Below you can find the self-nominations for all candidates listed alphabetically by surname. Read more about the election process and the election results on the blog. Voting took place in December 2014.
Individual votes are not public and will never be made public; however the election arbiter (Julian Fetterlein) has access to voter submissions for verification purposes.
Former British Open Champion
Home location: Watford, Herts WD18
Email via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?I would like to give something back to the game that has given me so much (pleasure, friends, memories) over the years.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?Fortunately my job as a schoolteacher has many weeks of the year when I have “downtime”. I can see no problems in meeting the demands that the UKBGF will have on my time.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?I am interested in following the example of chess:
- A proper ratings system;
- Tournaments categorised according to strength with clock preference being the standard;
- Blitz tournaments (speedgammon);
- A UK championship that varies location every year;
- Events incorporating PR performance to try and ascertain who is the best UK player;
- A magazine that contains proper analysis from experts as well as a “make your move” section for everyone.
- Why should people vote for you?I am honest, fair, unassuming and (I think) generally well liked. I am also a good listener which is important because the UKBGF needs to hear what the people want. I have experience (20+ years) of tournaments home and abroad and I know how to organise events, being the master in charge of chess and backgammon at my school. I will be able to get “new blood” into the game as well as cater for the top echelon of players.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.There are many UK players of this wonderful game and in many cases they “swim in their own little pools” I see players at the Scope tournament at the RAC once a year but never anywhere else, or I think back to former “Gammonitis players” that seem to only abide in big money chouettes.The number of players in Dicky Biddle’s London Players League is continually growing. I would love all these players and many more to be in the UKBGF, to feel encouraged to attend tournaments where they are confident they will meet players of similar backgrounds and abilities all under one roof, with a tournament format that satisfies all.
Member of the Interim UKBGF Board
Home location: Ealing, London W13
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?In June 2013 I was one of the original group of backgammon players and organisers who decided to collaborate, initially to organise the UK Open, and then to form the UK Backgammon Federation. The UKBGF, together with the ukbgf.com website, was launched in October 2013 and I have been closely involved with both from the start. I am keen to continue my involvement and to help steer and grow the UKBGF during the next phase of its development.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?I am no longer in full time employment. During the last year I have spent time on UKBGF and/or UK Open matters every day; often for several hours a day in the weeks preceding the UK Open. If elected, I will endeavour to spend as much time on UKBGF matters as required to fulfil my remit.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?There are many things which the UKBGF needs to do: the following list is by no means complete.
The new board must decide on a membership structure and fees, and invite players to join the Federation. Without subscription revenue it will be very difficult for the UKBGF to survive, let alone develop any of its plans. Of course prospective members also need to have confidence in the Federation and feel that their money is being used wisely for the good of the game.
The main aim of the UKBGF must be to grow the game. Thus we must attract and cater for new players as well as representing the established backgammon community. We need to encourage and support the formation of new backgammon clubs to provide these new players somewhere local to play and meet other players. We must help new and improving players to learn without exploiting them. We should assist schools and universities with setting up backgammon clubs to encourage a younger generation of players. We must utilise every opportunity to publicise our game in the media.
The UK Open should be an annual event and should continue to cater for all abilities. Sponsorship money is important for the success of the Open and we should seek another agreement with Grosvenor Casinos, or an alternative partner.
We need to organise other tournaments besides the flagship UK Open, or incorporate existing tournaments into an annual UKBGF tour.
A suitable ranking system needs to be implemented as soon as possible.
We must not ignore online play – for one thing this provides a source of live players.
We also need to look outwards and co-operate with overseas backgammon bodies. This we are already beginning to do.
- Why should people vote for you?
I would simply ask players to judge my efforts on behalf of the UKBGF over the last 18 months. Some points to consider:
- I and other members of the interim UKBGF Board planned and successfully staged the 2014 UK Open which attracted over 140 players encompassing a range of abilities from Beginner upwards.
- I negotiated sponsorship deals with both Grosvenor Casinos and Geoffrey Parker Games Ltd. These agreements provided added prize money for the UK Open, qualifier entry fees, a contribution towards UKBGF costs and several high quality boards as added prizes, including two boards for winners in the Beginners division.
- I agreed with Grosvenor the series of eight qualifying tournaments at their clubs round the country from January of this year. These qualifiers had an aggregate attendance of 292 players, and culminated in the UK Open in September 2014.
- Fortunately my son is an online marketing and SEO professional who designed and maintains the UKBGF website for us, while I have been responsible for website content. I believe the website is a huge asset which has much scope for further development.
