American Backgammon Hall of Fame

Patrick Gibson – Los Angeles, California

Inductee Details
Known as the quintessential tournament director, Patrick Gibson has gained widespread affection and universal respect for his fairness, integrity, and dedication. He has directed 76 Los Angeles Open and California State Championships, over 3,600 weekly tournaments in the Los Angeles area, and, beginning in 2000, sixteen Vietor Cup tournaments in La Jolla (the oldest tournament in the U.S.). He has served as co-director of numerous tournaments — including a number of start-up tournaments — and is a trusted source of advice to tournament directors across the U.S. He established the Gammon Associates Club in 1978, and nurtured its growth into the largest USBGF Prime Club today.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • A founding member of the U.S. Backgammon Federation Board of Directors, including service on the Executive and Hall of Fame Committees. Guided the development of a rankings and statistics database derived from the entry of drawsheets for main events and major jackpots of all national tournaments since 2009 — an invaluable resource to the backgammon community and historians of the game.
  • Won the Nevada State Championship in 2010, the Michigan Summer Championships in 2007, and the San Diego Grand Prix in 1994. Finished in the top three ABT rankings in 1994 and 2007.
Year Inducted: 2016

Tim Holland (1931-2010) – New York City and Miami, Florida

Inductee Details
The first modern backgammon superstar, Tim Holland won three World Championships and three International Backgammon Championships — more major backgammon championships than anyone else in the history of the game. Tim was also a successful author and renowned teacher. He opened the Park 65 Backgammon Club in New York City in 1978 and introduced many to the glamour of high-stakes backgammon. His three popular books, Beginning Backgammon (1973), Better Backgammon (1974), and Backgammon for People Who Hate to Lose: The Psychology of Playing a Winning Game (1977), helped trigger the backgammon boom of the 1970s.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Won the World Backgammon Championship three times. Won the first World Backgammon Championship in 1967, and also won in 1968 and 1971.
  • Won the International Backgammon Championship, played in London, in 1966, 1972, and 1973.
Year Inducted: 2016

Danny Kleinman – Los Angeles, California

Inductee Details
Backgammon’s first mathematical theoretician and analyst; Danny Kleinman’s insight, wit, and satire entertained and educated backgammon players for decades. He was a prolific author and a renowned, beloved columnist. Danny was the first to use mathematics to explain correct checker play and cube decisions.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Authored Vision Laughs at Counting, Volume 1 and Volume 2 (1980), Meanwhile, Back at the Chouette (1981), Wonderful World of Backgammon (1981), Double-Sixes From the Bar (1982), How Can I Keep From Dancing (1983), Is There Life After Backgammon? (1983), The Dice Conquer All (1984), How Little We Know About Backgammon (1985), The Other Side of Midnight (1986), But Only the Hogs Win Backgammons (1991), A Backgammon Book for Gabriel (1994), and Long Road to Gammon (1995). Co-authored, with Antonio Ortega, Backgammon: Costa Rica 1994 (1996), Cubes and Gammons Near the End of the Match (1997), Jerry Grandell: His Most Important Matches (1999), and Backgammon with the Giants: Neil Kazaross (2001).
  • Wrote three popular columns in the Chicago Point newsletter for a number of years: “Miss Lonelyblots,” “Ask Danny,” and “Shades of Gray”.
Year Inducted: 2016

Howard Markowitz – Chicago and Las Vegas, Nevada

Inductee Details
For over thirty years, Howard Markowitz has put his own unique stamp on backgammon tournaments, with his high payouts attracting the largest number of entrants and drawing top players from around the world. He directed the PartyGammon Million in the Bahamas in 2007, and between 2009 and 2012 co-directed the Monte Carlo World Championships.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Organized/directed the Chicago Open from 1981 through 2009, and the Las Vegas Open and Nevada State Championship since 1992.
  • Won the Michigan Summer Championships in 1984 and 1993, the Midwest Backgammon Championship in 1990, and, in 2012, won both the Los Angeles Open Championship and Super-32.
  • Is in the top 50 all-time in American Backgammon Tour points. He was 3rd in the ABT ranking in the inaugural year of 1993. He finished 17th in the ABT in 2003 and 8th in 2012.
Year Inducted: 2016

