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USBGF Added Money for New England Local Club Prime Tournament December 10. Online Inter-Club Champion Wins a Free ABT Entry of Their Choice!

We’re pleased to announce that the U.S Backgammon Federation will provide added money to the New England Monthly Local Club Prime Tournament upcoming December 10. The USBGF is donating $5 per USBGF member to the member who wins or goes the furthest in an annual tournament sponsored by a USBGF Prime Club with 10 or more members. All USBGF members are eligible to compete including those from outside the area. Get in the car and catch it!

FRANK’S STEAKHOUSE
2310 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Questions? Contact: 
Albert Steg 
(617) 417-6743 
asteg@mindspring.com

Winners of local events will receive a fabulous prize — free entry to a USBGF online tournament of all the club winners with the prize being a free entry to an ABT event of the winner’s choice! 
 
 The USBGF member who goes the furthest will take the added money side pool and represent the New England Backgammon Club in the March 1, 2018 free-roll on-line inter-club USBGF Club Championship. The winner of that event will get a free entry to the ABT event of their choice.
 
The added money prize pool will be based on all USBGF members who play in the event regardless of primary club affiliation as well as NEBC club members who belong to the USBGF but are unable to attend. You do not have to be a USBGF member to play, but do to be eligible for the added money. You may join or renew your USBGF membership online as well as at the event.  

The winners of USBGF Local Club Prime Tournaments will compete in the USBGF Online Club Championship event with a great prize — a free entry to an ABT tournament of the winner’s choice! This online tournament of winners of the club competitions will begin on March 1. To be eligible for added money and free ABT entry, players must have an active USBGF membership. If you have any questions please contact USBGF Membership Director: Ray Bills.

Check out the USBGF Event Calendar, a listing of upcoming USBGF Local Club Prime tournaments and ABT tournaments. 

Don’t Miss the Added Money at Upcoming USBGF Prime Tournaments!

The U.S. Backgammon Federation is pleased to announce that it is again providing added money for USBGF members at Prime Tournaments throughout the year.

To be sure you are eligible, join or renew your membership in the U.S. Backgammon Federation online and take advantage of a special membership offer. Those who join, renew, or extend their memberships before March 31, 2016 will receive three additional months of free Premium or Basic membership. Those who join for 3 years as a Premium member will receive nine additional months of free membership.

Added-money for USBGF members includes:

Ohio State Championships March 18-20, 2016 in Cleveland Marriott at the airport with $750 added money.
U.S. Open, April 13-17, 2016 at the Flamingo Las Vegas with $1000 added money.
Atlanta Spring Classic, April 28-May 1, 2016 at Sheraton Atlanta Airport with $750 added money.
Capital Classic, May 20-22, 2016 at Holiday Inn Dulles, Sterling, VA with $750 added money.
Chicago Open/World TOC, May 26-30, 2016, at the Holiday Inn, Rosemont, IL, with $750 added money.
Los Angeles Open, June 10-12 at the Hilton LAX, Los Angeles, CA with $1000 added money.
Michigan Summer Championship, July 1-4, 2016, at the Novi Sheraton, with $1000 added money.
•1st Silicon Valley Open, August 5-7, 2016, Courtyard, San Jose, CA, with $500 added money.
•Wisconsin Championships, August 19-21, 2016, at the Radisson, Madison WI, with $500 added money.
•4th Connecticut Championships, October 20-23, 2016, Windsor Locks, with $750 added money.
•Las Vegas Open, November 16-20, 2016, at the Flamingo, Las Vegas, NV, with $1000 added money.
•California State, December 2-4, 2016, at the Hilton LAX, Los Angeles, CA, with $1000 added money.
•New York Metro Open, January 4-8. 2017, at the Hyatt Hotel, Jersey City, NJ, with $1000 added money.
•5th Texas Championships, February 2-5, 2017, at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX with $1000 added money.

USBGF Prime Tournament Benefactor for Prime Tournament Initiative

PrimeTime BG Spring 2018

Spring 2018 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Marty Storer, Managing Editor

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In this issue we celebrate Paul Magriel, backgammon’s great pioneer, who died untimely on March 5 to our bitter loss. Besides many photos, tributes, and reminiscences, we have a recap of his life and times from USBGF Historian Bob Stoller. Our Summer issue will feature some of his games, old and new.

Our other feature articles are intriguing, as usual. Prince Alexis Obolensky and Joe Sylvester were inducted into the American Backgammon Hall of Fame at February’s annual San Antonio tournament, ABT trophies were presented for 2017, and Perry Gartner and Patti Rubin were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Besides Perry himself, Bob Stoller, Bill Riles, Arda Findikoglu, and Jake Jacobs explain what the honorees have done for our game.

Paul Weaver contributes yet another penetrating analysis, this time of 10 positions from the November Las Vegas finals between 2017 ABT Champion Matt Cohn-Geier and fourth-place finisher Leyla Zaloutskaya.

David Presser and Igor Erovenko have studied opening cubes deeply. Check out their article, “A Simple Rule: Adjusting Opening Cube Action to Match Play.” All serious players need to have this rule in their arsenal.

Ray Fogerlund gives us a colorful report on the 2017 California State Championships. Does “fogerlund” mean “colorful” in Danish? Considering this article and Ray’s past ones, it may as well. He rehashes the overall experience in inimitable style, and treats us to analysis as well. Besides positions from his own matches against Mochy and Akiko, he goes over others from Akiko, winner Steve Sax, and runner-up Michael Neagu.

