Simborg Video Lesson: Splitting for Beginners

Simborg Video Lesson: Splitting for Beginners

Featured content exclusively for USBGF Premium, Youth, & Basic Members.

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Simborg Video Lesson: Basic Numbers and Odds for Beginners

Simborg Video Lesson: Basic Numbers and Odds for Beginners
Featured content exclusively for USBGF Premium, Youth, & Basic Members.

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Delta Airlines Discount for Tournament Travel!

We have negotiated a Delta Airline travel discount to backgammon tournament attendees in 2017. Blake Fleetwood has graciously organized this exclusive deal for the USBGF.
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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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USBGF Tournament Rules

USBGF Board of Directors Approves Tournament Rules

Approved by U.S. Backgammon Federation Board of Directors September 22, 2016.

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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Backgammon is WAR by Julius High

Julius High — member of the USBGF Board of Directors, outstanding player, and all around nice guy — presents an enlightening and entertaining seminar on “Backgammon is War”. ‘Commander’ High uses military terminology and strategies to define, illustrate, and emphasize fundamental backgammon principles. The presentation will intrigue children, instruct less experienced players, and provide all players concepts for consideration in an enjoyable context.

Backgammon is WAR by Julius High

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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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!

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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!

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Notice of Annual Board of Directors Election

In accordance with the By-Laws, as cited below, this e-mail provides notice of our annual Board of Directors election which will be held this year, via our e-voting system, with a voting window beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST Monday, December 28, 2015 and ending at 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday, January 4, 2016. An e-mail including specific voting instructions, with links to the ballot and to candidate information, will be forwarded to members immediately prior to the beginning of the voting period.

“Elections shall be scheduled and overseen by the Governance and Nominations Committee with the assistance of the Executive Director and other officers as needed. Members shall be entitled to cast up to one vote for each vacancy. However, no Member may cast more than one vote for any candidate on his/her ballot. The Board shall provide reasonable notice of the date range for voting, at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance, through publication on the Federation’s internet website and, to the extent practicable, through other methods reasonably calculated to provide notice to the Federation’s Members. There shall be a period of at least seven (7) days for voting. Candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, up to the number of vacancies, and named on at least 50% of the ballots cast will be elected. The seat numbers listed as being up for election on the ballot shall be in descending order of the time remaining on their respective terms and will be sequentially assigned to elected candidates in descending order of the number of votes received. If not all the seats are filled in the initial round of elections, then there will be a runoff between the “x” number of candidates receiving the most votes (but not elected), where “x” is equal to twice the number of remaining seats on the Board to be filled in the election, provided that a candidate must have received votes from at least 5% of the ballots cast in the initial round to be eligible for the runoff. In the event of ties for the last remaining slot(s) on a runoff ballot, each of the candidates in the tie will be placed on the runoff ballot. Candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, up to the remaining number of vacancies, and named on at least 50% of the ballots cast will be elected.”

PrimeTime Backgammon, Sept-Oct

September-October 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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The September-October 2015 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon is now available. We apologize that its release is somewhat behind schedule, but we hope that you will agree it is well worth the wait. It includes coverage of one of the most elegant, luxurious events in the worldwide tournament calendar, the 40th anniversary edition of the Backgammon World Championship, held at the beachfront Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel in the richest (per capita) country in the world, Monaco.

 
The winner, Cihangir Çetinel, is the first Turkish player to claim the honor of World Champion; and the losing finalist was another Eastern European: the young Russian expert, Sergey Erokhin. Two other articles complete our coverage of this premier event. First, our editor and #8 Giant Bob Wachtel analyzes a few key positions from the final match; then Çetinel’s Turkish countryman, Sabri Büyüksoy, provides one of his signature essays, in which he profiles the new champion.

 
All this is not to say that nothing was happening domestically, with tournaments in Chicago in May and Michigan in July generating quite a buzz. On the way to winning the Markowitz Masters in Chicago, Giant #2, Michihito Kageyama (Michy) was paired with Giant #5 Matt Cohn-Geier. An epic match like this one is grist for the mill of USBGF Match Editor Marty Storer; and Marty does not disappoint, astutely analyzing ten key positions from the match. And in July it was Marty himself who took the spotlight, winning both the Michigan Summer Championship and the USBGF National Championship East!