Nack Ballard – San Francisco, California

Inductee Details
Regarded as a consummate gentleman, Nack Ballard is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception in 1993. He has also distinguished himself at Scrabble, Go, and Color Lines.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times including three successive times as #1, twice as #2, and a sixteen-year span in the top ten.
  • Won 1982 World Professional Championship in Las Vegas.
  • Voted #1 player in the world at U.S. Invitational in Washington, D.C. in 1984.
  • Won the prestigious Pro-Am Doubles Championship three times: 2001 with Harvey Huie, 2003 and 2004 with Wayne McClintock.
  • Co-authored Backgammon Openings (2007) with Paul Weaver.
Year Inducted: 2015

Carol Joy Cole – Flint, Michigan

Inductee Details
Widely regarded as the Queen of backgammon in the United States, Carol Joy Cole is revered and beloved by all. She founded the Flint Area Backgammon Club in 1978, publishing the Flint Area Backgammon News. She has directed the Michigan Summer Championships and the Fleet Underwood Charity Tournament since 1982 and served on the staff of numerous tournaments. She has played a pivotal role in maintaining U.S. backgammon tournament events and results on the Chicago Point website since 1993, and created and maintains the Giants of Backgammon website.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • U.S. Open Champion, 2009, Washington, D.C.
  • Paul Dingwell Amateur Jackpot, 2014, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Finalist in the inaugural USBGF National Championship (2011).
Year Inducted: 2015

Barclay Cooke (1912-1981) – Englewood, New Jersey

Inductee Details
Named by Sports Illustrated as “the father of modern backgammon,” Barclay Cooke was renowned for his fairness and generosity and was eulogized by Les Levi as “perhaps backgammon’s most gracious ambassador and eloquent spokesman.”
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Champion, with his son Walt, of the 1973 British-American Cup.
  • Champion, with Oswald Jacoby, Paul Magriel, and Lee Genud, of the 1979 ITT Telecom U.S.A. vs. Europe match.
  • Six time champion of the Vietor Cup (1963, 1966, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1981).
  • Author of Backgammon: The Cruelest Game (1974) with Jon Bradshaw, Paradoxes and Probabilities (1978), and Championship Backgammon (1980).
Year Inducted: 2015

Bill Davis – Chicago, Illinois

Inductee Details
Bill Davis is widely respected for his contributions, innovations, and promotion of the game. He is the founder of the American Backgammon Tour, has directed the Chicago Bar Point Club since 1983, directed the Midwest Backgammon Championships from 1984 thru 2009, and has directed the Central States Invitational since 2010. He has published the Chicago Point newsletter, website, and the Facebook page reaching thousands of backgammon players around the world.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Founder and director of the American Backgammon Tour.
  • The #15 all-time leader on the American Backgammon Tour in career points with 5 career ABT tournament victories.
  • #2 all-time points leader in Chicagoland Backgammon (1974 – 2014).
  • Winner of the 2012 Chicago Open.
Year Inducted: 2015

Malcolm Davis – Dallas, Texas

Inductee Details
The epitome of a gracious gentleman, Malcolm Davis is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception. One of the first to videotape and analyze his matches, he has been a consistent winner of Championship and Masters Jackpot events.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Won the World Cup in 1996 and the Williams Island Pro-Am with Jim Scott in 1986.
  • Defeated IBM’s TD-Gammon in 1997 and 1998.
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times.
  • The #3 all-time leader on the American Backgammon Tour in career points, #2 all-time with 9 career ABT tournament victories, and was #1 in the ABT rankings in 2003.
  • 1st or 2nd in more than 75 major events over 40 years (1975-2014).
Year Inducted: 2015

Kent Goulding – Germantown, Maryland

Inductee Details
An innovative force in the game, Kent Goulding is esteemed as a backgammon player, publisher, director/organizer, witty auctioneer, and raconteur extraordinaire. He introduced the first U.S. backgammon rating system, and as director of the World Cup, he instituted the use of clocks and recorded matches.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Winner, Tournament of Champions, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 1978.
  • Publisher of Backgammon with the Champions (12 issues of annotated matches, 1981-1982) and Inside Backgammon magazine with Bill Robertie (1991 to 1998).
  • Organizer/director, with Bill Robertie, of the World Cup (known as the U.S. Invitational in early years) from 1984 through 1998.
  • He was voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon six consecutive times from its inception.
Year Inducted: 2015

