road a
few minutes later and could not stop giggling.
A few months ago I put out a plea for help in running TTTs. I'd realized that running larger TTT needed more Crew than 1. I got a good few emails back from players offering to help. Over the weeks various different players helped out in various different departments - the Scoring, the BarTendering, the Reporting and two players came up with the idea of a Quiz. I'd purposely moved them around the different roles so nobody got stuck doing the same role time and time again in TTT50. And TTT50 was my goal. It had to be a big one. A milestone TTT. I had projected it to happen in another couple of weeks time over a weekend, but Funcom closing its door on May 10th had bought it forward 2 weeks and it was never going to be easy to be fully ready on time. They had all done a wonderful job, adding in suggestions and ideas of their own that made each role easier and then shared them with each other. Working behind the scenes was still hard fast work, but it also became a lot of fun - we joked that we had more fun on MSN IM that the players did on Funcom ! And it was true. I never wanted to helpers from playing in TTTs so, in all but 12 player TTTs they could always play somewhere - usually in the Final but for TTT50 they had to. like all the other players, qualify for a seat in the Final. By the time we got to TTT50 I had a real Crew. They all pulled together and did a truly wonderful job.
It was time for me to give them something back, so we had a TTT for TTT Crew.
|SCORECHART TRIC TRAC TOURNO 50 FOR TTT CREW|
|21 OF 21 GAMES ARE NOW POSTED|
|Blondepickle wins Tric Trac Tourno 50 for TTT Crew - Bravo|
|This TTT was MMM's way of saying thank you to the TTT Crew who did such a wonderful job over the weekend. It actually started after the Champ o Champs Tourney and as such no place in that Tourney was offered.|
|Who were the TTT Crew ?|
|Many thanx to all - it was a pleasure|
Thanx to all the players who took part.
the TTT Crew who made all this possible and such fun,
those that did the Quiz
and to the spectators who dropped in.
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