On the subject of tournaments: Bill Riles and Tara Mendicino ran the 6th Texas Championships in February, in beautiful, historic San Antonio, and as usual it was a great success. Bill’s big writeup of the event includes all the news and comes with a fabulous spread of photos. He thanks Swedish director Jesper Carlsson for his help, which I can attest was considerable-truly an international effort this time around!

Karen Davis interviews Candace Mayeron, co-director of the California State Championship and soon to have the same role in June’s Los Angeles Open. For those who are not familiar with Candace and what she does, read the profile. If she keeps up her good work, she will soon be another Patti Rubin, organizer extraordinaire.

With USBGF Membership Director Ray Bills, Karen explains the Local Club Initiative, our latest effort to promote and grow local clubs. From November through February, the USBGF sponsored tournaments at local clubs. The response was outstanding, and no doubt contributed to a big spike in membership compared to the same time period 12 months earlier. This is just the beginning of our effort to bring more clubs and players into the game. As the authors say, this is a WIN, WIN, WIN! proposition.

Karen Davis’s President’s Column in this issue is titled, “Attracting New Players.” She lays out five goals the Federation had set in order to do just that, and evaluates our performance. We have reached out to local clubs, directors, sponsors, new players, novices, and existing members, and things are looking up. The take-away is that the USBGF is thinking big.
As usual, we have tournament results and standings—see who’s been winning in 2018.
So, what are you waiting for?

[Read more…]

Gus Contos wins Gammon Associates 2017 Tournament of Champions (added USBGF money) Feb 11, 2018

2017 TOC winner Gus ContosTO2017C_2018-02-11

The winner of the TOC was Gus Contos:
2nd -David Taniguchi
3/4 -John Rockwell
3/4 -Art Benjamin

We have 26 players who qualified for the TOC this last year. Six were double-qualified (e.g. they were in the top-16 at both of our weekly locations [Wed & Sun.]) and they get a BYE into the second round of the TOC.

Gus will now represent the Gammon Associates in the inter-club championships in March 2018.

http://www.gammonassociates.com/

This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

Edwin Jones brings home the added money in Columbus Prime Local Club Initiative

Edwin_JonesEdwin_JonesEdwin_Jones

Congratulations to Edwin Jones for winning the Columbus  Local Club Prime Initiative added money on February 11, 2018!
In addition to splitting the USBGF added money with Stu Cohen, Edwin will now represent Columbus  in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018.   The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on Columbus  events, contact Chris Yep <chris@columbusbg.org>

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

Gary Fries brings home the added money in Northern Virginia Prime Local Club Initiative

gary fries

Congratulations to Gary Fries for winning the Northern Virginia Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 27!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money Gary will now represent Northern Virginia in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. (The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.)

For more information on Northern Virginia Club events, contact  Frank Raposa <frankpraposa@yahoo.com>.

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com.

This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

Jeb Horton brings home the added money in Charlotte Club Championship Prime Local Club Initiative

Jeb Horton

Congratulations to Jeb Horton for winning the Charlotte Club Championship Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 27!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money Jeb will now represent Charlotte Backgammon Club in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. (The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.)
 
For more information on Charlotte Backgammon Club events, contact Jeb Horton at jeb@carolina.rr.com
 
For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com
This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

Stacy Turner brings home the added money in South Florida Prime Local Club Initiative!

2014 Stacy Turner

Congratulations to Stacy Turner for winning the South Florida Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 28.

In addition to winning the USBGF added money Stacy will now represent South Florida in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. (The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.)

For more information on South Florida events, contact Karen Davis at karen.davis@jhu.edu

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

David Levy brings home the added money in BGBB Prime Local Club Initiative

LevyDavid 2016

Congratulations to David Levy for winning the BGBB Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 20, 2018!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money David Levy will now represent BGBB in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018.
The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on BGBB events, contact Ted Chee, Director. San Francisco, California 831-261-4583

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

Kevin Heacox brings home the added money in Hoosier Prime Local Club Initiative

kevin heacox

Congratulations to Kevin Heacox (shown on the right) for winning the Hoosier Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 10, 2018!  Kevin defeated Chuck Bower (on left) to best a field of 18.
In addition to winning the USBGF added money Kevin Heacox will now represent Hoosier Club in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018.
The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on Hoosier Club events, contact Sean Garber, seagar1824@yahoo.com, (317) 241-0605; or Scott Day (317)374-5983

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

Lynn Ehrlich brings home the added money in NYC Prime Local Club Initiative

Congratulations to Lynn Ehrlich for winning the NYC Local Club Prime Initiative added money on January 9, 2018!

In addition to winning the USBGF added money Lynn will now represent NYC in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. 
The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

Comments from event director Rich Munitz:

The NYC Backgammon tournament last night was a tremendous success that exceeded my wildest expectations. We had 44 entries, with about half of them being USBGF members! It was insane and something of a miracle that I pulled it off roughly on schedule. We were short tables and boards and I only had a 32-draw bracket, never in a million years expecting to have more players starting in the round of 64 than 32.

I think we got 6 new members as a result of this promotion. Probably most of them joined at the Novice/Youth level, but regardless, still a great result.

