Back in November I went to my first Backgammon game. Since then the fledgling Monte-Carlo Backgammon Association has grown incredibly!
Its reach is way beyond Monte-Carlo now with players from everywhere turning up, so their first 3 day Nations Tournament launched in deepest darkest St Paul de Vence at the Hotel la Vague de St Paul was a must visit – lots of nations were represented.
Backgammon, no matter what your level, seems to become an obsession, albeit a happy one – all levels, all ages, players are welcome, and can win. There is a mountain of friendly advice on hand. At first I thought it was going to be a serious brow-furling few days, but not so. True, everyone takes their game seriously, some obviously very, very, seriously! When not playing they are a very happy intelligent crowd, willing to talk and share a laugh.
One of their number is off to a tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia – no, I didn’t think they would hold tournaments there either. Of course, it is competitive, it is part of the game, this competitiveness does not transfer itself into the social aspect of the tournament – it remains friendly – refreshing.
The MCBA president, Patricia Rey (pictured below, right), has really done an excellent job of coordination, she seems tireless, ever smiling, amazing energy! Patricia is ably assisted by Kader Turk who makes sure things go well, those who really want to be serious about their particular game look to him as an umpire.
One thing which I think is great is that the MCBA features various artists working their pieces into the prizes plus putting them on show during the tournament. It adds a lot. Featured on this occasion was the painter Josephine Dionisotti who created the novel trophies and also there was a collection of paintings by Baron Myke Wignall.
Hotly contested games gather a crowd, the tension is palpable … maybe it is time you tried it out, you may just get hooked!
Lead image © Andrey Armyagov; all other photos © Mike Colquhoun
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