14 Aug 2013 - by Steve Sax
Sometimes when you attend a backgammon tournament you play well but the dice are against you and then of course there are the other times when no matter what mistakes you make you can't go wrong.
In September 2006 I won the Vietor Cup by going a perfect 8-0 but in the six years that followed I failed to do any better than a tie for third place. Would 2013 be any different?
14 Aug 2013 - by Steve Sax
Sometimes when you attend a backgammon tournament you play well but the dice are against you and then of course there are the other times when no matter what mistakes you make you can't go wrong.
22 Jun 2013 - by Steve Sax
During the 2013 Open, Steve Sax played a practice match with the 11 year old son of 2012 California State Champion Todd Crosner--one Max Crosner who in his four years of play has improved enough to move from the beginner division to the advanced division.
30 Apr 2013 - by Steve Sax
Every Wednesday at 5pm at the El Torito restaurant in Burbank, California Gammon Associates Patrick Gibson runs a local backgammon tournament. The range in skill level among the players there is vast.
20 Feb 2013 - by Steve Sax
In 1988, coach Pat Riley of the Los Angeles Lakers trademarked the slogan "Three-Peat" which referred to his team's effort to win a third championship in a row. On February 10th, 2013 I attempted to win my third consecutive Gammon Associates Backgammon Tournament of Champions.
20 Dec 2012 - by Steve Sax
In 2004, when Gammon Associates changed one of its bi-annual tournaments to the California State Backgammon Championship, I found myself in the finals of the winner's bracket.
02 Nov 2012 - by Steve Sax
To sharpen my game in between tournaments I like to play practice matches on the internet at GridGammon against some of the top players in the world. Included among those players are ten of the top 64 players on the "Giants of Backgammon" list.
28 Sep 2012 - by Steve Sax
After the boondoggle in the bay area, I made a concerted effort to improve my backgammon play at the 2012 Vietor Cup. I did this by re-employing certain methods which helped me at the Giants Invitational in Chicago in 2011.
05 Sep 2012 - by Steve Sax
Seeking a repeat as Master's champion and a first Golden Gate Open title, I assembled a paltry 4-4 match record and along the way made some peculiar cube and checker decisions. Today we'll look at ten of those boo boos which will help to explain why I didn't do better.
24 Jul 2012 - by Steve Sax
At the annual Michigan Summer Backgammon Championships held between July 5th and July 8th 2012 I comprised a match record of ten wins and only four losses.
21 Jun 2012 - by Steve Sax
The 2012 Los Angeles Backgammon Open drew top players from all over the United States and if I was going to win the tournament I would more than likely run into quite a few tough matches in my quest for victory.
30 Apr 2012 - by Steve Sax
When asked what the worst possible backgammon tournament result is my answer is "Crash and Burn". That is when you get to the money round in every event and lose all of those matches.
26 Mar 2012 - by Steve Sax
Most of you from my generation or older remember the Neil Simon play later made into a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau called "The Odd Couple".
29 Feb 2012 - by Steve Sax
Just like last year, I qualified for Patrick Gibson's "Gammon Associates" Tournament of Champions by earning enough master points to earn a spot among the 16 players from our Wednesday backgammon club.
20 Jan 2012 - by Steve Sax
The subject of "four away-two away" has been covered fairly thoroughly by GammonVillage writers and others over the years, but this month, I want to focus on the decision of when to double when your opponent is "two away" and you are "many" away.
30 Dec 2011 - by Steve Sax
Some of the positions we will look at today come from the finals of the jackpot event at the California State Backgammon Championship (2011), between Giants Falafel and Neil Kazaross.
23 Nov 2011 - by Steve Sax
I'd like to share with the readers positions from my Las Vegas Open finals, but I didn't make it out of the first round. Instead I'll share nine positions from four of my losses and my only two wins which came in the consolation.
24 Oct 2011 - by Steve Sax
Michael (Mike) Senkiewicz had been a mainstay of the New York games scene for more than four decades as he has been competing at a high level in Chess, Scrabble and Backgammon since the early 70's.
04 Oct 2011 - by Steve Sax
The Vietor Cup has always been a difficult tournament to win, but when it appeared that "Falafel", "MCG" Ray Fogerlund, David Wells and Sakura Wells were going to join the ranks of the regular La Jolla competitors it just became that much more difficult.
