received by Bob Ciaffone
I have won numerous awards at gameplaying. They are listed for each game.
Poker – My biggest honor was a third place prize in the 1987 poker World Championship. When we came down to the final three players, I was the chip-leader, with the eventual winner Johnny Chan a close second. I then acquired the dubious distinction of becoming the first person in the history of tournament poker to lose a pot with over a million dollars in it. A few minutes later I lost another pot of about half a million dollars and finished third. This was worth $125,000 in actual prize money. First place paid $625,000 that year, so the big pot likely cost me a half a million dollars in real cash. It certainly was an exciting experience! I play just about every kind of poker known to man, and traveled all over the world doing it. The countries where I have played poker include Canada, England, Sweden, Malta, and Nepal. My favorite poker form is pot-limit Omaha. I have written a book on Omaha called “Omaha Holdem Poker.” A poker publication once did a reader’s poll of who the world’s outstanding players were at each poker form. I was honored by being voted the #3 position for Omaha. I also like no-limit holdem. I am the leading authority on poker rules, and have worked as a consultant in this area to a number of cardrooms.
Chess – My favorite game is chess, at which I hold the title of Life Master. I have won many prizes in chess tournaments. In 1969 I became the chess State Champion of Michigan. In 1995 I tied for fourth place in the U.S. Senior Chess Championship. In both the 1998 and 1999 tournament for the State Championship I took second place. I presently have an international rating of 2205. In simultaneous exhibitions I have faced some of the world’s greatest players. I lost to Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, and David Bronstein, drew with Bent Larsen, and beat Victor Korchnoi and Paul Keres. I am especially interested in chess opening theory. I have written a couple of chess opening books. My first book is “The Catalan Gambit,” published in 1983, and my second book is “Smith-Morra Gambit Finegold Defense,” published in 2000.
Bridge – I have been a Life Master at bridge since 1969. I owned a bridge club, “Cavendish North Bridge and Backgammon Club” in Southfield, Michigan, from 1975 to 1980. I have taught bridge for the Saginaw Township Community Education program.
Backgammon – I played in a lot of backgammon tournaments in the seventies, with good success. In an informal poll of regular backgammon players taken at that time, I was voted the best player in Michigan.
Billiards and Pool – I won a number of college championships at both pool and billiards when I was a student back in the sixties. My biggest honor in tournament play was taking second place (behind Jimmy Mataya) in the 1965 Lansing City Championship. In 1964 I was selected to represent the Saginaw area to play an exhibition match against all-time great Willie Mosconi. I ran the first rack, but he came back to run 113 in his inning. Naturally, he won the match. I was also selected to play a three-cushion billiards match in 1965 against the then World Champion Harold Worst (he won). My high run at straight pool is four racks. I once ran out off the break playing “Snooker Golf” on a 6×12 snooker table.
Weightlifting – I started pumping iron at age fifteen, and had to quit three years later because of a back injury. At my peak, weighing 172 pounds, I could press 207 and bench press three reps with 280. When a student at Notre Dame, I won the school’s first place medal in my weight class.