In case you need to…

Brush up on the Tournament Rules before joining us on August 25th at the Kirkwood Station Brewing Company at 6:00 pm – BYOB-Bring Your Own Board – we’ve added added a page to our site for that.  US Tournament Rules & Clock Procedures.

Also on that page are the Clock Procedures which we hope we never, ever, ever, have to use.

We’ve also posted the USBGF Ethical Standards which we KNOW you don’t really need to see, but I just figured out how to add pages and got carried away.

A more fun post coming later today.



Hit the “Play” button below for more bad backgammon karaoke
by Jana Bohrer
(Warning – do NOT try this in a real bar.)

I got a bad break.
I passed when I should take.
Now I sit here covered in shame.
It was a huge swing, now I have nothing.
I tell myself,
It’s only a game.

Wasted away again in I’m-a-Loserville,
Searchin’ for my lost sense of gestalt.
Some people claim that the 5 2’s to blame,
But I know, it’s nobody’s fault,

Don’t know the reason,
But my dice are freezin’.
Been playin’ all night with no winnings to show.
But I got a plan now.
I’ll go back to the Man now.
Re-read Magriel’s book and then I will know…

How not to waste away in I’m-a-Loserville,
Searchin’ for my lost sense of gestalt.
Some people claim that the dice are to blame,
But I think – hell it could be my fault,

I took a big bet
In a sweet chouette.
Broke my bank, now I’m hitchin’ back home.
But there’s always the witchin’,
The whinin’ and bitchin’,
Hell yeah, it’s self-pity that helps me hang on.

Wasted away again in I’m-a-Loserville,
Lookin’ to my therapist for gestalt.
Some people claim that there’s a beaver to blame,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault

Gaby Horowitz and the C.U.B.E.

by Jana Bohrer

Gaby Horowitz did approximately 4,096 bad things for backgammon.  For example, he was rumored to be the real inventor of the magnetic dice and board set referenced here.  A History of the Game – Part Four

I believe it worked rather well until one evening in Vegas when Gaby asked the magnets for one set of sixes too many.  This resulted in a small conflagration.  Fortunately, only Gaby’s wallet was injured in the blaze.

But before we consign Gaby to the inner circle of backgammon hell, we should, in fairness, remember the four good things he did for the game.

1.  He taught Lucille Ball how to play.  And Lucy said of him, “He is the finest gentleman I have ever known.” (Which really says a lot about where Desi set the bar.)  Getting a celebrity to play gave backgammon a cachet and made it cool.  And Gaby was heard to say that, “I never took a dime off Lucy.”  From which this author infers that he took whole dollars instead.


2.  In the ’90s, as backgammon languished in obscurity, Gaby connected it to the most important event of the 20th century – that’s right – The O.J. Simpson Trial.

Marcia Clark, the prosecutor … was once a dancer. After she divorced her first husband, Gaby Horowitz, a backgammon gambler who played for high stakes with such fanatics of the game as Lucille Ball and John Wayne, he was accidentally shot in the head by his best friend, Bruce Roman, who was represented by Robert Shapiro.  (Shapiro got him off too.)

From the February 1995 issue of Vanity Fair– L.A. in the Age of O.J., by Dominick Dunne

Incidentally, in addition to being Gaby’s best friend and shooting him in the head with one of those ubiquitous unloaded guns; Bruce Roman also co-authored a backgammon book with Gaby, and he conducted the Scientologist ceremony that united Gaby in marriage to Marcia Clark.  With friends like that…

enquirerLead prosecutor Marcia Clark tells the jury in Los

3.  Gaby (left) was not hard to look at.  This at a time when that could not always be said of the backgammon set (right).


4.  Lastly, Gaby gave the game a truly useful cube mnemonic presented in his book with the aforementioned Dr. Roman.


C – Consider Potential Gain vs. Potential Loss

U – Use the Cube as a Weapon, NOT as a Gift

B – Blend Checker Play and Cube Action

E – Eliminate Emotional Influence

Unfortunately, many players fail to remember Gaby’s sage advice with disastrous and sometimes humorous results.  That’s a topic we will begin exploring tomorrow in:

C – See, I was winning.  A minute ago.


I’ll Never Play This Game Again

by Jana Bohrer

Hit “Play” above and let’s have some backgammon Karaoke!
(Now THAT’S something you don’t hear every day.  Thank God.)

What do you get when you roll the dice?
You fan from the bar and then he doubles.
That’s what you get for all your troubles.
I’ll never roll the dice again.
I’ll never roll the dice again.

 What do you get when you slot the 5?
He rolls 4 4 and then he hits ya.
Now you see what slottin’ gets ya.
I’ll never leave a blot again.
I’ll never leave a blot again.

Don’t tell me what it’s all about,
I’ve been beavered and now I’m out.
Out of this game, this game that hates me.
I don’t give a damn what Snowie rates me.

What do you get when you make a prime?
He makes one too, and then he traps ya.
Get out with one, and then he slaps ya.
I’ll never make a prime again.
I’ll never make a prime again.

A History of the Game – Part Five

By Jana Bohrer

Following a long dormant period, backgammon re-emerged in the mid-1960s, largely due to Prince Alexis Obolensky also known as “The Father of Modern Backgammon”.

 Among other things, Obolensky co-founded the International Backgammon Association, established the World Backgammon Club of Manhattan, devised a backgammon tournament system, and then organized the first major international backgammon tournament in March, 1964. 

In his spare time, he fought the cold war as a CIA spy undercover as a US Fisheries Agent, wrestled snow leopards long before Putin made it cool, invented the exploding cigar used in an attempt on the life of Fidel Castro, and was featured on the Grassy Knoll as “Badgeman”.  (Clearly seen as blur in box behind President Kennedy.)


But most importantly, he made backgammon hip again.


Tragically, Prince Obolensky (seen with his wife in photo at left) died before realizing his long-cherished dream of imposing the Russian Imperial Dress Code on players.  The results of his premature demise before this crucial work could be finished, are all too apparent when one examines the photo on the right below of the modern player.


A History of the Game – Part Four

by Jana Bohrer

Backgammon reached Western Europe in the 11th century, first appearing in France.

In 1254, King Louis IX was forced to issue a decree prohibiting his court officials from playing when it was discovered that they were frittering away all their work time in houses of ill repute practicing dice mechanics.


Other innovations of the period include the first use of the magnetic board and dice combination set imported directly from China by Marco Polo Enterprises. This set was made widely available to players, and was marketed by late night town criers as:

Guaranteed to Produce the Roll You Need When You Need It! With No Shock Warrantee! For the Low, Low Price of ᵮ12.95 (florins) With Free Shipping and Extra Remote Control IF YOU ACT NOW!! (Batteries not invented.)

The first European depiction of such a set may be seen in Steen’s painting:

“WTF-Double Sixes AGAIN?!”