COVID-19 Update, 4th May 2021
Under current social distancing rules there is no permitted household mixing indoors, and pubs and clubs remain closed (except for outdoor seating). Indoor backgammon tournaments and other forms of indoor play between members of different households are therefore not yet possible. Groups of 6 from different households are permitted to meet outdoors, and this is the limit of permissible outdoor play at the moment.
From 17th May there should be a further relaxation of social distancing rules which will be confirmed (or otherwise) by a Government announcement expected on 10th May, as outlined in the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown. These relaxations will allowing gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors, or 6 people from different households indoors – so still a severe restriction on live play.
The next relaxation of rules after 10th May is scheduled for 21st June (once again to be confirmed a week earlier) when the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact. If this goes ahead as planned, normality (as far as large live indoor tournaments are concerned) should be restored on 21st June 2021. The Blackpool Imperial Cup over the 25th-27th June weekend is therefore expected to be the first major live tournament in the UK since March 2020. See the Calendar for other live events scheduled for later this year, including East Kent, BMAB, Ulster Open, Brighton Summer Open, Midlands Open and Bognor.
While live play remains suspended or restricted there are of course many online options, and the UKBGF Online Ratings website is now receiving results from numerous online events including the UKBGF League and P-40 Knockout. Some online platforms are listed here on our ‘Resources’ page, with a more detailed discussion about the technical requirements here. The UKBGF rated match policy generally precludes the inclusion of online match results in the UKBGF Live Ratings although some pre-authorised, time limited exceptions to this rule were granted for a short time after the start of the first lockdown. We do not anticipate granting any further exceptions during the pandemic and, in any case, no online match played after 30th June 2020 will be included in the Live Ratings, even if within the scope of an allowed exception. Furthermore, we reserve the right to exclude live tournament results if it appears that they have taken place in deliberate violation of the above rules.
Note that the 2021 UKBGF Tour has been cancelled due to the pandemic and consequently there will be no TWI event in January 2022.
April 2021: UKBGF Sponsors Backgammon Hub
During the lockdowns over the last 12 months a new UK-based online playing site has been developed by Alfie Kirkpatrick of the Kensal Rise club. This new platform, called Backgammon Hub, has been sponsored by the UKBGF and consequently will be completely free for UK clubs and all players at least until the end of 2021. Read the blog post to find out more.
New for 2021: the UKBGF Online League and Knockout!
The UKBGF Online League, and the annual P-40 Knockout Tournament, were launched on 16 January 2021. More about these competitions on the blog and on the Backgammon London website. The full guide for participants can be downloaded as a pdf here.
Season 1 (January – March) has been completed; players have been promoted and relegated; new joiners have been added in the bottom divisions; and season 2 (April – June), with 381 participating players in 64 divisions, is now in progress. Any participating player can be located by means of a Ctrl+F search. Note the following new features:
- The ‘League Information’ drop-down menu above the league table for each season gives more information about that season;
- The ‘Recent Results’ section enables you to monitor the progress of other players you may be following;
- Green progress bars above each division indicate the proportion of matches which have been completed in that division.
If you have joined the League you MUST make every effort to play all your Season 2 matches by 25th June. Failure to do so is detrimental to your opponents and penalties will be applied at the discretion of the TDs. If you have been unable to arrange a match you should contact the TDs not less than two weeks before the end of the season. See the League Rules.
If you are a UKBGF member but you have not yet joined the League you can sign up for season 3, July – September 2021, and for the 2022 knockout, here. The deadline for signing up to season 3 of the League is 25th June 2021.
If you register for these events but you do not receive introductory emails from firstname.lastname@example.org please first check your spam and junk folders and add this email address to your safe senders list. Please also remember that when you log in to enter a match result on the results site, your username is your email address (not your ukbgf.com member profile username), but your password is your ukbgf.com member profile password. This can be reset here if you have forgotten it.
UKBGF Code of Conduct
A new UKBGF Code of Conduct has been published to set and maintain a standard for acceptable behaviour for all players, whether playing online or live. The Code can be found here [PDF] and on the Resources page of the website under section 3. Rules and Conduct.
Links to other UKBGF pages
Backgammon is one of the world’s truly great board games. Versions of the game have been played for about 5,000 years – a testament to its enduring fascination. Hundreds of people play live games regularly in the UK and thousands play regularly online.
If you are new to backgammon you can learn how to play by downloading and reading Chris Bray’s ‘Introduction to Backgammon’ which is one of the Newcomer’s Guides on our Resources page. If you are familiar with the game, but are hesitant about visiting a club or entering a tournament, other guides in this section might also be helpful, such as A Beginner’s Introduction to Tournaments and Tournament Etiquette for the Uninitiated. The Resources page also has a link to the current version of the UKBGF Tournament Rules, as well as other useful links.
There are many live tournaments throughout the year which you can enter, either weekly or monthly, at the growing number of backgammon clubs throughout the UK. Most of these clubs submit results to the UKBGF ratings system, enabling you to keep track of your progress in relation to the 1700+ other players in the live national ratings. As you progress you may also want to enter some of the larger annual tournaments, both in the UK and abroad.
The UKBGF oversees the annual UK Open and the UK Clubs Championship and also coordinates the UKBGF Tour, comprising about a dozen tournaments around the UK. All of these can be found on our UK Backgammon Calendar. Some include both ‘Masters’ and ‘Intermediate’ flights, and some also have separate competitions for beginners and inexperienced or ‘social’ players. Live streaming of matches from UK tournaments is becoming more common, and these can be followed on the UKBGF twitchtv channel. To see the UKBGF archive of match recordings from previous tournaments visit the UKBGF YouTube channel. A selection of photos from these and other tournaments can be found in the UKBGF Flickr account.
Backgammon is a friendly and social game. If you are new to the scene you will find a very warm welcome at any UK club night or tournament. You don’t have to be one of the 500+ UKBGF members to play in a UKBGF-affiliated club, but please consider joining to support our efforts to publicise and grow the game.
Click here for details of UKBGF membership benefits, fees and how to join. Please note that UKBGF membership is completely free for all full time students of any age and for all players under the age of 21.