November 17, 2004
YINSH Best Abstract Strategy Game in the US

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 hope!)

ZÈRTZ goes to England!
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!

WC Gipf 2004

Silver medal winner Michael (left), World Champion Alan (in the middle), and bronze medal winner Romario (right)



GIPF goes to Belgium
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!

WC Gipf 2004

André (left) and runner-up Allan (right) after their match. Guess who got a fine surprise!


DVONN 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 separate game!

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*. Thanks, dude!

WC Gipf 2004

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, France

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 Cannes.

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 weekends.

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 available.

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!


GIPF, TAMSK, ZÈRTZ, DVONN and YINSH ® & © Don & Co NV. Content Kris Burm. All rights reserved.