Backgammon basics: learn to be a better player

Online course

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Join Chris Bray, The Times backgammon columnist, for this interactive two-hour online masterclass to grow or refresh your knowledge of backgammon.

Backgammon is the oldest board game in the world. Easy to learn and apparently simple, it contains levels of complexity not obvious to the casual observer. The invention of ‘doubling’ in 1926 changed the game forever and the advent of strong backgammon computer programs in the 1990s changed it again, meaning an expert from 1970 would struggle against an intermediate modern-day player.

Most people learn the game in an unstructured manner from friends or family, often picking up a lot of bad habits along the way. This course provides the basic building blocks of the game in a structured method that will enable you to play ‘good’ backgammon. Like all good games there will be a lot more work to be done to become truly proficient, but this course is designed to give you all you need to set you off in the right direction. 

This course is suitable for beginners or those with a rudimentary knowledge of the game, and the two hour session will cover:

  • History of the game 
  • The basic rules of play
  • Notation & terminology
  • A sample game
  • Opening rolls & responses
  • A brief summary of middle game types
  • Endings
  • A guide to doubling
  • Computers
  • Where to play

About your tutor:

Chris Bray is the backgammon columnist for The Times. He is currently ranked 4th in the country and represented the UK. in this year’s World Team Championships, where the UK team won the silver medal. He has written ten books on the game including Backgammon for Dummies. During lockdown he has been kept very busy playing, commentating, teaching and writing about the game he has played for over forty years. 

The course will be given as an interactive Zoom session, and will feature Extreme Gammon (computer software program).  No specific downloads are required and your joining link will be sent out prior to the start of the course.  Numbers are limited, so early booking is advised.

Course date: Tuesday, February 22, 6.30-8.30pm
Price: £75 - places are limited. 
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