Battle of the Giants

Backgammon super-stars around the world are becoming so well-known in the backgammon community that many are known by just one name, nickname, or even initials–Falafel, Mochy, Neil, Michy, MCG, and Stick (to name the top six on the new 2011 Giants of Backgammon list). At the end of May 2012, the Chicago Open featured a Tournament of Champions with thirty players who have won major tournaments competing. The field included ten from the Giants list, and many of the matches were streamed to viewers around the world by Rynell Nunez. In the July-August 2012 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon, Marty Storer, USBGF Feature Editor for Annotated Matches, analyzes ten positions that challenged even the #1 and #2 ranked Giants–Falafel and Mochy–as they met in an early round of the Tournament of Champions.

In his article “Bigger Than a Bread Box”, Jake Jacobs shares the history of the Giants list, what qualifies a player to vote, and how Jake makes his choices.

This issue contains lots of news and photos from recent tournaments. Steve Sax chronicles the LA Open, where Las Vegas and Monte Carlo Tournament Director Howard Markowitz won twelve straight matches to capture the Super-40 Jackpot and the LA Open. Paul Weaver shares six difficult positions from his semi-finals London Open match with Carlo Melzi of Milan.

There’s plenty of information for players at all levels. Mary Hickey helps beginner and intermediate players master early-game moves in her column, Starting Off Right. She also shares her views of the new Raymond Kershaw book, Backgammon Funfair. Matt Cohn-Geier provides a review of the new Matchbox Backgammon App.

Don’t miss a chance to go toe-to-toe with some of the best U.S. players by competing in the Qualifiers for the International Backgammon Championship–and take a shot at representing the U.S. in this Olympic-level competition.

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 July 1, 2012, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions based on ABT/USBGF tournament play since 2009.

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 40-page action-packed issue.

 

JUST RELEASED!! Play Your Friends on Matchbox Backgammon App

Matchbox is a new form of social gaming that allows you to play backgammon against your friends via an iPhone or Android app.  The graphics are very clear.  You can play any time you like from anywhere you like, whether it be the comfort of your home, at the office, on the train, or just when you have 5 minutes of free time.  You may play just one move at a time, and then your opponent will make a move, and so on.  It can be just one move a day, or you can both finish a game in 10 minutes.  Invite your friends via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. 

If you’re unsure of the rules of backgammon, the game will highlight all the legal moves you can play — also check out the backgammon rules of play and primer on this website.  The app has a great look and feel to it.  All you have to do is click on one of the checkers highlighted in green and it will make a move for you.  You can read the rules in the help page.  You can also post highlights of your matches or interesting positions to your Facebook or Twitter account with the click of a button.

Backgammon is a fun and addicting game, and Matchbox is a great way to entertain yourself and play against your friends.

The Matchbox App is officially approved by the U.S. Backgammon Federation.

Learn to Play Backgammon!

Backgammon Rules — And How To Play

 

 

  

  

  

Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board consisting of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a player’s home board and outer board, and the opponent’s home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated from each other by a ridge down the center of the board called the bar

Figure 1.  A board with the checkers in their initial position.
An alternate arrangement is the reverse of the one shown here, with the home board on the left and the outer board on the right.

The points are numbered for either player starting in that player’s home board. The outermost point is the twenty-four point, which is also the opponent’s one point. Each player has fifteen checkers of his own color. The initial arrangement of checkers is: two on each player’s twenty-four point, five on each player’s thirteen point, three on each player’s eight point, and five on each player’s six point.

Both players have their own pair of dice and a dice cup used for shaking. A doubling cube, with the numerals 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 on its faces, is used to keep track of the current stake of the game.

Object of the Game
The object of the game is move all your checkers into your own home board and then bear them off. The first player to bear off all of their checkers wins the game. 

Figure 2.  Direction of movement of White’s checkers. Red’s checkers move in the opposite direction.
Movement of the Checkers
To start the game, each player throws a single die. This determines both the player to go first and the numbers to be played. If equal numbers come up, then both players roll again until they roll different numbers. The player throwing the higher number now moves his checkers according to the numbers showing on both dice. After the first roll, the players throw two dice and alternate turns.The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his checkers. The checkers are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point. The following rules apply: 

  1. A checker may be moved only to an open point, one that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers. 
  2. The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls 5 and 3, he may move one checker five spaces to an open point and another checker three spaces to an open point, or he may move the one checker a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.
Figure 3.  Two ways that White can play a roll of  [5] [3] .
  1. A player who rolls doubles plays the numbers shown on the dice twice. A roll of 6 and 6 means that the player has four sixes to use, and he may move any combination of checkers he feels appropriate to complete this requirement. 
  2. A player must use both numbers of a roll if this is legally possible (or all four numbers of a double). When only one number can be played, the player must play that number. Or if either number can be played but not both, the player must play the larger one. When neither number can be used, the player loses his turn. In the case of doubles, when all four numbers cannot be played, the player must play as many numbers as he can.
Hitting and Entering
A point occupied by a single checker of either color is called a blot. If an opposing checker lands on a blot, the blot is hit and placed on the bar.Any time a player has one or more checkers on the bar, his first obligation is to enterthose checker(s) into the opposing home board. A checker is entered by moving it to an open point corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice.For example, if a player rolls 4 and 6, he may enter a checker onto either the opponent’s four point or six point, so long as the prospective point is not occupied by two or more of the opponent’s checkers. 

Figure 4.  If White rolls [6] [4] with a checker on the bar, he must enter the checker onto Red’s four point since Red’s six point is not open.

If neither of the points is open, the player loses his turn. If a player is able to enter some but not all of his checkers, he must enter as many as he can and then forfeit the remainder of his turn.After the last of a player’s checkers has been entered, any unused numbers on the dice must be played, by moving either the checker that was entered or a different checker. 

Bearing Off
Once a player has moved all of his fifteen checkers into his home board, he may commence bearing off. A player bears off a checker by rolling a number that corresponds to the point on which the checker resides, and then removing that checker from the board. Thus, rolling a 6 permits the player to remove a checker from the six point.If there is no checker on the point indicated by the roll, the player must make a legal move using a checker on a higher-numbered point. If there are no checkers on higher-numbered points, the player is permitted (and required) to remove a checker from the highest point on which one of his checkers resides. A player is under no obligation to bear off if he can make an otherwise legal move. 

Figure 5.  White rolls
[6] [4] and bears off two checkers.

A player must have all of his active checkers in his home board in order to bear off. If a checker is hit

  • during the bear-off process, the player must bring that checker back to his home board before continuing to bear off. The first player to bear off all fifteen checkers wins the game. 
Doubling
Backgammon is played for an agreed stake per point. Each game starts at one point. During the course of the game, a player who feels he has a sufficient advantage may propose doubling the stakes. He may do this only at the start of his own turn and before he has rolled the dice.A player who is offered a double may refuse, in which case he concedes the game and pays one point. Otherwise, he must accept the double and play on for the new higher stakes. A player who accepts a double becomes the owner of the cube and only he may make the next double.Subsequent doubles in the same game are called redoubles. If a player refuses a redouble, he must pay the number of points that were at stake prior to the redouble. Otherwise, he becomes the new owner of the cube and the game continues at twice the previous stakes. There is no limit to the number of redoubles in a game. 
Gammons and Backgammons
At the end of the game, if the losing player has borne off at least one checker, he loses only the value showing on the doubling cube (one point, if there have been no doubles). However, if the loser has not borne off any of his checkers, he is gammoned and loses twice the value of the doubling cube. Or, worse, if the loser has not borne off any of his checkers and still has a checker on the bar or in the winner’s home board, he is backgammoned and loses three times the value of the doubling cube.
Optional Rules
The following optional rules are in widespread use. 

  1. Automatic doubles. If identical numbers are thrown on the first roll, the stakes are doubled. The doubling cube is turned to 2 and remains in the middle. Players usually agree to limit the number of automatic doubles to one per game. 
  2. Beavers. When a player is doubled, he may immediately redouble (beaver) while retaining possession of the cube. The original doubler has the option of accepting or refusing as with a normal double. 
  3. The Jacoby Rule. Gammons and backgammons count only as a single game if neither player has offered a double during the course of the game. This rule speeds up play by eliminating situations where a player avoids doubling so he can play on for a gammon.
Irregularities
  1. The dice must be rolled together and land flat on the surface of the right-hand section of the board. The player must reroll both dice if a die lands outside the right-hand board, or lands on a checker, or does not land flat. 
  2. A turn is completed when the player picks up his dice. If the play is incomplete or otherwise illegal, the opponent has the option of accepting the play as made or of requiring the player to make a legal play. A play is deemed to have been accepted as made when the opponent rolls his dice or offers a double to start his own turn. 
  3. If a player rolls before his opponent has completed his turn by picking up the dice, the player’s roll is voided. This rule is generally waived any time a play is forced or when there is no further contact between the opposing forces.