Our club winner was Lynn Ehrlich and finalist was Rich Schulz – both USBGF members. They wound up splitti

PrimeTime BG Winter 2018

Winter 2018 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Marty Storer, Managing Editor

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In this issue we look back on 2017, and turn an eye to the future. One of last year’s biggest events was the 5th Merit Open International, held in Cyprus in November. Blake Fleetwood’s article showcases that mega-tourney, and the big win by Chicago’s Carter Mattig over former World Champion Lars Trabolt. Closer to home, Paul Weaver reports on the Novi tournament, always a U.S. highlight, and ably analyzes the Michigan Masters finals between Alfred Mamlet and Victor Ashkenazi. Karen Davis and I cover the first international American Backgammon Tour event, the Montreal Open, where Canadians did very well but Americans also had their say; check out the analysis of the finals match between champion Chris Knapp and Voice of Backgammon stream-master Larry Shiller. Hall-of-Famer Ray Fogerlund contributes a colorful piece on his 2017 USBGF Grand Championship win over Faddoul Khoury, and his 2016 near miss against ABT Champion Ed O’Laughlin. The venerable Malcolm Davis provides more great technical content as he wraps up last issue’s doubling quiz, sharing answers, cube philosophy, and historical reminiscences.

Turning the clock back a bit further, USBGF historian Bob Stoller interviews 1981 World Champion Lee Genud, backgammon’s first female superstar and still a wonderful ambassador for the game. She gives us a fascinating glimpse into her glamorous life in backgammon, and the storied days of the ’70s and ’80s. Karen Davis profiles another veteran, Ken Bame, director of the Silicon Valley Open, who won the 2017 USBGF Director’s Cup and has posted many other impressive results.

USBGF President Karen Davis gives us her usual thoughtful, lucid, and data-driven assessment of the past year in American backgammon, “Metrics of Success.” She discusses everything from the tumultuous reworking and adoption of USBGF rules for ABT tournaments, to the promising Local Prime Club initiative. Read this report to find out how we met and exceeded some of our stated goals, where we fell short, and what the future may hold.

Joe Russell, Chairman of the USBGF Board of Directors, provides his perspective on past and future events. He presents results of the recent Board of Directors election, and welcomes the two new members, Matt Reklaitis and Jack Edelson. He describes their unique talents and the ways they want to contribute to backgammon in the USA and beyond. His discussion of the ABT’s implementation of the USBGF rules adds to Karen’s insights. Finally, he talks about support and promotion of local clubs, and goals for international collaboration.

Of course, we have our usual array of tournament results, rankings, and master points, and the ever-prolific Karen Davis presents a listing of Prime Club champions and their photos.

The big take-away from this issue is that backgammon is growing. We want to keep up that trend.

[Read more…]

Northern Virginia BG Club Annual Tournament (Added USBGF Money) Jan 27

This is to notify you of our club’s Annual Tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, January 27st, 2018 at Bangkok Bistro 11:30 am. Bangkok Bistro is located at 715 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203. https://www.bangkokbistrova.com/

Please be present by 11:00 am (which is when it opens) so we can have the draw ready at 11:30 sharp. There is no need to pre-register, just let me know if you cannot make it. The format and payout structure will be the same as our regular weekly events, with the exception of longer matches (11 in the main and 7 in the consolation) Any available byes will be awarded randomly. As always, clocks can be used if either player, or the director, wishes to.

Your eligibility and entry fee are strictly based on your attendance of weekly tournaments in 2017.
0-9: ineligible
10-14: $40 entry
15-19: $20 entry
20+: free entry

The prize pool as of now is $870, and will likely be close to $1,000 at the day of the event.

Bangkok Bistro is the venue of the Beltway Backgammon club, so I cleared it with Larry Brown before speaking with the manager. When registering, all players will be required to buy a $15 meal credit (in addition to any entry fee) that is valid for that day only, so everyone is required to spend at least $15.

ADDED MONEY – The USBGF is adding $130 to the USBGF member who advances the furthest!

This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

NYCBG Tournament Jan 9 Meetup with added money

Happy Holidays!

I will be running a tournament at our next Meetup at Josie Woods on Tuesday, January 9 instead of the monthly lesson. Registration will start at 6:30 and the tournament will begin at 7 PM. There will be a $10 entry fee with 100% returned as prizes. The format will be single elimination, with the match lengths being 3-5 points, to be determined based on size and time. The goal will be to finish the finals by 11:00.
The USBGF Tournament Rules will be in effect for this tournament: http://usbgf.org/docs/rules.pdf

In addition, the US Backgammon Federation will be adding $135 as a tournament side-pool that will be won by the USBGF member(s) who go the farthest in this tournament. That lucky player will also be entered in an online national play-off against the winners from other clubs. If you want a chance to win that side pool, and you are not already a USBGF member, you will need to join before the tournament starts. Be sure to select NYC Backgammon as your club when joining. The added money pot will grow if we have more members on the day of the tournament. Many players in our meetup will qualify for the USBGF Novice/Youth membership if you have either never played in a major tournament, or play at the Novice level and have been doing so for less than 3 years. Also if you are 25 or younger. If you so qualify, you can join for only $15 for a year. There are lots of benefits to membership if you’d like to learn, play free online tournaments, get discounts, etc. I believe strongly in the USBGF and what it does for our game and currently serve on its Board of Directors. Benefits and added money aside, I hope you will support this good cause by becoming a member.
See: http://usbgf.org/membership/join/
More info on membership: http://usbgf.org/members/brochure.pdf

 

This is part of the USBGF Added Money Local Club Initiative. The winner of the added money (USBGF member) will *also* win an entry into the free-roll inter-club Championships in March 2018. The winner of that online event will win an entry into the ABT event of their choice. They will *also* be featured in an article in the PrimeTme magazine and have the finals match analyzed by an expert.

