BIOS OF TOURNAMENT OF STARS ONLINE! BACKGAMMON STARS

BACKGAMMON STARS

Victor Ashkenazi
o Originally from Moscow Russia
o Grandmaster 1 Category BMAB
o Giant #3 in the World
o Winner of two NY Open, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Michigan, and Vegas Masters, North Cyprus Speed Online, and many smaller tournaments.
o Average PR in 2020 Magriel Cup 8 US-UK matches – 2.3.

Art Benjamin
o Most popular TED talk with over 20 million views, mathemagician, author, speaker, faculty Math Dept, Harvey Mudd College including service as Chairman
o Member of USBGF Board of Directors, chair of Nominating and Governance Committee; Diamond Founding Sponsor
o #1 2020 ABT Online! point leader
o Won the 1997 ABT #1 player; finalist in 1993; third in 1996

Ted Chee
o Director, Backgammon by the Bay Club (San Francisco)
o Winner, 2020 Sacramento Championship and Masters Jackpot
o #1 All-time USBGF Online Master Points and #1 2020 USBGF Online Master Points
o #24 All-time USBGF National Master Points; #10 2020 USBGF National Master Points

Tim Cross
o BMAB Grandmaster 3 Category
o Third-ranked Backgammon Galaxy player (out of over 30,000) at 2950 Galaxy rating
o Winner of 2020 LA Open ABT Online!
o #4 ABT Online! point leader

Dennis Culpepper
o Winner of 2018 Atlanta Spring Classic
o Member of Team USA in 2020 Magriel Cup; 3.3 PR in DMP event

Ray Fogerlund
o American Backgammon Hall of Fame honoree; inducted in 2017
o Ray Fogerlund is one of the most accomplished tournament players in modern backgammon history. Known as an intense competitor, he is also recognized for having a heart of gold beneath the occasionally rough exterior. As an accomplished writer and popular auctioneer, his quick wit and self-deprecating style are widely recognized and appreciated — his articles are eminently readable and entertaining.
o Voted to the Giants of Backgammon six consecutive times — 2007 through 2017; #50 in 2019.
o #2 in lifetime points and victories on the American Backgammon Tour. Holds ABT records for most points earned in a year (88.80 in 2011), and for earning points in fifteen consecutive years (2002 through 2016).
o #2 on the 2020 ABT Online! point list
o #13 on Backgammon World Ranking list
o #1 on USBGF Lifetime Master Point list
o Won over 30 ABT championships— with eleven Championship and sixteen Masters titles. Championship wins include the 2014 U.S. Open in Las Vegas and five in his home city of Los Angeles. Masters titles include two Grand Crystal Beaver wins in Chicago, Super Jackpot in Las Vegas, and Super-32 in Los Angeles.

Christian Frisk
o General Secretary for Romanian Backgammon Federation
o Correspondent for USBGF PrimeTime Backgammon quarterly magazine.

Kent Goulding
o American Backgammon Hall of Fame; inaugural cohort, 2015
o An innovative force in the game, Kent Goulding is esteemed as a backgammon player, publisher, director/organizer, witty auctioneer, and raconteur extraordinaire. He introduced the first U.S. backgammon rating system, and as director of the World Cup, he instituted the use of clocks and recorded matches.
 Finalist, 2019 NY Metro Championship
 VIP director, 2019 Cherry Blossom Backgammon Championship
 Winner, Tournament of Champions, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 1978.
 Publisher of Backgammon with the Champions (12 issues of annotated matches, 1981-1982) and Inside Backgammon magazine with Bill Robertie (1991 to 1998).
 Organizer/director, with Bill Robertie, of the World Cup (known as the U.S. Invitational in early years) from 1984 through 1998.
 He was voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon six consecutive times from its inception.

o Perry Gartner
o President/Executive Director, US Backgammon Federation, 2010-2014
o Co-Director, Backgammon Learning Center
o USBGF Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
o Member of 3-person team in Nations Cup of 31 countries in 2006 that won
o 2 times semi-finalist in World Championships; 1-time winner of Consolation in World Championships; 1-time finalist of Consolation in World Championships; 1-time semi-finalist of Consolation in World Championships; 1 time second in Last Chance in World Championships
o 2nd in ABT tour in 1998

o Tobias Hellwag
o #22 2019 Giants of Backgammon
o #10 Backgammon World Ranking
o Twice won gold with Germany in the world team cup, Montenegro and Gibraltar 2018; won the single event, and twice won silver with the team in Budapest and Reykjavik.
o 2002 won the Grand World Championship with 100K added euro, the biggest added tournament ever
o 2011 and 2012 in April and December was three consecutive times in the final on Cyprus which was one of the biggest tournaments at the time and the biggest added of the year; won twice
o in 22 years of tournament play visited 30 countries and played about 20 finals, his last was in the Austrian championships last year which he won against Ralf Jonas
o 3rd/4th in 2019 NY Metro Championship
o Finalist in 2017 Cherry Blossom Championship
o Director, 2019 PORTA NIGRA BACKGAMMON INVITATIONAL
o Director, 2021 World Backgammon Team Championship and WBGF Championship