 

Common Questions:

Q: Who goes first?

To decide who goes first, you and your opponent each roll one die. In the case of a tie, you both roll again. The player who rolls the higher number goes first. That player does not roll the dice again; they play the two numbers just rolled on their first turn.

Notice that the player who goes first never has doubles on their first turn because ties on the first roll are always broken.

Q: What is the object of the game?

The object in backgammon is to move all of your checkers around the board into your home board and then bear them off. The first player to get all their checkers off the board is the winner.

   Q: What is the ace-point?

The ace-point is another name for the one-point, the last point you can move your checkers to before bearing them off. Your two farthest back checkers start on the opponent’s ace-point.

 Q: Can I pass when it’s my turn?

No, you must play your roll if there is any legal way to do so. If you can’t play all of your numbers, you must play as many as you can. So if you roll    and can only play three of your four 6′s, that’s what you must do.

 Q: Is hit-and-run allowed (also known as “pick and pass”)?

Yes, if you hit a checker, you are allowed to run your hitter to safety. Here is an example:

Whites rolls 5-2:  White may hit Red’s checker on the five-point and then move his hitter to safety on the three-point.

There are some variations of backgammon, played in the Middle East, where hit-and-run is not allowed in the player’s home board. But the standard game has no such restriction.  

Q: What is a doubling cube?

A doubling cube is a cubical block, a little larger than a regular die, with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 printed on its faces. It is sometimes simply called the cube. The purpose is to allow players to bet on the game as they are playing. 

Q: How do you use a doubling cube?

At the beginning of the game, the doubling cube is placed halfway between the players, either on the bar or at the side of the board, with the number 64 face up. The 64 means that the stakes have not been doubled yet. (Most doubling cubes do not have a 1, so the number 64 is understood to represent 1)  The position of the cube, halfway between the players, indicates that both players have access to it. That is, either player can make the first double.

At any point during the game, a player who thinks he has a sufficient advantage may double the stakes. He can do this only at the beginning of his turn, before he has rolled the dice.

When a double is offered, the opponent may refuse the double, in which case he resigns the game and forfeits the current stakes. The current stakes is the value of the cube before the double is offered, in this case one point.

If the opponent doesn’t want to resign, he may accept the double, and agree to continue play at double the previous stakes. He places the cube on his side of the board with the number 2 face up. The number 2 represents the fact that the stakes are now doubled. The position of the cube means that player now owns the doubling cube and only he may make the next double.

If the game later turns around and the player who owns the cube feels he now has an advantage, he may redouble the stakes to 4. His opponent may refuse and give up the current stakes (now two units) or he may accept and continue play at quadruple the initial stakes.

There is no limit to the number of doubles and redoubles in a single game, except that no player may double twice in a row.

At the end of the game, the loser pays the winner the value of the doubling cube in whatever units they have agreed to play for. For example, if playing for one dollar a point and the doubling cube shows 4, then the loser pays the winner four dollars. In the case of a gammon or backgammon, this amount is doubled or tripled.

Yes, you can double at the start of any turn. You have to be alert, though; your opponent, seeing that you can’t move, may roll his dice without waiting to see what you do. Just ask him to “wait, please” as he picks up his dice while you decide whether or not to double.

Some people play that if the two players roll the same number on the first roll of the game, then the doubling cube is automatically turned to 2. The cube stays in the middle but now the first voluntary double of the game will be offered at 4. If the players roll the same number again, then the cube is turned up another notch, though players often agree to limit the number of automatic doubles to one per game.  

Introduction

Q: What is match play?

When backgammon tournaments are held to determine an overall winner, the usual style of competition is match play. Competitors are paired off, and each pair plays a series of games to decide which player progresses to the next round of the tournament. This series of games is called a match. Match play is also popular on backgammon play sites.Matches are played to a specified number of points. The first player to accumulate the required points wins the match. Points are awarded in the usual manner: 1 for a single game, 2 for a gammon, and 3 for a backgammon. The doubling cube is used, so the winner of each game receives the value of the game multiplied by the final value of the cube. Automatic doubles, beavers, and the Jacoby rule are not used in match play.

 

Q: What is the Crawford rule?

If you are playing a match up to n points and one player reaches n − 1 points, the Crawford rule says that the doubling cube is out of play for one game. This one game without doubling is called the Crawford game. After the Crawford game, the doubling cube is back in play again. The Crawford rule is a standard part of match play.

Match to 5 Score
 White   Black 
Game 1:   White wins 2 points   2 0  Doubling Allowed
Game 2: Black wins 1 point 2 1
Game 3: White wins 2 points 4 1
Game 4: Black wins 1 point 4 2    Crawford Game
Game 5: Black wins 2 points 4 4  Doubling Allowed
Game 6: White wins 2 points 6 4

In this example, White and Black are playing a 5-point match. After three games, White has 4 points, one short of what he needs for the match. That triggers the Crawford rule, and no doubling is allowed in the next game, Game 4.

The idea behind the rule is that without restrictions on doubling, the player who is behind in the match would double at his first opportunity every game. This reduces the number of games needed to win the match, lessening the value of the points held by the player who is winning. On the other hand, if the cube were taken out of play completely, the player who is behind in the match would have to win all his remaining points without any help from the doubling cube at all. The Crawford rule is an intelligent compromise. The Crawford rule was devised by John R. Crawford, co-author of The Backgammon Book.

 

Q: What is a chouette?

Chouette is a social form of backgammon for three or more players. One player, the box, plays on a single board against all the others who form a team lead by a captain.

To determine the order of play, players each throw one die, and rerolls are used as needed to break ties. The player rolling highest becomes the box; second highest becomes the captain of the team playing against the box. The captains plays for the team, and has the final say on all checker-play decisions.

When the box wins a game, he collects from each team member and retains his position as the box. The captain goes to the back of the line and the next player on the team becomes the new captain.

When the team wins a game, the box pays off to each team member and goes to the end of the line. The captain becomes the new box, and the next player in line becomes the new captain.

Players can leave or join a chouette at any time. A new player starts at the bottom of the rotation.

Q: What is a multiple-cube chouette?

A chouette may be played with either a single doubling cube or multiple cubes. In a single-cube game, the only decision that the members of the team make individually concerns takes. If the box doubles, each team member can decide on his own whether to play on or drop out. Those who drop out each pay off to the box and no longer participate as team advisers. If the captain drops out while there are others on the team who wish to play on, the captaincy is assumed by one of these players and the previous captain drops to the bottom of the rotation.

Most chouettes today use multiple cubes. Each member of the team has his own doubling cube. The box can double the individual team members, and each team member can decide whether and when to double the box. With multiple cubes in play, it is possible for the box to win against some players while losing against others. So the question arises, when does a player get to keep the box? The usual rule is that a player retains the box if he defeats the captain.

Q: When is consulting allowed?

Customs vary as to the rights of the team. In some chouettes, they may consult freely as to how rolls should be played. Too much consulting, however, can really slow the game down, so many chouettes ban consulting. A popular compromise permits consultation only after the cube has been turned. 

Used with permission from Backgammon Galore, http://www.bkgm.com.

PrimeTime Backgammon, May-June, 2012 Issue

Todd Crosner with son Max Crosner

Todd Crosner with son Max Crosner

The U.S. Backgammon Federation presents the May-June 2012 issue of its bi-monthly electronic magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon. In it, you’ll find articles by leading backgammon players and authors.

Michihito “Michy” Kageyama

Michihito “Michy” Kageyama

Selected contents include:

  • Bob Wachtel–The Players’ Tournament: The Nordic Open
  • Steve Sax–Back to the Classics: the 2012 Nevada State Open
  • Stick Rice– My Ohio State Backgammon Recap
  • Mary Hickey–Starting Off Right
  • Chuck Bower–Harvey Mudd College Wins USBGF National Collegiate Team Championship

USBGF News:

  • Bill Davis–Horton and Mattig Win Big at CSI
  • Announcing the 2012 International Backgammon Championship US Playoffs
  • Bill Riles–the 2013 Texas Backgammon Championship
  • Art Benjamin–Backgammon at the University of South Carolina
  • Barry Silliman–The Leading U.S. Players
  • Barry Silliman–An Explanation of the USBGF Leader Board
  • Founding Sponsors
  • Upcoming U.S. Backgammon Events
  • March-April 2012 Tournament Results
  • Perry Gartner–Update on the US Backgammon Federation
  • Annual Membership Meeting–June 19, 2012

This issue of PrimeTime Backgammon, and other analytic articles, are restricted to Premium, Youth, and Founding Sponsor members. Join now, and you’ll enhance your playing experience–and have more fun! For those of you who have joined, again, many thanks for your confidence in us, and enjoy this 41-page action-packed, fun-filled issue.

