USBGF Masters Divisional XLVI Winner

Congratulations to Kamil Karaali, winner of the Masters Divisional XLVI. Kamil defeated Andrew Selby in the 21-point final match.
Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Dmitriy Obukhov and Martin Zizka.
The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.

Kamil Karaali

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXXII Winner

Congratulations to Carl Blumenstein, winner of the USBGF Advanced Divisional XXXII online tournament.
Carl defeated Genna Cowan in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were James Schothorst and Manny Olszynko.
The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.

Carl Blumenstein

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXVII Winner

Congratulations to Patrick Domico, winner of the USBGF Advanced Divisional XXVII online tournament.
Patrick defeated Peggy Neubig in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were Jerry Nussbaum and Gary Oleson.
The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.

Patrick Domico

USBGF Masters Divisional XLIII Winner

Congratulations to Karen Davis, winner of the Masters Divisional XLIII. Karen defeated Edward Bauder in the 21-point final match.
Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Cynthia Belonogoff and John Graas.
The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.

Karen Davis, winner of July Online Circuit

USBGF Masters Divisional XLIV Winner

Congratulations to Richard Munitz, winner of the Masters Divisional XLIV. Richard defeated Martin Zizka in the 21-point final match.

Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Andrew Selby and Olga Ivanova.

The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.

richMC-176x248

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXXI Winner

Congratulations to Don Marek, winner of the Advanced Divisional XXXI . Don defeated Martin Filipi in the 17-point final match. Finishing 3/4 in the 15-point semi-final were Peggy Neubig and James Allen. The Advanced Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating between 1500.01 – 1649.99 at the time of registration.

DonMarek

USBGF Masters Divisional XLI Winner

Congratulations to Erwin Hom, winner of the Masters Divisional XLI.  Erwin defeated Mislav Kovačić in the 21-point final match.

Finishing 3/4 in the 19-point semi-final were Igor Erovenko and Kristijan Čuljat.

The Masters Divisional requires players have a Circuit Elo rating of 1650.00 or above at the time of registration.

ehom_headshot

USBGF Masters Divisional XLII Winner

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.

Bill Riles

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXIX Winner

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.

jschothorst

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXX Winner

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.

Alessandro

USBGF Masters Divisional XL Winner

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.

Jalil_Khalili

USBGF Advanced Divisional XXVIII

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.

PeterSwartwout

U.S. Open Backgammon Championships

Photo by Tara Mendicino. Congratulations to Kit Woolsey, winner of the U.S. Open championship division and all the other winners. See results below.

 

PrimeTime Backgammon, Jan-Feb

JANUARY-FEBRUARY ISSUE
OF PRIMETIME BACKGAMMON

Cover-Jan-Feb-2014-thumb
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.

[Read more…]

USBGF Sponsors Joint Math Meetings Backgammon Event

BenjaminArt-FinneranBill - 2014 Joint Math 017About 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.”

 

Japan-US Youth Challenge Match

FriesenBen streaming - 2013 OhioA 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

MerrimanGreg Ohio 3-2013  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).

Bill Riles to Lead U.S. Backgammon Federation

U.S. Backgammon Federation Announces Leadership Change

Bill Riles

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.

Upcoming Benefit and Dues Change: Questions and Answers

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.

 

Change in USBGF Benefits and Dues

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.

3rd USBGF Club Team Championship Now Open for Registration!!

2nd Club Team Trophy Schneider-Silliman-Klein-DavisIt 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!

Tournament Directors

Co-Director: Joe Russell

ez2bcubed

ez2bblue@sbcglobal.net

Co-Director: Justin Nunez

nightmare73

clubs@usbgf.org

Co-Director: Tara Mendicino

temsat

tara@usbgf.org

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.

USBGF Annual Membership Meeting

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.

Collegiate Champions

BenFriesen by KarenDavis

BenFriesen by KarenDavis

 

 

 

 

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.

USBGF at Museum of Mathematics

 P1070572

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.

P1070592

 

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.

P1070586

 

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.

Update on U.S. and International USBGF Collegiate Championship

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.

USBGF Online Team Championship Now Open for Registration!!

