By Bill Davis

Rory Pascar defeated David “The Coyote” Presser to capture the 5th Central States Backgammon Invitational & ABT Awards Ceremony. The event, co-directed by Amy Trudeau and Bill Davis and staffed by Mary Ann Meese (IN) and Mark King (IL), drew nearly 100 players (86 in the main events) to the Holiday Inn Oakbrook (Illinois).

David Presser, Bill Davis, Rory Pascar

Director Bill Davis awards Rory Pascar (R) the CSI Championship trophy. That's runner-up David "Coyote" Presser at left.

To begin the Saturday Calcutta Auction, Neil Kazaross was presented with the 2013 ABT Player of the Year trophy—his sixth such trophy over a 21-year span. Neil announced that he would be curtailing his backgammon activities for three years but didn't give a reason for his decision.

Neil Kazaross, 2013 ABT Player of the Year

Neil Kazaross was presented with his sixth American Backgammon Tour Player of the Year trophy at the Saturday morning ABT Awards Ceremony.

CSI draw sheet posting

Players check first round main event pairings. USBGF president Bill Riles is at right.

Rory Pascar, the Chicago Open director, had a tough road to the Championship finals defeating (in order) John O’Hagan, Steve Hast, Faddoul Khoury, Jeb Horton, and Kit Woolsey. David "Coyote" Presser’s victory over Frank Raposa (VA) in the semifinals set up the all Chicagoland 15-point title match.

CSI Crowd

Nevada director Howard Markowitz and Tim Mabee (front) are paired in round one.

After the Coyote jumped out to a 4–0 lead to 15, Pascar got his game in gear correctly doubling a running game with a 114–126 racing lead and then two rolls later, tossing a crushing double-6.

A pivotal game occurred with Pascar trailing 5–2. In this static position, Presser (White) had to play a 4-3:

Pos 1

David hit 6/2* and brought a man down from the 13-point with the 3. XG favors the hit coupled with 24/21 for the 3. With Black threatening to make his 5-point, this is the time for White to take a half roll away from Black and make a move to grab an advanced anchor.

Rory answered from the bar with 2-2, playing Bar/23*/21, 7/5(2). Things spiraled downhill for Presser who lost an eventual gammon and the match lead.

Presser rallied in the next two games to regain the lead at 9–6, but Rory came back to tie the exciting match at 9–all, and then again at 11–all.

Presser vs. Pascar

Early on in the Championship finals: Rory Pascar (R) vs. David "Coyote" Presser.

With the rivals knotted at 4-away, spectator interest swelled to 20+. Rory (Black) gained the upper hand in what would be the final game, correctly doubling in the position shown below. David made a proper take:

Pos 2

The Coyote was unable to escape a back man from Pascar’s home table and now faced what would be the most crucial play of the match:

Pos 3

Presser (White) stepped up 24/22 and played 4/3 inside his home board—a monster blunder. Covering the 4-point (7/4) is far superior. First, Presser’s play puts a blot right on Rory's target point. If Rory shakes one of 14 pointing rolls, Presser is in serious jeopardy of being closed out. Of course Rory can also hit loose or run a single back man off the 20-point with added security that if he is hit, there is a blot in Presser's home board.

An XG rollout show’s Presser’s blunder to be just over 0.250. 24/22, 4/3 wins 23.6% of the games of which 5.3% are gammons. It loses 25.2% gammons. 7/4 wins 26.2% of which 4.4% are gammons. But (and here’s the key) it only loses 14.5% gammons.

The dice gods punished the Coyote as he got closed out, eventually losing a match-ending gammon. Pascar won 15–11 in what rated as a World Class performance by both players. According to eXtreme Gammon’s analysis, David Presser played the match in the mid 4s—Rory Pascar in the low 3s!