 

Copenhagen: The Backgammon Capital

Gus Hansen captains Danish team Photo by Bob Wachtel

Denmark has emerged as the place to participate in World-Class Backgammon. In the latest issue of PrimeTime Backgammon, Editor Bob Wachtel takes us to Copenhagen, where he played in the recent Nordic Open–the event he calls the Players’ Tournament, because it attracts so many first-class players serious about the game. In his exciting story, featured in the current May-June 2012 issue of the magazine, he tells of his participation in the seven-versus-seven Challenge Match, pitting the Danes against The Rest of the World. The Danes, with ice water in their veins, handily won in 2012, making them triumphant in two out of the last three years.

Japan won the country prize in the inaugural International Backgammon Championship (IBC) in 2011, with 26 players from 10 nations competing. Tsuyoshi Minakami (Japan) won first place in the individual competition, defeating finalist Simon Bargot (UK) in an exciting concluding match. Third and fourth place winners were Thomas Ronn (Sweden) and Lorenzo Rinaldo (Italy). Chuck Bower, Ray Fogerlund, David Kettler, and Joe Russell represented the U.S. Representatives for the second IBC will be determined in the US Playoffs in September.  Sign up now either for the US Playoffs ($160 entry fee) or enter qualifying brackets of eight ($20 entry fee for each entry), which are being held on a rolling basis from now until September 5.

This issue contains lots of news and photos from recent tournaments. The Nevada State Championship is covered in an article by Steve Sax, Central States Invitational by director Bill Davis, and the Ohio State Championship by winner Stick Rice. Chuck Bower spotlights the Harvey Mudd College winning team in the 2012 National Collegiate Team Championship. Mark your calendars now for January 31-February 3, 2013 for the 2013 Texas Backgammon Championship–which will include a USBGF Tournament of Stars doubles event and a USBGF National Championship with a free first entry for USBGF Premium and Youth members.

Attracting new players to online and live tournament play is a major goal of the U.S. Backgammon Federation. 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 May 1, 2012, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions based on ABT/USBGF tournament play since 2009.

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 41-page action-packed issue.

 

2012 International Backgammon Championship

ANNOUNCING THE 2012 INTERNATIONAL BACKGAMMON CHAMPIONSHIP

The U.S. Backgammon Federation is  co-sponsoring the 2012 International Backgammon Championship with the Japanese Backgammon League. It will give players across the globe the chance to compete in a worldwide competition at a very low cost. Sign up now and join in the fun!

In the inaugural international event in 2011, 26 players from 10 nations competed. Chuck Bower, Ray Fogerlund, David Kettler, and Joe Russell represented the U.S., as the top 4 semi-finalists in the 2011 U.S. IBC Playoffs.  In the IBC, Tsuyoshi Minakami (Japan) won the individual competition, defeating finalist Simon Bargot (UK) in an exciting concluding match. Third and fourth place winners were Thomas Ronn (Sweden) and Lorenzo Rinaldo (Italy).

Japan captured the country prize with 17 points based on a point for each match win within a series, followed by Italy with 10, UK with 8, Sweden with 7, Denmark with 6, Germany and U.S. with 4, Australia with 3, and Turkey and the Netherlands with 1 each.

As in 2011, the entry fee of 1000 Euros will be paid by the U.S. Backgammon Federation for up to four U.S. entrants, as well as the 100 Euro registration fee. 100% of the entry fees will be dedicated to the prize pool (see details below).

Selection of U.S. Representatives

U.S. citizens wishing to compete to represent the U.S. may:

1) Directly enter the U.S. Playoffs by making a donation of $160 to www.PayPal.com USBGF account: payments@usbgf.org and complete the online registration form. Alternatively, a check for $160 payable to the U.S. Backgammon Federation may be mailed c/o Karen Davis, Treasurer, U.S. Backgammon Federation, 4838 Laurel Hill Place, Toledo, Ohio 43614.

2)  Win a qualifying bracket of 8 players in online competition on GridGammon playing site. Donate $20 to www.PayPal.com USBGF account: payments@usbgf.org and complete the online registration form. Alternatively, a check for $20 payable to the U.S. Backgammon Federation may be mailed c/o Karen Davis, Treasurer, U.S. Backgammon Federation, 4838 Laurel Hill Place, Toledo, Ohio 43614.

All matches in the qualifying brackets of 8 will be single elimination 9-point matches. Players may enter as often as they choose, and winners may qualify twice for the U.S. Playoffs, receiving a first-round bye.

3) USBGF affiliated local clubs and other live events may also hold 8 person qualifying brackets. The format is at the discretion of the club/tournament director.

4) In addition the winner of the USBGF National Championship at the NY Metropolitan Open held in January 2012 (Ed O’Laughlin) and the winner of the USBGF National Championship at the LA Open (to be held June 8-10, 2012) will be included in the U.S. Playoffs.

The U.S. Playoffs field with a maximum of 64 players will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will be closed no later than September 5. Entry fees to the IBC will be paid by USBGF for the top four winners of the field of 64. (If there are 32 or fewer registrants, the number of entrants to the IBC by the USBGF will be reduced. Last year 56 positions were filled, and it is anticipated that this will be exceeded in 2012.)

Entrants to qualifying events and the U.S. IBC Playoffs must be USBGF Premium members. If a player qualifies twice, he/she will be given a bye in the first round of the US IBC Playoffs.

US Playoffs Format

U.S. IBC Playoffs will be played on-line on GridGammon between September 5 and October 10 with matches recorded and submitted for review.  The round of 16 and lower will be proctored as well as recorded. Winners will be selected by best two of three 9 point matches.

The Tournament Director for the U.S. Playoffs and the online qualifying brackets of 8 is Tara Mendicino, e-mail: tara@usbgf.org

International Backgammon Championship

The international competition will begin October 12 and complete the opening rounds by the end of December 2012 by proctored online competition. The USBGF will pay the entry fees of up to four US representatives of 1000 Euros and 100 Euro registration fee.

This tournament gives backgammon players in any of the participating federations/organizations the opportunity to play in a world-wide championship with very low cost.  The inter-country competition will be online, except for the semi-finals and finals which will be live. The venue for the semi’s and finals will be determined by the Tournament Committee.  There will be ample opportunities for players and spectators to watch intra-country and inter-country matches online.

 The entries will be paid in Euros in the amount of 1000 euro per contestant plus a 100 euro registration fee. The return will be 100% with the exception of the registration fee.  Half of the registration fee (50 euros per entrant) will go toward the expenses of the web-site and tournament directors. Half (50 euros per entrant) will be dedicated towards travel expenses.

The IBC format: 

Single elimination based upon the best 2 of 3 eleven point matches. Semi’s and Finals are the best 2 of 3 thirteen point matches.

The draw for each round will be managed so that opponents are not from the same country until no other choice.

All IBC matches with the exception of the semi’s and finals will be online, although if any opponents agree to play live, that would be acceptable as well.

Players agree on date/time/place and have a time of 2 weeks for each round. Planed matches must be announced at least 3 days before the match is played. All matched will be recorded on Extreme Gammon online and submitted to the Tournament Committee by the proctor exporting it, immediately after play is completed.  All matches against an opponent must be completed in the same session.

All IBC online matches will be supervised by a proctor selected by each contestant’s Federation/Organization.  Any cheating that is discovered will disqualify the contestant.  Any accusations of cheating will be resolved by a committee to be formed to investigate and adjudicate such allegations.

 Playing rules are listed on the site, www.bgchampionship.com.

 Spectators will be permitted to be present at all matches.

 The finals will be in March 2013 or later, depending on when the draw reaches the semis and the selection of the venue.   

Prize money:

16 players: 70% to the winner.  30% to the finalist.

32 players or more: 50% to winner, 25% to the finalist, 12.5% to the semi-finalists.

 

Harvey Mudd College Wins National Collegiate Team Championship

Harvey Mudd College is the winner of the 2012 National Backgammon Collegiate Team Championships sponsored by the U.S. Backgammon Federation. Last year’s winning team, The University of California at Los Angeles, placed second. The Harvey Mudd team consisted of Nathan Hall, Louis Ryan, and Jonathan Schwartz, with the students splitting the $690 scholarship first prize. The team is coached by Art Benjamin, Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and a member of the USBGF Board of Directors. Nine teams competed on-line (with live proctors) on Saturday, April 21st.

Photo of Harvey Mudd College backgammon team: Jonathan Schwartz, Nathan Hall (seated), Louis Ryan, and coach Art Benjamin taken by Rachel Levy.

