November 17, 2004
YINSH Best Abstract Strategy Game in the
GIPF and ZÈRTZ were awarded as Abstract
Strategy Game of the Year for 1999 and 2001, then DVONN as Best
Game in all Categories for 2003, and now YINSH as Best Abstract
Strategy Game again for 2005. Project GIPF is getting its share
of recognition in the American GAMES Magazine. John McCallion wrote:
"Yinsh was selected as our Abstract Strategy BEST in this year's
Games 100. What else could we have put there?!"
No need to say that these kind of words are helping a lot. Yet another
step towards the critical point from where the reputation of Project
GIPF will grow further organically. At least, that is where we hope
to get one day.
Results WC's in Essen (D) and
in Eindhoven (NL)
We have 4 new World Champions! We did
not have spectacular numbers playing in the tournaments, but, well,
those who were there will confirm that it was a lot of fun and excitement
all the same. Maybe we'll have a few more players next year. (When
dealing with abstract games these days, you better never give up
The first of the four Project GIPF World Championships was ZÈRTZ,
played on Friday, October 22, in Essen. 10 players from 4 different
countries were present. That was not enough to use the Swiss System
and play 7 rounds, and too much to switch to a Round Robin tournament.
So, we stuck to the Swiss system and settled for only 5 rounds.
But that did not stop the players from making it an exciting
competition; the final result remained open until the last game
was played. 3 players scored 4 points: top favourite Michael Reitz
(D), Sebastian Bleasdale (ENG), another favourite, and Werner Dupont
(B), last year's silver medal winner. So, you could say that we
had 3 new World Champions, but unfortunately that is not possible
when battling for medals. The MB-score was used as the tie-breaker.
That made that Sebastian snatched the gold medal, just in front
of Werner (silver) and Michael (bronze). Christof Nuyttens (B),
the very first ZÈRTZ World Champion, and new comer Romario
(D) shared the 4th place with 3 wins each. Kurt Van den Branden
(B), who had won the title in 2003, just did not have his day.
YINSH goes to Hong Kong
The next morning the very first YINSH WC took place. 20 players
had registered, which is a fine total. We had players from 5 different
nations. That is OK, but 6 would have been better. So, a pitty that
we had no participants from the Netherlands. The most remarkable
player was Alan Kwan. Not only because he came all the way from
Hong Kong to play the YINSH WC, but also because he appeared by
far to be the strongest player. He became the first YINSH World
Champion with 7 wins in a row. 3 Germans shared the second place,
with 5 wins each. Again we needed the MB-score to break the tie.
This time Michael Reitz (D) got the silver - one spot better than
the bronze he won a day earlier - and Romario got the bronze. (If
only he could have been a Brazilian! With that name! That would
have been a fantastic compensation for the absence of Dutch players.)
Unfortunately, that left Klaus Kontny (D), the 3rd player with 5
wins, with empty hands. A great pitty, indeed, because he had had
a problem to solve between the first and the second round; it had
taken more time than estimated and as a result of that he appeared
too late at the start of his second game. Against Michael Reitz,
that was! And although Klaus had manouvered himself in a strong
position, he lost the game because... he ran out of time. But apart
from being a great player he also showed to have the right spirit,
and had no problems at all congratulating Alan, Michael and Romario
with their achievement.
Alan Kwan wrote an interesting piece about how he became YINSH World
Champion for the Board
Game Geek. Worth your attention!
Silver medal winner
Michael (left), World Champion Alan (in the middle),
and bronze medal winner Romario (right)
GIPF goes to
One week later in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Aha, GIPF! Still my
favourite! So I always look in particular forward to this championship.
16 players had registered, 25 minutes per player per game, 7 rounds
in a row. Clearly no competition for sissies; the participants were
not only going to need sharp wits, but also strong nerves and a
good condition. Oh yes! And who appeared to dispose over the sharpest
wits, the strongest nerves, and the most altletic body? The same
dude who had become the surprising winner of the GIPF World Championship
in 2003, in the meantime also known as the terrible *Mr. One GIPF*.
This is the first time in the history of GIPF (for complete information:
since the first Open GIPF tournament in 1997) that a player succeeds
in winning a mayor tournament twice. André De Laet (B) struggled
in his first match against Robrecht Claes (B), which he nearly lost
- in fact, which he would have lost if only Robrecht would have
had a bit more experience in finishing off a prey - but that must
have shaken him up. He found his normal cool and from then on kept
the others running behind the facts with his unpredictable playing
style. I don't mean the fact that he plays with only one GIPF-piece,
because by now that has become the most predictable aspect of his
play. No, the amazing thing is that no matter how much you put his
one and only GIPF-piece under pressure, he always finds an escape
with it. And not only that, suddenly you find yourself defending
your 3, 4, 5 or more GIPF-pieces - with much less success! He lost
one game against Allan Merner (DK), but that was not really a loss,
rather a gift. André, who was at that moment already 4 pieces
ahead, must have thought that it was time for a bit of relaxation,
and pushed his GIPF-piece in front of 3 of Allan's pieces. And Allan
said "Thank you," of course. That was enough for Allan
to end in second place with 5 wins. 3 other players also scored
5 wins: Ad Rovers (NL), Kurt Van den Branden (B) and Romeo Ruyters
(B), but Kurt's MB-score was higher than Ad's and Romeo's, so he
ended in third place. It had been a hard day for the players - but
not for me. There had been no problems to solve, so I just enjoyed
watching the games! Good play, great day!