- I have been responsible for UKBGF finances. Without any membership fees thus far, but by careful control of costs and with the help of sponsorship and tournament registration fees, we currently have a small operating surplus. This is after accounting for all costs including those incurred developing the website and staging the UK Open.
- I have a good working relationship with Darren Woodcock. As well as being a backgammon player, Darren is an event planner who has been acting for the UKBGF enabling us to obtain advantageous agreements with, for example, the Ricoh Arena (venue for the 2014 UK Open) and the DeVere Hotel at the Ricoh. If elected I will continue to work with Darren for the benefit of the UKBGF.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.I have been a serious backgammon player for 39 years. I retired from full-time employment in 2006, and since then I have become more involved with organising, teaching and writing about backgammon as well as playing. I have been Chair of the organising committee for the Scope Annual Charity Backgammon and Bridge Tournament for the last five years. Both the attendance at this event, and funds raised for Scope, have increased substantially during this period. With others, including Darren Woodcock (UKBGF Event Planner), I founded a new club, ‘Backgammon in Ealing’, just over two years ago. We are affiliated to Backgammon in London and we have welcomed many new, and returning, players to our club.
Respected Intermediate player
Home location: Coventry
Email via: email@example.com
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?Backgammon a game that has brought me so many highs and a few lows.
Such a fascinating game probably one of the few where a beginner can beat a champion with the help of those ever present dice gods.
It means different things to all of us.
To me it is one of my life’s great passions, has allowed me to meet so many different people and brought numerous friendships and allowed me to travel to many countries.
You just rock up pay your money and you’re in.
I think I could bring an intermediate players view of what we want from the game.
I’m outgoing and friendly and feel my assets lie on the promotion side of the UKBGF.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?I am willing to give as much time as is required to fulfil my commitment to the board. I am well placed to travel to meet as and when is necessary.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?My plans include a repeat of the very successful UKBGF Open, promotion of the game, to establish the UKBGF as a lasting entity, to encourage new players to the game.
- Why should people vote for you?I hope people vote for me to give me a chance to show how committed I am and to provide a balance.
Player and Tournament Director for 33 years
Home Location: St Neots, Cambs PE19
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?First and foremost, for the benefit of a game which has alternately enthralled and infuriated me for most of my life! My dream is that backgammon can enjoy the same profile as chess and more recently poker – that wherever you are and whatever level you play at you can find an enjoyable game on a regular basis; that backgammon is recognised as a test of mental skill and talent at the game is acknowledged and nurtured; that we have a body dedicated first and foremost to the game itself and its promotion among all ages and locations, not just another tournament circuit for the elite. UKBGF can fill that role and I’d like to be part of making it happen.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?Obviously I have to fit around the day job, but having been a successful local councillor and trustee of a number of charities I’m well used to spending evenings, holidays and weekends at meetings, at the computer writing documents, travelling out to events, and effectively being on call 24/7 – and if elected then I’ll spend as much time as it takes to make UKBGF successful. However, if UKBGF is both going to be a success and stick to its democratic ideals then it needs to draw on a lot of people’s abilities, and not just have a Board which takes on every task itself – so being a good communicator and networker is as important as committing time.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?UKBGF needs to be more than just its tournaments. We need to be a body which represents and looks after the interests of players at all levels and both online and face-to-face. We need to promote events for beginners, intermediate levels and juniors to get more people playing and having fun without big upfront costs. We need to train up the next generation of tournament directors and promote good practice in events. We need to support local clubs, help people set them up particularly in areas that are under-represented now, network between them and provide practical assistance – for example expert advice to venues who are unsure of gambling law, or providing an experienced volunteer TD for a new event. We need to engage the media and have a continuous presence; possibly taking on board people in the public eye who enjoy playing. That’s a lot more than a two-year project but we can at least start!
- Why should people vote for you?I believe I’d be an asset for the Board. I have experience organising events in general, and directing tournaments in Reading and Cambridge; I have a track record of getting committees to get things done – not by taking over but by keeping everyone enthused and focused on the greater good. I’m committed to being professional at all times and acting on behalf of all players irrespective of who they are. But most of all I’m committed to seeing the game grow and flourish regardless of my own position.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.The experience of the UK Open proved to me that there’s a big appetite out there for face to face play. We also have the internet as a way for people to explore the game, and organisations such as BIBA and Mind Sports Olympiad. I believe there’s room for everyone provided the UKBGF’s desire to be a genuine federation and aim to grow the game remains true.