The second-place UCLA team included Joe Roth, Ashim Ahuja, and Matt Hecht, while the other UCLA team tied Northwestern for 3rd and 4th place. UCLA players opted for year-long memberships in the U.S. Backgammon Federation for all six UCLA players, and split the remaining $120 second-place scholarship from the U.S. Backgammon Foundation. Scholarship awards will be presented at the annual USBGF awards dinner at the Los Angeles Open on June 9, 2012.

According to Joe Russell, Chairman of the USBGF Education Committee and organizer of the event, “I was truly impressed by the high quality of play. Harvey Mudd, entered a strong team again this year and put in a lot of study and hard work the past few months preparing for this competition. “ Each team received much help and coaching from USBGF volunteers around the country including Art Benjamin from Harvey Mudd College; Chuck Bower from Indiana; Michael Edge from South Carolina; and Joe Russell, Justin Nunez, Steve Sax, and Alex Eshaghian from Los Angeles. Thanks also go to Phil Simborg and Alex Eshaghian for assisting with the tournament.

Other teams participating in the event were two teams from Clemson, two teams from Indiana University, and a team from Texas A&M University. There are over two dozen schools across the country with Backgammon Clubs that have started in the past two years under the leadership of Phil Simborg, USBGF Education Advisor. Simborg noted, “Thanks to a lot of hard work from Joe and the volunteers who have worked with the teams, we are attracting a whole new generation to the game.”

42 Teams Competing: 2012 USBGF National Club Team Championship

They’re off and running! The 2012 USBGF National Club Team Championship has attracted 42 teams from 23 clubs, for a total of 138 players — up from 33 teams last year.  Co-directors are:  Justin Nunez Justin_Nunez@yahoo.com  and Joe Russell Joe@usbgf.org.

Follow the action on the Drawsheets posted on this website. Matches are played on GridGammon. The competition takes place in three phases: Group Play, Qualifiers and 2nd Chance Rounds, and Final Rounds.  Detailed instructions for team captains are posted.  The Group Play runs from March 26 to April 20; the Qualifiers and 2nd Chance Rounds from April 22 to May 12; and the Final Rounds from May 14 to June 7.

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 awards dinner on June 9 in Los Angeles. Photos of winning team players will be featured on the USBGF Hall of Fame website page and the July-August 2012 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon electronic magazine.  You won’t find more fun, prestige, and recognition anywhere else!

Teams include:

Arizona Phoenix (Arizona BC, AZ) — Harvey Gillis, Doug Amenda (Captain), Todd Crosner

Phoenix Backgammon (Phoenix BC, AZ) — Daniel Pelton (Captain), Dale Snow, Cherie Owens

Bay Area Blotters (Backgammon by the Bay, SF) — Ted Chee (Captain), Pete Mostoufi, Carl Blumenstein

The Eventual Winners (Backgammon by the Bay, SF) — Odis Chenault (Captain), Jeremy Bagai, David Levy

Twisted Fate (Backgammon by the Bay, SF) — Cheryl Andersen (Captain), Josh Racko, Mark Antranikian

Fabulous Three (Gammon Associates, LA) — Doug Mayfield (Captain), Charles Toots, Moni Hatchikian

GammonNation (Gammon Associates, LA) —  Joe Russell (Captain), Tiran Dangor, Reza Sarabi

Glass Menagerie (Gammon Associates, LA) — Bob Glass (Captain), Jona Alexander, Ashim Ahuja

Incubating Nards (Gammon Associates, LA) — Kamyar Hosseinian, Reza Daryabegi (Captain), Kevin Kahl

LA Blankers (Gammon Associates, LA) — Justin Nunez (Captain), Joe Roth, Michael Showkati

Oh Fudge (Gammon Associates, LA) — Norm Wiggins, Frank Ley (Captain), Larry Bosen

Pip Squeaks (Gammon Associates, LA) — John Rockwell, Scott Evans (Captain), Ergin Bayrak, Doug DeWitte

Prime and Punishment (Gammon Associates, LA) — Steve Sax (Captain), Alex Eshaghian, Russ Rosen

CBC (CT) — Ross Gordon (Captain), Andrew Fazekas, Jim Stutz

Atlanta Northside BG (GA) — Stuart Thomson, Larry Taylor, Jerry Godsey (Captain), Randy Sloan

Chicago Style (Chicago Bar Point) — Rory Pascar (Captain), Larry Goldstein, Carter Mattig, Lucky Nelson

KCBG (Kansas City) — Phil Franklin, Eric Barr (Captain), Kathleen Davis

Urban Achievers (Grand Rapids, MI) — Chris Haviland (Captain), Jim Slomkowski, John Drexel

Autos and Carryovers (North Metro, MI) — Bill Calton (Captain), Faris Gabbara, Prince Barlow

Northmen (North Metro, MI) — Frank Talbot, Dmitriy Obukhov, Paul Berg (Captain)

Runnin Rebels (Las Vegas, NV) — Drew Giovannis, Ray Fogerlund (Captain), Howard Markowitz, Greg Cottle

Exit 177A (Mid-Jersey, NJ) — Arthur Sutton (Captain), Bob Tilp, Mike Battaglia

The Jersey Boys (Mid-Jersey, NJ) — Jeff Acierno, Alan Grunwald (Captain), Steve Jacobson

Santa Fe Backgammon Club (NM) — Ed Rosenblum, Penina Meisels, Ethan Nissani, Edna Riley (Captain)

New York Athletic Club 1 (NYAC) — Leyla Zaloutskaya (Captain), Pierre de Ravel d’Esclapon, Michael Aufrichtig

New York Athletic Club 2 (NYAC) —  Jonathan Bartlett, John Lummis (Captain), Jim Haddad

Alphabet City (NYC) –Susan Keyloun (Captain), Dane Carillo, Avi Harari

The Battery (NYC) — Richard Munitz (Captain), Rod Covlin, Andy Rubien

Five Points (NYC) — Mel Rappaport, Keith Gershenson, Lynn Ehrlich (Captain)

Hell’s Kitchen (NYC — Peter Geissler (Captain), Nick Kravitz, Frank DiMaggio

The Village People (NYC) — Julia Sommer (Captain), Ira Gardner, Peter Kasturas

Wall Street (NYC) — Michael Zumoff (Captain), Margo DeSantis, Iakovos Sismanoglou

Team Pair-O-Dice (Pair-O-Dice, NYC) — Chris Trencher, Allen Hodis, Bill Phipps, Ira Siegler (Captain)

Tar Heels (Charlotte, NC) — Michael Edge, Vadim Musaelyan, Jeb Horton (Captain), David Rogers

Ohio Buckeyes (OSBC, OH) — Joe Miller (Captain), Karen Davis, Farhad Forudi, Daniel Barabas

Ready for Prime Time (Columbus BC, OH) — Stick Rice, Chris Yep, Mary Hickey, Jason Marshall (Captain)

Steel BG (Pittsburgh BC, PA) — Adam Versaw (Captain), Steve Hast, Bill Versaw

Austin Aces (TX) — Ira Hessel, David Kettler (Captain), Mary Tremayne, Marc Lewis

Beltway Bandits (Beltway BC, VA) — Bob Koca, Alfred Mamlet (Captain), Frank Raposa

Estranged Barbells (Beltway BC, VA) — Jason Lee (Captain), Steve Bland, Paul Strasberg

They Might Not Be Giants (Beltway BC, VA) — Grant Schneider (Captain), Barry Silliman, John Klein

Parkway Patriots (Northern VA) — Ed O’Laughlin, Gary Fries, Bill Finneran (Captain), LEW Webber

 

 

 

 

 

Special Benefit!! Mochy Video Free to USBGF Members

 

Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki

Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki (photo by Steve Sax)

Courtesy of Backgammon TV and USBGF Gold Founding Sponsor Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki, US Backgammon Federation Premium, Youth, and Associate members are eligible for access to a free video viewing for 30 days, “Priming Formation and Blitzing Formation” by Mochy.  Mochy says: “I always play by one simple rule during mid-game. I do not use complicated calculations or strategies. I just decide whether I should take up a priming formation or a blitzing formation.” Don’t miss out on this $19.99 value — available free of charge to USBGF members.

 To access this benefit you must have a Facebook account with an e-mail address that matches your USBGF membership e-mail address. Then go to Back-gammon TV website, by either clicking on the icon on the lower right hand side of the USBGF website http://usbgf.org or go directly to http://back-gammon.tv/. Log-in using your e-mail address. Click on the Facebook icon on the upper right of the Home Page. Once the login system has verified your eligibility, you will receive a message offering the “Priming Formation and Blitzing Formation” movie/video free of charge. Click on Receive this Privilege. The video will begin rolling. Also go to the bottom of the screen and click on Download to obtain a free pdf file of the lesson.