22 Aug 2011 - by Steve Sax
After edging Neil Kazaross two matches to one, I reached the semi-finals of the first "Giants of Backgammon Invitational" where I would face off against Maryland math instructor Bob Koca.
26 Jul 2011 - by Steve Sax
A little more than ten years ago, I mentioned to Jake Jacobs there should be an invitational "Giants of Backgammon" tournament. He liked the idea, but didn't think it would be that easy to get all 32 "Giants" to participate in such an event.
21 Jun 2011 - by Steve Sax
After accepting an invitation in April to play in the "Giants of Backgammon Invitational" to be held at the Chicago Open, I had a mere six weeks to get my game up to speed for what would be the toughest tournament I ever played in.
24 May 2011 - by Steve Sax
I enjoy going up to San Francisco to visit my backgammon friends from Northern California. Chiva Tafazzoli has brought big time backgammon back to the Bay Area with the U.S. Open and now the Golden Gate Open.
20 Apr 2011 - by Steve Sax
It seems no matter how much I study, practice and compete I reach positions I don't really understand all that well. This happens at every major backgammon competition and the 2011 Nevada State Backgammon Championship was no different.
22 Mar 2011 - by Steve Sax
Our friend "Mochy" who is currently in Japan came up with the idea to raise money for the half a million refugees who are currently homeless due to the terrible tragedies which have befallen our East Asian ally.
22 Feb 2011 - by Steve Sax
Each year in the week following the Super Bowl, "Gammon Associates" backgammon club holds a "Tournament of Champions" in which the top sixteen players from the Sunday tournaments and Wednesday tournaments face off in a five round championship for the title.
25 Jan 2011 - by Steve Sax
On January 17th, 2011 Mary Hickey completed one of the most unlikely "three-peats" in backgammon history, completing a trilogy of female domination at the U.S. Open backgammon championships over the past three years.
20 Dec 2010 - by Steve Sax
Hailing from Valparaiso, Indiana, John O'Hagan has been playing for more than thirty years as he picked up the game between classes at Indiana University. He soon found that he was having reasonably good success.
22 Nov 2010 - by Steve Sax
When I found out that Leonardo Jerkovic was going to be running the "1st Online Backgammon Nations Cup", I immediately asked him how one could qualify to represent their nation in this team event.
25 Oct 2010 - by Steve Sax
Having come in 2nd in the 2010 Winter Dubrovnik Backgammon Open to Neil Kazaross, I faded quickly in the spring edition. However, I had another chance in the summer tournament.
22 Sep 2010 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax reports from the eleventh Vietor Cup held from September 18 through September 19, 2010, in La Jolla, California.
24 Aug 2010 - by Steve Sax
We resume my "Nearly Giant Weekend" with positions from my quarter-final match of the Michigan Masters against one of my arch nemesis and current Giant #13 Kit Woolsey.
26 Jul 2010 - by Steve Sax
At the 2010 Michigan Summer Championships in my first four matches I drew a current or former "Giant of backgammon" and to top it off, I drew 2009 Giant #3, Neil Kazaross in the round of sixteen in the main event. To start, I had to face 1993 Giant #32 Herb Gurland.
23 Jun 2010 - by Steve Sax
Masayuki Mochizuki, better known to his friends and competitors as "Mochy" doesn't seem imposing, but when you witness the ferocity with which he dispatches his opponents you soon realize he is no one to be taken lightly.
25 May 2010 - by Steve Sax
On April 10th 2010, Neil Kazaross and I began the finals of the Dubrovnik Open Winter Backgammon Tournament. This was a double elimination event, and since I had not lost yet, Neil would have to beat me twice to earn the title.
23 Apr 2010 - by Steve Sax
If you were a golfer and someone was to give you the chance to play a round of golf with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia and at no charge, you would probably jump at the opportunity.
20 Mar 2010 - by Steve Sax
Since backgammon is a game in which only two players may play at a time, a variation of backgammon, called "The Chouette" was created to let more than two people participate in the game at the same time.
01 Mar 2010 - by Steve Sax
I arrived in Pittsburgh with hopes of dethroning reigning champ Bob Glass, but unfortunately he was the only one I defeated in the 2010 edition of the Pittsburgh Backgammon Championships Open division.
