Opportunity to represent the USA in the World Team Championship!

Would you like to represent the USA and the USBGF in the 2022 World Team Championship in Venice, Italy? World Team Backgammon Championship | Venice 2022 April 4-10, 2022 To express your interest, contact USBGF Chairman, Joe Russell at: ez2bblue@gmail.com or 310-749-8274 We will form the team within the next month. Your prompt response is appreciated! Please Note: The […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Complexity Plus

2022 - Experts 47

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 51? XGID=aBaBBBC-A————-AaAA:1:-1:1:51:0:0:2:0:10 Normally when you study the XG analysis of a position you quickly understand where you have gone wrong. When an exception occurs it often provides some very useful education. This week’s position occurred late in a lesson. My pupil played bar/20, 24/23*, which looks obvious. We were […]

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Prime Time BG Winter 2022


Gerry Tansey, Grandmaster Class 1, the world’s #4 and top U.S.  BMAB player, graces our cover. We feature analysis of his  Denver Masters final match against Ed O’Laughlin, who won the 2021 ABT championship. We recap the 2021 ABT results,  noting that Ray Fogerlund, one of the Tour’s foremost stars, has taken the lead in […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Stripped Point Syndrome

2022 - Intermediates 47

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 43? XGID=–b-BBE-b—-C—-bdABbab-:0:0:1:43:0:0:3:0:10 This position came up in a lesson. My student wanted to play 21/17, 20/17. His reasoning was that it maintained connectivity between Red’s checkers at low risk. That move is a very bad blunder. Let’s understand why. Red trails in the race and 21/17, 20/17 is a […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Maintain Communications

2022 - Beginners 47

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 65?   XGID=-aAB–D-C-a-aa–bc-dABbAA-:0:0:1:65:0:0:3:0:10 The keys to this position are determining the correct game plan and maintaining communications. In the initial position Red’s army is split in two and, as both Napoleon and Hitler found out, you cannot successfully fight a war on two fronts. Red desperately needs checkers in […]

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Backgammon 101

Are you interested in learning backgammon, but do not know where to begin? Then our Backgammon 101 series is for you!     We provide relaxed, easy-to-understand, and interactive sessions.  You will learn how to set up the board, how to count shots, basic probability, basic strategy, how to use the doubling cube, and more!  > Register to Attend Backgammon 101 When:  Monthly on 2nd Sunday […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Tempo

Basic Beginners 37

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 54? XGID=-aa—E-D—bD—d-e–A-bA:0:0:1:54:0:0:3:0:10 I set this as a problem because I got it wrong over the board by playing bar/20/16. That play is not a massive error, but it does allow White to play her full roll next turn and, because there is no duplication most of her numbers will […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: UBC 2021

2021 - Experts 46

(a) Match Play. Red trails 1-4 to 7. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take? (b) Unlimited Games. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take? XGID=-aaBBBBB—-cA-b-bAcba–BA:0:0:1:00:1:4:0:7:10   This position is taken from the Ultimate Backgammon Championship 2021 Final between “Mochy” Mochizukiand Dirk Schiemann. If you want nearly twelve hours of brilliant free backgammon […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Make them work

2021 - Intermediates 46

Match Play. 0-0 to 7. How should Red play 43? XGID=-AbDbBC-BA—B-a-abbbba—:0:0:1:11:0:0:3:0:10 One of the key things in backgammon is to make the checkers work for a living. You only have fifteen soldiers in your army, and you can’t afford for any of them to be idle. Red’s spare checker on his 21-pt is doing nothing […]

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Bray’s Learning curve: Safety the blot?