Rich Sweetman brings home the added money in New England Prime Local Club Initiative

Congratulations to Rich Sweetman for winning the New England Local Club Prime Initiative added money on December 10!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money Rich will now represent New Endgland in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018.   The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on New England Backgammon Club events, contact Alex Zamanian Alex Zamanian 781-354-6466 or Albert Steg Albert Steg (617) 417-6743 or visit their website at http://www.nebackgammon.org/

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

Nick Blasier brings home the added money in Austin Prime Local Club Initiative

Congratulations to Nick Blasier for winning the Austin Local Club Prime Initiative added money on December 10, 2017!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money Nick will now represent Austin in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018.   The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on Austin events, contact Scott Butki sbutki@gmail.com,(240) 675-7142 or visit their website at https://www.facebook.com/groups/139896452865357/

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

George Morse brings home the added money in Houston Prime Local Club Initiative

Congratulations to George Morse for winning the Houston Local Club Prime Initiative USBGF added money on December 9!
In addition to winning the USBGF added money George will now represent Houston in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

For more information on Houston events, contact Bill Riles, 70 Champions Bend Circle, Houston, Texas 77069. 281-703-9304.

For more information about the Prime Local Club Initiative, contact Ray Bills at RayBills1959@gmail.com

Myra Gazvoda brings home the cash in Colorado Local Club Prime Initiative

Congratulations to Myra Gazvoda for winning the Colorado Local Club Prime Initiative tournament on November 12!

Myra joined the USBGF on 3 days before the event as was glad she did, as she took home the USBGF added cash as well as now representing Colorado in the on-line inter-club championship in March 2018. The winner of that will get a free entry into the ABT tournament of their choice.

Go Myra!

USBGF Added Money for Winner of Colorado Fall Classic Backgammon Tournament November 12 + Compete for Free ABT Entry for Inter-Club Champion!

We’re pleased to announce that the U.S Backgammon Federation will provide added money to the Colorado Fall Classic Backgammon Tournament of $5 per USBGF member. The event will take place at Mickey’s Top Sirloin — 6950 N. Broadway Denver, CO 80221 on Sunday, November 12 with registration at 11 am and play commencing at Noon.

The added money prize pool will be based on all USBGF members who play in the event regardless of primary club affiliation as well as Colorado club members who belong to the USBGF but are unable to attend. You do not have to be a USBGF member to play, but do to be eligible for the added money. You may join or renew your USBGF membership online as well as at the event.

The winners of USBGF Local Club Prime Tournaments will compete in an online USBGF Online Club Championship event with a great prize — a free entry to an ABT tournament of the winner’s choice! This online tournament of winners of the club competitions will begin on March 1. To be eligible for added money and free ABT entry, players must have an active USBGF membership. If you have any questions please contact USBGF Membership Director Ray Bills.

Check out the USBGF Event Calendar listing of upcoming USBGF Local Club Prime tournaments and ABT tournaments.

PrimeTime BG Fall 2017

Summer 2017 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Marty Storer, Deputy Managing Editor

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We have some great content to share with you in this issue. Joe Russell, Chairman of the USBGF Board of Directors, kicks it off with an explanation of the Federation’s newly ratified 2018 Tournament Rules. Then President Karen Davis presents the USBGF’s current mission statement. Karen’s column is appropriately titled Metrics for Success: it is full of useful data, thoughtfully interpreted.

This quarter’s feature articles are entertaining and informative. First, Bill Riles provides a detailed report on this summer’s Backgammon World Championship in Monte Carlo.

Bob Stoller interviews Hall of Famer Joe Russell, truly one of the world’s great players. The interview showcases Joe’s amazing memory, not to mention his magnificent results.

My own article analyzes interesting decisions from the 2016 Federation Cup final, Jeb Horton vs. Dave Kettler, which among other things featured a massive backgame.

Long-time Giant and PrimeTime editor Bob Wachtel contributes a lively report on the Worldwide Trophy tournament, held this May in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country, not the state). Bob played board #2 for the U.S. team, and analyzes some tough positions from his match with Tim Cross when we faced off against Great Britain.

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Ray Fogerlund amusingly recaps the Madison, Wisconsin, tournament, where invading Minnesota Vikings, led by Steve Brown, made away with much of the home-state cheese hoard.

Malcolm Davis, a marvelous money and tournament player for decades, pops a quiz: five cube decisions. Make your choices and stay tuned for his analysis in our next issue!

We also present an interview by Alexander and Doris Auer of Fazil Terlemez, the premier craftsman who produces the fine FTH boards sold by Gammon Stuff (gammonstuff.com), a USBGF corporate sponsor. Fazil had to overcome many obstacles in his life, and, as this excellent interview makes clear, his is a labor of love. Alexander and Doris visited Fazil and his wife Hanim at their home and workshop in Michelstadt, Germany.