Online Match Series Launched!

Jason Lee

Neil Kazaross

Marty Storer

Come join the fun!! The U.S. Backgammon Federation is pleased to announce the launch of a new feature on the USBGF website — an online match pitting USBGF members against the All-Time American Backgammon Tour leader, Neil Kazaross. Jason Lee, a Ph.D. mathematician and regular tournament backgammon player, will serve as Online Match Editor. Each day the next challenging checker/cube decision will be posted on the website. USBGF Premium, Youth, and Associate (Limited) members can vote on the best decision. Commentary on moves/cube decisions will be provided by USBGF Feature Editor for Annotated Matches and renowned backgammon author, Marty Storer.
 
To vote, log in as a USBGF member on the upper right of the Home Page (or join if you have not yet joined), go to the USBGF Online Match Series daily post in the bottom half of the Home Page, click on the title — OLM 2012-(Month-Day), view the daily position, and fill in your preferred move in the box (e.g. 24-20*, etc.).

PrimeTime Backgammon, March-April, 2012 Issue

Matt Cohn-Geier

Matt Cohn-Geier

Justin Nunez

Justin Nunez

The U.S. Backgammon Federation presents the March-April 2012 issue of its bi-monthly electronic magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon. In it, you’ll find articles by leading backgammon players and authors.

Selected contents include:

  • Marty Storer–Masters Jackpot Finals at the US Open: Matt Cohn-Geier vs. Justin Nunez
  • Bob Wachtel– Backgammon with Altitude
  • Profiles of National Internet Championship Winners–Dorn Bishop, Open Champion; Svilen “Svilo” Todorov, Open Finalist; Bruce Newberg, Advanced Champion; Joe Roth, Intermediate Champion
  • Mary Hickey–Starting Off Right
  • Karen Davis–Pittsburgh Championships

USBGF News:

  • USBGF Online Match Series
  • Facelift for USBGF Facebook Page
  • Stick Rice Backgammon Lesson
  • Barry Silliman–The Leading U.S. Tournament Players
  • Founding Sponsors
  • Upcoming U.S. Backgammon Events
  • January-February 2011 Tournament Results
  • Perry Gartner–Update on the US Backgammon Federation

This issue of PrimeTime Backgammon, and other analytic articles, are restricted to Premium, Youth, and Founding Sponsor members. Join now, and you’ll enhance your playing experience–and have more fun! For those of you who have joined, again, many thanks for your confidence in us, and enjoy this 49-page action-packed, fun-filled issue.


Download PrimeTime Backgammon in PDF format


Changing of the Guard: March-April 2012 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

Matt Cohn-Geier

Matt Cohn-Geier

Justin Nunez

Justin Nunez

Matt Cohn-Geier and Justin Nunez, two of the younger stars on the backgammon circuit, battled for the Masters Jackpot at the US Open in January 2012. With Justin taking an early lead, MCG surging ahead in the middle of the match, Justin seeming to have it in the bag in the last game before MCG pulled it out for the win, it made exciting watching for those in attendance and those following it streamed onto their computers. Marty Storer analyzes ten interesting positions from the match,  in the latest issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. You’ll enjoy the commentary as well as Marty’s annotation of the entire match on the website.

 The inaugural USBGF National Internet Championship attracted 191 players, including 111 in the Open Division, 47 in the Advanced Division, and 33 in the Intermediate Division. The tourney gave a number of players who are not well known on the live-tournament scene a venue in which to test their skills against tough competition. This issue includes profiles of the winners–Dorn Bishop, Open Champion; Svilo Todorov, Open Finalist; Bruce Newberg, Advanced Champion; and Joe Roth, Intermediate Champion–illustrating the varied backgrounds and strong influence backgammon has in their lives.

Live tournament play, however, still has a strong appeal. Bob Wachtel captures the art and ambience of the New Mexico State Championship in Santa Fe with a relaxed pace that included taking in the magnificent museums and vistas, while Karen Davis highlights the Swiss format play that began early and ended late with pizza, hoagies, and other treats fueling players throughout the three-day non-stop-backgammon President’s Day weekend at the Pittsburgh Championships.

Attracting new players to online and live tournament play is a major goal of the U.S. Backgammon Federation. 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 March 1, 2012, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions based on ABT/USBGF tournament play since 2009.

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 49-page action-packed issue.

Stick Rice Doubling Cube Lesson Recording


Stick Rice has donated proceeds of payments for a recorded lesson on the Doubling Cube: Take/Drop Decision to the U.S. Backgammon Federation. The lesson is devoted to a much better method for approaching take/drop decisions at normal match scores. You can view the lesson as many times as you like and feel free to harass Stick with any follow-up questions or feedback. Anyone wishing to listen to the lesson should make a minimum $20 payment to the USBGF PayPal account payments@usbgf.org and send an e-mail to info@usbgf.org requesting access to the recording.

Select testimonials:

  • Just want to say love this lesson got so much info out of it. Thanks again Stick !
  • Excellent Group Lesson and IMO, the best yet! … I fully recommend this one! In the raw the lesson went smooth, good intro, solid structure; learnt a lot. My guess is that the recording will be equally good! Really looking forward to it! Having trouble evaluating the take/drop process? No worries! Mr Stick will put you on the straight-and-narrow. You’ll get an insight into weighing gammons; a clear and corect procedure for working out the values needed to determine the take-pt and various other juicy stuff!
  • I also attended Stick’s Group Lesson yesterday and will post some comments here that I hope will be useful to those considering whether to purchase a recording of the lesson. The topic was a way to figure out if you should Take or Drop when you are Doubled. For me, this was a very good, important, topic. (In his original post, Stick listed the topic as “The Cube” — obviously much too broad a topic for a 90 minute lesson. I think he narrowed it down well.) I have spent far more time thinking, analyzing, and reading about when to send the Cube, and far less time on how to determine what to do when cubed. I lose a lot of equity here. I think my ER will improve as I incorporate into my Take/Pass decisions what I learned in this lesson. Stick presented a relatively easy method for determining your take point that involves estimating your opponent’s and your gammon chances and then doing some simple computations. He first gave some background and rationale for the method, which was clear, easy to follow, and useful. Then, in the process of teaching the method, he helped us improve the accuracy of our estimates. He gave useful guidelines, reference positions, and benchmarks, and made good use of examples. I learned a lot that I will use. Moreover, I am now prepared to make better use of the gammon values provided by XG as I analyze my matches. So, if you already know this method, and your gammon estimates are good, you probably won’t get much new out of this lesson. But, if you don’t know this method and/or your gammon estimates need work, imo, the lesson is  definitely worth it.

Facelift for USBGF Facebook Page

Have you been to the USBGF Facebook page lately?  If not, you are missing out on some fun and interesting information.  Our fabulous social media director, Susan Keyloun, has given the page a real facelift and you will find it much easier to see links, important information, updates on tournaments, and other key features.

 We have also made the very prolific Phil Simborg our Facebook Editor, and he has begun posting, almost every day, an interesting position for discussion, an interesting fact or quote or tip about backgammon, interesting pictures, and other discussion items.  

 As some of you may know, Phil has been posting a “position of the day” every day for the last several years on his teaching web site, www.thebackgammonlearningcenter.com, and he has agreed to stop doing it there and doing his very interesting and educational positions on the USBGF Web Site with links on Facebook to let you know when they are posted, as well as some positions directly on Facebook.

Phil is backed up by a team of volunteers that will be posting timely updates and results for current tournaments while they are in progress, links to live streaming of matches, schedules of major international and collegiate matches and events happening on line, and other current information you will find interesting.  Our thanks to Karen Davis, Perry Gartner, Rochelle Hasson, Richard Munitz, Justin Nunez, Rynell Nunez, and Joe Russell, for their help in keeping the Facebook page updated and interesting.

With Facebook, you can also post your comments and questions for Phil, or any of our members to answer or consider.  It’s an exciting, informative, fun place to read and share ideas with the rest of our members and the many visitors to Facebook.  If you haven’t already done so, do sign up at www.facebook.com/USBGF and urge your friends to sign up as well! 

Don’t forget to get the Facebook app for your Smart Phones so you can keep up with us when you’re on the go!

 

Backgammon 24/7: January-February 2012 Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

Jeremy Bagai and Matt Cohn-Geier at Las Vegas

Jeremy Bagai (left) and Matt Cohn-Geier at Las Vegas (photo by Steve Sax)

The USBGF National Internet Championship brought new options for playing competitive backgammon without leaving home! Paul Weaver reports on his experience playing in the largest online U.S. backgammon tournament ever in the latest issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. After a grueling NINE rounds of world class competition with 191 entrants, Dorn Bishop won the Open Division with 2nd place going to Bulgarian, Svilen Todorov. 3rd and 4th place in the Open Division were Frank Frigo and Paul Weaver. Paul shares interesting positions from his matches along the way, as well as his reflections on online vs. live play. The next issue will include interviews with Dorn and Bruce Newberg, who captured the Advanced Division title.

