Turin – The first stop of the CNB Tour. Just two weeks ago before the Turin tournament, a very good friend asked me whether I join him on the CNB tour this year. Without much hesitation, thirsting for live backgammon action, I agreed!!
CNB Tour is an Italian tour that consists of 7 tournaments this year. These are the cities where tournaments are held: Turin in March, Venice in April, Rimini in May, Cavalese in June, Rome in September, Jesolo in October, and Milan at the end of the same month. By participating in the tournament and getting as far as possible, you gain points to the yearly ranking. The top 16 players who attended at least three tournaments will play in the play-off for yearly pot. If you feel sad that you have already missed one tournament, you do not have to! Just five best results out of seven tournaments are counted.
The tournament usually starts on Friday with some side events and an “Open” tournament. As I arrived late in the evening, I just went to the playing room to say hi to everyone, to have a chat with my friends, and then as it was late, I just paid the entry fee to the main tournament, which was 250€ with a 100€ side pool and went to prepare myself for the next day.
DAY 1 (Main Day)
Waking up in a city with 15 degrees more than in your home country is a nice feeling. So I got some breakfast, got the camera, dice, and brain ready for the action! The tournament´s system was 11 point matches in direct elimination + 9 point matches in the consolation. Four players from direct elimination and four from consolation were qualified to the quarterfinals. These top 8 players played single-KO elimination. In the champions category, there were 41 participants. I got a bye, so I needed to win three matches to qualify for the final 8.
Even though I have won my first match 11:4, it was not easy. After the first game, my PR was 20. I had five checkers behind while my opponent escaped with his men. To my surprise, the race was close to even. So over the board, I did not count as I assumed was way behind in the race, which cost me in the analysis as knowing the race, I would have chosen a different game plan. Anyway, after the first game losing just 0:1, there was a race, where I took a 4-cube, which after getting lucky, I turned it back to 8 in the typical last roll position. The position I had was one checker on the deuce & one checker on the four. The opponent got respect from the 8-cube and dropped it, so there were no other big swings in this game. The score got to 5:4, where I comfortably won a doubled backgammon. Yay!
The second round I played was against my friend Andrea, one of the stronger Italian players. It was a 2-hour fight. In the first hour, I was being smashed, losing every game, could not do anything, I was losing 2:10, did not give up, and in the next hour, I turned it into 9:10! DMP, as exciting as it gets, from being a big underdog for a while, escaped a 5-prime and won the race!! Way to go to the money round! One more round to the quarterfinals meant one more round to cash! If I lose, I would need to win two other matches in the consolation.
I faced another Italian star and my good friend Edmond in the third round! After 45 minutes, the fun was over. I lost clearly with no chance to turn it around like in my previous match. Unfortunately, I would have had time to relax and enjoy the beauties of Turin, now – two more rounds in front of me.
I had to wait 3 hours for my first consolation match, which I won. Then another 2 hours for my decisive game, which determined whether I would be in the top 8 or not. We were almost the last ones in the playing room. The match started shortly after midnight. It seemed like I had just a perfect draw. After playing the strongest players in direct elimination, in the consolation which would decide whether I will be in the money, I meet the second strongest Swiss player – Patrick. Well, I could not complain. I guess my opponents could not have been happy either to play me in critical rounds. Anyway, I had even fewer reasons to complain after the dice were just like they were in my dreams. I won, qualified, got to the money, and was happy to relax and take a good night’s sleep before the quarterfinals.
Day 2 & 3 (Last 8 + Way home)
As the quarterfinals started at 10 am, I met my friends for breakfast at around 9 am. I checked some of the positions I found interesting the other day and was ready to crush it. The last 8 was tougher than ever. Edmond, who qualified over me. Gianlazzaro, Paulus, Luigi, Lorenzo, Vincent, Edgardo and me. Vincent and I were the only ones in the side pool. We decided to split the money as we know each other very well. Quarterfinals were ready to begin, Me against Edgardo, Vincent against Edmond, Paulus against Lorenzo, and Luigi against Gianlazzaro.
My way ended up there. I lost the quarterfinals, my opponent lost in the next round against Edmond, who won the tournament. Huge congratulations! I could not have been unhappy because I first lost the direct elimination to the winner. After, I lost the knockout against the player, who also lost to the winner. Even though the finalist of the tournament can say the same, it was worth mentioning 🙂
Also worth mentioning is that Turin has a huge Egyptian museum which counts as the second most important collection from Kahira. There is always something to visit if you are out of the tournament. I enjoyed the weekend in Italy. Amiable atmosphere, pleasant place to play, rich city history to discover. I strongly recommend you to come to one of these tournaments. Join Italian players and me in the CNB tour! Result performance summarized, now time to analyze my matches and see how I actually played. You can watch all the matches mentioned before on YouTube with the analysis and commentary! Next stop: Venice, Italy (4. – 10.4.2022)
Professional Backgammon Coach & Player