Forty-five years after Bobby Fischer’s landmark World Chess Championship victory over Boris Spassky, Federation historian Bob Stoller gives us a fascinating look at the backgammon connections of that match, including chess accomplishments of some of our game’s top players.

Karen Davis found an interesting subject this month for one of her signature interviews: Ross Gordon, the up-and-coming director of the Connecticut Backgammon Club. Ross directed this year’s Boston and Montreal Opens, and looks forward to running the Connecticut State Championships in October and the 2018 Boston Open in February.

Finally, you’ll find tournament and USBGF Master Point results and the calendar of upcoming events. Don’t miss too many of those! My head is spinning with all the choices. I hope to cross paths with you in Connecticut, Vegas, New York, Boston, or at any of the other exciting tournaments in store.

[Read more…]

PrimeTime BG Summer 2017

Summer 2017 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Marty Storer, Deputy Managing Editor

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Three new American Backgammon Tour (ABT) tournaments kicked off in the first half of 2017: (1) the Boston Open in February; (2) the Viking Classic in Bloomington, Minnesota in March; and (3) the Cherry Blossom Championship in Dulles, Virginia (Washington, D.C. area) in April. The Boston Open was directed by Ross Gordon of the Connecticut Backgammon Club and sponsored by the New England Backgammon Club. The Viking Classic was co-directed by April Kennedy and Michael Mesich. The Cherry Blossom Championship was directed by Bill Riles and organized by Karen Davis. These events provided stunning venues, stirring themes, and innovations that attracted players from across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan.

This issue is replete with reports on these and other U.S. events. Paul Weaver treats us to an analysis of difficult cube decisions in the final of the Cherry Blossom Championship, while Steve Sax hits the high notes of the tournament and his path to winning the Cherry Blossom Jackpot. Blake Fleetwood, former journalist for The New York Times, captures the Nordic lore on display at the Viking Classic in prose and photos — and Stick, host of the popular BGonline forum and one of backgammon’s leading theoreticians, regales us with tales of multiple triumph in his home-state tournament, the Ohio State Championships in March. Stick won the Masters Jackpot and the Open Consolation.

For this quarter’s history lesson, USBGF historian Robert Stoller shares his research on the 40-year history of the U.S. Open. This issue also features Bob’s interview of Neil Kazaross, all-time American Backgammon Tour point leader, and American Backgammon Hall of Fame honoree.

Interviews by Karen Davis introduce us to two relatively unknown top players who showed their expertise at the Chicago Open in May: Grant Hoffman and Gerry Tansey. Grant has directed the New Zealand Backgammon Championship and has won several Australian and New Zealand championships. Gerry, from the “Show-Me” state of Missouri, won the Backgammon Olympiad in Chicago as well as Mochy’s 7th Backgammon Proficiency Test. His score of 37 topped the field in Chicago as well as those who took the test at the Japan Open.

Several articles in this issue contain suggestions for fine-tuning your game. Ed Rosenblum shares his system of producing flashcards tailored to his own errors. I offer shortcuts for calculating the best gammon-saving play as you bear the last checker in. In addition, Art Benjamin and Patrick Gibson explain a mathematical system for equitably compensating players in events with two starting times where only the second group is eligible for byes.

Joe Russell, Chairman of the USBGF Board of Directors, brings us up to date on the draft revised USBGF Tournament Rules and invites suggestions during a 30-day public comment period before seeking ratification of the Rules by a vote of the membership.

Karen Davis, in her President’s Column, reminds us of some of the USBGF’s accomplishments this year, particularly in its programs designed to attract newcomers to tournament play. Almost 200 Novices entered ABT events in 2016, and the numbers for 2017 are trending even higher, with five of the ten ABT tournaments held through the end of May having double-digit Novice entrants.
Karen also outlines an exciting new USBGF Local Club Initiative that will provide added money based on USBGF membership to an annual club tournament, with winners eligible for an inter-club champion online competition leading to award of an ABT tournament entry fee of the winner’s choice.

You’ll also find in this issue a summary of the great benefits offered by the USBGF, with tips on how to ensure you get the most out of your membership. Check out the latest statistics and upcoming events, and work on moving up in the rankings list in 2017.

[Read more…]

PrimeTime BG Winter 2017

Winter 2017 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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The biggest tournament of 2016 was the 4th Merit Open in Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus – with almost 500 entrants. The Merit had it all – high stakes events, added sponsorship money, a beautiful locale, 24/7 service and hospitality, parties and other festivities galore – and, to really take it over the top, an underwater tournament played in scuba gear!

Ron Rubin, who began his backgammon career winning the “World Amateur Backgammon Championship” in Las Vegas in 1978, captured the Master Flight, following on his Monte Carlo Open win in July. Blake Fleetwood, a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times and other prestigious publications, reports on the event in this issue. To complement the copy, PrimeTime Backgammon editor Bob Wachtel shares with us some difficult decisions that he and his partner faced in the doubles event in Cyprus.

Paul Weaver, one of our most insightful technical analysts, provides an in-depth look at key positions in the Ed O’Laughlin-Victor Ashkenazi final of the 41st Michigan Summer Championships. Ed emerged victorious, propelling him to the top of the ABT points race for the year – but top-ranked BMAB Grandmaster Victor also had a stellar year, winning the 4th annual Connecticut tournament, tying for second in the main event of the 13th Carolina Championship, and also placing second in the Capital Classic Championship division.

