Congratulations to Bill Riles, winner of the Masters Divisional XLII. Bill defeated Ken Bame in the 21-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Jalil Khalili and John Graas. The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.
Congratulations to James Schothorst, winner of the Advanced Divisional XXVIII. James defeated Kamil Karaali in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were Jerry Nussbaum and Martin Filipi. The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.
Congratulations to Alessandro Pettini, winner of the Advanced Divisional XXVIII. Alessandro defeated Brian Hoeft in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were Long Nguyen and Jason Marshall. The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.
Congratulations to Jalil Khalili , winner of the Masters Divisional XL. Jalil defeated Chris Trencher in the 21-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Edward Bauder and John Graas. The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.
Congratulations to Peter Swartwout, winner of the Advanced Divisional XXVIII. Peter defeated Ron Lewis in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were Kat Denison and Ray Cifani. The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.
Photo by Tara Mendicino. Congratulations to Kit Woolsey, winner of the U.S. Open championship division and all the other winners. See results below.
OF PRIMETIME BACKGAMMON
Perennial winner, larger-than-life giant, and unfailingly courteous gentleman Malcolm Davis is featured on the cover of the January-February 2014 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Malcolm has amassed numerous trophies over the last 20 years, from the 1993 Illinois State Championship to most recently the Masters Jackpot at the 1st Capital Classic in Washington DC in November. He stands at #3 on the All-Time American Backgammon Tour, a testament to his assiduous recording and study of his game.
This issue of PrimeTime Backgammon features the newest offering on the U.S. Backgammon Federation online tournament circuit — the USBGF Team Championship won by a team of California players naming themselves Scared Hitless. Marty Storer, the USBGF Special Editor for Annotated Matches, analyzes key positions in the finals round. The online tournaments have become hugely popular as backgammon players from around the world compete for fame and the thrill of playing highly competitive matches with skilled players.
But live tournaments continue to trump online play, as the sight and sound of backgammon in action and camaraderie continue to captivate. Karen Davis covers the 1st Capital Classic in the Washington DC area. Ben Friesen gives a collegiate competitor’s candid take on his match with Japan’s top young player Yuri Hiroki in the U.S.-Japan Youth Challenge Match in Las Vegas.
There’s lots in this issue for players of all levels. Raymond Kershaw from the UK presents examples of the Kauder Paradox, when it is correct to double at negative equity and it is correct to beaver!
Ken Larsen, director of the Durham-Chapel Hill Backgammon Club in North Carolina offers some thought-provoking ideas on a new way to rate top players based on points won per event entered. Phil Simborg, USBGF Education Adviser and lecturer extraordinaire, shares a sample of his USBGF teaching videos. Phil has created over 100 videos thus far, and all can be viewed on the USBGF website. And much more — see especially the profiles of online monthly circuit tournament winners Maya Peycheva and Harvey Gillis.
We salute the 8 local clubs that achieved Prime Club status in 2013 with USBGF members ranging from 10 in the Austin Backgammon Club to 34 in the Los Angeles area Gammon Associates.
USBGF President Bill Riles issues a call for volunteering on the part of members to help our member-run organization achieve its potential. Check it out, and as Bill says, Get in the Game!
Also check out the latest live and online Leader Boards. Get your name on the marquee by playing in the many USBGF online tournament offerings, or the upcoming American Backgammon Tour live events listed in the magazine.
You’ll find that PrimeTime Backgammon has features attuned to the interests of our entire membership, offering more and more ways to enhance your playing experience. You won’t want to miss out on all the great action.
About 50 attendees at the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore on January 17 turned out to play, watch, or learn backgammon at the Backgammon Social Event sponsored by the U.S. Backgammon Federation. The event was planned by Harvey Mudd College mathematics professor and USBGF Board member Arthur Benjamin. mathematics professor at Howard Community College and USBGF OLM Editor Jason Lee, and USBGF Chairman of the Board of Directors Karen Davis. Benjamin, Lee, Davis, and DC-area players including Ed O’Laughlin, Bill Finneran, Mike Lauzon, and Eva Mitter worked with groups of math professors and graduate students at different skill levels ranging from those playing for the first time to competitive players. It was designed to highlight the math aspects of backgammon and recruit more college students and professors to the game, including participation in the annual USBGF Online Collegiate Championship. Conference attendee Matt Lehman from the University of Massachusetts in Boston had this to say. “It was a lot of fun. I got to play a lot of people at my skill level. Backgammon is a fun, social game. The games are fast and you can talk. Especially enjoyable at the end of a long conference.”
A special Youth Challenge Match will be played at the Las Vegas Open beginning Wednesday evening, November 20, at 7:00 pm PST (10 pm EST). This match is sponsored by the Japanese Backgammon League and the USBGF in the promotion of backgammon globally.
Yuki Hiroki, the JBL Youth Champion, will represent Japan. Ben Friesen, the USBGF Collegiate Champion, will represent the USA. The match will use a Dual-Duel format. The match will be to 11-points; however, a player must win both by score and by PR to be declared the winner. If the first match does not produce a winner, a second match to 7-points will be played with the same criteria. A third match to 3-points will follow, if necessary. If a winner is still not determined, single-point sudden-death games will be played until one player prevails. Mochy will transcribe the matches into XG for immediate PR results.
We expect the match to be available for viewing on http://usbgf.org/stream
Don’t miss it!
