The NEBC hosts a consolation-style tournament, which means all players are randomly placed in the Main tournament bracket, and anyone who loses before reaching the “money” round (typically the semi-final), is entered into a Consolation tournament bracket, still in the running for a cash prize and bonus points. Therefore all entrants are guaranteed to play at least two matches. Match lengths typically range from 7 points to 13 points in the Main and 5 in the Consolation bracket.
How Does it Work?
Entry fees for regular tournaments are $60 for Open, $30 for Intermediate.
Entry fees for the two annual ‘Bonus Point’ events (November, May) are $100 for Open, $50 for Intermediate.
Food & Drink
Part of our arrangement with Frank’s Steakhouse is that we run a single tab for the entire club, so that wait staff don’t lose their minds trying to keep track of constantly moving customers. Your tournament entry fee comes with a $5 food/drink credit. Before leaving, please total up your own purchases, account for tax, and add a generous tip before subtracting your $5 credit. Frank’s does not charge us for the room, so we pay them through our purchases, and we express our appreciation to the staff with a generous 30% tip.
85% of Open and 80% of Intermediate entry fees are returned in cash prizes for the current event. The remaining funds are applied to the year-end ‘Playoffs’ prize pool and for tipping the restaurant staff.
In a typical tournament with 16+ players in the Main bracket, we will pay cash prizes to six players: 1st Place, 2nd Place, and both Semi-Finalists in the Main, as well as 1st and 2nd Place contestants in the Consolation bracket. With 14 or 15 entrants we pay four places. With 13 or fewer, three players will receive prizes.
Open or Intermediate?
An ‘Open’ Division is generally the strongest division at any backgammon tournament. it is ‘Open’ in the sense that anyone, regardless of expertise, is welcome to play so long as they pony up the entry fee. Part of the excitement of backgammon is that a player of moderate experience can beat a world-class master perhaps 30% of the time. So whether you rate yourself a very strong contender against any opponent, or whether you just want to “play in the bigs” and don’t mind the somewhat higher entry fee, the Open Division is for you.
The current NEBC ‘Intermediate’ Division is limited to players who have yet to develop sufficient mastery to place them on a competitive footing against Open-level players. There is quite a broad range of experience in this division, from those who are playing in their first tournaments to those who have several years of experience. NEBC would like to encourage and enable all players to improve their game to the Open level over time, but it is perfectly fine to treat our tournaments as a stimulating social pastime without getting too “serious” about it! So if you are a more casual player, or if you are an ambitious but less-experienced player, you are welcome to play in our Intermediate Division. The Intermediate Division is closed to players who have demonstrated expertise deemed by the tournament director to confer an inordinate advantage in that pool of players.
Players who are not restricted to the Open division may choose to play Intermediate one month and Open the next, as they like. However, bonus points earned in one division are not transferable to the other, so if you are interested in earning a spot in the playoffs at the end of the season, you will do best to stick to one division over the course of a season.
The NEBC does not currently offer a Novice Division, as our attendance, while growing, is not yet sufficient to support a third grouping. Thankfully, the nature of our game is such that players of substantially different experience levels can enjoy playing together. All that is required to participate in the Intermediate Division beyond a fundamental grasp of standard backgammon play is an understanding of the doubling cube. However, we do look forward to a time when our numbers increase to the point where a third division is once again viable.
What Version of Backgammon?
Backgammon is one of the world’s most ancient games, and a standard game board can host a variety of similar but distinct games: Plakoto, Moultezim, Shesh Besh, Acey-Deucy, to name a few. NEBC plays the popular version of the game that has become standard in the United States and in the international tournament community, most akin to the game called “Portes” in the Middle East and Greece. The fundamentals of this version of the game can be found on the the USBGF website. Tournament play also includes use of the doubling cube, and employs the Crawford Rule in a contest to reach the number of points specified as the “match length.” These details are also explained in the USBGF primer cited above. Many newcomers arrive for their first NEBC tournament unfamiliar with some of these features of tournament play, but quickly learn the ropes from our friendly members — so don’t be shy.