At season’s end, Ed found himself in undisputed first place in the ABT points race, followed by Steve Sax who won the California State Championship, with Victor finishing in third place. Congratulations to them all! Ed, Victor, and Jack Edelman also took the top three in the USBGF national master points race for 2016, while Igor Erovenko, Mislav Kovacic, and Zdenek Zizka headed the USBGF online master points race. Check out the Leaderboard top-ten lists in this issue and find out where you stand by checking the national and online Leaderboards on our website under the Ratings tab.

Bill Riles, President and Executive Director of the USBGF, announced the acquisition of the American Backgammon Tour by the USBGF, with an assurance that the ABT ranking system will be continued.

As ever, our far-flung correspondents have checked in from events around the world. In this issue, the UK Backgammon Federation shares its report on the London Open; Ray Fogerlund covers the Capital Classic, contributing some intriguing positions in his match with Michy Kageyama; and Bill Riles provides photos and commentary on the Chicago Open.

There is always an appetite for tales of derring-do from the glory days of backgammon. In this issue, Malcolm Davis, one of the great storytellers of the game, profiles a true American original: his fellow Texan Jim Scott, with whom he won the doubles at the 1986 Williams Island Pro-Am.

April Kennedy and Michael Mesich in the Minnesota Twin Cities area have demonstrated how effective use of social media can attract new players to the game. It’s exciting to see three new upcoming ABT tournaments — the Viking Classic directed by April and Michael this March, the Boston Open in February, and the Cherry Blossom Classic in the Washington, D.C. area in April.

Twenty local clubs achieved USBGF Prime Club status with 10 or more USBGF members in 2016 and received free USBGF Premium memberships to award. This issue includes a listing of Prime Clubs as well as their Players of the Year.

USBGF President Bill Riles’ column hits the highpoints of the year welcoming the newly elected Dennis Culpepper to the Board of Directors and thanking Patrick Gibson for his six years of service. Patrick graces our cover; Bill’s profile reveals the keys to Patrick’s success in life as well as a quintessential tournament director. Check out the upcoming events and work on moving up in the rankings list in 2017. Get in the Game!

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New, Reduced Price on Print PrimeTime Backgammon

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Want a print subscription to the stunning PrimeTime Backgammon magazine starting with the Fall issue that features coverage of the Backgammon World Championships? For only $20 each quarter plus shipping, you can have a hard copy to pore over, study the positions, and enjoy the tournament news and photos. Order now and give your game a boost with expert analysis by grandmasters, giants, and leading theoreticians.

PrimeTime Backgammon Fall 2016

Fall 2016 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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The high point of the backgammon year is always the World Championships in Monte Carlo – and this year’s finale, pitting Sweden’s two-time World Champion Jörgen Granstedt against the USA’s own former World Champion Joe Russell, was a thriller. A member of the World Championship staff this year, USBGF President and Executive Director Bill Riles covers the action for the magazine as an embedded reporter in Monte Carlo.

Next, Marty Storer, USBGF Match Feature Editor, provides an in-depth review of the John Klein-Michael Senkiewicz Liberty Cup final at the New York Metropolitan Open. John emerged victorious – but Hall of Fame awardee Senk has returned to the game with a vengeance, winning the New York Metro Championship and the Atlanta Spring Classic on his way to earning a Grandmaster title from the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body.

Teaching the serious backgammon student how to think about the game, David Presser and Igor Erovenko follow up their excellent article on opening cubes from the Summer issue, demonstrating how to vary the features of a position from A to B – “Always” to “Borderline.”

As a special treat, Malcolm Davis offers us his candidate for the best redouble of his life. It occurred in his match against James Colen in the round of 8 in the 1996 World Cup. Sit back and appreciate the masterstroke of an all-time great.

After consuming all that food for thought, travel the world with tournament reports from our far-flung correspondents. PrimeTime Backgammon Editor Bob Wachtel gives us beautiful photos and a culturally rich essay on a major tournament in “the other” Georgia, and Steve Sax shares highlights from his Texas Dual-Duel final with the same Bob Wachtel.

USBGF historian Robert Stoller makes history in two articles: an insightful interview with tournament director par excellence and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Patrick Gibson, and an essay on the history of Geoffrey Parker Games’ foray into the backgammon-equipment business.

This issue opens with USBGF President Bill Riles’ column, updating our members on the latest Federation news. Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, tournament results, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!

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PrimeTime Backgammon Summer

Summer 2016 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Looking for beach reading? Take along the summer PrimeTime Backgammon! With our shift to quarterly publication, this issue is filled with even more great tournament reports, player profiles, news, and analytic articles designed to take your game to the next level.

We kick off with an instructive article by the Russian expert, Dmitriy Obukhov. In it, Dmitriy analyzes several tough positions that surfaced in the final round of the 4th USBGF Online Club Team Championship. The winning Czech team, which calls itself Hrrrrrrrrr na ne! (it’s a Czech battle cry), was composed of Zdenk Žižka, Eva Žižkova and Jan Cerný. The finalist Phoenix Stars were Doug Amenda, Harvey Gillis, and Todd Crosner.

Another treat in store for you is an essay on opening doubling decisions, carefully researched and written by David Presser and Igor Erovenko. While opening rolls and second-roll responses have received a lot of attention in the literature, much less has been written about these initial doubling decisions.