1st CAPITAL CLASSIC BACKGAMMON CHAMPIONSHIPS November 8-10, 2013; Herndon, Virginia. From ChicagoPoint.com OPEN (28): 1-Greg Merriman (MI), 2-Jeff Acierno (NJ); 1C-Alan Grunwald (NJ), 2C-Michael Edge (SC). ADVANCED (31): 1-Neal Weiner (FL), 2-Scotty Kelland (CT); 1C-Evan Hansen (WV), 2C-Marcy Kossar (MD). NOVICE (6): 1-Lili Iravani (DC), 2-Suzanne Auer (MD). Consolation Trophy to RoseMarie Holsing (VA). MASTERS JACKPOT (12): 1-Malcolm Davis (TX), 2-Rod Covlin (NY), 3-Karen Davis (DC). OPEN JACKPOT (8): 1-Michael Edge (SC), 2-Howard Markowitz (NV). INTERMEDIATE JACKPOT (8): 1-Chen-Fu Yu (MD), 2-Bob Hathaway (VA). DOUBLES (12 teams): 1-Frank Raposa (VA) & Chen-Fu Yu (MD), 2-LEW Webber (VA) & Neal Weiner (FL), 3-Howard Markowitz (NV) & self. SENIORS #1 (16): 1-Brent Cohen (PA), 2-Donny Lomuto (NY). SENIORS #2 (8): 1-Carol Joy Cole (MI), 2-Donald Gabbai (VA). SENIORS #3 (8): 1-Chen-Fu Yu (MD), 2-Stepan Nuniyants (WA). USBGF BLITZ (56): 1-Bill Finneran (VA), 2-Kenny Loveless (VA). DMP TOURNAMENT (32): 1-Rod Covlin (NY), 2-Donald Gabbai (VA). FREE ROLL (65): 1/2-Phil Lerman (DC) / Hadi Moradi (VA).
U.S. Backgammon Federation Announces Leadership Change
The U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF) announced today that Perry Gartner is resigning as President and Executive Director effective October 16 for compelling business and personal reasons. Upon his recommendation, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of William Riles as his successor.
Gartner noted: “Bill Riles brings great judgment, business expertise, and backgammon tournament director experience to the leadership of the Board.” Riles directed the inaugural Texas Backgammon Championships in 2013, one of the most successful first-time events drawing over 130 entrants from as far as Norway and Japan, including 17 Giants of Backgammon and all five top Giants. He is a frequent fixture on the American Backgammon Tour (ABT), winning the Badger Classic masters jackpot in Wisconsin in 2012, after coming in second in that event in 2010, and winning the Michigan Masters in 2009. He is a civil engineer educated at Rice University and, prior to retiring, worked in the offshore oil and gas industry.
In accepting the nomination, Riles expressed his appreciation for the contributions Gartner has made since he assumed the presidency in May 2010, including formation of its Collegiate Program and working in partnership with other international federations to expand online and live backgammon playing experiences worldwide. “Perry Gartner has built a strong organization over the last three years, with an outstanding Board of Directors, special advisers, staff, and volunteers. I look forward to continuing this record of success, enriching and improving our benefit offerings, and working with others sharing in our vision.”
Riles indicated he has many new ideas for the USBGF and welcomes suggestions and feedback. “Representing the Federation, with the assistance of the Board of Directors and of all the members, I am confident together we can advance our mission. Foremost, I want to establish initiatives to significantly increase membership in the USBGF through grass-roots efforts directed toward the local, casual, recreational, online, and other players found in abundance throughout the United States. Our visibility and exposure must be enhanced to reach out to these players and to introduce them to the benefits and resources provided by the Federation. Only through increased membership from a broader base may we continue to provide and to expand resources for our members. I encourage every member of the USBGF to become an integral ‘stakeholder’ in the Federation and to contribute their skills, efforts, time, and/or ideas, as they may, to assist in the advancement of our mission. I will be accessible to all in the promotion of these efforts.”
Karen Davis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, announced that the Board has conveyed on Gartner the honor of designation as President Emeritus of the U.S. Backgammon Federation.
The U.S. Backgammon Federation is a not-for-profit membership organization devoted to advancing the awareness, participation, education and enjoyment of the skill-based game of backgammon.
The U.S. Backgammon Federation will be changing its benefit and dues structure on September 8, 2013, the third anniversary of its online membership system. The Limited/Associate membership option will be replaced with an upgraded Basic membership that includes our online tournament circuit and online ratings system, USBGF events and lectures at select ABT tournaments, ratings and statistics on ABT tournaments, and a multi-media library of educational materials including archived videotaped, recorded, and annotated matches of experts. The Premium membership will include these benefits plus our widely-acclaimed electronic bi-monthly magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon, which will undergo an exciting redesign with the September-October issue featuring writings from the world’s best players and authors, as well as discounts on software, equipment, and books to be published by USBGF, and free first entry into twice-annual USBGF National Championships.
Dues will be $60 annually for Premium members or $150 for three years; $15 for Youth/Student members (unchanged); and $35 annually for Basic members. Premium members joining or renewing before that date can lock in current rates ($40 for one-year or $100 for three-years). If you have questions about the benefit and dues change, please see the list of Questions and Answers about the change on our website.
The U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF) will celebrate the third anniversary of its online membership system in September 2013. We thank our members for their support and confidence in us as we have developed this exciting not-for-profit organization dedicated to growing the backgammon community.
Over those three years, we have offered Premium, Limited/Associate, and Youth membership options. We have decided to replace the Limited/Associate option with an upgraded Basic membership that includes our online tournament circuit and online ratings system, USBGF events and lectures at select ABT tournaments, ratings and statistics on ABT tournaments, and a multi-media library of educational materials.
