DAVID STEIN – USBGF Player Profile

David Stein

David Stein

I first learned to play backgammon in Law School at the University of Chicago, where I was lucky enough to have Dorn Bishop in my class.  He was delighted to teach us the game so that we could help pay his tuition.

Then a couple of years ago I started playing online where I ran into Phil Simborg and once we realized we both lived in Chicago he invited me to the weekly chou.  After I discovered how woefully unprepared I was to play in that game he became my teacher.

I also started attending the weekly Chicago Bar Point which is deftly and elegantly orchestrated by our director Amy Trudeau.  At the club and attending partially in 2016 I gained a few points and ended the year in 33rd place, 2017 on the other hand I ended the year in 5thplace making the team for the Illinois Challenge Cup.

I have attended a few ABT tournaments, but still have yet to cash.  I would have to say that Phil is a great part responsible for my progress in the game but also playing in a chou a couple times a week with the likes of David Rockwell, Herb Roman and Carter Mattig has also been quite a lesson.

And for the past year I was unbelievably fortunate to have been a student of the late, great Paul Magriel.  I know that Paul’s passing has been a great loss to backgammon, but I would like to say, for those people lucky enough to have known him, it was a greater personal loss.  Paul, you will be missed.

Points of Interest:

Home Club: BAR POINT CLUB (http://www.chicagopoint.com/bpc.html)

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Faddoul Khoury

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses):  Howard Markowitz

 

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

GARY FRIES – USBGF Player Profile

Gary Fries

Gary Fries

Gary Fries has been on fire of late, winning the Northern Virginia Backgammon Player of Year for the last four years competing against a Beltway powerhouse that includes Ed O’Laughlin, Frank Raposa, Bill Finneran, Bahman Zandi, and Karen Davis, among others. He won the Open event with 86 entrants at the Nordic Open in 2014 as well as the Warm Up tournament with 90 entrants. He won the Pittsburgh ABT Championship in 2010 and the International Cup in Las Vegas in 2004.  He finished second in Texas Championship in 2016, and second in Wisconsin in 2003.

Now retired, when not playing backgammon, he umpires Little League, conducts wine tastings, golfs, and enjoys gourmet meals and a nice bottle of wine with his wife Stephanie.

Points of Interest:

Home Club: NORTHERN VIRGINIA BACKGAMMON CLUB (https://sites.google.com/site/novabackgammon/)

ABT Nemesis  (no ABT wins): Karen Davis and 18 others tied at 0-1

ABT Plaything  (no ABT losses):  Victor Ashkenazi

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

DAN WITTKOPP – USBGF Player Profile

Dan Wittkopp

Dan Wittkopp

I learned to play while living in Costa Rica from 2008-20013 when I had the good fortune to play in a regular chouette with a group of native Spanish speaking players including Antonio Ortega.  In those sessions I received two lesson, backgammon and Spanish.

I now live in Traverse City, Michigan which is a 3 hour + drive from Flint.  I try to get there to play a few times a year.  This year I am planning on playing in the ABT tournaments in Chicago, Novi and Flint.

My best results in ABT tournaments were:

1st in Advanced Division in Madison ABT 2015

Limited Doubles winner with partner Nick Blasier in Michigan ABT 2015

Thank you and USBGF for supporting the local club championships and organizing the tournament.

 

Interesting Points:

Home Club: FLINT AREA BACKGAMMON CLUB (http://www.flintbg.com/index.html)

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Patty Knapp

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses):  Patrick Gibson

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

KEVIN HEACOX – USBGF Player Profile

Kevin Heacox

Kevin Heacox

I took up backgammon in the 70’s, after playing chess for a while, because if you lose at chess, how do you shift the blame? Drifted away and came back to my local club in the late 2000’s. My first ABT event was Peoria in 2012, where I won the consolation bracket of the Prairie Classic. Since then ABT success has been thin on the ground, a Last Chance here, an Amateur Jackpot there, my ABT record is 64-62. My Larsen/Silliman rating is 487. I do OK at my local club, though. My amusing backgammon anecdotes are unfortunately too embarrassing to share publicly.

From his club director Sean Garber:

Kevin is retired. He is an avid disc golf player and baseball fan. He is also a promoter of backgammon. Kevin will volunteer to do just about anything for a new player.

Points of Interest:

Home Club: HOOSIER BACKGAMMON CLUB (https://www.meetup.com/Hoosier-Backgammon-Club/)

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Max Levenstein

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses):  Steve Hairgrove

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

DAVID LEVY – USBGF Player Profile

David Levy

David Levy

David began playing tournament backgammon in San Francisco in the late 1970s and became a Senior Master in the Pacific Backgammon Association. More recently he was Backgammon by the Bay Player of the Year for 2003, 2007, and 2016. He actively collects books on gaming, including more than 100 backgammon books. A highlight is a rare copy of Edmond Hoyle’s Short Treatise on the Game of Backgammon (1743), the first instructional book on the game. He also has several dozen books from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries on trictrac, a French game played on a backgammon board.

David has been researching and writing about the publications of Edmond Hoyle for the past decade. His blog has 125 essays about all aspects of gaming literature generally and Hoyle specifically. Backgammon players may be interested in “Eighteenth Century Backgammon Literature.”

He has also written Soumille, named for the most important trictrac author, a neural net program that plays trictrac and is a Bronze Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League.

Points of Interest:

Home Club:  Backgamon By The Bay (BGBB) http://www.siliconvalleyopenbg.com/bgbb.html

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Jeremy Bagai

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses): Ted Chee!!

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

MYRA GAZVODA USBGF Player Profile

Myra is representing the Colorada Backgammon Club in the Inter-Club Championships.  She graciously shared the following about herself and backgammon.