2021 - Beginners 46

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 61? Play for the close out with 13/6 or head for home with 21/15, 4/3? 13/6 will win a higher percentage of gammons but lose more games. Remember that for every extra lost game you need to win two more gammons to compensate. You will see from the rollout […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Pick the right game plan

Basic Beginners 36

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 31? XGID=-a—BDCB—bB-b-c-eb–AA-:0:0:1:31:0:0:3:0:10 This is a type of position that beginners often get wrong. They decide they need to escape the rear checkers and so play 24/21, 6/5. The correct game plan is to blitz or prime White’s remaining rear checker. To do that Red does not want to be […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Intricate Endgame

2021 - Experts 45

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 31?   XGID=-BBbBBA-B—a–B——A-A-:1:1:1:31:0:0:3:0:10  The key for Red to winning this game is to separate the three white checkers. If White is allowed to hold Red’s 3-pt for any length of time she will significantly increase her winning chances. Therefore, Red wants to force White off her anchor as soon […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Flexibility

2021 - Intermediates 45

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 11? XGID=-AbDbBC-BA—B-a-abbbba—:0:0:1:11:0:0:3:0:10 Over the board the natural looking 9/7, 8/7(2) was played but this turned out to be a blunder. Red’s position is good but not great. Those four checkers on his 3-pt are badly placed, significantly reducing his flexibility. White’s board is strong enough that Red cannot afford […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Up or back

2021 - Beginners 45

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 41? XGID=—-bBE-D–A-B–ccbe—–A:0:0:1:41:0:0:3:0:10 The key question is whether Red should stay back or try to escape. The race is close but, if Red stays back, he puts no pressure on White to perform and he still has the problem of how he will escape from White’s home board. Thus, we […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Which hit?

Basic Beginners 35

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 64? XGID=——EaC-aA-C—dbeAB–b-:1:1:1:64:0:0:3:0:10 Red can gain ground in the race with 20/10* but that play leaves a lot of return shots. Are the shots worth the potential gain? The answer is no. The simple 13/7*, 11/7 makes a solid long-term asset and leaves no blots on Red’s side of the […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Last checker premium

2021 - Experts 44

Match Play. Red trails 0-1 to 11. How should Red play 32? XGID=—-a-D-Cb—C—-AAcCbeb-:1:1:1:32:0:1:0:11:10 It might seem clear here to play 19/16, 18/16 to block White’s sixes from her 16-pt. That is certainly the obvious move, and it is what was played over the board. However, if you have read Bill Robertie’s latest book “Everything Matters” […]

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Prime Time BG Fall 2021

PrimeTime Backgammon magazine Fall 2021 Cover

Grandmaster Dmitriy Obukhov appears on our cover this month. He is the principal author of a detailed piece about the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB), the well-known organization that assesses skill and awards titles. He has been deeply involved in BMAB since its beginning, and Bob Stoller interviews him in depth as part of the […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Short-term Risk

2021 - Intermediates 44

Match play. Red leads 2-1 to 5. How should Red play 52? XGID=a–aaBCAC—AC-A—bccAbb-:1:1:1:52:2:1:0:5:10 This is a question of taking a short-term risk to establish a long-term again. Red could play 22/17, 7/5 with apparent safety but how will he bring all those outfield checkers home? The answer to that question is – with extreme difficulty […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: The Guff

2021 - Beginners 44

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 55? XGID=—b-BC-C-AAdCa–c-e—-B-:0:0:1:55:0:0:3:0:10 Back in the 1970s nobody made their ace-point, known as ‘the guff’, and if you did you were laughed at. Such a play was regarded as impure. Nowadays we know better. The ace-point can be a useful asset. In this position Red will shortly have to get […]

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Texas Backgammon Championships Reinstated as ABT Tournament

Texas Backgammon Championships Logo

We are pleased to announce that the Texas Backgammon Championships and the U.S. Backgammon Federation have reached an agreement to reinstate the event on the American Backgammon Tour! Here is our joint statement: The USBGF has agreed to reinstate the Texas Backgammon Championships as a tournament on the American Backgammon Tour, effective in 2022.  The USBGF […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Follow the Basics