The Premium membership will include these benefits plus our widely-acclaimed electronic bi-monthly magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon, which will undergo an exciting redesign with the September-October issue featuring writings from the world’s best players and authors, as well as discounts on software, equipment, and books to be published by USBGF, and free first entry into twice-annual USBGF National Championships.
The cost of providing these benefits has grown over time, while dues have remained unchanged. Beginning with our third anniversary on September 8, 2013, our membership system will reflect these restructured benefits. Dues will be $60 annually for Premium members or $150 for three years; $15 for Youth/Student members (unchanged); and $35 annually for Basic members. Premium members joining or renewing before that date can lock in current rates ($40 for one-year or $100 for three-years).
We welcome International Premium and International Basic members at the same rates as U.S. members and will be providing benefits tailored to their interests including international online tournaments and an international edition of PrimeTime Backgammon.
For complete details regarding all benefits of USBGF membership, please see our USBGF Membership Brochure.
It is with great pleasure that the U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF) presents the 3rd USBGF Club Team Championship! Take the traveling trophy, now housed with the Beltway Backgammon Club They Might Not Be Giants team, home to your club! We are fortunate to be using the USBGF Online Tournament Circuit for this year’s event, with automated features for registering, being notified of matches, reporting matches, viewing drawsheets, and automatically updating your Elo and other online match statistics. It’s easier and better than ever!
The registration desk is now open. So Captains, mark your calendars, read and understand the terms of contest spelled out on the website, and enter your three-player Team Registration as soon as possible. Captains should visit the USBGF Online Circuit Tournament Calendar at Online Circuit Tournament Calendar and select from the list of available Club Team Championship Qualifiers currently in registration.
Play will commence when the first 8 teams have registered and continue in brackets of 8 until a total of 8 brackets have been run. Teams may re-enter unlimited times once they have won or lost a bracket in any open qualifying bracket of 8 (however a team may not enter again if they have won two brackets). Winners of brackets will be fed into a single elimination Playoff commencing upon completion of the 8th bracket. Any team with two bracket wins will receive a first round bye.
Entry for the USBGF Club Team Championship is free. All players must be Premium or Youth members of the USBGF. The traveling trophy will be awarded to the first place team and certificates will be awarded to players of the top four teams at the USBGF Tournament of Stars, held during the Texas Backgammon Championships in San Antonio January 30-February 2, 2014. Photos of winning team players will be featured on the USBGF Hall of Fame website page and the January-February 2014 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon electronic magazine. Points will be awarded based on number of matches won, with certificates going to the best performing team on the basis of points.
There are just a handful of easy hoops that each player, three-person team, local club, and captain must jump through to qualify for this event. You won’t find more fun, prestige, and recognition anywhere else!
Co-Director: Joe Russell
Co-Director: Justin Nunez
Co-Director: Tara Mendicino
Tournament Ruling Committee: Joe Russell, Justin Nunez, director of the Local Clubs Initiative, Tara Mendicino, and Perry Gartner, USBGF President and Executive Director
The tournament directors reserve the right to make modifications to the tournament design as well as the right to exclude participation with no reason required.
Members of the U.S. Backgammon Federation are cordially invited to attend the 2013 Annual Membership Meeting. Perry Gartner, President and Executive Director, will discuss activities of the Federation and future plans. Karen Davis, Chairman and Treasurer, will present an update on membership and financial status of the organization. 2012 Financial Statements may be reviewed on the USBGF website. Officers and Board members will be available to respond to member questions and suggestions.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at 9 pm Eastern time on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. If you are a current member and interested in participating, please join the conference call by calling 1-213-342-3000 and entering the participant access code 3841403.
Ben Friesen from the University of Michigan-Flint won the USBGF U.S. Collegiate Backgammon Championship in an exciting finale against Michael Zakrajsek from the University of Texas-Austin. Agamir Gevorkyan from Russia won the International Collegiate Championship finals match against Junichi Kieda from Japan. The U.S. college team championship went to Northwestern with players David Presser, Michael Harper, and Daniel Learner. Second place college team went to the University of South Carolina with Michaela Close, Branford Wilkins, and Purva Choudhari.
A dozen volunteers, led by Jason Lee, Online Match Series Editor for the U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF) and Giant of Backgammon Bob Koca, introduced visitors to the mathematics of backgammon at the new National Museum of Mathematics on April 6, 2013. At the invitation of Cindy Lawrence, co-Executive Director of the new museum located at 11 East 26th Street, New York, NY, the USBGF arranged to expose young and old alike to the fascinating mathematics behind the game of backgammon. The event was organized by Perry Gartner, USBGF President, with help from Phil Simborg, Education Adviser to the USBGF.
The afternoon at the Museum began with a PowerPoint lecture by Lee and Koca that interspersed the rules of the game with mathematical concepts. The focus was not on the right move, but the thought process undergirding play. The lecture was projected on a large screen using eXtremeGammon software screen shots of the backgammon board and various positions. Participants quickly grasped the importance of counting shots, covering numbers, and ways to make points.
Volunteers including Giant of Backgammon Richard Munitz, New York City players including Antoinette-Marie Williams, director of the Pair-O-Dice Club in New York City and organizer of events at the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo, Julia Sommer, organizer of the NYC Backgammon MeetUp group, Bob Bieder, Michael Cazel, Melvin Chin, Ross Gordon, Eva Mitter, and Michael Pustilnik brought backgammon boards and played with participants.
Munitz tantalized the crowd by asking a lot of questions, and patiently letting the participants find the right answer. And the assembled crowd gasped with surprise at the smashing ending to the evening’s festivities when Rich rolled a 1-6 from the bar, coming in against a five-point board, hopping out, and hitting to win the game, demonstrating that unlike in chess backgammon players can win or lose at the whim of the dice gods.
