If my memory serves me correctly, it was the summer of ’66 that my younger brother and I decided to figure out the purpose of the triangles on the back of our checkerboard. A quick trip to the family encyclopedia gave us the basics of a game called “Backgammon.”We spent most of the remainder of that summer becoming students of the game; playing hours on end.
Through the years that followed, I played backgammon at every opportunity. When unable to find an opponent, I read books by such notables as Cooke, Deyong, Dweck and Lewis, as well as studying games of the great masters like Jacoby and Crawford. Soon I became unable to find a money game within my circle of acquaintances; even a match was impossible without a considerable handicap. I ventured as a young adult into the New York tournament circuit, but due to limited time and bankroll experienced only limited success.
A career, family and lack of worthy opponents began to limit my play. I dabbled in chess, but have always found it to be way too cerebral (I don’t like thinking that far ahead.) When I arrived in California, (the land where poker is not gambling) I gave cards a whack. I quickly found that playing for hours on end against eight or nine unsociable opponents, all battling for my chips, was not much fun. I longed for the feel of a dice cup, the click of the stones and the thump of a well thrown cube.
Over the last thirty years, the advancement of computers and electronic games has offered some solace. Most of the software has been poorly written and cumbersome to operate. None that I have found offers the gratification of sitting across the table from a real thinking (and speaking) opponent, nor are the “WooHoo’s” quite as satisfying when defeating a silicon chip.
Only recently, my middle daughter enlightened me to the presence of a Microsoft© internet site called “The Zone.” There, thousands of backgammon aficionados are gathered from around the world at any given time of day. Excellent competition can be found in any of the gaming rooms. The game software itself is very user friendly and can be operated solely with the use of the mouse. Although intimidating at first, the game rooms become easy to navigate with the help of the ever-present, friendly and well informed hosts.
In the summer of 2006, Microsoft© decided that the technology that ran “The Zone” was too outdated and dismantled the interface. Everyone went their separate ways. I along with some associates saw this coming and created WarpGammon, an online backgammon group that allows its members to play anywhere on the internet that they would like. Come check it out; everyone is welcome! I currently play on over a dozen different sites. My current four favorites are Renaissance Games, Gammon Empire, TrueMoneygames and GammonSite.
As software and internet developer by trade I have decided to combine two great loves of my life by creating this and the WarpGammon site. Time permitting they will continue to grow, offering insight to the game itself for beginners as well as those of us who “think” we know most everything. Since this exists in cyberspace, considerable space will be dedicated to the particulars of on-line play. If you have any questions or suggestions as to its direction and/or content, I would love to hear from you.