Live backgammon tournaments – a few tips to enjoy it more:
If you are new, or relatively new to playing in live backgammon tournaments, here are a few things that might make it a little easier for you.
Before the tournament:
- Talk to the backgammon tournament director ahead of time, and find out exactly what division and events you should be playing in. Generally, you want to play in the lowest division for which you are eligible…but if you are a reasonably good player, do not play in Novice (beginner) as it will not be challenging for you.
- Bring a board. Even if you have to borrow one. And be sure you have “precision” dice and cups. (Rounded dice.)
- Practice playing over a board. Learn how to play going in BOTH directions.
- Read the section of backgammon rules before you start playing. Backgammon rules page can tell you about legal moves, ending your turn, protocol for doubling, rules for shaking the dice and rolling, etc.
- Learn how to count pips. There are many on-line guide to help you find the shortcuts. Knowing the pip count over the board is important to good play.
Learn the basic concepts of match equity and cube strategy. In tournaments, equity is critical.
- Get a copy of the backgammon tournament entry form and information and read it carefully. Be sure you are on time, know where to go, and know when the breaks area. If there are lectures and other side events, be sure to participate…it will make the whole experience more enriching.
During the tournament:
- Remember, the tournament staff are there to help you. Ask questions any time you have one. Don’t be shy.
- Be sure you know, off the draw sheet, how many points each match is to be played to. Many people just assume, and they assume wrong. Match length can change every round in some backgammon tournaments.
- Always write down the score, and say the score out loud to make sure your opponent has the same score you do.
- Follow backgammon etiquette
- Win or lose, make sure the result is reported immediately after the match.
- Use a money management strategy to control your wins and losses.
- Relax, have fun, and don’t worry if you make mistakes. Everyone makes some illegal moves, or forgets to double, or forgets to pick up a checker when they hit it. Don’t beat yourself up if you make some errors. It’s just a game!
Most importantly, HAVE FUN AND MAKE FRIENDS!