Talking points from this year's AMSTC

Report from Australia

The Australian Masters and State Team Challenge (AMSTC) has been a fixture on the Australian calendar since 2005. The format was modelled on the already successful ABSP Masters format and featured a Round Robin format for the top 20 active players on the national circuit that year.

To complement this event, a Teams event featuring three representatives from each Australian State and Territory is played alongside.

The 2017 event was held in Adelaide; the venue the same as the one used for the 2016 Trans Tasman Challenge.

We bring you five talking points from the tournament held over the second weekend in September of 2017.

Nine timers no guarantee of victory
Last year's joint winners of the High Word prize in the Masters were to players whose 9 timer play was still not enough for them to win their games, and the trend appeared to continue in 2017.

Game 9 saw Carmel Dodd play MINIVERS for 158, yet it was not enough to defeat Andrew Fisher who was victorious 484-425.

You can see the board picture by clicking here.

The 1000 point game and the 5 point penalty
This event is one of the few on the Australian domestic circuit to feature a 5 point penalty for an unsuccessful challenge.

Whilst some players have seen games overturned due to an errant challenge, this was not the case in Game 18 for Bob Jackman, as he played Ryan Sutton.

As Bob recalls, "In my game against Ryan Sutton I was leading at 513. He bingoed with LITTERS hooking on RENNING. If I challenge it is a draw if RENNINGS is right. I dont, and win 510 to 505. RENNINGS turned out to be right."

You can see Bob's 510-505 win here.

Could last year's Champ do it again?
For most of the second day, it was looking like the 2016 Masters Champion, Joanne Craig, would go back to back, something which had not been done since 2012 when Edward Okulicz won (also in Adelaide).

A Round 12 win over Ron Baginski gave her the lead: even a Round 15 loss to the 2014 Australian Champion, Daniel Piechnick, still kept her lead intact. However, consecutive losses to Andrew Fisher and (2017 Australian Champion) Russell Honeybun brought her down to 4th.

Two late wins, against Esther Perrins and David Vanzyl, meant the 2016 Champion would end up the 2017 Runner-Up!

Andrew Fisher comes back to win the Masters
Three losses in the first five games of the Masters, and Andrew Fisher was lying 16th in a field of 20.

Even by Game 10, and some good wins, meant he was lying 6th with half the field to play (remaining games included three games against previous National Champions and last year's Masters Champion).

However, of the nine remaining games to play, a Round 15 loss to the local Michael Cameron would be the only blemish on Day 2. Two four game winning streaks meant a victory to Andrew, whose one and only previous victory was at Sydney in 2009.

Victorian quality shines in the Team Challenge
Normally, the Masters and Challenge events would have a healthy contingent of Victorian players: 2017, however, saw only the four representatives head to Adelaide.

The four that did attend put in a stellar performance against the rest of the country: Victoria's sole representative in the Masters was this year's Champion whilst Carol Johnsen, Norma Fisher and Gwen Lampre played in the Challenge.

To start the last, Team Tasmania held a half point lead over both Victoria and the ACT. A last round bye (which every player has in the Challenge) and two losses meant the Tasmanians ended up out of contention and it came down to Victoria and the ACT as to would emerge the victors.

With both teams dropping the one game, Victoria's healthy overall spread was the deciding factor.

Whilst Western Australia's Edie Mueller won the Individual title in the Challenge, the Team Title went to Victoria; thus tasting wins in both divisions. You can see the winning Team pic here.