Sunday, May 28, 2006

Backgammon: rules

Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board consisting of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a player's base and outer board, and the opponent's home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated from each other by a ridge down the center of the board called the bar.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


תופעה: עוזבים את מקום העבודה כדי לשחק שש-בש תופעה מתפשטת בעולם: הופכים את תחביב השש-בש למקצוע. רבים עוזבים את מקומות העבודה בשביל לשחק שש-בש באופן מקצועי ולהרוויח כסף גדול. גם בארץ ישנם שחקני שש-בש מקצועיים שמתפרנסים מהמשחק. שחקני השש-בש נוסעים לטורנירים ברחבי העולם ומשחקים תמורת סכומים גדולים. ביומיום נכנסים השחקנים לתוכנות השש-בש באינטרנט ומשחקים תמורת כספים נאים מול אנשים אחרים בעולם. "השש-בש שינה את חיי. עזבתי את העבודה שלי בתור אחות סיעודית והפכתי את התחביב למקצוע. כל יום אני נכנסת לתכנת Play65 ומרוויחה כספים שלא הייתי חולמת עליהם כשהייתי מקבלת תלוש משכורת" מספרת רינה, אחות סיעודית במיל ושחקנית שש-בש בהווה. כיום מוצעות מספר תוכנות שש-בש באינטרנט, המובילה והטובה מבינהן היא תכנת Play65 המציעה לשחקניה פלטפורמה נוחה לשימוש ופעילות נרחבת של משחקים הכוללת טורנירים יומיים וגם בית ספר לשש-בש.

Friday, May 19, 2006


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Backgammon Brain

Players from all levels are invited to share their view on these interesting positions that we came across while honing our backgammon skills in match play.

Backgammon Variants Tavla

Backgammon VariantsTavla Tavla is the Turkish name for backgammon. The rules are similar but not exactly the same as Western backgammon. A list of the differences appears at the bottom of this page. The same game is called Takhteh in Iran.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Do not point out your opponent’s luck, or lucky rolls, either during or after a match. Whether you mean to or not, pointing out your opponent’s luck suggests that he is winning or has won due to that luck and not due to his skill. Even if he was unbelievably lucky, it’s poor form and bad sportsmanship. And most players fail to see their own good luck as well as the many bad rolls the opponent probably got too. Most players also forget that the better you play, the luckier you seem to be, because you are set up for more good rolls and protected against more of the bad rolls. When a player tells me how lucky I am just after I've beaten him, I say "Yes, I was lucky to play someone who played so much worse than me."
Do not call your opponent’s bad rolls, or your own good ones. It’s irritating and capricious.
Do not handle the doubling cube unless you mean to double. In fact, this could even be, consciously or unconsciously, a form of cheating ... you reach for the cube and see if the opponent reaches for the score sheet or reached to take the cube ... or simply check out his reaction.
Do not roll until your opponent has clearly picked up his dice. Rolling too soon, or just as he’s picking up his dice, can only create conflict as to whether or not the roll counted, or whether or not the player had truly finished thinking about his play. And quick rolling unfairly rushes the opponent into playing.

Backgammon Etiquette

Always greet your opponent in some friendly manner. You can just say hi, shake hands, wish them luck, wish them a good match, tell them where you are from, or whatever ... but don’t just sit down and start rolling the dice.
When a match is over, always say goodbye. Or thanks for playing, or whatever you are comfortable with. You don’t have to say "good match" if you don’t believe it was, but if you are the loser, congratulations and best wishes in the rest of the tournament or on line is a reasonable goodbye.
When you double, place the cube gently in the center, and say double. If you take, put it on your side and say "take". If you drop, be sure to put the cube in it’s proper place and say "drop" or "pass" clearly.
Both parties should keep score, and you should announce the score or acknowledge your opponent’s announcement of the score, after each game. If it is a Crawford game, announce that at the start and take the cube off the board.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The History of Backgammon II