21 Jan 2010 - by Steve Sax
Matt Cohn-Geier, more commonly known these days as MCG, has blazed a trail of destruction across the backgammon world in the 3 short years he has participated on the ABT and other events.
21 Dec 2009 - by Steve Sax
In the coming months, we will take a look at some backgammon stars from around the world. Today we will look at one of the players from Japan who has had a lot of success since he took up the game seriously in 1997.
23 Nov 2009 - by Steve Sax
While chess players can plan their next moves based on how they think their opponent will respond to their moves, backgammon players don't really have a good idea how their competitor will make his next series of moves.
20 Oct 2009 - by Steve Sax
Oftentimes when I play in chouettes or observe my opponents in tournament matches, I cringe when I see a wake of dead checkers strewn along the battlefield that is a backgammon board.
22 Sep 2009 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax reports from the 2009 Vietor Backgammon Cup held in La Jolla, California on September 19, 2009.
21 Aug 2009 - by Steve Sax
We've all been in this situation when playing backgammon. We roll a number where we can run off of an anchor in our opponent's home board but we're not sure if it is the right time to do so. What factors govern this decision?
22 Jul 2009 - by Steve Sax
When I first started writing for GammonVillage in 2002 I wrote an introductory article on ten ways to improve your backgammon game. Since then a few things have changed.
20 Jun 2009 - by Steve Sax
When I suggested to "Stick" Rice that he come out to L.A. to compete in the Los Angeles Backgammon Open and Super 32, I knew there was a fair chance I would have to play him at some point in the tournament.
21 May 2009 - by Steve Sax
This month, we will take a look at the player who won the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo 20 years ago this summer. I remember it quite well as it was my first time there.
20 Apr 2009 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax presents twelve interesting backgammon positions he encountered during his play at the 2009 Nevada State Backgammon Tournament.
20 Mar 2009 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax reports on his performance in the Grand Crystal Beaver Jackpot at the 2009 American Backgammon Tour Midwest Backgammon Championships, held from March 20 to March 22, 2009 in Lisle, Illinois.
20 Feb 2009 - by Steve Sax
At critical junctures in the backgammon game, opponents can decide to either continue or make a settlement: an agreement to end the game for a specific amount to reduce the variance and potentially gain some equity.
20 Jan 2009 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax analyzes a dozen positions he encountered during the 2009 NY Metropolitan Backgammon Tournament, held on the 2nd weekend of January, 2009.
20 Dec 2008 - by Steve Sax
Arthur T. Benjamin, Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, is known in popular culture as a Mathemagician. In addition, Art has another talent: he is an excellent backgammon player.
20 Nov 2008 - by Steve Sax
If you want to improve your backgammon game and make changes needed to thrive and prosper as a player, one of the things you might want to do would be to go over matches between two top players. To that I say "Yes, Oui Cannes".
20 Oct 2008 - by Steve Sax
In 2005, I had never heard of Richard Munitz. By 2006, he was just about all I heard about. Richard burst upon the backgammon scene with an impressive three wins to take the top spot on the American Backgammon Tour, nearly ten points clear of 2nd place finisher Gregg Cattanach.
20 Sep 2008 - by Steve Sax
In this month's article, we will take a look at six related positions of developing equity in three different states of "Gammon Sensitivity". Those states are Gammon Go, Money, and Gammon Save (GS).
20 Aug 2008 - by Steve Sax
In March of this year we looked at two expert level players and how they fared against me in two different matches. This time we will look at how expert level backgammon players fare against each other.
20 Jul 2008 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax provides interesting backgammon positions and commentary on a hard-fought backgammon match against Neil Kazaross during the recent Michigan Summer Championships.
20 Jun 2008 - by Steve Sax
I was introduced to backgammon by my mother, Ricky Sax. She won the 1980 U.S. Open Women's backgammon championship in Reno Nevada. This column features excellent women backgammon players, their accomplishments and a few positions I have had in competition against them.
20 May 2008 - by Steve Sax
After my exciting come-from-behind victory against Kit Woolsey in the first round, I had to play another Giant in the 2nd round of the 2008 Super Jackpot: two time World Backgammon Champion Bill Robertie.