Oswald Jacoby (1902-1984) – Dallas, Texas

Inductee Details
One of the preeminent gamesmen of the twentieth century, Oswald Jacoby was regarded both as a leading backgammon player and co-author of the first analytic book on backgammon. He is also a member of the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame (1965).
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Backgammon World Champion, 1972, Las Vegas.
  • Champion, with Barclay Cooke, Paul Magriel, and Lee Genud, of the 1979 ITT Telecom U.S.A. vs. Europe match.
  • Author of The Backgammon Book (1970) with John R. Crawford.
  • Namesake of the Jacoby Rule.
Year Inducted: 2015

Neil Kazaross – Chicago, Illinois

Inductee Details
Noted for his brilliant analytical mind, Neil Kazaross is famous for inventing “Neil’s Numbers,” a short-hand method of calculating match equities over the board, and coauthor of the Rockwell/Kazaross MET (Match Equity Table). He is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times, including ten consecutive top ten ratings since 1995. Since 2005, he has been in the top five each poll.
  • The #1 all-time leader on the American Backgammon Tour in numerous categories – career points, #1 six times, top three eight times, 17 career tournament victories, and much more.
  • Inaugural USBGF National Championships winner (2011).
Year Inducted: 2015

Paul Magriel – Las Vegas, Nevada

Inductee Details
Author of the “Bible” of backgammon, the name Paul Magriel has been synonymous with backgammon since the publication of his groundbreaking book Backgammon in 1976, still viewed as backgammon’s leading text.The original backgammon celebrity, he helped popularize the game.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • World Champion, 1978, Bahamas.
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon list eight consecutive times from its inception.
  • Author of Backgammon (1976).
Year Inducted: 2015

Bill Robertie – Boston, Massachusetts

Inductee Details
A gifted and prolific author, publisher, and promoter/director widely respected for his intelligence and insight, Bill Robertie is a two-time World Champion. He is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • World Champion, 1983 and 1987, Monte Carlo.
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times.
  • Author of Advanced Backgammon, Volumes 1 and 2 (1991), Backgammon for Winners (1993), Backgammon for Serious Players (1997), 501 Essential Backgammon Problems (2000), and Modern Backgammon (2001).
  • Publisher of Inside Backgammon magazine with Kent Goulding (1991 to 1998).
  • Organizer/director, with Kent Goulding, of the World Cup (known as the U.S. Invitational in early years) from 1984 through 1998.
Year Inducted: 2015

Mike Senkiewicz – New York, New York

Inductee Details
Master chess player, Scrabble legend, backgammon champion, and mainstay of the New York games scene for four decades, Mike Senkiewicz raised the level of backgammon play since the early 1980s with his insightful analyses of the game. He is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times including once as #1, twice as #2, and a ten-year span in the top ten.
  • Author of articles in Backgammon Times and Backgammon Galore, among others.
Year Inducted: 2015

Walter Trice (1948-2009) – Boston, Massachusetts

Inductee Details
Backgammon’s preeminent mathematical theorist, Walter Trice is known for development of the Effective Pip Count and his best-selling book, Backgammon Boot Camp.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon five times.
  • The #14 all-time leader on the American Backgammon Tour in career points, tied for #6 all-time with 6 career ABT-event tournament victories including the Las Vegas Open in November 2004.
  • Author of Backgammon Boot Camp (2004) and Can a Fish Taste Twice as Good? (1996) with Jake Jacobs.
Year Inducted: 2015

Kit Woolsey – San Francisco, California

Inductee Details
Noted bridge and backgammon author, Kit Woolsey is one of backgammon’s leading experts on the doubling cube and tournament play. Kit has been on the vanguard of the computer revolution – writing his own programs for analysis in the early 1980s, and running the First Internet Backgammon Server (FIBS), created by Andreas Schneider. He is editor of the first online backgammon magazine GammOnLine (53 issues) on the GammonU website. He is one of only seven players to have been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception. He was inducted into the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame in 2005.
Notable Awards & Accomplishments
  • Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times.
  • Winner of Backgammon Pro-Am Championship (2005) with Tami Jones.
  • Author of How to Play Tournament Backgammon (1993), New Ideas in Backgammon (1996) with Hal Heinrich, Backgammon Encyclopedia, Vol 1 (2002), Understanding Backgammon (2003) with Tami Jones, 52 Great Backgammon Tips (2007) with Patti Beadles, MatchQiz computer software with Hal Heinrich, among other works.
Year Inducted: 2015