January – February Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon
By Karen Davis, Managing Editor
Wishing the whole backgammon community a happy new year, we kick off 2016’s first issue of PrimeTime Backgammon by announcing the induction of four new members to the American Backgammon Hall of Fame. The ceremony honoring these backgammon greats took place at the Texas Backgammon Championships in San Antonio on February 5, 2016. Bill Riles presented plaques to the inductees who are profiled in this issue, and Jeremy Bagai contributes an essay on the honorees.
In our first feature, we train the spotlight on two of last year’s Hall of Famers, as USBGF historian Robert Stoller presents a lively interview with Kent Goulding and Michael Senkiewicz: pioneers whose acute analysis of the game in the pre-bot era helped raise the level of professional play.
Next, we move from the distant past to the recent past. This issue includes lists of top performers in 2015 – including the ABT point list topped by Dorn Bishop, the USBGF cumulative Elo over the period from 2009-2015 headed by Joe Russell, the newly instituted USBGF National Master Point list for 2015 with Ray Fogerlund finishing first, and the USBGF 2015 Online Master Points Leaderboard headed by Jan Honza Černý from the Czech Republic.
All these champions! Can you become one too? Improve your game with Marty Storer, our Feature Editor for Annotated Matches. Next up in this issue: Marty analyzes 11 key positions from the USBGF Online Tournament of Champions final match, between Israel’s David Presser and Germany’s Frank Simon. David and Frank were among the 23 winners of 2014 USBGF online tournaments who qualified for a coveted slot in the event.
After doing your homework with Marty, relax and let your mind wander with tournament reports from our far-flung correspondents: Ray Fogerlund on the Seattle Backgammon Classic; Jake Jacobs on the Japan Open; and Sabri Büyüksoy on the 3rd Merit Open in Cyprus.
A craftsman, the saying goes, is only as good as his tools. It is 2016, and by now we all know how to use programs like XG, but how many of us can remember all the replies to the opening moves? The solution may lie with an app created by American expert Jeremy Bagai. Jeremy calls his app, which uses the efficient learning-technique of flashcards, “FlashBack.” But before we rush to buy the app, let’s read the reviews. Canadian Bruce Farquhar lets us do just that, ably assessing FlashBack’s features and promise.
But backgammon is played by people, so we move from mathematical apps to mathemagicians, profiling the extraordinary accomplishments of USBGF Board member Art Benjamin. The second “person of interest” we introduce to our readers is a Rip Van Winkle character: Cleveland’s Ray Cifani, who is attacking the game with fresh enthusiasm after a three-decade layoff!
This issue opens with USBGF President Bill Riles’ updates on the recent Board of Directors election and his thanks for the generous contributions of 32 Founding Sponsors, Prime Benefactors, and major donors – who contributed over $40,000 in 2015. Looking towards a bright 2016, Bill previews his plan to implement a 1000-member campaign.
Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!