His opponent, a brother of a MoMath employee, said: “I had a fantastic time at MoMath’s Backgammon master class. Before that night, I had played a lot of backgammon, but never really thought about any of the mathematics behind it. My teacher that night (who turned out to be a national champion!) really took the time to map out every move with me. In three hours, we only got through one game, but by the end, the whole room was crowded around our table cheering or groaning with each roll of the dice. I think the best part was that a MoMath special event was a place where I could really nerd out with people who appreciate it.”
Lawrence thanked Perry Gartner, President and Executive Director of USBGF, for sponsoring the session. She commented: “My reaction: Everyone who attended seemed to have a great time. The pros walked around providing helpful tips and explanations–we all learned something new. A few attendees asked if we would host another such evening–I hope we will. Thank you!
On the preceding evening Lee and Koca explained backgammon to donor VIPs gathered at the Science House at 122 East 38th in Manhattan, whose CEO James Jorasch serves on the Board of Directors of the Museum. They attracted a steady stream of interested attendees — despite stiff competition from some of the leading lights of the worlds of scrabble, poker, and chess including Annie Duke, American professional poker player and author who holds a World Series of Poker gold bracelet from 2004 and is the leading money winner among women in WSOP history, and Joe Edley, the first Scrabble professional to win the National Scrabble Championship three times.
The Museum of Mathematics mission states: “Mathematics illuminates the patterns that abound in our world. The National Museum of Mathematics strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic exhibits and programs will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. The museum’s activities will lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human, and aesthetic nature of mathematics.”
The National Museum of Mathematics which opened its doors on December 15, 2012, began in response to the closing of a small museum of mathematics on Long Island, the Goudreau Museum. A group of interested parties (the “Working Group”) met in August 2008 to explore the creation of a new museum of mathematics – one that would go well beyond the Goudreau in both its scope and methodology. Led by hedge-fund analyst Glen Whitney, the group quickly discovered that there was no museum of mathematics in the United States, and yet there was incredible demand for hands-on math programming. Accomplishments to date include creating the popular Math Midway exhibition, which is currently touring museums throughout the United States; leading math tours in various U.S. cities; the Math Encounters presentation series; delivering programs for students, teachers, and the public to increase appreciation of mathematics; and raising over $22 million to date. The Museum contains 19,000 square feet of interactive, often awe-inspiring exhibits driven by mathematical concepts.
The University of South Carolina’s Michaela Close (MickCat) faces Michael Zakrajsek (Riversend) of the University of Texas in a semifinal matchup of the USBGF sponsored US Collegiate Backgammon Championship. The match to 9 points is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 3:00pm ET (GG time) on the GridGammon webserver. Benjamin Friesen from the University of Michigan defeated Northwestern’s David Presser in the other semifinal and awaits the winner in the collegiate final. Northwestern leads South Carolina 3 — 2 in the team standings.
In the International Collegiate Championship, Russia’s Agamir Gevorkyan will play Junichi Kieda of Japan in the 11 point final for the championship. The scheduled date and time for the finals matches will be announced once determined.
Thanks to all students who participated and good luck to the remaining contestants.
|Co-Director: Joe Russellfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Co-Director: Tara Mendicinoemail@example.com|
|Coordinator: Kathy Weiner||PROCalKatfirstname.lastname@example.org|
The U.S. Backgammon Federation participated at the Nowruz Persian New Year celebration at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery in Washington DC on March 16. Each year 10,000 people attend the celebration to view the exhibits, listen to concerts, watch a Nomad dance performance, hear stories from the Shahnama, make jewelry, eat Persian food, and play Persian games. According to Jake Jacobs, the earliest record of backgammon places it in the city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia, now part of Iraq.
At the invitation of the Smithsonian, Majid Jahanbani, recent third-place finisher in the Intermediate Division of the NY Metro tournament, tapped Bill Finneran, recent finalist in the CSI Masters jackpot, to organize local backgammon players to host the event. Washington DC backgammon experts participating included in addition to Finneran, Karen Davis, chairman of the U.S. Backgammon Federation, Giant of Backgammon Ed O’Laughlin, Frank Raposa co-director of the Northern Virginia Backgammon Club and recent winner of the Beltway Backgammon Championship, Larry Richards, and Farsi-fluent Lili Iravani. They taught and played backgammon with attendees ranging in age from 5 to 82. The backgammon and chess tables, set up at the Freer Gallery Mall entrance on Independence Avenue, were a popular first stopping place. Some game enthusiasts played for the first time. Others were masters at moving the checkers, but unfamiliar with using the doubling cube. But all loved experiencing Persian culture, traditions, and the great game of backgammon.
Scholarship awards and certificates from a $1000 prize pool will be given to the top four placing U.S. individuals and top international winner, and a school prize will be awarded to the U.S. college with the most collective victories of up to three pre-designated players. Plans are also underway for the Collegiate Team USA composed of the top 3-4 U.S. winners of the single elimination tournament to play against a Japanese or other International Collegiate Team. So stay tuned for more details.
Play will begin on April 1 as a single elimination tournament accommodating all registrants. To the extent possible, students from the same university/college will not be paired with each other in the early rounds. The tournament is co-directed by Michael Edge email@example.com, Joe Russell firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tara Mendicino email@example.com with the assistance of College Program director Michael Edge firstname.lastname@example.org and Arthur Benjamin, professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Backgammon Federation Benjamin@math.hmc.edu. Players will be notified of their opponent and deadline for completing match.
The format consists of single 7 point matches in the early rounds with semi-finals and final matches at 9 and 11 points respectively.