and runner-up Allan (right) after their match. Guess
who got a fine surprise!
goes to the Netherlands
The last of the 4 WC's started with a turn off: the throphies got
stolen even before the championship had begun. They were in a plastic
bag next to the laptop that was going to be used to run the tournament
- and suddenly the bag was gone! So, instead of calling the players
together for the pairings of the first round, I had to explain that
the winner was going to get a lot of appreciation from me, but,
unfortunately, no throphy. That did not seem to affect the good
atmosphere. Fine! We were only 8 players, so Round Robin was a better
format than the Swiss system. In particular Xander Nijhuis (NL)
must have felt quite well with that, because it gave him the possibility
to play against every other opponent, so that he could make it personally
very clear to all the others who - and nobody else - was going to
become the World Champion. It was just amazing to see how seemingly
without any effort he took the measure of the one after the other.
A true one man show. In 2003 the first 5 places of the DVONN WC
had been claimed by 5 very strong Germans. It was a pitty that only
one of them (Michael Reitz) had found a way to be present. Michael
ended in 3rd place in 2003, but he did not find the same drive this
year. I'm really curious to know whether one of the other Germans
could have stopped Xander. We'll never know. Any way, all participants
were so impressed by Xander's play, that, even though it was a championship
with only 8, he is without any doubt a worthy World Champion! In
second and third place came the borthers Mertner, from Denmark.
Allan, the eldest of the two, won the silver with 5 wins, and Morten
the bronze with 4 wins.
You can find the cross tables and the final standing per tournament
on the *Results* pages in the sections of each
Thanks to all the participants! In particular... (See below!)
"Le Maître" is
true "Grand Maître"
Patrick Van de Perre (B) is one of the Gipfers who were there from
the beginning. He played in the very first GIPF tourmant ever: the
first Open GIPF. In November 1997, that was. He got his nickname
*Le Maître* because he's *Le Maître des Points* of the
Gipfers. Having been a competitive chess player and a chess arbiter,
he knew all about Elo related things, and thus about how elo-ratings
are calculated. To help the GIPF community, he volunteered to process
all GIPF games that were played in the context of tournaments, so
thanks to him we have a GIPF rankinglist. (And a ZÈRTZ rankinglist,
and probably soon also a DVONN rankinglist.) Apart from that, he
became one of the strongest GIPF-players. He is the current number
3, and that is a second reason why he can be considered a *Maître*.
But since a few weeks there's a third reason to call hem *Maître*
- at least for me. He's the only player who played in all 4 Project
GIPF World Championship's. He's a GIPF-player, so GIPF is the game
he wants to play at all times. (He would say:"Let there be
no misunderstanding about that!") But for the occasion he also
registered for the other tournaments - just for fun, just to be
there, just to support the activities. Well, that's just great!
So, for me he's not just a *Maître*, but a true *Grand Maître*.
Patrick "le Maître"
Van de Perre (at the right) during the GIPF WC - here
in action in his 2nd round match against Raf Ruyters.
In front the 3 trophies and a special bonus for the
winner: a cake with the pattern of the GIPF board, baked
by Wynke Stulemeijer.
Project GIPF Championship in Cannes,
Most people know that there is a Film Festival in Cannes and that
there is also the *Medim*, one of the worlds most important music
fairs. But there's more: every year there is also a big Games Festival
with over 30.000 players in 5 days. The *Festival International
des Jeux* is a combination between, on the one hand, tournaments,
competitions and all kinds of workshops, and, on the other hand,
an enormeous games party where people can play what they want. There's
no entry fee; the complete festival is sponsored by the city of
Each year they also have special activities, and this time the organisers
have chosen to put Project GIPF in the spotlight. There will be
a lot of demoing going on, and every day also little instant tournaments,
but the main thing will be a Project GIPF Championship. There will
be a DVONN, a ZÈRTZ, a YINSH and a GIPF-tournament. These
tournaments will be separate events, but there will also be overal
standings, with the purpose to crown a Project GIPF Champion. So,
very similar to the format that we also use for the project GIPF
Note down in your agenda: Festival du Jeux, from February 23 to
27, 2005, in Cannes, France. The Project GIPF Championship will
take place on Friday the 25th (DVONN) , Saturday the 26th (ZÈRTZ
& YINSH), and Sunday the 27th (GIPF). More details will be put
in the Agenda as soon as they are
GiGamic new Project GIPF distributor in France
And there's more good news from France. Things have changed there.
Jeux Descartes used to be the distributor of the games of Project
GIPF, but apparently things had become quite difficult for them.
That resulted in a take over this summer; in August they were bought
by Asmodée, a publisher and distributor of popular games
for a large public. The question at that time was: what are they
going to do with Project GIPF? They did not consider themselves
as the right company to carry a series of abstract games, but they
did not want to drop Project GIPF just like that either. So they
took contact with the brothers Gires from GiGamic. These guys were
already familiar with Project GIPF, because in the past there had
already been a few talks about the possibility to enter Project
GIPF in their range. At that time it did not seem the appropiate
thing to do. In the mean time GiGamic has changed, and it has grown.
GiGamic is not only a publisher any more, but also a distributor
with a strong reputation. This time Jean-Christophe and Stéphane
Gires could see that there was an opening, so they decided to take
Project GIPF in their catalogue. And, dear Project Gipfers, this
is *very* good news. They only take games of when they think they
can give them good support. So, people living in France, may I have
your attention please? Voici Projet GIPF!