 
Our tribute to the inaugural cohort of American Backgammon Hall of Fame honorees continues with USBGF Historian Robert Stoller’s interview of two-time world champion Bill Robertie who is featured on the cover. Bill is a gifted and prolific author, publisher, and promoter/director whose books have taught innumerable players both the basics and finer points of the game.

 
Each backgammon game begins with the opening; and in this issue expert Jeremy Bagai presents us, in an article entitled “Bagai’s Replies Surprise,” with a set of rules to make the choice of second-roll replies to opening moves foolproof. On another technical note, New Zealand’s Grant Hoffman shares a short cut, the “Rule of 8,” to facilitate over-the-board bearoff calculations of the 1296 possible two-roll dice combinations.

 
As the backgammon literature expands, players need extensive consumer reports to help keep up. In this issue Robert Stoller reviews Danish expert Marc Olsen’s new book, Backgammon: From Basics to Badass.
 

Online backgammon on the USBGF Circuit is a wonderful way to meet and test your skills against top players from around the world. The issue includes profiles of Dmitriy Obukhov and Walt Smith, winners of USBGF online tournaments, both of whom made the transition from chess to backgammon, as well as social player Genna Cowan. Supplementing his Hall-of-Fame duties, Robert Stoller gives us an insightful profile of Ed Sawyer, winner of the first USBGF Advanced Divisional.

 
USBGF President Bill Riles, in his message to the membership, urges members to participate in the upcoming election of directors and nominate qualified candidates for the American Backgammon Hall of Fame.

 
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, July-Aug

July-August 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Joe Russell, fresh from victories at the U.S. Open and the Atlanta Masters Jackpot, appears on the cover of our August 2015 issue. A spectacularly successful competitor, Joe won the World Championship (Monte Carlo) in 1989 and has consistently scored ABT titles over the years. He is a member of the USBGF Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the development of its collegiate program and master points system.

In our feature article, USBGF Editor and World Team member Bob Wachtel reports on this year’s Nordic Open, presenting material from the World vs. Denmark team event (Denmark won in a squeaker) and from the main draw itself. In his analysis, Bob weighs in on a controversy that divides both players and teachers: calculation or vision? Bob’s moral: check twice before you make the pretty play!

Our coverage of the inaugural cohort of American Backgammon Hall of Fame honorees continues with USBGF Historian Robert Stoller’s interview of all-time great, Malcolm Davis. Stoller, director of the Anchorage Backgammon Club, conceived and executed the idea of video interviews of Hall of Fame inductees and the induction
ceremony. Along with a generous helping
of lore, anecdote, and general backgammon wisdom, Malcolm provides us with a his- tory of the Dallas Backgammon League (a USBGF Prime Club, known locally as DBL!).

An important segment of this issue is devoted to the memory of leading members of our community who passed away recently. In homage to Herb Gurland, USBGF Match Editor Marty Storer analyzes a fascinating match he played with Herb at the New England Backgammon Club tournament in 2001. Then Paul Weaver provides a more formal obituary, including reflections of just a few of Herb’s many friends on his love of the game and unique sense of humor. We end with a fond remembrance of Elayne Feinstein, the fun and feisty director of local clubs in Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale and the Florida State Championships.

On the tournament front, Ray Fogerlund reports on the U.S. Open in April, and Sabri Büyüksoy presents a pictorially stunning report on the Russian Sport Backgammon Federation tournament in Sochi, Russia in May. I feature the highlights of the “player- friendly” event, the 7th Atlanta Spring Classic (April).

Online backgammon on the USBGF Circuit is a wonderful way to meet and test your skills against top players from around the world. In this issue I profile Argentina’s Fernando Neumark, winner of the USBGF Masters Divisional IX.

USBGF President Bill Riles, in his message to the membership, appeals for support of the streaming, transcribing, and archiving of major tournament matches. He then briefs us on the progress of the USBGF’s latest 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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PrimeTime Backgammon, May-June

May-June 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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Saba Bejanishvili, the recent Atlanta Spring Classic champion, graces the cover of the May-June 2015 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Saba grew up in the Republic of Georgia, and came to the U.S. to study neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, He got seriously interested in backgammon in February 2013 when he purchased eXtreme Gammon software out of curiosity. Within one year he played in the 2014 Texas Backgammon Championships Dual-Duel event, defeating top players Matt Cohn-Geier and Petko Kostadinov on Performance Rating. His polite demeanor, discipline, and sportsmanship make him a role model for many aspiring backgammon players.