USBGF MembershipAny student who is not a current USBGF Youth Member should register online at http://usbgf.org/membership/join/. Payment of $15 Youth dues by PayPal and major credit cards is accepted. Any full- or part-time undergraduate or graduate student may qualify for Youth membership, regardless of age. If you require financial assistance paying the membership fee, please register as a Guest and e-mail Tara Mendicino at email@example.com to check on the availability of financial assistance. Japanese students should also contact Mochy at firstname.lastname@example.org in this regard.
Scholarship awards will be provided to 1st through 4th place individual U.S. college students and the top international student, and a school prize will be awarded to the top-placing U.S. college. A total scholarship prize pool of $1000 has been committed by the USBGF to this event. The amount and division of the awards will depend on how many college students participate in the event.
If three or fewer students from a given college participate, they will automatically constitute the “college team.” If four or more students plan to participate, the first three registered will constitute the first team, the next three the second team, and so on.
As is the case for all USBGF online tournaments, the use of aids such as a backgammon software program, books, or other educational materials or assistance from another person is strictly prohibited. Players are required to submit their recorded matches when they report their win. As required by the tournament directors, matches will be proctored for the semi-finals and final by an individual approved by the College program director.
Venue and Schedule
- Both the U.S. National Collegiate Championship and International Collegiate Championship will be played on GridGammon. Nicknames will be arranged through a special service free of charge to USBGF members who are not already registered at GridGammon. If you do not have a GridGammon nickname, please see GridGammon New Account Request Form.
Scheduling is flexible, with 10 days allowed for arranging and completing each round.
The backgammon community, together with the Board of Directors and staff of the USBGF, extend their heartfelt condolences to Phil Simborg, Education Adviser to the U.S. Backgammon Federation, on the passing of his mother Rose Simborg Mellow of Boca Raton, who died peacefully on Sunday, December 30, 2012, at the age of 101. She was the only female in her law school where she met her husband, Hugh Meyer Simborg. She dedicated her life to Jewish charities and was president of many fundraising and Jewish organizations in Chicago, Dallas and Boca Raton. She was twice honored with the Hadassah Woman of Valor award. She is survived by her sons Sheldon (Jackie), Donald (Madeleine) and Philip (Randee) and from her marriage to Harry Mellow after the death of her husband in 1956 stepsons Roger (Harriett) and Leon and step-daughter Sandra. She had six grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren along with 6 step grandchildren and 11 step great grandchildren.
She never slowed down to the very end of her life. She loved card games, Maj Jong, and backgammon. In her 70’s she took up painting and became extremely skilled and prolific. In her 90’s she became proficient with computers and handled all of her stocks and investments on-line and studied the market thoroughly on a daily basis. Most of all she was very close and involved with her family and celebrated several of her important birthdays by taking the entire family on Caribbean cruises. Memorial contributions in her name are welcome and can be made to American Friends of Magen David Adom at 866-632-2763.
Escape the winter blahs and head for San Antonio, Texas, January 31-February 3, for fun and sun. The U.S. Backgammon Federation will be sponsoring the USBGF National Championship (West) event in conjunction with the Texas Backgammon Championships. All USBGF Premium/Youth members receive a free entry ($50 for re-entries). Optional side pools of $50 for Intermediate players and $100 for Open players are available. Qualifying brackets of eight start at 5 pm on Thursday January 31 and run until Saturday afternoon February 2. The single-elimination playoffs of bracket winners will begin at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening and conclude on Sunday. Trophies for first and second place will be awarded.
The winner will play the winner of the National Championship (East) later in the year for the title of USBGF Grand Champion. Both the winner and finalist of the Grand Championship will earn coveted spots on the U.S. team in the Nation’s Cup, which will be sponsored by the USBGF in the fall of 2013. The winner will also be featured on the usbgf.org website, and in an issue of the USBGF bi-monthly electronic magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon. Bob Wachtel analyzed the 2012 battle for the Grand Champion title between Jeremy Bagai and Ed O’Laughlin in the current issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Bagai won both the National Championship (West), Grand Championship, and received special recognition in the Nation’s Cup with an undefeated 6-0 record which earned him second place in the “Best Board” individual performance category behind only Japan’s Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki.
San Antonio will also be the site of the 2013 USBGF Tournament of Stars. This doubles event pairs Founding Sponsors who have provided seed-capital for start-up of the organization with Giants of Backgammon, Legends, and other top players. Over 20 Giants of Backgammon including Mochy from Japan and the renowned backgammon-author Paul Magriel have indicated they plan to attend. Founding Sponsors select partners by an order based on the level and date of their Founding Sponsor membership. It’s not too late to become a Founding Sponsor or upgrade the level of your membership and have the thrill of playing with one of the world’s best players! An optional $500 side pool is available. Trophies will be awarded to the winning team.
The weekend is jam-packed with fun events. In addition to the Championship Open, Advanced, and Limited divisions and masters and limited jackpots, a unique new event, the Dual Duel will consist of 16 top players with one bracket advancing in the usual way determined by match score and the other side of the bracket advancing based on performance rating. Great for participants and spectators alike!