Steve Sax captures the excitement of live tournament play at the Las Vegas Open, and the exciting final match between Burning Men friends Jeremy Bagai and Matt Cohn-Geier. Rynell Nunez streamed matches to an Internet audience for four days, capturing the high points of the New York Metropolitan Open and USBGF National Championship in early January. The issue has photos of winners and staff, and players out on the town seeing the sights and sounds, and enjoying the great food.

You won’t want to miss the upcoming USBGF National Club Team Championship–so round up a team of your fellow local club members and register by March 20 with play to take place on GridGammon starting shortly thereafter. College students should do the same and play in the collegiate team event to be held on Safeharborgames.net on April 21st. Get all the details in this issue of the magazine.

Attracting new players to online and live tournament play is a major goal of the U.S. Backgammon Federation, which sponsored a two-day seminar at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston in early January. Co-instructors Art Benjamin and Bob Koca report on their two-day mini-course for math students, educators, and professionals, with a snippet captured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Richard Munitz encourages tournament players at every level to check out their ratings and stats on the USBGF website, and outlines plans for new features made possible through a non-exclusive license granted to USBGF by programming wizard Michael Darooge, creator of backgames.org. Barry Silliman, USBGF Ratings Editor, has updated the Leader Board, with ABT rankings at the end of 2011, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions based on ABT/USBGF tournament play since 2009.

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 39-page action-packed issue.


National Internet Championship: And the Winners Are!

The results are in! After a gruelling NINE rounds of world class competition in the USBGF National Internet Championship, the winner of the Open Division is Dorn Bishop! 2nd place in the Open Division goes to Svilen Todorov. 3rd and 4th place in the Open Division were Frank Frigo and Paul Weaver. Dorn Bishop and Frank Frigo have earned two of the four spots on the U.S. team for the upcoming 2012 Nation’s Cup, also to be played on GridGammon.
 
The inaugural USBGF National Internet Championship, co-directed by Joe Russell and Justin Nunez, is one of the largest online U.S. backgammon tournament ever — 191 players began the long journey to the finals including:  the Intermediate Division  with 33 players, the Advanced Division  with 47 players, and the Open Division with 111 players!

Let’s also give a round of applause to the Finalists of the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions. Joe Roth won the Intermediate, with Evren Koptur coming in 2nd Place. Semifinalists were Carol McGannon and Kat Denison. Bruce Newberg won the Advanced, with Angelo Wilson coming in 2nd Place. Simifinalists were Leon Marzillier and Peter Kasturas.

The finalists and semi finalists in all Divisions will receive USBGF certificates signed by the Tournament Directors, as well as have their names and photos displayed permanently on the USBGF website Hall of Fame. The winners of each division will also receive a qualifying spot in the 2012 USBGF National Championship Playoff, bypassing the qualifying brackets of 8.

Congratulations to all of you on a fine performance against tough competition! We hope to see you all again in next year’s tournament.

 

College Scholarships to be Awarded to Winning Team in USBGF National Collegiate Team Championship

The U. S. Backgammon Federation is pleased to announce the 2012 USBGF Backgammon Collegiate Team Championship, with $600 in scholarships to be allocated to student members of the winning team. This one-day event will be held online on Safeharborgames.net on Saturday, April 21st, starting at Noon Central Time (1 pm Eastern). Teams will consist of three players, and each team is allowed to have one faculty member on the team (the faculty member is not eligible for the scholarship award).  All teams should register with joe@usbgf.org no later than April 19th. Up to three teams may participate from each school.  Students must become USBGF Youth members and faculty Premium members to compete in the tournament; all full-time graduate and undergraduate students may register as Youth members regardless of age. For details, see the 2012 USBGF National College Team Championship events tab.

2011 was the first USBGF National Backgammon Collegiate Championship event with 8 teams competing. UCLA beat Northwestern in a very close and exciting final.  UCLA was coached by Joe Russell with help from Justin Nunez and Steve Sax and included Dan Ben-Moshe, Joe Roth, and Ashim Ahuja. Northwestern was coached by David and Lyle Rubin with help from Phil Simborg and included Naveed Heydari, Uri Magaram, Kerem Taskin, and Michael Harper.  Most of the participants were beginners at the beginning of the year, but in the actual event, which was on line (and monitored), several matches were played at Personal Ratings in the “expert” range. Third and fourth place teams were: Indiana University and Princeton. Fifth through eight place went to: Clemson, Harvey Mudd, a second Northwestern team, and Yale.

The USBGF will also mount a collegiate singles competition that will run during the months of March and April. Scholarships will be awarded to first and second place ($300 and $100, respectively). Matches will be 3 point matches. The singles competition has been established primarily to give individual students at schools that do not yet have clubs fully established and are not able to field a team.

Help us meet the fantastic interest in forming backgammon clubs at colleges! For those who would be interested in helping to form and/or coach a club at a college, high school, or elementary school in your local area, please contact Phil Simborg, USBGF Education Adviser at psimborg@sbcglobal.net. Donate used boards by sending to Phil Simborg USBGF Education Adviser, 1230 N. State Parkway, apt. 6C, Chicago IL  60610 (312-543-0522) or contacting Phil. Or make a tax-deductible donation to the U.S. Backgammon Foundation by sending a check in any amount, made out to the U.S. Backgammon Foundation, to Karen Davis, Treasurer, 4838 Laurel Hill Place, Toledo, Ohio 43614. Donations in 2012 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a challenge grant of up to $10,000 donated to the U.S. Backgammon Foundation.  

Since this program began in 2010, over 130 college students and 50 faculty members have been in direct contact with Phil to discuss playing backgammon or starting a club.  This is the future of backgammon, and your support is essential.  We also owe much of the success of this program to the over 30 USBGF members around the country who have volunteered their time and skill to help start clubs and coach the students.

USBGF National Championship at the NY Metropolitan Open

Ed O'Laughlin and Lynn Ehrlich photo by Karen Davis

The New York Metropolitan Open tournament at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Hudson in Jersey City, New Jersey, January 5-8, 2012, kicked off the new year on the American Backgammon Tour. Run by the amiable, experienced organizer and USBGF Board member Lynn Ehrlich, it attracted over 120 players to New York City. The  U.S. Backgammon Federation National Championship had 87 entrants and 105 re-entries for a total field of 192 who played in qualifying brackets of 8. The event was won by Ed O’Laughlin.  Arkadiy Tsinis was a finalist.

The USBGF will also sponsor a 2012 National Championship at the LA Open in June 8-10, 2012. The winners of the two events will play off for the Grand Championship in LA.

Backgammon London Open 2012

May 2012 will see the largest completely open backgammon tournament in the world take place in London, England. 128 players have already signed up to play for the coveted London Open trophy. New players will rub shoulders with international giants of the game. The tournament is completely free to enter and there is no registration fee.

The tournament is being filmed and will be shown in a series of 15 minute shows on Sky TV helping to raise the profile of the great game of backgammon.

The Backgammon London Open 2012 is a 128 player single-elimination knock-out tournament. Additional action is provided through a series of on-going side events throughout the weekend for players who are knocked out of the main tournament.

The London Open also hosts the inaugural British Backgammon Awards. The awards ceremony takes place on the evening of Saturday 19th May and will recognize the outstanding players and contributors to backgammon over the past 12 months.

Escape the Winter Blahs — Head for Santa Fe January 27-29, 2012

Photo by Carol Joy Cole

 You can’t beat the New Mexico State Backgammon Championship at the La Posada de Santa Fe for culture, cuisine, and camaraderie. Promoted and directed by the father-son team Ed and Adam Bennett the tournament offers lots of opportunity for play, sight-seeing, and taking in the art galleries. All-time top-ranked ABT player Neil Kazaross will be offering a seminar. A free doubles event at the Mucho Gusto Restaurant kicks off the activities Thursday evening; the Santa Fe 500 and Roadrunner Jackpots start Friday afternoon; doubles begin Friday evening; and the main Championship, Advanced, and Novice division flights start on Saturday.

USBGF Monthly Lecture: “Understanding take points, the price of gammons, and eXtremeGammon”

 

The USBGF provides monthly seminars to all USBGF members, featuring leading Giants of Backgammon and top-level instructors. 

The Seminar for the month of January, 2012 is:  Understanding take points, the price of gammons, and eXtremeGammon, By Phil Simborg.