Yet another high-level analytical article, this one on backgames, follows. Written by that perennial Giant and student of the game, Paul Weaver, this study spotlights six extremely difficult backgame positions, taken from streamed matches from this February’s Texas Backgammon Championships.

After all that work, lay back in your beach chair and let your mind travel far and wide with tournament reports from our far-flung correspondents. Jesper Carlssen reports on the Nordic Open, PrimeTime Backgammon Editor Bob Wachtel gives us the inside scoop on the Gibraltar Open, Stuart Thomson covers the Atlanta Spring Classic, and Karen Davis highlights the Ohio State Championships.

But it’s people that make backgammon so enjoyable. Russian photojournalist Vera Degtiarova interviews our own editor Bob Wachtel on his backgammon travels in the exotic middle-eastern nation of Georgia; we profile the Zakrajsek family, all of whom are garnering success on the backgammon circuit; also profiled is Barry Silliman, director of the Washington DC-area Beltway Backgammon Club. Finally, Tore Christian Helliesen shows us how much fun backgammon can be when played on his “big board” in Norwegian schools.

This issue is completed by USBGF President Bill Riles’ column, updating our members on new USBGF initiatives. Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!

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Los Angeles Open Backgammon Tournament

LOS ANGELES OPEN BACKGAMMON TOURNAMENT, June 10 – 12, 2016; Los Angeles, California
Results from chicagopoint.com

2015 Paul BarazChicago_kd
Photo credit Karen Davis

OPEN (56): 1-Paul Baraz (CA), 2-George Haskour (CA), 3-Alan Martin (CA), 4/5-Alfred Mamlet (MD) / Vadim Nuniyants (WA); 1C-Steve Sax (CA), 2C-Ken Bame (CA), 3C/4C-Art Benjamin (CA) / Drew Giovanis (NV).
ADVANCED (41): 1- Lynn Lusk (CO), 2- Charles Toots (CA), 1C- Ray Spehar (CA), 2C-Erwin Hom (CA), 3C/4C- Paul Mangone (CA) / Andy Plat (CA).
LIMITED (9): 1-Inigo Gatus (CA), 2-David Atwood (CA); 1C-Melanie Goldman (NV).
SUPER-32 (31): 1-Ed O’Laughlin (VA), 2-Ted Chee (CA), 3/4- Dorn Bishop (CA) / Alfred Mamlet (MD).
PAUL DINGWELL AMATEUR (29): 1-Frank Ley (CA), 2-Josh Racko (CA), 3/4- Ergin Bayrak (CA) / Joe Nolan (TN).
BLITZ (56): 1- Joe Nolan (TN), 2- Allen Tish (CA).
SENIORS-I (32): 1/2- Art Benjamin (CA) / Ed Rosenblum (NM), 3/4-Lynn Lusk (CO) / Dennis Stone (CA)
SENIORS-II (16): 1/2/3- Elena Evans (TX) / Ed Rosenblum (NM) / Ray Spehar (CA).
DMP-USBGF Prime Tournament (128): 1- Stepan Nuniyants (WA), 2-Mark Antranikian (CA).
DOUBLES (8 teams): 1- Cliff Pappas (AZ) / Jim Wark (TX), 2- Nash Jost / Peter Wisniewski (CA).
$100-JACKPOT: 1- Herb Roman (IL).

PrimeTime Backgammon, Mar-Jun

March – June Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Just a few months into 2016, we barely have enough space in this issue to cover the burgeoning action on the U.S. backgammon scene. The first tournament of the year, the New York Metropolitan Open in January, was grander than ever, with ten of the top ten 2015 Giants in attendance.

The Metro Open featured two spectacular side events. The first was an inaugural challenge match between USA and the rest of the world. And who better to report on that elite competition than our correspondent Steve Sax, team member and Giant #9?

The second side event, the High Roller, drew gamblers from around the nation. Two of those fearless competitors, Bill Phipps and Stick, played a swingy match in which the question of whether to play for the gammon arose repeatedly. Using no less than ten positions from this match as examples, our resident analyst Paul Weaver explores the subtleties of this too-good-or-not theme.

Next on the calendar was the Texas Backgammon Championships in San Antonio in February. For anyone who missed that event or the show at its gala dinner, the 2016 American Hall of Fame honorees were Patrick Gibson, Tim Holland, Danny Kleinman, and Howard Markowitz. We include a transcript of the ceremony, and catch up with a couple of last year’s inductees with the conclusion of USBGF historian Robert Stoller’s interview with Kent Goulding and Michael Senkiewicz. Senkiewicz, the quintessential New York games player, hasn’t lost his touch — winning the New York Metro Championship (above) and finishing as finalist in the Liberty Cup Masters.

Next, Texas co-directors Bill Riles and Tara Mendicino share highlights of the San Antonio tournament, won by USBGF Board of Directors member Richard Munitz. The coveted Dual-Duel crown went to our own PrimeTime Backgammon editor (and Giant #12), Bob Wachtel, after a hard-fought final with Steve Sax.

But the younger generation is eager to make its mark. Brian Lonergan, an under-30 player from New Orleans, describes his determined effort to take his game to the top level. Another hopeful, Australia’s Cindy Belonogoff, gives us her perspective on the U.S. scene after a tour of major American tournaments and some fine results on the USBGF Online Circuit.