There’s no better place to stay than the Menger Hotel. Reservations must be placed by January 10 to receive the attractive hotel rate of $89/night which is also applicable for those days before and after the tournament. The Menger Hotel is a charming venue. The “ballroom suite” includes the large playing area; a large, social pre-function area overlooking the pool; and private restroom facilities — all independent of the hotel’s public spaces. The renowned Colonial Room restaurant and the most historic Menger Bar complement the hotel amenities. Proximate attractions provide many optional activities — the world famous Alamo is across the street; the River Walk with its ambiance and a myriad of restaurants, shops, and bars is a block away; the large Rivercenter mall, including an IMAX theater and a large number of stores and restaurants, is next door. Attendees may go to http://www.mengerhotel.com and click on Reservation. Select GROUP, enter the Attendee Code, 0113BGT, and the travel dates to check availability. Multiple airlines provide direct service to/from most major American cities — San Antonio is also a major stop on the Southwest Airlines network. We look forward to seeing you there!
Katherine Denison of Seattle, Washington, has won the USBGF National Internet Championship Intermediate Division in a vigorously-contested field of 64 players. Leon Marzillier who plays with Gammon Associates in LA was the finalist. Katherine has played online for the last decade, and is now the Gammonzone Tournament Manager and hosts 7 point and 3 point tourneys weekly. She has also played in three Pacific Northwest ABT tournaments, coming in second in the Intermediate Division all three years!
A Montessori school owner and teacher, she has enjoyed introducing her 8-year old grandson Robert to backgammon, beginning with bearing off when he was 4 who has now advanced to standard one-point games. She confesses that he has always won!
Leader Board! Leader Board! Drawsheets from the Illinois State Championship tournament have been entered in the USBGF ratings database and a new Leader Board as of October 7, 2012, has been posted. Congratulations to Neil Kazaross, USBGF Elo leader in the Open Division, Prince Barlow in the Advanced Division, and Joan Grunwald in the Novice Division and to everyone in the top-10 divisional rankings. Neil also leads in ABT points for 2012. Congratulations! Check out your ratings in live ABT/USBGF tournaments since 2009.
The USBGF also launched an Online Circuit LeaderBoard in September 2012 for members participating in its online touraments. Doug Amenda is the current leader, closely followed by Dorn Bishop.
|1||Doug Amenda||thephoenix2||1928.09||9 — 1||90%||3||1928.09|
|2||Dorn Bishop||dorn||1924.09||3 — 0||100%||1||1924.09|
|3||Svilen Todorov||svilo||1917.39||3 — 1||75%||0||1917.39|
|4||Steve Sax||STEAMSAX||1912.75||2 — 0||100%||0||1912.75|
|5||Art Benjamin||mathemagics||1906.88||1 — 0||100%||0||1906.88|
Check out your ratings at Online Leader Board.
Serious students of the game have raised the level of backgammon play to heights unknown in a pre-bot era. In the September-October 2012 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon, Paul Weaver analyzes nine key positions from the Monte Carlo match between #1 Giant of Backgammon, Falafel, against #4 Giant, Michy, with stellar 3.2 and 3.5 XG performance ratings, respectively. Test your skills against two of the world’s best players in finding the best decision in these difficult positions.
For high drama, see Marty Storer’s analysis of the finals of the 2012 USBGF National Club Team Championship between two top Washington DC teams: They Might Not be Giants (Grant Schneider, Barry Silliman, and John Klein) and the Beltway Bandits (Bob Koca, Alfred Mamlet, and Frank Raposa). The A, B, and C seeds from each team played their counterparts in a best-two-of-three format, matches to 11. The team score seesawed, and finally the outcome depended on one 11-pointer between Koca and Schneider. Schneider battled back and won after trailing Koca 8-1, but not without a lot of heart-stopping moments.
Follow the excitement in 16 key positions analyzed by Storer, as They Might Not be Giants brought the club team traveling trophy home to the nation’s capital. Over 42 teams from 23 local clubs, with a total of 138 players competed in this year’s event.
There’s plenty of information for players at all levels. Mary Hickey helps beginning and intermediate players master early game moves in her column, Starting Off Right. Phil Simborg shares mental tips from three of his mentors that helped him win the Michigan Summer Championships over backgammon great Mike Senkiewicz, and rack up a phenomenal 14 and 0 record in the Open, Senior’s, Doubles, and After Tournament events before finally succumbing to Justin Nunez.
We encourage tournament players at every level to check out their ratings and stats on the complete USBGF Player Standings list, and the updated Leader Board prepared by Barry Silliman, USBGF Rankings Editor, with ABT rankings as of October 7, 2012, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions based on ABT/USBGF tournament play since 2009. Neil Kazaross tops both lists!
If you’re not yet a member of USBGF, or your membership has expired, sign up now and join the fun. You’ll enhance your playing experience–and enjoy this 52-page action-packed issue.