20 Apr 2008 - by Steve Sax
From time to time I like to highlight a particular player by showing a variety of interesting positions from a backgammon tournament match we competed in. This month we will take another look at Kit Woolsey as I drew him in the first round of the Super Jackpot in Las Vegas.
20 Mar 2008 - by Steve Sax
Last month we looked at competition against an Advanced Level Backgammon player from the perspective of a World Class Backgammon player. This month we will take a look at two Expert Level players and see how they fare against that same player.
20 Feb 2008 - by Steve Sax
Competitive backgammon players play at all levels of ability. While each player has strengths and weaknesses, a specific player's ability can be reckoned either subjectively, based on another player's opinion, or using objective evidence, obtained with bots such as Gnu or Snowie.
20 Jan 2008 - by Steve Sax
There has always been discussion about who is the best backgammon player in the world and there is enough disagreement that a bi-annual poll "The Giants of Backgammon" is taken to help determine that. What is less easy to determine is who will be one of the next great players.
20 Dec 2007 - by Steve Sax
In the last article of this year, I will return to the topic of "The Equity Continuum", using the 2-3 and the 1-3 backgames as examples.
20 Nov 2007 - by Steve Sax
Whenever I go to a backgammon tournament I bring my digital camera to record positions of interest. Here are the ten most interesting positions I saw at the Las Vegas Open Backgammon Tournament.
20 Oct 2007 - by Steve Sax
Whether you are starting off playing a five point match or a longer match that ends up with both players needing five points or less, there are many diverse cube decisions that need to be made whether you have the lead or are behind.
20 Sep 2007 - by Steve Sax
In 2000 Petko Kostadinov and his family immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream. For those of you who don't know Petko, he is one fantastic backgammon player, one which I will proudly give the nickname "The Bulgarian Express" in honor of the fantastic year he is having in backgammon.
20 Aug 2007 - by Steve Sax
Sometimes, when bearing in or off, your exposed checker is hit and sent to the bar. Steve Sax suggests several strategies for dealing with this backgammon dilemma.
20 Jul 2007 - by Steve Sax
In part one, we examined seven backgammon positions. Now we find the match tied at eight apiece to fifteen. Do you go for structure and let your opponent get away or do you hit attempting to contain him?
20 Jun 2007 - by Steve Sax
In the first of a two part article, Steve Sax analyzes a recent backgammon match of his against Vice-World Champion backgammon player Bob Wachtel.
20 May 2007 - by Steve Sax
The South-East Backgammon Championships in Atlanta, Georgia May 4-6, 2007 is a new event on the American Backgammon Tour. I was excited and pleased to accept the invitation to visit Georgia in the springtime.
20 Apr 2007 - by Steve Sax
The idea of a "Backgammon Hall of Fame" was posed to me last year by Hugh Sconyers, and I wondered who might be enshrined there. I could come up with quite a few names on a list and I'll discuss those shortly but first, what qualifications should a person have to be eligible?
20 Mar 2007 - by Steve Sax
Players of all levels can benefit from getting a lesson. I especially enjoy giving "advanced" level players lessons since they have already learned many of the techniques that enhance their chances to win games but don't always employ that information to their benefit.
20 Feb 2007 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax analyzes seven difficult backgammon positions he encountered at the recent Backgammon Million tournament held at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in the Bahamas.
20 Jan 2007 - by Steve Sax
The equity continuum is a line on which the value of your position falls either positive or negative and the proper cube action based on perfect opponent play can be determined. Steve Sax shows examples of backgammon positions on the equity continuum
20 Dec 2006 - by Steve Sax
In November's article we went over seven positions from my semi-final match versus Falafel in the Las Vegas Backgammon Open. We will go over seven new positions in the conclusion today.
20 Nov 2006 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax writes a detailed account of a match he played against high-ranked Matvey (Falafel) Nantazon during the 2006 Las Vegas Backgammon Open.
20 Oct 2006 - by Steve Sax
Jake Jacobs has shared his backgammon adventures of the Asian Pacific region many times and today I will share some experiences I had in the American Pacific locale.
20 Sep 2006 - by Steve Sax
Steve provides an in-depth analysis of a tough quarterfinal match he had against his arch-nemesis Kit Woolsey.
