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25 July 2000

World Championships 2000
Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, Monaco
10-16 July 2000

November 28-30 1975, Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich. Gino Scalamandre emerged the winner of the Championship Consolation beating Raphael Ariri in the final.

December 10-12 1975, Crockford's Club, London. Gino Scalamandre emerges as the Championship Winner after beating George Joannides in a final which, to quote Lewis Deyong - the finals commentator, "Scalamandre played excellent backgammon throughout the match, working his opponent over rather like Mohammed Ali despatching some local worthy during a light hearted road trip."

July 10-16 2000, Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, Monaco. Mrs. Scalamandre (Katie) emerges from her final match against Thomas Holm of Denmark, as the first World Champion of the Millenneum.

Gino Scalamandre 1975 Champion.

Katie Scalamandre and Thomas Holm.
Picture is reproduced by kind permission of Peter Chan

Katie (USA) beat Thomas 25-20 after at one time trailing by 9 points to become the second (or is it the third? - see below) woman to win the World Championship, the first (or was she the second? - see below) being Lee Genud (USA) who won the World Championship in Monte Carlo in 1981; and who inspired the Bill Robertie book, 'Lee Genud vs Joe Dwek' after her finals victory over Joe Dwek from London.

In addition to the World title Katie was also 'Championship Top Lady' which I find a bit odd; why, if the Championship is won by a lady there isn't a 'Top Man' Trophy? Isn't it a bit patronising (not too mention sexist) to make an assumption that a man will win and therefore we'll give the ladies a little prize of their own? Biba dropped the sexist 'Top Lady' trophies some time ago; isn't it about time the World Championships (and the others that propagate this sexist theme) dropped it and began treating women players as equals? After all, Paul Magriel, who commentated on the final, was heard to remark, "both are worthy champions".

Katie's share of the prize money was more than 40,000 with Thomas taking about 15,000 back to Denmark - not bad for a weeks backgammon!

The casualty list of top players read like a Who's Who of backgammon and there are eight (or is it nine? - see below) ex-world champions in there too (bold):

  • Bagai
  • Ben-Zion
  • Bolge
  • Goulding
  • Grandell
  • Grandstedt
  • Hollederer
  • Johanni
  • Kazaross
  • Kuhl
  • Levermann
  • Liebe-Harkort
  • Markowitz
  • Meyburg
  • Magriel
  • Ongel
  • Ressu
  • Riskin
  • Robertie
  • Schiemann
  • Sconyers
  • Senkiewicz
  • Sequeira
  • Svobobny
  • Villa
  • Winslow

  • Brits abroad.
    Picture is reproduced by kind permission of Peter Chan.

    There were a lot of British/Biba players in the championships but alas the majority of them failed to make an impression. Chris Bray and Dale Taylor made it into the last 32 but were then stopped by Malcolm Davis and Vadiakas respectively. Our best performance came from Paul Lamford who was the only one to finish in the money by being Runner-up in the Main, Last Chance, winning about 3,500.

    Paul Lamford (runner-up main, last chance).
    Picture is reproduced by kind permission of Peter Chan.

    So, why am doubting Katie's and Lee's positions? Well, it's all a matter of what is the 'World Championship', as once upon a time the 'World Championships' were held in Las Vegas, and then moved to the Bahamas; and, finally to Monte Carlo. The problem is that there seems to be an overlap with the three locations merging in 1979 with Luigi Villa. If the earlier 'World Championship' is valid then the first woman to win the title was Carol Crawford (USA) the wife of John Crawford, of the Crawford Rule, in 1973 in Las Vegas. If, on the other hand this is NOT a recognised 'World Championship' then by default one of backgammons' most famous 'World Champions' isn't! I refer to Paul Magriel who won the 'World Championship' in 1978 in the Bahamas; the same year that is was won by Richard de Surmont (France) in Monte Carlo!

    So, just who is an ex-World Champion? Certainly Paul Magriel thinks he is and proclaims it to the world on the cover of his famous book, 'Backgammon'. If Paul is, then Carol is . . . and that makes Katie the 3rd woman to win the title and Lee Gunud the 2nd. Sorry to rain on your parade, Katie, but it is confusing to say the least. The only way you can claim to be the 2nd woman to win the title is to deny Paul Magriel his; and I don't envy the person that tries to strip Paul of his 'World Champion' status - it won't be me.

    Here are the 'World Championship' tables:

    World Champions - Vegas & Bahamas

    1967 Tim Holland (USA) Las Vegas

    1968 Tim Holland (USA) Las Vegas

    1969 ???

    1970 ???

    1971 Tim Holland (USA) Las Vegas

    1972 Oswald Jacoby (USA) Las Vegas

    1973 Carol Crawford (USA) Las Vegas

    1974 Claude Beer (USA) Las Vegas
    World Champions - Monte Carlo 1975 Billy Eisenberg (USA) Bahamas
    1976 Joe Dwek (UK) 1976 Baron Vernon Ball (USA) Bahamas
    1977 Jean Noed Grinda (France) 1977 Ken Goodman (USA) Bahamas
    1978 Richard de Surmont (France) 1978 Paul Magriel (USA) Bahamas
    1979 Luigi Villa (Italy) 1979 Luigi Villa (Italy) Monte Carlo
    1980 Walter Coratella (Mexico)
    1981 Lee Genud (USA)
    1982 Jacques Michel (Switzerland)
    1983 William Robertie (USA)
    1984 Michael Svobodny (USA)
    1985 Charles-Henri Sabet (Italy)
    1986 Clement Palacci (Italy)
    1987 William Robertie (USA)
    1988 Phillip Marmorstein (Germany)
    1989 Joseph Russell (USA)
    1990 Hal Henrich (Canada)
    1991 Michael Meyburg (Germany)
    1992 Ion Ressu (Rumania)
    1993 Peter Thomsen (Denmark)
    1994 Frank Frigo (USA)
    1995 David Ben Zion (Israel)
    1996 David Nahmad (Italy)
    1997 Jerry Grandell (Sweden)
    1998 Michael Meyburg (Germany)
    1999 Jurgen Gransted (Sweden)
    2000 Katie Scalamandre (USA)

    Click here for the World Championships quick results.

    - Michael Crane

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