Backgammon news scoop

Letter No. 292 | July 15, 2002

On July 14, 2002, at the World Backgammon Championship played at Monte Carlo, Mads Anderson of Denmark defeated Felix Ziva of Israel by the close score of 25 - 23. All the top US players got knocked out, and six Danish players were among the 12 finalists.

With this announcement, the Nanty Glo web site has scooped about every major US newspaper. Except in games publications, there will be little mention of this event. Yet, to backgammon enthusiasts, this playoff has an inpact equal to that experienced by World Series or Super Bowl fans. With almost 300 expert players paying $800 each as an entry fee, the prizes at this tournament generate great interest. With my resurging interest in backgammon, I recently subscribed to a web site, "" which provided the daily accounts of the above week-long 2002 World Championship.

The site again aroused my interest, as when I was a novice player over 20 years ago. I became a backgammon player back in 1980, and was a member of a Washington DC-area club that played bimonthly. Also, a nearby Bombay Bicycle Club gave winners a dinner if you won their Friday night tournament. I won a few times, but the club ended this treat long ago.

I have been inactive in the game lately, except for a newsletter I subscribe to. Why backgammon? Perhaps, because chess is so highly intellectual that it consumes a person's life to be a moderate player, and bridge is a game requring a lot of memory of where the cards are located. The basics of backgammon are simple, but a knowledge of the game's strategies requires study. Knowing dice probabilities is a must. My interest in the game is academic for the most part, for the world of backgammon is replete with "high stakes" gamblers and hustlers. To new prospective players, the game offers a challenge for study and enjoyment.

Frank Charney


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