I lived to play games when I was young and had played backgammon a couple times. Forward 30 years and I started playing online on a site called “play65” (I have no clue what compelled me), I got a virus in my computer. My tech guy fixed it and said it was from “play65”. I thought, hmmmm, there must be people who play live, so I googled it and found the Colorado Backgammon Club! That was 2009 and I’ve been playing regularly ever since. I really like to play and find it interesting that people who have played for many years and are excellent players continue to learn and grow since there is a lot to the game. I also married a backgammon player, Ed Gazvoda, who plays with Colorado Backgammon Club too.

 

Points of Interest:

Home Club: COLORADO BACKGAMMON CLUB (http://coloradobackgammon.com/)

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Michelle Martinez

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses): Parker McClure

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

JEFF SPENCER – USBGF Player Profile

Jeff Spencer

Jeff Spencer

Known to those closest to him as “evil incarnate”, he is as clever as the devil but twice as pretty. This Minnesota homegrown prince of darkness recently deployed his dark arts and 45 years of backgammon training to win the advanced division of the 2017 Wisconsin State Championships. He was part of the Minnesota wave that took Wisconsin by storm. Taking Jeff’s lead, the Twin Cites Backgammon Club placed first in every event at that tournament. This cherubic-looking fiend also had a good showing at the first Viking Backgammon Classic in 2017, winning the Gammon Stuff board event and cashing in two others. He brings his trophy board to the club each week, just to taunt them.

Despite his ruthlessness over the board, his angelic side wins out when it comes to pitching in to help. He has served as a substitute director for the MN local Monday Night Backgammon as well as authoring and leading beginner lessons.  He loves the social aspect of the game and working with newcomers. Recently when we had several new faces show up at our club and he organized a 50-cent full-consulting chouette.  Experienced players came in and out over the course of the evening and a good time was had by all.

In the early 90’s Jeff, along with Ray Bills, built a small backgammon club in Rochester, MN. They still meet on Tuesday nights — affectionately known as “the toughest $2 chouette in the world”. During that time Jeff was doing a side gig as a clown for kid’s birthday parties. One day Jeff — still in makeup and costume as “Bingo” — came to the chouette which was played in a restaurant/bar among other diners. The place was packed, with lots of kids pointing and giggling at Bingo playing a game nearby.  At one critical point Jeff missed a triple shot and yelled out “F*********”, pounding the table with his fists.  When one of the players tried to calm him down by saying c’mon Spence, think of the kids, Spence stood up on a chair and yelled to the room “F*** the kids!”

Watch out for this one . . . you have been warned!

Points of Interest:

Home Club: TWIN CITIES BACKGAMMON CLUB

Website: http://www.twincitiesbackgammon.org/

USBGF Nemesis (never won): Ray Bills, as in the person making this post! :-)

USBGF Plaything (never lost): Judy Field

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

Stuart Domeshek – USBGF Player Profile

Stuart Domeshek

Stuart Domeshek

Stu learned to play backgammon while in college and quickly became a competitive player in the Atlanta backgammon scene in the late 1970’s. His time in the US Navy after college (nuclear fast attack submarine officer) and civilian career in technical sales and commercial/business leadership roles kept him away from the game for the next 2+ decades. However, he re-emerged on the Atlanta backgammon scene about 6 years ago, consistently finishing in the top 5 player point count. Stu is a Bronze Level USBGF Sponsor since 2014 and has played in several ABT events including the Texas Backgammon Championships, Cherry Blossom Championship and Carolina Invitational Backgammon Championships.

Stu was the Atlanta Cup Champion during the Atlanta Spring Classic for 2016 and 2017. As the Atlanta backgammon champion for 2017, he looks forward to proudly representing the Atlanta Northside Backgammon Club in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships!
Points of Interest:

Home Club: ATLANTA NORTHSIDE BACKGAMMON CLUB

Website: http://northsidebg.org/

USBGF Nemesis (never won): Vadim Musaelyan

USBGF Plaything (never lost): Rollow Mickle

[This is the next in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships. We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

Gerry Tansey – USBGF Pʟᴀʏᴇʀ Pʀᴏꜰɪʟᴇ

Gerry Tansey

Gerry Tansey

[This is the first in a series of 22 Player Profiles for the USBGF representatives of their local clubs in the USBGF Inter-Club Championships.  We will be posting one profile per day throughout the course of the tournament as a way of recognizing the USBGF players and promoting their local clubs.]

Although Gerry Tansey has been the Player of the Year in St. Louis for three straight years, he has never won an ABT main event.  Oh sure, he did win the 2017 Backgammon Olympiad and the 2013 Land of Lincoln Masters.  He’s also finished 2nd in a couple of main events, and he’s been among the top ten scorers in the world on Mochy’s Proficiency Test.  But.  Not.  One.  ABT.  Win.

It’s almost as though he’s trying not to win.  Case in point:  Gerry chose to start out the 2015 Chicago Open by winning his first seven matches.  He then proceeded to lose his next four matches to finish out of the money.  To commemorate this epic collapse, Gerry bought the backgammon board that he uses to this day.  Really, who does that?

When he’s not playing backgammon on Tuesday nights, Gerry likes to play trivia…on Tuesday nights…in the same bar.  He doesn’t take a prize in that contest either, even though he does often outscore the rest of the bar.  We think he’s allergic to money.

Points of Interest:

Home Club: St. Louis Backgammon Club (http://www.stlgammon.com/)

Winner 2013 Lincoln Masters at the Illinois State Championships

USBGF Nemesis  (no USBGF wins): Rory Pascar

USBGF Plaything  (no USBGF losses): John O’Hagan