Basic Beginners 34

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 21? XGID=—-a-EbC—dE–Ac-e—-A-:0:0:1:21:2:3:0:9:10 You cannot play successful backgammon without continually taking balanced risks. This week’s position is a classic example. Over the board Red made the ‘safe’ play of 16/13. True it is safe for one roll but the key question to ask yourself is ‘what next?’ Red’s game plan […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Triple Whopper

2021 - Experts 43

Match Play. 6-6 to 9. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take? XGID=–bBB-C-C—cB—bceB—A-:0:0:1:00:6:6:0:9:10 I posted this position to demonstrate what pressure can do to even good players. This is from the World Team Championships in Trier a couple of weeks ago. Red had recovered from 0-6 down and now at 3-away vs. 3-away he […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Which Point?

2021 - Intermediates 43

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 31? XGID=–B-a-C-B—eCa–c-e-AAAB-:0:0:1:31:0:0:3:0:10 This is a very common type of problem. Which point or points should Red make in White’s home board? Red’s own home board is very weak, and he needs time to construct something more useful. This game has a long way to go. Red can make the […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Safety First

2021 - Beginners 43

  Unlimited Games. How should Red play 52? XGID=-b—-E-D–AdCa—-dbb-AA-:1:1:1:52:0:0:3:0:10 Safety First Red has been doubled and is in trouble. White owns ‘the rack’ (her 4-pt, 5-pt and 6-pt) which is very powerful. Red cannot afford to play loosely and leave blots lying around. He would like to make a decent anchor and the only one […]

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2021 USBGF Lifetime Achievement Awards

Candace Mayeron and Bob Stoller in 2019

The U.S. Backgammon Federation is delighted to announce that Candace Mayeron and Robert Stoller are recipients of our 2021 USBGF Lifetime Achievement Awards. They will be officially honored at the USBGF Awards Dinner on October 9th, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, Florida, during the Sunny Florida Backgammon Championship.  Register to attend This prestigious […]

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Karen Davis – 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee

Karen Davis Seated at Board

The U.S. Backgammon Federation is pleased to announce the selection of Karen Davis into the American Backgammon Hall of Fame. John Pirner, President/Executive Director of the USBGF, noted, “Karen’s leadership and passion for organized backgammon is an inspiration for everyone who serves with her.  Her greatest legacy to the game is as an organization builder, […]

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Change to the ABT Status of Some Tournaments

EDIT 9/21/2020:  The Texas Backgammon Championships and the U.S. Backgammon Federation have reached an agreement to reinstate the tournament on the American Backgammon Tour.  Read our joint statement. We want to make our members aware that the U.S. Backgammon Federation made the difficult decision to withdraw American Backgammon Tour (ABT) status from several tournaments. This […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: Asset vs Race

Basic Beginners 33

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 32? XGID=-a—AD-C-a-dE-a-c-eA—A-:0:0:1:32:0:0:2:0:10 This is a common opening problem. Should Red hit, if so where, or should he take the asset of the 5-pt? Let’s deal with the hit question first as that is quite clear. If hitting he should play 20/15*. This gains the most ground in the race […]

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Bray’s learning Curve: Complex Back Game

2021 - Experts 42

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 43?   XGID=-a-aBBC-CBA-b–a–bbbbb-B-:0:0:1:41:0:2:0:5:10   Back games can be horrendously difficult and this one certainly isn’t easy. White has more than enough timing and he will hoping to release his checkers on Red’s 5-pt and then play a well-timed 1-3 or 2-3 back (the latter is better). With so many […]

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Bray’s Learning Curve: The case of the missing 6-pt

2021 - Intermediates 42

Unlimited Games. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take? XGID=–BCBB-a—B-AA—-abBcdd-:0:0:1:00:0:0:3:0:10 This is a very deceptive position and many a player of the White checkers would drop this double, seeing no hope of getting her checkers home and fearing a gammon. After all, Red only misses with 55 and 53. However, If Red hits the […]

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