In Rome the game was called ludus duodecium scriptorum, "the twelve line game", or tabular. Boards excavated from the ruins of Pompeii are identical in form to the modern version. But the Romans used three dice. Although it was referred to as the Game of Emperors, backgammon was clearly as popular among the lower classes as among the patricians. A wall painting in Pompeii depicts a tavern brawl which was sparked by a dispute about the game.
The Roman Legions spread the game throughout the empire. Many commentators maintain that like the customs of reading and bathing, the game, in Europe, failed to survive the fall of the Roman empire. In England, however, the game was played in Saxon times and the Roman name Tables appears in Old English Glossaries of the 8th and 9th centuries.
The game underwent a resurgence during the crusades. It was widely played in Arabia, having arrived there by way of Persia. The Arabs used two dice as opposed to the Roman three and it is this version that spread through the upper classes in Europe. The Church disapproved of the game--probably due to the element of gambling--and periodically attempted to outlaw it. The success of these attempts can be judged by the fact that church leaders had to issue these edicts on the average of once or twice a century throughout the 13th through 16th centuries. One presumes the reformation finally took their minds off backgammon. One of the last such attempts was by Cardinal Wolsey of the court of Henry VIII, who ordered all boards burned in 1526, resulting in a cottage industry for English craftsman of turning out disguised boards in the now familiar book form which can be folded in half with the stones inside and stored in a bookshelf.
The edict did not survive the Cardinal, and backgammon became one of the favorite games of the Elizabethans. By this time the rules of the game, at least in England and France, appear to have been formalized into the modern form, except for the doubling cube. Although the name Tables would be widely used well into this century, in 1645 the name "backgammon" is recorded, and it is clear that with the name the concept of the back-gammon (or back game) had found their way into the game.

The History of Backgammon I

Backgammon has its origins in the early board games developed in Ur of Mesopotamia 5000 years ago. Boards bearing a resemblance to backgammon have been unearthed in excavations along with matching dice and inlaid playing pieces. The game appears to have moved from there to ancient India where it and Parcheesi developed from a common ancestor. A variant called Sennet was played by the ancient Egyptians.
By the time of Plato the board had taken on its now standard form, and as with much else, the Greeks claimed credit for its invention. Sophocles attributed the game to Palamedes who apparently developed it to while away the time during the siege of Troy. Herodatus, on the other hand, claims the Lydians invented it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


6. We realize that the bar-point is very important. However we insist you to try to occupy the equity points in the early stage. These are the 4th and 5th points on both the sides. 7. Your decision regarding doubling is a match winning or losing parameter. You must know when to issue a double, when to accept or decline and when to issue a redouble. Remember the break-even point of a double is 25%. In trailing situations double may bring about dramatic changes in the match. Go by Woolsey?s Law, 'put yourself in your opponent?s shoes'. 8. We advise you to redouble at a stage when you don?t have anything to lose, like in the 2nd game of a 3 game match if you have already conceded the first game. 9. Anchoring is always preferable to restrain the movements of the opponent. If your opponent sets up an anchor the best way to counter is with an anchor of your own. And again at a stage when you are trailing. Trying it may be your only available lifeline.10. The occupation of 7 or 9 point is advantageous when you are trailing. It will create pressure on the 12th point (Mid point) of the opponent. Don?t try to go too deep at your home board in the beginning. Leave the 1/ 2/ 3 points empty. The 5th point is equally important like the 7th one as the 5th point also prevents the opponent?s checkers from entering the bar.The key difference between a winner and a loser lies in their understanding of the backgammon principals and the mathematical ability to analyze the game and applying them in proper place and more importantly at an opportune moment.


Backgammon is a game of skill, luck and intuition. The scenario varies with every game, where any pre-defined strategy may fail for obvious reasons. Here we can echo Oscar Wilde as 'Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes'. However we want to build a basic strategy guideline, which should help you in tackling crux situations.
You should have adequate knowledge of the terms like prime, holding, racing. Identify the key points and define your strategy as per the progression of the game. Keep your eyes wide open and try to judge how the opponent is playing or where he places his checkers. Try to guess the opponent?s intention and plan. Your placing of checkers must be at your advantage but simultaneously to upset the opponent?s plan, at the least, it should create hindrances in the opponent?s planned moves.
1. Keep your options open. Whenever you are placing a checker on a particular point, think of the movement of the checker at your next roll. It?s always advisable to keep at least 2 alternatives open for every subsequent move.
2. Always try to spread checkers in pairs. It helps you from being hit. (There are times when being hit may work in your favor). If you are trailing significantly and your checkers are still far away from being hit, place them checkers at the bar, which will result in quicker movement. This is especially very helpful in case of a ?back game?.
3. You must know when to leave a shot. Let?s assume that the opponent?s checker is placed on the bar and you are to leave a blot or a prime (anchoring) then it?s wise to leave a shot.
4. Try to hit an opponent?s checker in the ?away board?. Experts say that this is even more important than making a blot or blockade in the form of prime.
5. Don?t try to occupy the ace-point in the beginning. Let the checkers move out for hitting or anchoring. Try to focus at the ace-point in the final stages of the game.