o Neil Kazaross
o American Backgammon Hall of Fame, inaugural cohort, 2015.
o #7 on the 2019 Giants of Backgammon list
o Noted for his brilliant analytical mind, Neil Kazaross is famous for inventing “Neil’s Numbers,” a short-hand method of calculating match equities over the board, and coauthor of the Rockwell/Kazaross MET (Match Equity Table).
o He has been voted onto every Giants of Backgammon listing since its inception, including top ten ratings since 1995.
o The #1 all-time leader on the American Backgammon Tour in numerous categories – career points, #1 six times, top three eight times, 17 career tournament victories, and much more.
o Inaugural USBGF National Championships winner (2011).

o Roberto Litzenberger
o Won 2018 Cherry Blossom Backgammon Championship
o #39 2019 Giants of Backgammon
o #6 in Backgammon World Ranking
o #12 USBGF Lifetime Master Point leader
o Member Team USA in 2020 Magriel Cup, winning 6 of his 7 matches

o Michael Neagu
o Originally from Romania, now lives in Canada
o Ph.D. in Mathematics, former academic, strongly analytical approach to the game
o Currently #9 in Backgammon World Ranking (live events)
o Winner of 2019 Northern Cyprus Open, 2019 Merit Cyprus Super Jackpot, 2018 ABT Wisconsin, 2018 and 2020 Boston Masters, 2018 Atlanta Masters
o Finalist of 2017 ABT California State, 2020 New York Masters
o 2020 World Champion of online Speedgammon
o #1 on 2018 USBGF Master Point list (live events)
o 2020 USBGF Master Point leader (after 3 live events)

o Frank Raposa
o 2019 Giants of Backgammon #56
o #1 on 2019 ABT point list
o Winner of 2019 Michigan Summer Championship
o Winner of 2019 and 2017 Boston Open

Joseph Russell
o 1989 World Champion and finalist in 2016
o American Backgammon Hall of Fame, 2016
o #32 2019 Giants of Backgammon list
o Chairman, Board of Directors, US Backgammon Federation; a founding member of the U.S. Backgammon Federation Board of Directors, including service on the Education, Executive, and Hall of Fame committees.
o For over thirty years, Joe Russell has been an outstanding player, an international ambassador of the game, and a significant contributor and promoter of backgammon through his work with the U.S. Backgammon Federation. Well recognized for his mathematical and strategic acumen as a player, Joe Russell is also noted for his respectful, personable, low-key demeanor and his thoughtful, intelligent perspective in all endeavors. He has also demonstrated a particular interest in youth and collegiate backgammon activities in the promotion and growth of the game.
o Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon seven times — 1993 through 1999, 2009, 2011, and 2015 and 2019; and won over 25 regional, national, and international tournament events.
o Is ranked 29th All-Time in American Backgammon Tour points. He finished 1st in ABT point rankings in 1995.

Steve Sax
o 2019 American Backgammon Hall of Fame inductee
o 2011 Giants of Backgammon tournament winner
o 2002 ABT Player of the Year
o Backgammon Instructor for the Backgammon Learning Center
o #14 2019 Giants of Backgammon list; Steve has been voted to the “Giants of Backgammon” list seven consecutive times beginning in 2001.
o BMAB Grandmaster
o He has won 24 titles over the years including ABT main events or consolations, jackpots, and club championships. He won the 2017 Cherry Blossom Jackpot, is a three-time winner of Gammon Associates ABT tournaments was a finalist in the Dual-Duel event at the 4th Texas Backgammon Championships in February 2016 and the score-based winner. winner of Texas Longhorn Masters

Mike Senkiewicz
o American Backgammon Hall of Fame, inaugural inductee, 2015
o BMAB Grandmaster
o A Master chess player, Scrabble legend, backgammon champion, and mainstay of the New York games scene for four decades, Mike Senkiewicz raised the level of backgammon play since the early 1980s with his insightful analyses of the game.
o Voted to the 32 Giants of Backgammon eleven consecutive times including once as #1, twice as #2, and a ten-year span in the top ten.
o Author of articles in Backgammon Times and Backgammon Galore, among others.

