The ICGA organized in 2003 the Bitmap of Computer Olympiad 2003 Computer Olympiad in Graz (Austria). Naturally I wanted to take part. Some mails were exchanged with Achim Müller of the GNU-BG project and it was clear that we will met in Graz again. We agreed on a best of five 13-pt match in the previous year in Maastricht. We reached Graz on Saturday and found a fantastic environment in an impressive city. We started to play on Sunday in the Casineum, a part of the Casino at Graz. Next to us were Shogi, Go, Draughts and so on. Then Prof. v.d. Herik announced the decision of the ICGA that the Backgammon event would be an official world championship. Sounds cool!

The play begun and in the first match BGBlitz had virtually no chance. No dice plus BGBlitz passed some takes. This was far too much and BGBlitz lost 4-13, winning only a single game although it reached in some games nearly win in position, but nearly win is not enough. After that match I turned BGBlitz's cube handling to aggressive to avoid dropping take-able cubes, only to realize later that this works only for money play..... The 2nd match was closer, but BGBlitz lost again 10-13. The deciding game was the 4th game, where BGBlitz leading 5-0 unluckily lost to an 8 cube. At that moment I prayed don't lose 0-3... and I was heard. The third match was won by BGBlitz 13-6 and BGBlitz had the luckier dice. The 4th match started and again it looked well for BGBlitz. At 19:30 we stopped the fourth match with BGBlitz leading 9-3 to watch the Chess World Championship taking place in the "Dom im Berg" (Dome in the Mountain) It was a fantastic location and the best: we could continue our match on Monday in "Dom im Berg". On Monday the match continued as it had ended the day before. BGBlitz won the 4th match with an doubled gammon (unfortunately the recordings of this single game were lost :( ). Now the score was 2:2 and everything was to play for again.
The 5th match was mirroring the competition so far. GNU made point after point, leading 9-3. Then BGBlitz came closer making point for point and finally leading 11-9. Then the last game started. GNU doubled early and started a Blitz. Point after point was closed and BGBlitz was dancing. The probability to lose a gammon and therewith the whole match was nearly 70% when BGBlitz came in at the golden point, GNU danced and BGBlitz retrieved his 2nd checker from the bar, hitting a blot. With cautious play BGBlitz managed to bring its checkers home and won 13 - 9. BGBlitz is the World Champion!!.

The match in numbers
BGBlitz 1.7.0 vs. GNU-Backgammon 0.14
4 - 13
10 - 13
13 - 6
13 - 3
13 - 9
An exciting match and it took quite some time for me to calm down.
Here are some photographs of the event:
Achim and Frank Achim, Frank and Prof. v.d. Herik
Achim and me "at work" Prof. v.d. Herik, Achim and me
Photo of Dom im Berg Photo of award ceremony
The "Dom im Berg" The award ceremony
You can download the matches as mat files or as html files or view them online:
match 1 , match 2 , match 3 , match 4 , match 5 .