Directors: Joe Russell and Tara Mendicino
 
It is with great pleasure that the U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF) presents the Inaugural USBGF Online Team Championship! The registration desk is now open. So Captains, mark your calendars, read and understand the terms of contest spelled out below, and enter your five-player Team Registration as soon as possible, and in any event no later than May 19, 2013. Captains should visit the USBGF Online Circuit Tournament Calendar at Online Circuit Tournament Calendar and select from the list of available Online Team Championship Qualifiers currently in registration. Qualifying brackets of 8 will commence as soon as 8 teams are registered; up to 16 brackets will be offered. Winners of brackets will be fed into a single elimination Playoff commencing July 1.
 
Entry for the USBGF Online Team Championship is free. All players must be Premium or Youth members of the USBGF. Medals will be awarded to the first place team and certificates will be awarded to players of the top four teams at the Carolina Invitational Backgammon Championships on September 1, 2013 in Charlotte. Points will be awarded based on number of matches won, with medals going to the best performing team on the basis of points. In addition, medals will go to the team without a Giant of Backgammon that goes the furthest. Photos of winning team players will be featured on the USBGF Hall of Fame website page and the September-October 2013 third anniversary special issue of PrimeTime Backgammon electronic magazine.
 
There are just a handful of easy hoops that each player, five-person team, and captain must jump through to qualify for this event. You won’t find more fun, prestige, and recognition anywhere else!
 
Tournament Staff
Directors & Ruling Committee
Co-Director: Joe Russellez2bcubedez2bblue@sbcglobal.net
Co-Director: Tara Mendicinotemsattara@usbgf.org
Coordinator: Kathy WeinerPROCalKatcheetah_zone@hotmail.com
Tournament Ruling Committee: Joe Russell, Tara Mendicino, and Kathy Weiner
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.
 
Team Registration Procedure
USBGF Online Circuit Players Database
All players, including the Captain, must be pre-registered in the USBGF Online Circuit Players Database prior to team registration. If you and your team members have previously played in any of our Online Circuit events, then you are already registered in our Players Database and may proceed to register for any available Qualifier. Those players who need to pre-register in the USBGF Online Circuit Players Database, may do so here: Online Circuit Registration.
 
Captain’s Responsibilities
Only the designated Team Captain may create a new team, register himself, and register his teammates. Captains should include: 1) the name of their team; 2) the names of their five players; and 3) their position on the team (positions #1, #2, #3, #4, #5). No person not included in the Team Registration may substitute for, or replace, an original team member once the tournament begins. No changes may be made to the team once the team is registered. The Captain may be a playing team member, or may opt to sit on the sidelines and not to be one of the five team members but must be registered in the USBGF Online Circuit.
 
Player & Team Qualification
USBGF Premium and Youth Members
The tournament is open to all USBGF Premium and Youth members whether they reside in the U.S. or other countries. Premium membership is $40 for a one year membership (or $100 for a three year membership) and $15 for Youth age 25 and under. If you are not yet a member or your membership has lapsed, please visit http://usbgf.org/membership/join and have your PayPal account information or credit card handy.
Team members do not have to belong to the same local club or live in the same geographic area, but can be composed from any five USBGF members registered in the USBGF Online Circuit (see Online Circuit Leaderboard). Captains should obtain consent of team members to be on the team — with the exception of players drawn from the Player Pool list. Players are welcome to add themselves to the list of available players who wish to participate in any of our Online Team Championship Qualifiers and be registered by other Team Captains who may need additional players to complete their teams. A link to the Player Pool for any Qualifier may be found on the respective tournament’s Registration page.
Maximum of 2 Top 32 Giants of Backgammon
No more than two players on the top 32 Giants of Backgammon list in 2011 may play on a team. Players who aren’t able to form a five-player team or aren’t invited by a captain for a five-player team but want to participate in the event should enter their name in the player pool viewable on the Registration page to be selected by Captains filling out their five-person teams. Captains do not need to obtain permission of players in the player pool to add them to their team.
 