In our feature article, Marty Storer analyzes an exciting match between Saba and Mochy in the finals of the Dual-Duel event in 2014. Saba won on match score but Mochy’s PR carried the day.

There’s lots of interesting tournament news. Sabri Büyüksoy captures the Istavder tournament in Istanbul in February with 346 attendees from 16 countries in a wonderful photo montage. Our reporters cover the tournament beat. Ray Fogerlund reprises the DC Capital Classic Championships and Bob Wachtel shares news of the oldest running tournament in the US, the Vietor Cup.

Online backgammon on the USBGF Circuit is a wonderful way to meet and test your skills against top players from around the world. In this issue I profile three of our recent online winners: Masters Divisional winner Cüneyt Argun Genc (Turkey); Intermediate Division winner Deborah Ferolito (FL); and December 2014 Circuit winner John Gamalielson (WA). Winners of all 2014 online tournaments are competing in the USBGF Tournament of Champions.

In an age when cyberbullying is a growing source of concern, USBGF President Bill Riles shares his thoughts on the importance of treating players with respect and consideration, whether in person or in social media.

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

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Simborg Video Lesson: Doubling Window by John and Phil

Doubling Window by John O’Hagan and Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: Action Doubles 2

Action Doubles 2 by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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PrimeTime Backgammon, Mar-Apr

March-Apil 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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We’re delighted with the positive response we’ve gotten to the USBGF bi-monthly PrimeTime Backgammon magazine. The electronic issue of the magazine is now available to all Premium and Youth members without charge. The print edition, at $25 a copy plus shipping, is increasingly in demand. If you’d like to subscribe to purchase a print version, sign up for automatic recurring purchase through our USBGF BG Shop and receive a 5 percent discount.

Victor Ashkenazi, the #11 ranked Giant of Backgammon, graces the cover of the March-April 2015 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Victor is off to a great start in 2015, leading in the newly-implemented USBGF Live Master Points System, with strong performances at both the New York Metro and the Texas Backgammon Championships, as well as the USBGF National Championship West. Having kept a low profile for years, Victor has emerged as one of backgammon’s superstars, winning a coveted place on the World Team in the Nordic Open’s 2014 event: The World vs. Denmark. In an insightful interview, Phil Simborg reveals the secrets behind Victor’s mastery.

In our feature article, Marty Storer analyzes an exciting final match between Bill Robertie (twice world champion and a recent Hall-of-Fame inductee) and fellow Bostonian Matt Reklaitis at the Connecticut State Championships last October.

Next, Stick, one of the world’s foremost opening experts, provides another fascinating column on first-roll responses. His subject this time: how to play 6-3 in response to an opening 5-4 split.

I hope you didn’t miss the American Backgammon Hall of Fame inaugural induction in San Antonio – but whether you made it or not, in this issue you’ll find heart-warming excerpts from the ceremony and a link to a video of the event.

The tournament scene has been action-packed of late, fueled by the launch of the USBGF Prime Tournament initiative (which provides added money in tournaments for USBGF members). We saw 128 entries to the NY Metro Mini-Match and 96 entries to the Texas USBGF Prime Tournament Freeroll! Our reporters cover the tournament beat. My article shows off the bright lights of the NY Metro; Ray Fogerlund reprises the Texas Backgammon Championships, with a special focus on the Dual Duel; and Steve Sax captures highlights of the California State Championships.

Backgammon is a game that attracts brilliant people and interesting personalities. Interviewing them is always a treat for me. In this issue I profile four of our recent online winners: Masters Divisional winners Frank Simon (Germany) and Igor Erovenko (currently leader of the USBGF Online Master Points race); Ralph Desimone, Advanced Divisional VI winner; and Harvey Gillis, winner of the November 2014 Circuit.

Putting a ribbon and bow on this issue, USBGF President Bill Riles brings us an update on the Federation’s recent membership growth.

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

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Simborg Video Lesson: Early Game Exercise

Early Game Exercise by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: 2-1 Bearing In Play

2-1 Bearing In Play by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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PrimeTime Backgammon, Jan-Feb

January-February 2015 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

By Karen Davis, Managing Editor

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A special treat is in store for our readers. This issue features the inaugural American Backgammon Hall of Fame inductees — with snapshots of each of the 13 honorees, an insightful essay by Jeremy Bagai on the class, a description by Karen Davis of the process used to select these individuals, and plans going forward by Bill Riles, USBGF President and Executive Director.

