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Women Earn Their Spurs at Denver Wild West

Women were out in force at the Wild West Shootout American Backgammon Tour (ABT) tournament held in Denver October 4-9, 2023! Twenty-two women played in the ABT divisional events, out of 97 total entrants – 23% of the total. By contrast, women accounted for 14% of ABT entrants in all ABT events two years ago.

Women are also moving up to the top-level divisions. Five out of 37 entrants in the top Level I Open division were women, 14%. That’s almost a three-fold increase from 5% two years ago.

The Wild West Shootout included a Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB) event – with four women playing out of a total of 27 entrants. Two years ago it was rare to find more than one or two women competing in BMAB events! The BMAB event is a step toward earning qualification as a Grandmaster/Master– and more importantly, serves as a yardstick against which to assess progress in improving play performance. Karen Davis tied for second on the basis of Win-Loss records with a 3-1 record. She finished sixth on the basis of Performance Rating with a 5.44 PR in her four matches. Irina Litzenberger was nipping at her heels in seventh place with a 5.45 PR. Marjie Harbrecht and Marianne Bowen competed in the Level 2 Advanced BMAB division.

The highlight for many women players was the Annie Oakley Shootout won by Vera Holley from San Diego with Mary Wilson from Colorado in second place. Laura Granger (CO) won the Consolation. Backgammon. Winning. Women sponsored recording and transcribing of all matches in the event so that participating women can review their matches and learn areas of strength and weakness. Lynda Clay matched the BWW contribution to provide added money to the prize pool.

Julius High, the Novice division director, has kindly agreed to provide a Zoom de-briefing of the Annie Oakley event and review of matches toward the end of October. Details coming soon.

Women represented almost half of the ABT Division 3 (Intermediate) entrants -- 11 out of 24 entrants. Candace Mayeron made it to the Fourth Round of the Undefeated bracket. Carol Exley made it to the Fifth Round in the Undefeated field. Vera Holley finished third in the Main field. And women took all the winning top four spots in the Consolation – Marjie Harbrecht from Colorado won the Division 3 Consolation, with Maggie Sweeny from Michigan in second place. Gigi Goyette (CA) and Mary Wilson (CO) were in third/fourth place. What an exciting event!

Sue Will had a good tournament, making it to third/fourth in the Undefeated ABT Division 2 (Advanced) event, and the Fifth Round of the Consolation.

Karen Davis made it to the Fifth Round of the Main in the ABT Division 1 (Championship) event, Sixth Round of the Fighter’s Bracket, and Seventh Round of the Consolation in the ABT Division 1. Although she finished one round short of the top three winners, the highlight for her were wins against Grandmaster Dana Nazarian, and good performances in her losing matches with Grandmasters John O’Hagan and Kit Woolsey. She earned her spurs in top-rate competition.

Laura Granger (CO) teamed up with her son Cary Hoarty (OH) to win the Doubles event in a field of 32 teams! Laura also finished 2nd/3rd in the Sitting Bull Jackpot.

Jennifer Owens – new to tournament play -- won the Intermediate Jackpot in a field of 16 players!

Goldie Devalon won a scholarship covering entry fees and USBGF membership from generous women sponsors Lynda Clay, Karen Davis, and Gigi Goyette. She was nominated by her local Denver Backgammon Club.

Myra Gazvoda teamed up with tournament organizer Dan Minardi to win the most fun event of the tournament– the Cornhole Social! With 16 participants, it was no small feat tossing beanbags into holes in tournament posters 10 yards away. Grilled hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and soft drinks for participants and those cheering from the sidelines made it a tournament highlight!

Many thanks to Dan Minardi, tournament organizer, and Ben Friesen, tournament director for a great experience for all!

ABT - WILD WEST SHOOTOUT: 5th DENVER OPEN BACKGAMMON TOURNAMENT (Prelim) October 4-9, 2023; Denver, Colorado


ABT DIVISION 3 - WARRIORS (23): 1-Enrique Gomez (Mexico), 2-Victor Loiacono (CO), 3-Vera Holley (CA); 1C-Marjie Harbrecht (CO), 2C-Maggie Sweeney (MI).

BMAB-USA COLORADO DIVISION 1 (18): 1-John O'Hagan (IN), 2/5-Jim Curtis (IN) / Karen Davis (FL) / Roberto Litzenberger (VA) / Phil Perelmuter (FL) / William Reeves (CO).

DIVISION 3 JACKPOT (16): 1-Jennifer Owens (CO), 2-Cody Buchholz (CA).

DOUBLES SHOOTOUT (32 teams): 1-Laura Granger & Cary Hoarty, 2-Jim Curtis & Sean Garber, 3/4-Cody Buchholz & Paul Mangone / Rory Pascar & Tommy Tallarico.

ANNIE OAKLEY SHOOTOUT (14): 1-Vera Holley (CA), 2-Mary Wilson (CO); 1C-Laura Granger (CO).

SITTING BULL JACKPOT (24): 1-Kit Woolsey (CA), 2/3-Laura Granger (CO) / Stepan Nuniyants (WA).

CORNHOLE SOCIAL (16): 1-Myra Gazvoda (CO) & Dan Minardi (CO), 2-Cody Buchholz (CA) & Tommy Tallarico (CA).


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