In other key matchups, David Todd (MO) outlasted Jonah Seewald (CO) in a wild Grand Crystal Beaver finals. The Advanced division saw Rachel Bishop (WI) make a great run to the finals before losing to Alex Owen (IL). For Alex, it was his first ABT victory. And in the Limited Division, Paul Turdik (IL) finished on top. Paul also won the Tak-Board Charity Tourney and a $1500 Taki-Retro backgammon set.

David Todd and Johah Seewald

David Todd with his Grand Crystal Beaver trophy. Runner-up Johah Seewald is seated.

Rachel Bishop and Alex Owen

A dapper Alex Owen and his Advanced 1st place trophy. Runner-up Rachel Bishop is at left. Winners who wore a tie all weekend (or women dressing appropriately) shared in $700 added money. In 2015, the CSI "collared shirt" dress code will be discontinued.

Paul Turdik

Paul Turdik was a double winner capturing the Limited title, then defeating Ed Bennett in the Taki-Board tourney. Shown is his first prize Taki-Retro backgammon set.

Thanks to all who participated in the event. Each of the main flight winners wore a tie throughout the tournament to share in $700 added money. The tournament raised $1500 for the Anti-Cruelty Society bringing the total Midwest Championships/CSI total contribution to over $75,000!

Kit Woolsey and Allen Tish

Director Amy Trudeau presents Kit Woolsey (L) with the Championship Consolation 1st place trophy. Runner-up Allen Tish is still all smiles.

Linda Rockwell and Tak Morioka

The Battle of the Sexes went to DMP with boardmaker Tak Morioka outlasting Illinois State Championships director Linda Rockwell.

Jim Opre and Richard Stawowy

Jim Opre (L) and Richard Stawowy played together for the first time winning their opening Doubles match. These are the only two players to have attended every Midwest Backgammon Championships (1984-2009) and CSI (2010-2014) event.

Next year’s CSI tourney is set: March 13–15, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Oakbrook. And in a change from previous years, THE COLLARED-SHIRT DRESS CODE WILL BE DISCONTINUED. But you can still dress nice if you want! Complete results:

>< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< ><

March 14-16, 2014; Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

CHAMPIONSHIP (36): 1-Rory Pascar (IL), 2-David Presser (IL); 1C-Kit Woolsey (CA), 2C-Allen Tish (IL); 1LC-John O'Hagan (IN).

ADVANCED (40): 1-Alex Owen (IL), 2-Rachel Bishop (WI); 1C-Christopher Shanava (IL), 2C-David Meyer (WI); 1LC-Eric Hiner (MN).

LIMITED (10): 1-Paul Turdik (IL), 2-Scott Martin (IN); 1LC-Steven O'Connor (IL).

GRAND CRYSTAL BEAVER XVI (8): 1-David Todd (MO), 2-Jonah Seewald (CO).

DOUBLES (16 teams): 1-David Presser (IL) & Phil Simborg (IL), 2-Jack Edelson (WI) & Vadim Nuniyants (WI).

13th BATTLE OF THE SEXES (32 Men & 16 Women): 1-Tak Morioka (IL), 2-Linda Rockwell (IL), 3/4-Alan Gold (WI) / Peggy Neubig (NJ).

TAKI-BOARD CHARITY FUNDRAISER (16): 1-Paul Turdik (IL), 2-Ed Bennett (NM).

QUICKIE TOURNAMENT (64): 1-Steve Hast (PA), 2-Frank Raposa (VA).

MICROBLITZ (40): 1-Alfred Mamlet (MD), 2-Carol Joy Cole (MI).

LIAR'S DICE: 1-Steve Hast (PA) & Allen Tish (IL).


RACCOON RUMBLE OPEN (28): 1-David Presser (IL), 2-Howard Markowitz (NV), 3/4-Steve Hast (PA) / Alex Owen (IL); 1C/2C-Rory Pascar (IL) / Warner Solomon (England). INTERMEDIATE (9): 1-Tim Carroll (IL), 2-Sue Will (IL); 1C/2C-Amy Trudeau (IL) / Steven O'Connor (IL).