Zdenek Zizka Interview

by Phil Simborg
4 July 2016

Zdenek Zizka

Phil: Because I have not personally met Zdenek, I invited someone who knows him well to write the introduction to this interview. 

Most people know Chiva Tafazzoli, President of the World Backgammon Association (WBA). I consider Chiva to be one of the great leaders in the game as well as a very close friend of mine, and I highly value his opinion. Here is what Chiva has to say about Zdenek:

Chiva: Zdenek Zizka is currently one of the most promising players in the world. He is only 17 years old and comes from a very nice backgammon-loving Czech family. His mother, Eva is a very solid player and has taught him the game only a few years ago. He has been systematically working on his game, besides school, with the help and support of his mother and the other Czech players such as his mentor, Jan (Honza) Cerny, and Pavel Zaoral. Those are the main and most important players from Prague on the international backgammon scene.

The members of the Czech group are all extremely nice people, over the board and beyond. They have been regulars in the monthly and bi-monthly tournaments in Munich. They drive on Saturdays 4 hours from Prague to be on time (never late) at noon for the start of the tournament which usually finishes around 10 pm, to take the car back and hit the road home for another 4 hours. That´s dedication!

Zdenek has also been playing in international competitions such as Istanbul, Sibenik (Croatia), Berlin and Munich and Vienna and has achieved great performances. He was part of the successful World Team at the Nordic Open 2016 and contributed to their victory. Even the great Falafel is amazed by his talent.

He is the reigning Munich Master 2015 and the leading player in the current point race of 2016. Zdenek also is the current elo-leader of the German national ranking. He has been awarded the title GrandMaster Class III by the BMAB recently.

I am quite surprised about his absence in the current Giants List of Backgammon and I am confident that he will very soon figure among the very best in the world.

The backgammon genes are well-implemented within the Zizka family; after the mother Eva, and the oldest son Zdenek, his younger brother Martin has also taken up the game and plays very well. Let´s see if even their dog can become a champ soon...

I had the honor to play as Zdenek's doubles partner recently in Munich and, even though we lost, we performed a wonderful PR 1.9. Zdenek was one of the nicest, funniest and most pleasant partners I ever had – to be repeated.

Besides his backgammon skills, Zdenek is a wonderful, funny, a bit shy and amazing person and I am proud and happy to call him a friend.

Watch out for this rising star to conquer the backgammon world soon.

Phil: Tell us about your studies in school.

Zdenek: I am concentrating on mathematics in high school, now going to 3rd of 4th grade. I am not exactly sure what I want to do, but what I for sure know is working with money, statistics and probability. Backgammon is not my life, but my life is like backgammon - full of luck, decisions, studying probability and statistics. If there is a way I can make a career teaching and playing backgammon some day, that would be great, but I am not relying solely on that route at all. I know that you (Phil) are living that dream, but you worked in real estate for 40 years before you retired and then have made a career teaching and playing.
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