by Steve Sax
24 October 2011
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.
In chess, he was once rated as high as 35th in the U.S. with a rating hovering near 2400 which is a strong "Master" level, but most of us know him as a backgammon player. And it was as a director of the Manhattan Chess Club in 1971 that he first found his way into the backgammon scene in a kind of random way.
You see, the chess club didn't have a kitchen, but the "Mayfair Club" (in the same building) did and during one of his forays into the" Mayfair" for a meal, he stumbled upon this strange game using dice and checkers upon a board with 24 triangles on it.
"Senk" took to the game fairly quickly and within a few years was one of the better players in New York, which was saying quite a bit as some of his early competitors included Paul Magriel, Chuck Papazian, Erik Seidel, Stanley Tomchin, Gino Scalamandre and Tim Holland.
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