Backgammon Goes Global

Petko Kostadinov

Petko Kostadinov

Members of the international backgammon community are coming together to compete for recognition as the leading country of backgammon. The January-February 2013 issue of PrimeTime Backgammon captures the excitement of the just-concluded 2nd International Backgammon Championship, with Petko Kostadinov emerging victorious in 1st place, and the American Team winning the Country Prize trophy for the U.S. Tara Mendicino, tournament director, profiles the members of the American Team. To win a slot on the American Team, the top four players competed in a field of 38 entries in the U.S. Playoffs. Marty Storer analyzes Petko’s finals match against Victor Ashkenazi in the U.S. Playoffs of the IBC, a match which came down to a race at Double Match-Point.

The 2nd IBC was co-sponsored by the U.S. Backgammon Federation, the Japanese Backgammon League, and the French Backgammon Federation. This year, 15 players from Australia, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and Turkey competed. Plans are underway for the launch of the 3rd International Backgammon Championship, which will again be co-sponsored by the USBGF.

Dorn Bishop, captain of Team USA in the equally exciting Nations Cup, reports results of the 2012 competition. Four-person teams from 42 countries competed, with the Gold going to Japan, Silver to Bulgaria (whose team included Petko Kostadinov who just gained U.S. citizenship in 2012 in the #1 seed spot), and the Bronze to the U.S. The Team USA included Dorn Bishop (captain), Ed O’Laughlin, Jeremy Bagai, Grant Schneider, and Frank Frigo as alternate. Team USA members earned their slots by winning USBGF competitions (National Internet Championship; National Championship East; Grand Championship; Club Team Championships).

Special recognition goes to Jeremy Bagai, whose undefeated 6—0 record earned him Best Board among the #2 seeded players. Japan’s Masayuki Mochizuki won Best Board among the #1 seeded players. The round-robin format took place over the course of three months, with the scoring similar to English Premier League soccer (two match points for beating a team 4—0 or 3—1 in a given round; and one match point for tying 2—2). The U.S. Backgammon Federation will sponsor the Nations Cup in 2013, and welcomes country federations as affiliated sponsors.

And there’s lots more in this issue of the magazine. Steve Sax, who won the 2012 California State Backgammon Championships, summarizes results and some challenges he faced along the way. Phil Simborg’s column focuses on five important tools for excellent checker play. Insights into what shapes a champion are provided by profiles of online Collegiate Champion, Ben Friesen, and Kat Denison, Intermediate Division winner of the USBGF National Internet Championship.

This issue features the USBGF Online Leader Board, with the top-ten ranked players by Elo rating, showing win-loss records and USBGF online tournaments won. Petko Kostadinov is in first place as this issue goes to publication. The ranking changes continuously as more than 250 USBGF members play in a dazzling array of tournaments. If you haven’t played in an online tourney yet, sign up now for fun and fame.

We encourage players in live ABT tournaments 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. The Leader Board gives ABT rankings as of January 15, 2013, and USBGF Elo ratings for Open, Advanced, and Novice divisions, with rankings based on ABT/USBGF tournament play from 2009 through January 15, 2013.

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 44-page action-packed issue.