 Phil explains where take points come from, where the price of gammons comes from, how to apply them over the board, and how to use eXtremeGammon to help you find the numbers.   Phil also discusses the use of “gammon-adjusted and non-gammon-adjusted” take points.

The link to the lecture is: Understanding take points, the price of gammons, and eXtremeGammon. [Read more…]

Stars Spar: Latest Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

Falafel Natanzon and Stepan Nuniyants battled it out in Los Angeles in June, putting on a first-rate show for spectators in an all-out backgame. Marty Storer analyzes the game with the help of XGR+ rollouts by Neil Kazaross in the latest issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. It’s a great demonstration of backgame concepts explained by World-Champion Mochy in the last issue and should help solidify your understanding of this difficult game.

Editor and world-traveler Bob Wachtel shares his quick shorthand for recording backgammon positions — Wachtation. And his description of how a world class team prepared for battle with Team Denmark shows what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the mighty Danes. The launch of the first-ever International Backgammon Championship, sponsored by the Danish, Japanese, and U.S. backgammon federations, is captured in another article by Tara Mendicino.

You won’t want to miss the upcoming the USBGF National Championship being held January 5-8, 2012 in conjunction with the New York Metropolitan Open. All USBGF Premium and Youth members are eligible for one free entry into the USBGF National Championships, with buy-backs for those who want to keep trying. All entrants get a shot at for a week’s stay in Baja California, Mexico, offered by tournament director Lynn Ehrlich. See the magazine and brochure at for more details.

There’s something for everyone in this issue of the magazine, regardless of playing level. John O’Hagan was on hand as Joe Sylvester re-emerged on the backgammon scene winning the Illinois State Championship in a tough final match against David Rockwell. Karen Davis captures the excitement of the Michigan-Ohio State Backgammon Challenge Cup, pitting natural rivals against each other. Two-time U.S. Open champion, Mary Hickey, provides tips for beginners and intermediates on strategy in the early game. Justin Nunez announces the winners of the first USBGF Backgammon Mastery Exam prepared by Mochy and offered in Las Vegas in November. Barry Silliman, Ratings Editor, has updated the Leader Board, with ABT rankings and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions.

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 39-page action-packed issue.

Sweet Sixteen

Only six spots are left in the New Orleans “Sweet 16” Tournament to be held the weekend of March 3-4, 2012! Free leather dice cups with player initials will be provided to all entrants. Check the  New Orleans Backgammon Club website for more information, or call Will Hunn at 504-366-7498.

USBGF Backgammon Mastery Examination in Las Vegas

Ray Fogerlund topped the Open field in the USBGF Backgammon Mastery Examination offered in Las Vegas on November 11, 2011, followed closely by Malcolm Davis. Garry Kallos and Joe Nolan tied in the Intermediate Division. The  50-question backgammon exam was prepared by world champion and #1 Giant of Backgammon Mochy (Masayuki Mochizuki). The exam was designed to inform players at every level how well they understand strategic and tactical fundamentals. Twenty-one players in all participated in the event.

It contains sections pertaining to various aspects of the game, including Early Game Play, Middle Game Play, End Game Play, and selected aspects (e.g. techniques for counting pips). Separate scores will be calculated on different sections of the exam. Participants will be able to compare their scores with the average for all participants, as well as those taking the exam in Japan.

A soft covered book will be available toward the end of the year, and will contain all the questions and answers prepared by Mochy and mailed to participants after the contest or made available at an upcoming tournament. The cost of the book for those taking the exam is expected to be $25 for USBGF members and $30 for non-members.

The Olympics of Backgammon: Bower, Fogerlund, Kettler, and Russell to Represent the U.S.

These are exciting times for the sport of backgammon. Throughout the world, national federations are forming and gaining strength: and this year, for the very first time, we will have a real backgammon Olympics. Organized by the Danish, Japanese, and U. S. federations, the International Backgammon Championship will include 26 players from 10 nations. And the winning player will take home more than glory: each nation will contribute 1000 euros to a grand prize pool for each of their 1-4 participants in the event. The draw is scheduled for October 31, and the first round will take place online shortly thereafter. Contestants must win 2 out of 3 11-point matches to advance, and 2 out of 3 13-point matches in the semi-finals and finals. For more details on the tournament and its international participants, go to the IBC website.  If you’d like to follow the action, sign up for the U.S. Backgammon Federation Twitter page or the USBGF Facebook page to receive scheduling notices.

Mirroring an Olympic style event, The First International Backgammon Championship will be featuring the IBC Country Prize. Points will be awarded to players’ respective countries for each match win within a series. A trophy will be presented to the country which has amassed the most points.

The U.S. will be represented by Chuck Bower, Ray Fogerlund, David Kettler, and Joe Russell. These four emerged victorious in the U.S. playoffs played on GridGammon between September 5 and October 10. Players qualified for the U.S. Playoffs in multiple ways: entering side pools at USBGF and ABT tournaments between April 2011 and September 2011; entering local club qualifiers; and buying directly into the playoffs.  The U.S. Playoff competition was fierce including 42 different players filling 56 slots. It was a star-studded field, featuring several of the current Giants of Backgammon as well as many of the big names from bygone days, including former World Champions and World Amateur Champions.

Chuck Bower

Chuck learned to play backgammon during the 1970’s craze. He has two significant open division wins: 2002 Michigan Summer Championships and 2011 Chicago Open. In addition, he has proved proficient in finding strong doubles partners and has shared five such titles. Chuck has contributed backgammon articles to newsletters and websites and is active within the USBGF bringing new players into the game. He is a self-employed data analyst, currently active in sports software development. He qualified for the U.S. Playoffs by entering the sidepool of the May 2011 Chicago Open.

 

Ray Fogerlund

Two-time American Backgammon Tour (ABT) Player of the Year and current 2011 ABT point leader, Ray Fogerlund has had an amazing national and international backgammon career. The #16 Giant of Backgammon has achieved the #2 position on the All-Time ABT Point List. For 2011, Fogerlund has demonstrated impressive tournament results, including 2 ABT Main Event wins and 1 Masters win so far. He qualified twice for the U.S. Playoffs: by winning the sidepool of the Vegas ABT tournament in April 2011 and by leading the ABT in 2011 as of the cut-off date of September 5, 2011.

 

David Kettler

 

 

David is a roofing contractor living in Austin, Texas. He is 62 years old, married, and has two sons. He loves backgammon. He qualified for the U.S. Playoffs by directly entering the field and buying-back after one loss.

 

Joseph Russell

 

 

Joseph Russell has had many international, national, and regional wins including the 1989 World Championship and the 1995 ABT championship. He was a regular on the Giants list until his more than 10 year retirement from backgammon in 1996. Since his return in 2008, he has won the 2009 California State Championship, The 2010 Las Vegas Open Masters, and the 2010 Los Angeles Open Masters. In addition. he placed 2nd in 3 events: the 2010 Nevada State Masters, the 2008 Nevada State Open, and the 2009 U.S. Open. He won the Open consolation of the 2010 California State Championship and has been a semifinalist in several events. He is one of the top ten open players on the USBGF ratings list. He qualified for the U.S. Playoffs by winning the GridGammon qualifying tournament, and by directly buying into the Playoffs.

 

IBC: Team USA Playoff  — Qualified Players (42), Filled Slots (56)