Others are pursuing regional fame. We present results of team tournaments in the heartland from Virginia to Illinois, and reprise the rise of the Columbus, Ohio backgammon club to USBGF Prime Club status under Jason Marshall’s leadership.

In other news, we describe USBGF Education Committee chairman Art Benjamin’s ongoing program of organizing backgammon social events at mathematics conferences.

This issue concludes with USBGF President Bill Riles’ column, updating the membership on new USBGF initiatives, including the recently launched online Federation Cup — a free tournament with cash prizes — and a new Newcomer/Novice initiative at Prime Tournaments. He shares his vision for the evolution of organized backgammon play in the U.S. and internationally.

 
Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!

[Read more…]

PrimeTime Backgammon, Jan-Feb

January – February Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Wishing the whole backgammon community a happy new year, we kick off 2016’s first issue of PrimeTime Backgammon by announcing the induction of four new members to the American Backgammon Hall of Fame. The ceremony honoring these backgammon greats took place at the Texas Backgammon Championships in San Antonio on February 5, 2016. Bill Riles presented plaques to the inductees who are profiled in this issue, and Jeremy Bagai contributes an essay on the honorees.

In our first feature, we train the spotlight on two of last year’s Hall of Famers, as USBGF historian Robert Stoller presents a lively interview with Kent Goulding and Michael Senkiewicz: pioneers whose acute analysis of the game in the pre-bot era helped raise the level of professional play.

Next, we move from the distant past to the recent past. This issue includes lists of top performers in 2015 – including the ABT point list topped by Dorn Bishop, the USBGF cumulative Elo over the period from 2009-2015 headed by Joe Russell, the newly instituted USBGF National Master Point list for 2015 with Ray Fogerlund finishing first, and the USBGF 2015 Online Master Points Leaderboard headed by Jan Honza Černý from the Czech Republic.

All these champions! Can you become one too? Improve your game with Marty Storer, our Feature Editor for Annotated Matches. Next up in this issue: Marty analyzes 11 key positions from the USBGF Online Tournament of Champions final match, between Israel’s David Presser and Germany’s Frank Simon. David and Frank were among the 23 winners of 2014 USBGF online tournaments who qualified for a coveted slot in the event.

After doing your homework with Marty, relax and let your mind wander with tournament reports from our far-flung correspondents: Ray Fogerlund on the Seattle Backgammon Classic; Jake Jacobs on the Japan Open; and Sabri Büyüksoy on the 3rd Merit Open in Cyprus.

A craftsman, the saying goes, is only as good as his tools. It is 2016, and by now we all know how to use programs like XG, but how many of us can remember all the replies to the opening moves? The solution may lie with an app created by American expert Jeremy Bagai. Jeremy calls his app, which uses the efficient learning-technique of flashcards, “FlashBack.” But before we rush to buy the app, let’s read the reviews. Canadian Bruce Farquhar lets us do just that, ably assessing FlashBack’s features and promise.

But backgammon is played by people, so we move from mathematical apps to mathemagicians, profiling the extraordinary accomplishments of USBGF Board member Art Benjamin. The second “person of interest” we introduce to our readers is a Rip Van Winkle character: Cleveland’s Ray Cifani, who is attacking the game with fresh enthusiasm after a three-decade layoff!

This issue opens with USBGF President Bill Riles’ updates on the recent Board of Directors election and his thanks for the generous contributions of 32 Founding Sponsors, Prime Benefactors, and major donors – who contributed over $40,000 in 2015. Looking towards a bright 2016, Bill previews his plan to implement a 1000-member campaign.

 
Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!

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PrimeTime Backgammon, Nov-Dec

November-December 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Halloween trick or treat is just behind us, but we’ve saved the real treat for this issue of PrimeTime Backgammon with an in-depth analysis of Marty Storer’s march to victory in Michigan — by none other than our USBGF Editor for Annotated Matches, Marty Storer himself. Marty won both the Championship division and the USBGF National Championship East, compiling a remarkable 17-1 win-loss record in those two events.

Continuing to profile the inaugural cohort of Hall of Fame inductees, we present abridged interviews of tournament directors par excellence Bill Davis and Carol Joy Cole, conducted by USBGF historian Robert Stoller.

Following the ABT circuit, Steve Sax reports on the LA Open, in which Cliff Pappas climbed to backgammon fame after two decades at the poker table. Ray Fogerlund sends news from the Vietor Cup, and Linda Rockwell provides a spooky, spoofy report on the Halloween-themed Illinois tournament. Our international correspondent, Sabri Büyüksoy, treats us with one of his signature photo essays, from a gala tournament held in the Republic of Georgia.

The backgammon literature is constantly growing — and being vetted. John O’Hagan does the honors this month with his review of Ed Rosenblum’s new book, Conquering Backgammon.

Online backgammon on the USBGF Circuit is a wonderful way to meet and play top players from around the world. In this issue I profile the Czech Republic’s Jan Cerny, who won the USBGF Circuit Monthly for July — and his fellow country “man,” 14-year old Martin Zizka, winner of the Advanced Divisional IX.

In his bi-monthly briefing of the membership on the Federation’s affairs, USBGF President Bill Riles gives us a glimpse of some of the great happenings planned for 2016.

 
Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!

[Read more…]