Fun and Sun in San Antonio!

Escape the winter blahs and head for San Antonio, Texas, January 31-February 3, for fun and sun. The U.S. Backgammon Federation will be sponsoring the USBGF National Championship (West) event in conjunction with the Texas Backgammon Championships. All USBGF Premium/Youth members receive a free entry ($50 for re-entries). Optional side pools of $50 for Intermediate players and $100 for Open players are available. Qualifying brackets of eight start at 5 pm on Thursday January 31 and run until Saturday afternoon February 2. The single-elimination playoffs of bracket winners will begin at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening and conclude on Sunday. Trophies for first and second place will be awarded.

The winner will play the winner of the National Championship (East) later in the year for the title of USBGF Grand Champion. Both the winner and finalist of the Grand Championship will earn coveted spots on the U.S. team in the Nation’s Cup, which will be sponsored by the USBGF in the fall of 2013. The winner will also be featured on the usbgf.org website, and in an issue of the USBGF bi-monthly electronic magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon. Bob Wachtel analyzed the 2012 battle for the Grand Champion title between Jeremy Bagai and Ed O’Laughlin in the current issue of PrimeTime Backgammon. Bagai won both the National Championship (West), Grand Championship, and received special recognition in the Nation’s Cup with an undefeated 6-0 record which earned him second place in the “Best Board” individual performance category behind only Japan’s Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki.

San Antonio will also be the site of the 2013 USBGF Tournament of Stars. This doubles event pairs Founding Sponsors who have provided seed-capital for start-up of the organization with Giants of Backgammon, Legends, and other top players. Over 20 Giants of Backgammon including Mochy from Japan and the renowned backgammon-author Paul Magriel have indicated they plan to attend. Founding Sponsors select partners by an order based on the level and date of their Founding Sponsor membership. It’s not too late to become a Founding Sponsor or upgrade the level of your membership and have the thrill of playing with one of the world’s best players! An optional $500 side pool is available. Trophies will be awarded to the winning team.

The weekend is jam-packed with fun events. In addition to the Championship Open, Advanced, and Limited divisions and masters and limited jackpots, a unique new event, the Dual Duel will consist of 16 top players with one bracket advancing in the usual way determined by match score and the other side of the bracket advancing based on performance rating. Great for participants and spectators alike!

There’s no better place to stay than the Menger Hotel. Reservations must be placed by January 10 to receive the attractive hotel rate of $89/night which is also applicable for those days before and after the tournament. The Menger Hotel is a charming venue. The “ballroom suite” includes the large playing area; a large, social pre-function area overlooking the pool; and private restroom facilities — all independent of the hotel’s public spaces. The renowned Colonial Room restaurant and the most historic Menger Bar complement the hotel amenities. Proximate attractions provide many optional activities — the world famous Alamo is across the street; the River Walk with its ambiance and a myriad of restaurants, shops, and bars is a block away; the large Rivercenter mall, including an IMAX theater and a large number of stores and restaurants, is next door. Attendees may go to http://www.mengerhotel.com and click on Reservation. Select GROUP, enter the Attendee Code, 0113BGT, and the travel dates to check availability. Multiple airlines provide direct service to/from most major American cities — San Antonio is also a major stop on the Southwest Airlines network. We look forward to seeing you there!

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