Gammon? Count me in, I like gammon. Oh, uh, not the tasty meat product – sorry, missed the ‘back’ bit, backgammon – the game!
Never say never so I went along to see a tournament at McCarthy’s in Monte-Carlo. What I found was a bunch of happy, eager and super competitive people ready to pitch their skill against equally keen opposition. Excellent fun in a good atmosphere.
This tournament was set up by the Monte Carlo Backgammon Association. You will meet their delightful President, Patricia Rey, who with her compatriots makes sure the events run smoothly and everyone knows what is happening. What you will notice is that everyone is smiling.
This is an ancient game, if you consider 5,000 years a long time. It comes from Mesopotamia which has been considered the site of the Garden of Eden. The original dice were crafted from bone, archeologists have found evidence.
So what happens? Well, first of all you find a board and an opponent at your skill level. All skill levels are welcome, debutantes too, and coaching is available. You then have several games, rather like tennis with less sweaty action. If you win then there are cocktails at the end, if you lose there are also cocktails at the end – a win-win civilised game if you ask me. The association also have some nifty T-shirts which means they mean business.
So, why not get out, mingle and have some fun playing this challenging ancient game. It is popular, you can get hooked very easily. If you like chess or chequers, then this will definitely appeal.
McCarthy’s in Monte-Carlo is a great place for the tournaments as it provides a lovely pub like atmosphere, good food and of course the necessary libation to toast your victory or ease the pain of not being victorious.
Go along – have fun – meet new people! BTW The food sated my need for gammon, thought you needed to know that.
Lead image courtesy Monte Carlo Backgammon Association; all other photos © Mike Colquhoun