PITTSBURGH LABOR DAY BACKGAMMON CHAMPIONSHIPS August 30-September 3, 2012; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CHAMPIONSHIP (58): 1-Alfred Mamlet (MD), 2-Barry Silliman (MD), 3/7-Michael Edge (SC) / Alex Gerding (FL) / Alan Grunwald (NJ) / Fernando Neumark (Argentina) / Frank Raposa (VA). ADVANCED (34): 1-Patty Geoffroy (MA), 2-Bruce Ballance (PA), 3/5-Carl Bommarito (MI) / Cengiz Yakut (PA) / Dan Wittkopp (MI). NOVICE (7): 1-Fran Miller (OH), 2-Suzanne Auer (MD); 1C-Sheri Peters (VA). MASTERS JACKPOT (32): 1-Bill Phipps (NY), 2-Karen Davis (OH), 3/4-Gregg Cattanach (GA) / Tobias Hellwag (Germany). AMATEUR JACKPOT (32): 1-Mike Vasilatos (OH), 2-Joseph Jemal (NJ), 3/4-Stuart Katz (NY) / Paul Stebbing (Canada). SPEEDGAMMON (16): 1-Fernando Neumark (Argentina), 2-Chris Knapp (Canada). MICROBLITZ (56): 1-Brent Cohen (PA), 2-Boris Dekhtyar (NY). OPEN MICRODOUBLES (24 teams): 1-Roz Ferris (IL) & Ray Fogerlund (NV), 2-Mary Hickey (OH) & Ed O’Laughlin (VA), 3-Alex Gerding (FL) & Tobias Hellwag (Germany). “I’VE BEEN ABUSED” JACKPOT (16): 1-Mike Vasilatos (OH), 2-Karen Davis (OH). THREE RIVERS OPEN JACKPOT (4): 1-Howard Markowitz (NV). THREE RIVERS ADVANCED JACKPOT (8): 1-Farhad Forudi (OH), 2-Mike Vasilatos (OH). CALCUTTA BUYERS’ FREE ROLL (50): 1-Karen Davis, 2-Peter Swartwout (PA). The Charity Auction raised $650 for Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service. WARM-UP – OPEN (10): 1-Gregg Cattanach (GA), 2/3-Mary Hickey (OH) / Fernando Neumark (Argentina). WARM-UP – ADVANCED (13): 1-Daniel Dorinbaum (Canada), 2-Stevie Grund (PA), 3-Bill Wilner (MD).
2012 USBGF National Internet Championship
Joe Russell, Justin Nunez, and Tara Mendicino
The U.S. Backgammon Federation is pleased to announce the launch of the 2012 USBGF National Internet Championship. This free entry tournament for all USBGF members — including Premium, Youth, and Associate members and both U.S. and international members — is one of the biggest and most exciting online tournaments. Please register and follow the action on the Online Circuit portion of our website. The tournament is co-directed by Joe Russell email@example.com and Justin Nunez firstname.lastname@example.org. Tara Mendicino email@example.com serves as Tournament Systems Coordinator.
Venue and Schedule:
- Will be played at GridGammon. MACS interface will be provided to interested individuals. Nicknames will be arranged through a special service free of charge to USBGF members who are not already registered at GridGammon. If you do not have a GridGammon nickname, email firstname.lastname@example.org and state that you are a member of the U.S. Backgammon Federation and would like a new account to play in the USBGF National Internet Championship.
- 10 days will be allowed for arranging and completing each round for all divisions.
- Play begins September 17, 2012 on a rolling basis with brackets of 8 players. Registration for the Open Division closes Sunday, January 5; Advanced Division on Sunday November 11; and Intermediate Division on Sunday November 11. Pairings will be posted the following day.
- The number of brackets will depend on number of interested entrants. It is anticipated that there will be 8 Intermediate brackets of 8 players each (including one re-entry for those who lose); 16 Advanced brackets; and 32 Open brackets. The tournament directors reserve the right to cap the number of brackets prior to the deadline noted above.
- Entry is free to all USBGF members (Premium, Youth, Associate).
- Each player gets two chances to qualify and may qualify twice. After qualifying rounds end, the single-elimination playoffs will begin.
- There will be three Divisions: Intermediate, Advanced, and Open.
- The Open Division consists of the best two of three 11 point matches in the opening rounds. The Advanced Division is the best two of three 9 point matches in the opening rounds. The Intermediate Division is the best two of three 7 point matches in the opening rounds. Match lengths will be increased by two points in the semi-final round and by four points in the final round (i.e. to 13 and 15 points in the Open Division respectively, to 11 and 13 in the Advanced Division, and to 9 and 11 points in the Intermediate Division).
- The opening rounds consist of a rolling series of 8-person brackets for each Division, the random draw for each of which will begin as soon as eight members in that Division have registered.
- USBGF members may enter one additional time (free) after winning or losing a set (a total of two entries per member is allowed, regardless of the result of the first entry).
- The winners of the 8-person rounds will then be randomly paired in the remaining rounds. Again Open players will play best two-of-three 11 point matches until the semi-final rounds. Advanced players will play best two-of-three 9 point matches until the semi-final rounds, and Intermediate players will play best two-of-three 7 point matches until the semi-final rounds.
USBGF Tournament System:
- Players register online. Members must be logged in to register. If needed, USBGF Usernames may be requested from email@example.com. If not currently an active member please join.
- Players separately need a GridGammon account/nickname to play online matches. These may be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org filling out the information on the USBGF website FAQs.
- Players will be automatically notified of their opponent and e-mail their opponent to arrange a playing time using the USBGF Tournament System. Several times should be offered.
- Winners of the best two-of-three matches report their result using the USBGF Tournament System.
- The USBGF Tournament System provides lists of registered players for open brackets and drawsheets.
USBGF Online Rating System:
Initial Elo Rating for New Players
- Players who are new to the USBGF Tournament System are asked to select their initial Elo rating. We will accept ratings from GridGammon and will verify your submission.
- Giants of Backgammon and expert players who do not have a GridGammon account may submit an initial rating selection of 1900.
- Players who are new to online backgammon may select “Start With New Statistics.” Those players will start fresh with an Elo of 1500, Experience Points set to zero. Players should expect substantial volatility in their ratings until at least 400 Experience Points are gained.
- All other players will start with 400 Experience Points.
- For more information regarding our Rating System, please see Rating System. Should you have any questions or are unsure of what to submit, please Contact Us at Tara@usbgf.org.
Initial Elo Rating Guidelines
- Players with GridGammon ratings <= 1549 should select 1500.
- Players with GridGammon ratings > 1549 and < 1650 should select 1600.
- Players with GridGammon ratings > 1649 and < 1750 should select 1700.
- Players with GridGammon ratings > 1749 and < 1850 should select 1800.
