Magriel Mega Match Madness Series

This might seem crazy at first. And also, later.

I’ve been casting about for another weapon to add to my “gain experience and get better, faster” arsenal— I study, read, play in both live and online tournaments, Dallas Backgammon League play, timed and un-timed matches of various lengths, play XG and BGBlitz, analyze my games, etc.— but one piece that’s missing, in large part, is playing myself.


Playing yourself in a mind sport is a great way to learn and improve, particularly if you approach the process in a serious and thoughtful way.

Paul Magriel famously took on the player-moniker “X-22” after playing himself, on each side of the board, in a 26-player tournament, where the players were named “X-1” through “X-26.”

X-22 won, and his sobriquet was born.

I thought I’d up the ante juuuuuust a little bit.

Using the wonderful, web-based, free backgammon tournament software found at DrawBoss (software created, by the way, by two Herning, Denmark backgammon players, René and Lars-Henrik— you can read the history behind its creation, here), I’ve created a 2,600-player “Magriel Mega Match Madness Series Cup Tournament.”

That’s right. 2,600 players, named from “A-00:A-99” through “Z-00:Z-99.”

And, yes, my wife (who I refer to as B. here), and Lars-Henrik both think I’m a little (or a lot) “off in the head.”

The tournament will begin with match rounds of only one game in length (still, that’s a ton of games just to kick the tournament off with), and increase in game-length by odd numbers each round, culminating in a 25-point Tournament Final. Of me. Playing myself.

(May the best man win.)

I’m kicking the tournament off today, January 18, 2020, and I have absolutely no idea when the final will take place. It will be a multi-year bout of insanity, I’m sure.

It very well might be finished in a room with white, padded walls.

I hope they have good drugs.

You can find the live tournament bracket by clicking here.

And we’re off… in the head.

P.S., F-85 won the opening match. It looked good, early, for W-87, with his white having borne-off five stones before getting trapped behind F-85’s brown 6-point prime. It was pretty much downhill from there, though W-87 made a late breakout and, because of having had to crush his stones on the Ace Point, got within four stones away at the end. I have to say it was a good game, and both players were very evenly-matched.

It was going W-87’s way until he went on the bar and was trapped behind the prime.
But never give up, kids! Though W-87 did eventually lose, he broke free and made it close!

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