20 Aug 2006 - by Steve Sax
When you compete against a player of a lesser skill level it is highly beneficial to be able to exploit their weaknesses by using your superior knowledge of checker play and cube action.
20 Jul 2006 - by Steve Sax
In the previous two months we went over positions in which Green had one or two checkers closed out. In this month's article we will go over positions in which Green has three checkers closed out.
20 Jun 2006 - by Steve Sax
In last month's article we discussed positions in which your opponent had one of your checkers closed out and needed to escape from behind a five prime with a six. He either had one at the edge, two at the edge or one removed from the edge. In this month's article we will go over positions in which you have two checkers closed out.
20 May 2006 - by Steve Sax
Many times I have been closed out and my opponent doubles or re-doubles when I have one or more checkers on the bar. I have a five prime and they have one or more checkers behind the prime. These backgammon positions can vary greatly in their relative equity and in this month's article we will take a look at some baseline positions involving that theme.
20 Apr 2006 - by Steve Sax
One of the ways you can help yourself to get better at backgammon is to use a neural net like Snowie, Gnu, or Jellyfish. There are other programs out there that are in the process of development that I don't have experience with so I will help you with the one that I use which is Snowie.
05 Apr 2004 - by Steve Sax
When we arrive at back anchor positions it is in our best interests to understand what to do regarding the cube. This will depend on the point we're holding and the structure of our opponent's board.
05 Mar 2004 - by Steve Sax
Steve comments on some interesting positions in his match played against Dennis Culpepper in the final of this year's Pittsburgh Masters.
05 Feb 2004 - by Steve Sax
When trailing in a match you have several advantages that your opponent doesn't such as a lower take point and the power to kill his gammons. Today we look at how the match score determines cube action in various situations.
05 Jan 2004 - by Steve Sax
Let's take a look at more interesting positions from the 2003 Pro Am match played between the teams of Sax/DiMattia and Woolsey/Kahn. What is clear is that no matter how experienced top players are they are still prone to mistakes.
05 Dec 2003 - by Steve Sax
This year Bruce DiMattia and I paired up against Kit Woolsey and Donald Kahn in the first round of the Pro Am. Let's go over some of the highlights and more difficult positions that the teams encountered.
05 Oct 2003 - by Steve Sax
At the Indiana Open my three wins were against "Giant 32" list members Paul Weaver, Kit Woolsey and Ed Olaughlin. Here are some highlights from my match with Ed.
05 Sep 2003 - by Steve Sax
In this month's article I have constructed a matrix of positions where you have to decide what to do regarding cube ownership.
05 Aug 2003 - by Steve Sax
My luck took a turn for the better at the 2003 Michigan Masters event as I cruised through four matches besting Kit Woolsey and Frank Talbot. And it did not get any easier in the finals when I faced New England expert Herb Gurland...
05 Jul 2003 - by Steve Sax
The 2003 Summer Match features reigning World Champion Mads Andersen in a match we played at the Las Vegas Open in November 2001.
05 Jun 2003 - by Steve Sax
"When in doubt hit" is the mantra of many a wanna be expert, and while often correct advice, there are quite a few occasions when hitting is exactly what you DON'T want to do.
05 May 2003 - by Steve Sax
Here's how to handle those tricky positions in which you're on an advanced anchor but trapped behind a six-prime.
05 Apr 2003 - by Steve Sax
Reference positions with closed boards and perfect distributions are often mentioned when discussing the value of a given game. More complex and harder to remember are those I refer to as "Junk Positions".
05 Mar 2003 - by Steve Sax
Steve Sax and Neil Kazaross comment on their match in the Masters flight of the recent Pittsburgh Championships.
05 Feb 2003 - by Steve Sax
Anchors are integral to winning backgammon strategy but there is a balance between reasonable maintenance of an anchor in your opponent's home board and hanging around past the point of usefulness.
05 Jan 2003 - by Steve Sax
Be careful not to fall into the traps of "stuplication", the incorrect usage of duplication.
05 Dec 2002 - by Steve Sax
This month Steve comments on an exciting match from the 2002 Pro Am in which he and his teammate, Stu Hosen, wrangled with the team of Jerry Grandell and Armando Balbi.