Team Tournament Format
Qualifiers & Championship Playoff
The format consists of qualifying brackets of 8. Up to 16 qualifiers will be held commencing when the first 8 teams are registered. Entry to the tournament will close when all 16 qualifying brackets are filled or May 19, whichever occurs first. If space in qualifying brackets is still available, teams losing before May 19 may re-enter one additional time.
Winners of the 16 brackets of 8 are automatically fed into a playoff bracket which will commence July 1. Match lengths will be 11 points within the 8-team brackets, but increase to 13 points in the semi-finals and 15 in the finals of the playoff bracket.
The match ups within each contest will be determined by position. For example, player #1 from Team A plays player #1 from Team B, and so forth. The positions for each team must be indicated by the Team Captain in the Team Registration and may not be changed once the registration is entered. In addition, the qualifying brackets of 8 and Playoff draw will seed teams based upon the Online Circuit Elo rating of the player at Position #1.
Teams must complete the full set of 5-player matches for every round. Teams accumulate points toward an award for best performing team: 1 point for every match won, and zero points for every match lost. The team with the most points will also receive Medals.
 
Match Scheduling & Round Deadlines
Schedule Matches via the Schedule Match Form
Players will be e-mailed when their opponent has been selected and should schedule their match using the USBGF Online Tournament Circuit system. Matches must be completed within two weeks. No extensions will be granted. Messages should suggest several reasonable dates and times that you are available to play. And it is recommended that times be stated in terms of GGT (GridGammon Time), which is the same as EST (Eastern Standard Time). A GGT clock can be found in the lower right corner of the GridGammon Lobby screen.
 
Online Venue
GridGammon Backgammon Server
GridGammon will be the online venue for this tournament. Team players should get FREE GridGammon players accounts, simply fill out our GridGammon New Account Request Form and submit to GridGammon. It might take a few days to receive a reply with your password. Once you have your nickname and password, you can download the FREE software at www.gridgammon.com. If it is your first time playing on GridGammon, it is recommended that you play a few matches before the start of the tournament to familiarize yourself with the controls and the graphics. Please feel free to contact any of the Directors for a FREE GridGammon tutorial. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this!
 
Match Reporting & Match Logs
Winners Report via the Report Win Form
Winners of matches should use the Report Win form in the USBGF Online Tournament Circuit system to report match results. Players should save their matches and upload the match file when reporting match results. Player participation in this tournament implies full consent of the USBGF to make match files available to its members for download from the USBGF website or analyze for USBGF publication.
 
Recognition
Prizes & Points Contest
Each member of the winning team will be awarded a medal and certificates will be awarded to players of the top four teams. In addition, the team without a top 32 Giant of Backgammon that goes the furthest will receive Medals. The team with the most points will also receive Medals. An awards ceremony will be held at the Carolina Invitational Backgammon Championships on September 1, 2013 in Charlotte for those planning to attend that event. Otherwise certificates will be e-mailed and medals sent by snail-mail! Photos of winning team players will be featured on the USBGF Hall of Fame website page and the September-October 2013 third anniversary special issue of PrimeTime Backgammon electronic magazine.

USBGF at the Smithsonian Nowruz Celebration

Nowruz 005The 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.

 

2013 USBGF U.S. and International Collegiate Championship Competition

by Tara Mendicino Tara@usbgf.org and Michael Edge Collegiate@usbgf.org
The deadline for the U.S. Backgammon Federation 2013 U.S. National Collegiate Championship is March 31. This year’s event will be run as a single elimination individual tournament for full- or part-time undergraduate and graduate college students residing and attending college in the United States. International students are invited to enter our accompanying tournament, the 2013 International Collegiate Championship. Entry is free.All entrants must be USBGF Youth members and enrolled at a college or university. Full and at least half-time undergraduate and graduate students may enroll as Youth members, regardless of age.
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 collegiate@usbgf.org, Joe Russell ez2bblue@sbcglobal.net, and Tara Mendicino tara@usbgf.org with the assistance of College Program director Michael Edge collegiate@usbgf.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 tara@usbgf.org to check on the availability of financial assistance. Japanese students should also contact Mochy at mochy@backgammon.gr.jp in this regard.
Prizes

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.
College Teams

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.
Proctors

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.

Notice
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.

In Memoriam: Rose Simborg Mellow

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.

Fun and Sun in San Antonio!

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!