- Players with GridGammon ratings > 1849 should select 1900.
- Unknown players without GridGammon ratings should select Start With New Statistics.
Online Leader Board
A USBGF Online Circuit Leader Board includes Elo rating and Win/Loss record of all players in USBGF-sponsored online events who are active members. The Elo rating and Win/Loss Record of the top ten ranked players for each Division will be publicized on the USBGF Facebook site and included in bi-monthly issues of PrimeTime Backgammon.
- Recognition certificates will be awarded at the annual USBGF awards dinner to:
- The top four winners for each Division (Intermediate, Advanced, Open)
- All winners will be noted on the USBGF website Hall of Fame and USBGF Facebook page
- The top two Open winners and top Advanced and Intermediate winners will receive a qualifying spot in the USBGF National Championship (either the 2013 Texas Backgammon Championship in San Antonio, January 31-February 3 or subsequent one if not completed by then), bypassing the qualifying brackets of 8.
- The top two U.S. Open winners will receive places on the U.S. team in the 2013 Nation’s Cup, to be sponsored by the U.S. Backgammon Federation.
The tournament directors reserve the right to make modifications to the tournament design as well as the right to exclude participation with no reason required.
Leader Board! Leader Board! Drawsheets from the Pittsburgh Labor Day tournament have been entered in the USBGF ratings database and a new Leader Board as of September 3, 2012, has been posted. Congratulations to Mike Corbett, USBGF Elo leader in the Open Division, Prince Barlow in the Advanced Division, and Joan Grunwald in the Novice Division and to everyone in the top-10 divisional rankings.
Stay tuned for launch of the U.S. Backgammon Federation Online Tournament Circuit. These tournaments are open to all USBGF members — including Premium, Youth, and Associate members and both U.S. and international members. Trophies, certificates, recognition on the USBGF website, Facebook.com/USBGF page, and PrimeTime Backgammon magazine, await winning participants. All players can follow their progress and bragging rights on the new USBGF Online Tournament Ratings System. The easy-to-use USBGF Tournament System and Online Tournament Circuit have been designed and implemented by Tournament Systems Coordinator Tara Mendicino Tara@usbgf.org.
Make sure your USBGF membership is up-to-date so you’ll be ready to go. Or if you haven’t joined yet, don’t delay: http://usbgf.org/membership/join/. All matches will be played on GridGammon, so you’ll also need a GridGammon nickname. USBGF members may request an account from email@example.com including the information listed on the USBGF website FAQs.
Planned Online Events
- The USBGF National Internet Championship — one of the biggest and most exciting online tournaments — will begin in early September 2012. Entry is free to all USBGF members (Premium, Youth, Associate). The first phase consists of a rolling series of 8-person qualifying brackets for each of three divisions: Intermediate, Advanced, and Open. The winners of qualifying brackets will play off in a second phase single elimination tournament for each Division. This event will be directed by Joe Russell Joe@usbgf.org and Justin Nunez Clubs@usbgf.org, Details coming soon.
- Monthly Online Tournaments
- Special USBGF online events such as Women’s championship, Senior’s championship, Collegiate/Youth championship.
USBGF Tournament System:
- Players register online on the http://usbgf.org/ site. Members must be logged in to register. If needed, USBGF Usernames may be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org. If not currently an active member join or renew at: http://usbgf.org/membership/join/.
- Players separately need a GridGammon account/nickname to play online matches. These may be requested from email@example.com by submitting the information listed on the USBGF website FAQs: http://usbgf.org/faqs/#GridGammon.
- Players will be automatically notified of their opponent and e-mail their opponent to arrange a playing time using the USBGF Tournament System. Several times should be offered.
- Winners report their results using the USBGF Tournament System.
- The USBGF Tournament System provides lists of registered players for open brackets and drawsheets.
- Check out the International Backgammon Championship qualifiers currently underway to see how the system works: http://usbgf.org/#tournaments.
USBGF Online Rating System:
- A new USBGF Online Rating System provides real time Elo ratings and Win/Loss stats for all Members. This is a work in progress which we will continuously expand and improve. Suggestions from players are invited and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Players who have participated in the USBGF International Backgammon Championship qualifiers will have an initial Elo rating based on their GridGammon rating as of August 26 and USBGF-sponsored online event performance from August 26th onward. Other players will be asked to submit their GridGammon Elo rating as they register for the National Internet Championship. For these players, the initial USBGF Elo rating will be based on GridGammon ratings with Experience Points of 0:
- Players with GG ratings <= 1549 will be set at 1500
- Players with GG ratings > 1549 and < 1650 will be set at 1600
- Players with GG ratings > 1649 and < 1750 will be set at 1700
- Players with GG ratings >= 1750 will be set at 1800.
- Players without a GG rating will start at 1500.
- Those who elect to use their existing GridGammon ratings will have their Experience Points set to 400 and will not utilize the “ramp up” time. Those who wish to start from a clean slate of 1500 and zero Experience, will be on the “ramp” until they reach 400 match points played. For more information regarding the FIBS rating system, please see: http://www.bkgm.com/articles/McCool/ratings.html
- Players should expect substantial volatility in their ratings until at least 400 Experience Points are gained.
- A USBGF Online Leader Board will include Elo rating and Win/Loss record of all players in USBGF-sponsored online events who are active members. The Elo rating and Win/Loss Record of the top ten ranked players for each Division will be publicized on the USBGF Facebook site and included in bi-monthly issues of PrimeTime Backgammon.
The USBGF and tournament directors reserve the right to make modifications to the tournament design as well as the right to exclude participation with no reason required.