Player Name Qualifying Method
Ashkenazi, Victor NYC Club Qualifier
Barabino, Rick Direct Entry
Bauer, Gary Michigan Summer Championships
Bower, Chuck Chicago Open May 27-30, 2011
Chenault, Odis Michigan Summer Championships
Cohn-Geier, Matt Direct Entry
Cole, Carol Joy Atlanta Open April 29-May 1, 2011
Corbett, Mike USBGF National Championships in Los Angeles June 9-12, 2011
Covlin, Rod Direct Entry
Covlin, Rod Buy-back
Davis, Karen Atlanta Open April 29-May 1, 2011
Davis, Karen Buy-back
Davis, Malcolm Florida Championships
DiMaggio, Frank Direct Entry
Fogerlund, Ray Nevada State Championship April 13-17 2011
Fogerlund, Ray 2011 ABT leader as of September 5, 2011
Frigo, Frank Third Coast Club Qualifier
Gardner, Ira NYC Club Qualifier
Gerding, Alex Direct Entry
Gibson, Patrick Nevada State Championship April 13-17 2011
Gillis, Harvey LA Open June 9-12, 2011
Glass, Bob Chicago Open May 27-30, 2011
Hodis, Al Direct Entry
Kazaross, Neil 1st Golden Gate Open May 12-15, 2011
Kazaross, Neil USBGF National Championships in Los Angeles June 9-12, 2011
Kettler, David Direct Entry
Kettler, David Buy-back
Klein, Paul Direct Entry
Lee, Jason Michigan Summer Championships
Leibowitz, David Direct Entry
Leibowitz, David Buy-back
Ley, Frank Gammon Associates Club Qualifier
Lidov, Mika Direct Entry
Munitz, Richard USBGF National Championships in Los Angeles June 9-12, 2011
Munitz, Richard NYC Club Qualifier
Musaelyan, Vadim Direct Entry
Natanzon, Falafel Giants Invitational in Chicago May 27-30, 2011
Natanzon, Falafel USBGF World Giants’ Challenge Quiz in LA June 11, 2011
O’Laughlin, Ed LA Open June 9-12, 2011
O’Laughlin, Ed Wisconsin State Championships
Oles-Campbell, Debra Third Coast Club Qualifier
Pack, Jason Direct Entry
Pascar, Rory LA Open June 9-12, 2011
Pascar, Rory USBGF National Club Team Champ. – Chicago Bears playoff
Pasko, Jim Direct Entry
Powhatan, French Third Coast Club Qualifier
Rappaport, Mel NYC Club Qualifier
Russell, Joe Direct Entry
Russell, Joe GridGammon Qualifier
Sax, Steve USBGF National Championships in Los Angeles June 9-12, 2011
Schneider, Grant Direct Entry
Stein, Arthur Direct Entry
Stern, Doug Direct Entry
Wachtel, Bob Direct Entry
Weiner, Kathy USBGF National Championships in Los Angeles June 9-12, 2011
Woolsey, Kit 2010 ABT Champion

 

 

 

Mochy on The Back Game: September-October Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon

Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki

Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki (photo by Steve Sax)

World-champion Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki shares his insight into playing the challenging backgame in the latest issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Mastering the concepts explained in the article will markedly improve your game.

There’s lots of analysis, news, and just plain fun in this issue. Malcolm Davis finds the window for turning the cube, leading 10-1 in a match to 13 and holding a 2-cube. Danny Kleinman counts the ways to win for different bearoff position cube decisions. And mathemagician Art Benjamin, who can make such calculations in his mind faster than a calculator, starred at Backgammon Night at the Mathematical Association of America MathFest 2011. His Backgammon Quiz for Mathematicians can be found on the usbgf.org website.

There’s something for everyone in this issue of the magazine, regardless of playing level. Barry Silliman, Ratings Editor, has prepared a new Leader Board, with ABT rankings and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions. Two-time U.S. Open champion, Mary Hickey, provides tips for beginners and intermediates on strategy in the early game. Bob Wachtel captures the impact of “bots” on the backgammon culture in his article on the World’s Revenge, reprinted with permission from backgammon.org.  Karen Davis captures the excitement of the Florida State Championship directed by Chiva Tafazzoli, where Malcolm Davis swept both the Masters and the Open division, and Alex Gerding picked up three trophies — the Double Match Point, the microblitz, and the doubles event with partner Neil Rosensweig.

Thanks to Phil Simborg, USBGF Education Adviser, the number of college students playing backgammon is on the rise. Phil spotlights Ryan McKinnon from Yale, the winner of the Collegiate Summer Championship. A new USBGF Educational Sponsor program lets you help develop the next generation of players, or help support the development of a backgammon club at your alma mater. Harvey Gillis explains why backgammon helps prepare students of the game for life’s challenges.

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 38-page action-packed issue.

RENEW NOW!!

 

The USBGF online enrollment system was launched a year ago, and one year memberships are expiring for those who were on board first! Renew as a Premium U.S. Backgammon Federation member for one-year ($40) or three years ($100) or as a Youth/College member, age 25 and under or college student at $15 per year. The three-year option is a bargain — and you won’t have to worry about missing out on all the great benefits for three years! Basic/Limited membership geared to Internet players is available for $15 a year.

Benefits include:

  •  Access the bi-monthly USBGF magazine PrimeTime Backgammon, chock full of articles and backgammon problems/solutions to help improve your game, along with other backgammon community news
  • Have free entry in the USBGF National Backgammon Championships held annually
  • Have free entry in the USBGF National Internet Backgammon Championship held annually beginning in September 2011
  • Have free entry in the USBGF National Club Team Championship held annually
  • Earn a rating in the USBGF National Rating System based on win/loss statistics (see MEMBER RATINGS for more details)
  • View  U-streamed/Live-Streamed selected tournament matches of leading players
  • Join monthly online seminars with leading players
  • View and study recorded backgammon matches between leading players analyzed on eXtremeGammon analysis/software, many annotated with expert commentary
  •  20% discount on eXtremeGammon analysis/study software
  • 10% discount at GammonVillage online store

Join as a Limited member at $15 per year, which allows you to: 

  •  Have free entry in the USBGF National Internet Backgammon Championship annually starting in Sepember 2011
  • Join monthly online seminars with leading players (in planning stage)
  • View and study recorded backgammon matches between leading players analyzed on eXtremeGammon analysis/study software, many with expert commentary 

Choose the membership level that best suits your needs, click one of the links below and join the fast-growing USBGF backgammon community today!

2011 USBGF National Internet Championship

The 2011 USBGF National Internet Championship got underway September 14 with a record-breaking field of nearly 200 players! The tournament is directed by Joe Russell joe@usbgf.org, with assistance of Leonardo Jerkovic onlinechampionship@usbgf.org and Justin Nunez clubs@usbgf.org

Format:

(1)  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 support@gridgammon.com and state that you would like a new account to play in the USBGF National Internet Championship.

(2)  Double elimination format.

(3)  Two weeks will be allowed for arranging and completing the first round match; 10 days will be allowed for subsequent rounds.

(4)  There will be three divisions: Open, Advanced, and Intermediate;

(5)  All three divisions will employ the same format, but use different match lengths.  In the Open it will be best two of three 11 pointers for all undefeated players.  In the 2nd chance, from which a player can still win the championship, it will be a single 13 point match.  The Advanced will employ 9 and 11 pointers.  The Intermediate will have 7 and 9 pointers.

(6)  E-mail addresses will be kept confidential and shared only with tournament director and co-directors to assist in scheduling matches.

Recognition:

(1)  Top 4 winners in each division will receive USBGF certificates signed by the Tournament Director.

(2)  Top 4 winners in each division with photos will be recognized on the USBGF website Hall of Fame under the Winners tab on the Home Page.

(3)  The top two finalists in the Open Division will qualify for the 2012 Nation’s Cup to be played at GridGammon. Other members of the team will be the top two finalists of the 2012 USBGF National Championships and the USBGF Player of the Year (live in a location to be determined).

(4)  The winners of the Open, Advanced, and Intermediate divisions will receive a qualifying spot in the 2012 USBGF National Championship Playoff, bypassing the qualifying brackets of 8.

RESULTS: USBGF MATHFEST 2011 (Lexington, KY: August 4, 2011)

USBGF MathFest 2011: Backgammon Tournament — 1st: Paul Coe, professor of mathematics at Dominican University in Illinois; 2nd: John VanBuren, a recent math/biology graduate of Augustana College in Illinois; 3rd/4th: Scott Lewis, math faculty at Murray State University in Kentucky; and Todd Schrader, a junior math major at Texas A&M University. Backgammon Quiz — 1st David Nacin, assistant professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey; 2nd/3rd/4th Walter Stromquist, editor of Mathematics Magazine, Liz Fitzgibbon, a third year math graduate student at Boston University, and Jonathan Kane of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

USBGF Reaches 500-Member Milestone

The 2011 Florida State Championship held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida  from August 19-21, 2011, was not only a memorable, 3-day action-packed tournament event, but also the tournament where the USBGF reached a milestone goal and welcomed its 500th member!  Who became the milestone member?

The honor goes to Niusha Victoria Tafazzoli, the lovely 7-year old daughter of the Florida State Championship’s Tournament Director, Chiva Tafazzoli, head of the World Backgammon Association.  Miss Tafazzoli, who loves the number 5,  won a  stylish tee-shirt emblazoned with a collector’s version of the USBGF logo for becoming the USBGF’s 500th member.  As is his custom, Chiva donated $1.00 per entrant to support the USBGF.  The Florida Championship attracted 57 players, not only from the USA, but from as far as the United Arab Emirates.  Deborah Gallagher and Ted Moore helped the USBGF reach the 500 Member milestone by becoming members 498 and 499. They are eager to organize a USBGF Affiliated Backgammon Club in their hometown Naples (FL) area.

The USBGF thanks each and every person who joined the USBGF member community over the last year,  and appreciates their contribution to helping us achieve…and surpass, this milestone goal.

Last but not least, watch this USBGF website carefully, because it won’t be very long before Niusha Victoria appears here again, next time flashing her beautiful smile as she holds a Winner’s trophy!!