March – June Issue of PrimeTime Backgammon
By Karen Davis, Managing Editor
Just a few months into 2016, we barely have enough space in this issue to cover the burgeoning action on the U.S. backgammon scene. The first tournament of the year, the New York Metropolitan Open in January, was grander than ever, with ten of the top ten 2015 Giants in attendance.
The Metro Open featured two spectacular side events. The first was an inaugural challenge match between USA and the rest of the world. And who better to report on that elite competition than our correspondent Steve Sax, team member and Giant #9?
The second side event, the High Roller, drew gamblers from around the nation. Two of those fearless competitors, Bill Phipps and Stick, played a swingy match in which the question of whether to play for the gammon arose repeatedly. Using no less than ten positions from this match as examples, our resident analyst Paul Weaver explores the subtleties of this too-good-or-not theme.
Next on the calendar was the Texas Backgammon Championships in San Antonio in February. For anyone who missed that event or the show at its gala dinner, the 2016 American Hall of Fame honorees were Patrick Gibson, Tim Holland, Danny Kleinman, and Howard Markowitz. We include a transcript of the ceremony, and catch up with a couple of last year’s inductees with the conclusion of USBGF historian Robert Stoller’s interview with Kent Goulding and Michael Senkiewicz. Senkiewicz, the quintessential New York games player, hasn’t lost his touch — winning the New York Metro Championship (above) and finishing as finalist in the Liberty Cup Masters.
Next, Texas co-directors Bill Riles and Tara Mendicino share highlights of the San Antonio tournament, won by USBGF Board of Directors member Richard Munitz. The coveted Dual-Duel crown went to our own PrimeTime Backgammon editor (and Giant #12), Bob Wachtel, after a hard-fought final with Steve Sax.
But the younger generation is eager to make its mark. Brian Lonergan, an under-30 player from New Orleans, describes his determined effort to take his game to the top level. Another hopeful, Australia’s Cindy Belonogoff, gives us her perspective on the U.S. scene after a tour of major American tournaments and some fine results on the USBGF Online Circuit.
Others are pursuing regional fame. We present results of team tournaments in the heartland from Virginia to Illinois, and reprise the rise of the Columbus, Ohio backgammon club to USBGF Prime Club status under Jason Marshall’s leadership.
In other news, we describe USBGF Education Committee chairman Art Benjamin’s ongoing program of organizing backgammon social events at mathematics conferences.
This issue concludes with USBGF President Bill Riles’ column, updating the membership on new USBGF initiatives, including the recently launched online Federation Cup — a free tournament with cash prizes — and a new Newcomer/Novice initiative at Prime Tournaments. He shares his vision for the evolution of organized backgammon play in the U.S. and internationally.
Check out the live and online tournament rankings and master points, Prime Clubs, upcoming events, and Get in the Game!