Interview with Backgammon Player Maya Peycheva

by Phil Simborg
28 April 2015

Maya Peycheva

Maya Peycheva has distinguished herself as a true force in the backgammon world, and certainly a contender for becoming a Giant some day in the future. I first met her in San Antonio this year (2015) and was greatly impressed by her determination, her sense of humor, and mostly, how much fun she seemed to be having between matches.

Phil: Please give us a little background on yourself.

Maya: I am 42 years old and live in Sofia, Bulgaria. My mother was ecology director at Sofia municipality and is now retired. My father was a big producer of alcoholic drinks. I studied in sports school. After it I studied for 3 years as a volleyball coach and a sports teacher, but I didn't finish. It is not a big secret that I am divorced. :)) Now I play backgammon and teach playmakers to 15 in volleyball club "Slavia" Sofia. I have 2 children: a boy, Valentin (15 years old); and a girl, Alexandra (9 years old). Valentin plays volleyball in CSKA, Sofia. Alexandra plays volleyball in Slavia, Sofia. The blood can't become water. :) ) There is a saying in Bulgarian that the blood never become water, which is used in the case when the kids follow their parents activities.

Phil: What interests and hobbies do you have outside of backgammon?

Maya: I have many interests and hobbies. Because of backgammon I started to study meditation, concentration, intuition, psychology, how to control my energy, dreams, numerology 1st level. Also I am interested of astronomy, energy, volleyball, football. Maybe it will be interesting for you, that I was in the Bulgarian National volleyball team to 21, when I was 19. I was the volleyball champion of Bulgaria for women in 1994. I have a golden real cup for the best football manager on the Internet. I have 1st prizes from cooking competitions and from dance competitions (for amateurs) :).

Phil: How have you become such a good player? Have you read books? Taken lessons? Do you have a mentor or teacher that has helped you? What do you do on a regular basis to improve your game?

Maya: I don't think that I am one of the best players in the game, but I am sure that I am the best prepared player mentally. When I started playing I read a few books. I never took lessons and don't have a mentor. Because you ask about playing, I play 2-3 matches per day and after them I see my mistakes. That's all. I play no more than 10 hours a week, but one month before a tournament I play and study 20-28 hours a week.

Phil: Do you play on line? If so, where and how often? Where do you play live?

Maya: I play only in Grid Gammon not more than two hours per day. Unfortunately in Sofia tournaments stopped. We have only one tournament per week (there were 14 per week, all with added money). Sometimes I miss it. I liked to play chouette, but now people stopped with it.

Phil: What advice do you have for a relative beginner to learn the game well?

Maya: It is very important to have fun and play much. Experience is the best teacher.

Phil: What advice do you have for experienced players, such as a strong intermediate player (8.0 PR) to take his game to a higher level?

Maya: Play a lot and work with XG. They have to separate the game in parts and work on these parts, because in other case will be a mess in their minds for a long time. At first, they have to localize their mistakes - in what parts of the game they make their main mistakes. It is important to work in small areas of mistakes.

Phil: What are your greatest tournament results and backgammon accomplishments?

Maya: Cyprus Open, 2013. But in Bulgaria, when there were every day tournaments with 64 people, I won 7 in a row and I lost the final of 8th. :) )

Maya Peycheva

Phil: What does your average day look like?
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