Jonah Seewald
o Winner of 2019 Texas Championship
o #23 on Backgammon World Ranking list
o 2014 California State super jackpot finalist
o 2014 USBGF National Champion
o 2014 Texas championship finalist
o 2014 Colorado State open winner
o 2015 Colorado State open winner
o 2016 Colorado State masters champion
o 2018 Colorado State masters champion
o 2018 US Open Doubles Champion (with David Taniguchi)
o 2019 US Open Doubles Champion (with David Taniguchi)
o 2019 Pro-Am Doubles Champion (with Roberto)

Phil Simborg
o USBGF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 for his contribution to teaching backgammon to students of the game. Along with Perry Gartner, he established the Backgammon Learning Center that has 25 prominent faculty from countries around the world. He serves as Teaching Pro for the U.S. Backgammon Federation (USBGF), preparing over 250 teaching videos posted on the USBGF website as a member benefit. He is a frequent lecturer at ABT tournaments.
o #23 on ABT all-time Points List with 146.06.
o #2 in ABT Rankings in 2005 w/ 40.24 points. #6 in ABT Rankings in 2012 w/ 25.00 points. #14 in ABT Rankings in 2014 w/ 15.65 points. #5 in ABT Rankings in 2015 w. 29.64 points.
o Named the No. 1 Promoter of the Game of Backgammon, Worldwide by the UK Backgammon Federation in 2015
o Notable Performances: Winner of 2012 Michigan Summer Championships. Winner of 2005 Carolina Invitational. Finalist of 2015 Texas Backgammon Championships. Finalist of 2014 California State Championship. Finalist of 2010 Illinois State Championship. Finalist of 2005 Pittsburgh Championships. 2nd Tie in 2014 Carolina Invitational. 1st Consolation at the 2015 Michigan Championships. 1st Consolation at 2005 Midwest Championships. 2nd Consolation in 2015 California State Championships.
o He works tirelessly on all things backgammon – bringing new players to the game, making innovations, creating videos, doing interviews, introducing new products, and more. Phil is, perhaps, one of the most well-known and widely recognized personalities in backgammon. He has developed teaching programs/systems and brought many excellent teachers– in various languages and at every skill level – to those wishing to learn the game and to improve their game, around the globe.

Marty Storer
o BMAB Grandmaster Class 2
o Three-time Giant of Backgammon; #23 for 2019
o American Backgammon Tour champion, 1993
o Winner, Michigan Summer Classic, 2015; USBGF National Championship East, 2015; Boston Open Masters, 2019
o Member, U.S. team, 2020 Magriel Cup, with 1.75 PR in DMP event
o Three-time champion of New England Backgammon Club
o Executive Editor, PrimeTime Backgammon
o Author of Backgammon Praxis
o Co-author of What’s Your Game Plan with Mary Hickey; numerous articles
o Marty Storer has been an avid backgammon player since 1975. He won the premier American Backgammon Tour in 1993, and by 1995 he was rated 13th on Kent Goulding’s International Rating List. He Marty lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife, three children, five pet mammals, and several pet bots.

Frank Talbot
o BMAB Master
o Member, Team USA in 2018 World Team Championship in Montenegro
o He is a frequent presence on the American Backgammon Tour and he has been voted in the top 32 Giants of Backgammon five times, and in the top 64 on nearly every list since it started in 1993 Currently #63 in 2019.
o His achievements include 2015 Illinois State Backgammon Champion, 2015 and 2014 NY Metro Championship finalist, 2015 U.S. Open Doubles Champion with his wife Monica, finalist in the 2015 Ohio Masters Jackpot, 2014 Atlanta Wilensky Memorial Masters Jackpot winner, 2012 New Mexico State Championship, and many more distinguished backgammon achievements.

Bob Wachtel
o #24 on the 2019 Giants of Backgammon
o BMAB Grandmaster Class 2
o Robert Wachtel has been one of the backgammon world’s elite players for the last 30 years. Bob has produced, over the last 20 years, an acclaimed collection of books and online and journal articles, wittily chronicling the evolution of modern backgammon from the early 1990s to the present day.
o His most recent books, Backgammon Chronicles: A Pro’s Adventures on the Tour, Part 1, and Part 2, have been widely acclaimed.
o He is the author of a book on ace-point endings, In the Game Until the End (1993), and its sequel, In the Game Until the End Volume II: Ace-Point Endgame Analysis — the Next Generation (2014), as well as more than 40 articles on the game.
o He won the 2015 Los Angeles Open Super-32 Jackpot, won the singles and doubles at the 2001 Nevada State Championships, and has captured the national backgammon championships of the U.K., Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Italy. He finished 2nd in Monte Carlo, 2004, and 2nd in the Crown’s Cup, Berlin, 2007.
o Bob was born in New York City; he was a top junior chess player in his youth, coming in second in the US under-21 championship in 1965 and 1966. He holds a B.S in Chemistry from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Toronto. A chess master who collected a Ph.D. in philosophy in his late twenties, Bob Wachtel entered the backgammon world as one of the very few game players with a helping of literary brains to match his mathematical brawn.