Ted Chee, USBGF All-Time and 2014 Online Master Points winner was honored along with the Hall of Famers at the USBGF Awards dinner in San Antonio on January 30, 2015. He is featured in a report on the online master point leaders since the launch of the USBGF Online Tournament Circuit in the fall of 2012.

Ray Fogerlund, who won the coveted #1 spot on the American Backgammon Tour for 2014, is profiled by Karen Davis. A feature on Frank Raposa, #2 ABT winner for 2014, is reprinted with permission from his hometown Fitchburg, Massachusetts newspaper, the Sentinel & Enterprise.

Stick makes his debut as a regular columnist for PrimeTime Backgammon with his first article on common errors in the early game that result in significant match equity loss.

This issue also showcases Bill Phipps, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in an article by Iancho Hristov. Other player profiles by Karen Davis include: Jonah Seewald, 2014 USBGF Grand Champion; and Zdenìk Žižka from the Czech Republic, winner of the online Masters Divisional IV.

And there are tournament reports galore: the inaugural U.K. Open by Peter Bennet, the Japan Open by Jake Jacobs, and the 2nd Merit Open in Cyprus by Sabri Büyüksoy on the international scene, and the Illinois State by Linda Rockwell closer to home. The Kansas City Backgammon Club, formed a decade ago by Eric Barr, is thriving with the addition of Julius High and his popular Backgammon Study Group. It is the newest addition to the USBGF list of 15 Prime Clubs.

Finally, USBGF President Bill Riles brings us up to date on the Federation with the recent election of Board members Julius High and Michelle Steinberg. Make plans to attend 2015 Prime Tournaments including the upcoming D.C. Capital Classic, the Ohio State Championships, the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Atlanta Spring Classic, Chicago Open, Los Angeles Open, and the Michigan Summer Championships and take home added money exclusively for USBGF members!

Check out the live and online tournament rankings, and Get in the Game!

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Simborg Video Lesson: Gammon-Go

Gammon-Go by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: Hitting Twice in the Early Game

Hitting Twice in the Early Game by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: Chunking Information

Chunking Information by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: Holistic Backgammon

Holistic Backgammon by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: Cube Position from California

Cube Position from California by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Notice of Upcoming Board of Directors Election

In accordance with the USBGF By-Laws, as cited below, this post provides notice of our annual Board of Directors election which will be held this year, via our e-voting system, with a voting window beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST Monday, December 29, 2014 and ending at 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday, January 5, 2015. An e-mail including specific voting instructions, with links to the ballot and to candidate information, will be forwarded to members immediately prior to the beginning of the voting period.

“Elections shall be scheduled and overseen by the Governance and Nominations Committee with the assistance of the Executive Director and other officers as needed. Members shall be entitled to cast up to one vote for each vacancy. However, no Member may cast more than one vote for any candidate on his/her ballot. The Board shall provide reasonable notice of the date range for voting, at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance, through publication on the Federation’s internet website and, to the extent practicable, through other methods reasonably calculated to provide notice to the Federation’s Members. There shall be a period of at least seven (7) days for voting. Candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, up to the number of vacancies, and named on at least 50% of the ballots cast will be elected. The seat numbers listed as being up for election on the ballot shall be in descending order of the time remaining on their respective terms and will be sequentially assigned to elected candidates in descending order of the number of votes received. If not all the seats are filled in the initial round of elections, then there will be a runoff between the “x” number of candidates receiving the most votes (but not elected), where “x” is equal to twice the number of remaining seats on the Board to be filled in the election, provided that a candidate must have received votes from at least 5% of the ballots cast in the initial round to be eligible for the runoff. In the event of ties for the last remaining slot(s) on a runoff ballot, each of the candidates in the tie will be placed on the runoff ballot. Candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, up to the remaining number of vacancies, and named on at least 50% of the ballots cast will be elected.”

We look forward to considerable membership participation in the accomplishment of another successful Board of Directors election.

Simborg Video Lesson: 4-3 Unlimited Game

4-3 Unlimited Game by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: End-Game Cube Action by John and Phil

End-Game Cube Action by John O’Hagan and Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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Simborg Video Lesson: 4-2 From the Bar

4-2 From the Bar by Phil Simborg, USBGF Teaching Pro. Enjoy!
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