Torben Hasseriis wins Oslo Open
Av Atle von der Fehr and Vemund Snartland, 5. Juni 2001  

Torben Hasseriis holding his speech. In the background, members of the Oslo Open staff: Atle von der Fehr, Marianne Husum, and Katrine Teigen.

A very close and well played final resulted in the third consecutive foreign winner of Oslo Open, as Torben Hasseriis of Denmark beat Shahab Ghodsi of Norway.

There was a record of 55 participants in the Championship Division and more than half were visitors from seven different countries:

Faroe Islands1---1
Total 5528234110

Several strong players got eliminated early, including Pawel Bielewicz, Lars Klammer, Asger Kring, Michael Meyburg, Chris Ternel, and Lars Trabolt.

In the quarterfinals Saturday night, the Oslo-based Iranian expatriate Shahab Ghodsi rolled over the Costa del Sol-based Norwegian expatriate Dag Ekmark. Martha Gjelseth out-manouvered Norwegian favourite Hans Liby, while Audun Klubnes, who manages to keep a low key despite his tall figure, beat one of the top Danes, Mogens Knudsen. Kasper N. Nielsen was defeated by Torben Hasseriis.

As three out of four semifinalists were members of the hosting Oslo club, at least one had to reach the final, but who?

Finalist Shahab Ghodsi with his prize, semifinalist Martha Gjelseth on her way to collect hers

In the first semifinal, Martha Gjelseth kept the lead over Shahab Ghodsi all the way till 12-10, but then Mr. Ghodsi managed to win a gammon at cube-value four(!), which made the next game the Crawford-game. The lead proved to be to big, and Shahab thus became the first to qualify for the big final.

The other semifinal seemed to drag on forever. Initially, Torben Hasseriis rolled Audun Klubnes off the table, and reached an impressive lead of 11-0 and later 14-2 in their 19 point match. Mr. Klubnes, whose back-aches forced him to play standing up throughout the tournament, didn't budge and slowly he shortened the Dane's lead. At the score 4 away - 2 away, Audun doubled early and started a blitz that easily could have given him gammon and the four points he dreamed of. But Torben - a bit shaky at the point - managed to anchor on the 4-point and turn the game around, and the second finalist was ready.

Audun Klubnes (standing) considering a cube presented by Torben Hasseriis
Lars Trabolt (left) and Stein Welle are watching

The final was broadcasted on large-screen television and commented by Asger Kring and Michael Meyburg. As the tension got its grip on the contestants they gradually became very careful. In fact, their caution seemed to influence their cube-action. At least commentator Mr. Meyburg thought so, as he frequently pulled his hair in despair to the crowd's amusement. Click here for Snowie's analysis of the final.

In the end the Danes could celebrate their first champion of Oslo. Good thing, by the way, Mr. Hasseriis' confidence: When his Danish friends had been making hotel reservations for Oslo Open, they were planning on returning to Denmark Sunday evening. But Mr. Hasseriis had refused: "I will be playing the final then. We must stay until Monday!"

In the Consolation Jostein Flood became the winner, beating Geir Pedersen in the final. Hans Liby beat Thomas Fuglheim (DK) in the Last Chance final. The Advanced flight was won by Christer Hagenfeldt (S), who beat Terje Dalhaug in the final, while Dagfinn Snarheim won Consolation ahead of Are Haugan. Gayana Meyburg (D) beat Frank Stenersen in the final of the Intermediate flight with Jan Ivar Nilsen winning the Consolation, and Thomas Chr Mangen won the Beginner flight. The Team Event was won by The Jedi Academy of Tromsø (Geir Pedersen, Jon Kristian Røyseth and Samson Højgaard). Click here for complete results.

The seminar given by double world champion, Michael Meyburg, was well attended (50+) and much appreciated. Mr. Meyburg analyzed a Last Chance final from Nevada 1993 between Hal Heinrich and Wilcox Snellings, two of the best players in the world then - and now. Using a game from this match Mr. Meyburg illustrated how much the game of backgammon has developed only the last eight years.

Please visit the Czech Open III web site for some summer backgammon in Prague.

Finally, we would like to thank our sponsors. Without their support, we would not have been able to run this tournament.
Also, we would like to thank all the players who took part, and wish you all welcome back next year!