Member of the Interim UKBGF Board
Home Location: Golders Green, London, NW11
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?I feel that over the last fifteen years or so that I have been playing backgammon, I have learned a great deal not just about the pure game itself but about my fellow enthusiasts as well. I would hope that I have made a great many friends within our game and believe that I now have a better understanding of what sort of progress in its organisation in the UK we would all like. I strongly believe that I can continue to increase my understanding and help put such progress into effect.
Having already served on the interim UKBGF board for the last year and a half, some progress has been made, but there is still a great deal left to be done and to which I believe I have a lot to contribute.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?It is a given that I am prepared to devote a significant amount of time to the UKBGF. Over the last eighteen months I spent a great deal of time drafting the new Rules, developing and cultivating international relations and providing general legal input particularly relating to the drafting and reviewing of all written materials.
However, to my mind the important issue with regard to the spending of time is not how much time is spent but how such time is spent in terms of the quality of its usage. My idea is that all board members should use their time wisely and play to their individual strengths for the greater benefit of the UKBGF.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?As well as generally responding to member’s needs and suggestions, there are four specific areas that I would like to develop further:
Rules – the Rules have come along very well. We continue to receive excellent feedback from all over the world thanks to the comments section on the UKBGF website. I believe that one or two more sets of further amendments (version changes) will give us a product which can be used not only throughout the UK but also rolled out across the globe. During the course of drafting the earlier versions of the Rules it has become apparent that there is a great appetite globally for a common coherent set of rules in the English language and the UKBGF has been asked if it would advise other federations on rules issues. Accordingly, it is entirely possible that the UKBGF could attain even greater global prominence if its Rules are adopted globally.
General international relations – having travelled fairly extensively to participate in international events I have made a lot of good friends and learned a great deal about other federations and continue to learn. There is a lot of good work that has already been undertaken by other federations and which the UKBGF can benefit from. Having already held meetings with board members from other federations, I feel this sort of collaborative effort should be continued for the benefit of UK backgammon. Areas where we can learn from include membership and fee structures, general ratings systems, youth involvement and development of commercial sponsorship and partnership opportunities.
UKBGF Constitution – the drafting of a complete constitution for the UKBGF may be deemed a burdensome administrative task but really is a vital one for the fledgling organisation. A great deal of planning and input would be required from the board members and this would be a living document much like the Rules, but I would be happy to oversee this function. I believe that my legal background makes me ideally suited to this task.
Commercial sponsorship and partnership – I have already made some progress in identifying and pursuing good quality sponsorship and partnership opportunities. I would want to develop these further in order to improve the financial viability of the UKBGF and provide additional value for members.
- Why should people vote for you?I believe that I have a great deal to offer the UKBGF and its members through my general backgammon playing experience as well as through the great contacts I have developed over time throughout the world.
I am a barrister by profession working in the financial services sector and believe that this provides me with additional general expertise and certain qualities which I would be happy to contribute to the UKBGF for the advancement of backgammon in the UK.
I am used to working in a collaborative manner and believe that this is the most efficient way for the UKBGF board to work in order to maximise its potential.
If you vote for me you will get a very motivated, driven person who is highly personable, interested in hearing what you want from backgammon in the UK and who will try his best to achieve it.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.Although I am now London based, I was brought up in the Midlands (Leicestershire) and still have close ties there. I have also made a lot of good backgammon friends across the UK and understand that although there are a lot of players in the capital, there are more outside it. Therefore backgammon isn’t just about London and it must be recognised that the UKBGF and the events it holds have to cater for the general development and promotion of backgammon across the UK.
I also very much believe that backgammon in the UK isn’t just about catering for the bigger money players but about ensuring that every gathering or event has something for everyone. It is only by doing this that the youth, the complete beginner and the intermediate player can be encouraged to join in, get more involved and over time progress to the seasoned expert level. Clearly we should ensure that we have entry fee levels which allow as wide a participation as reasonably possible. Having discussed the way some other federations are trying to bring backgammon to schools and universities, I am of the firm opinion that the UKBGF should explore this aspect further.
Backgammon Quiz “Master”
Home Location: Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF? For me, this is the easiest question to answer. I believe that the formation of the UKBGF is the best thing to happen in the interests of British backgammon for years. It is essential that the momentum created by the current UKBGF board is maintained for the benefit of all players. Backgammon has given me a great deal of pleasure over the years and I would now like the opportunity to be able to give something back and to be part of what, I hope will be a new era of backgammon in the UK.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next 2 years? A very difficult question to answer because at this point the ‘job descriptions’ have not been formalised. What I can say, is that being self-employed, I do have a degree of flexibility over the hours that I work and will put in as much time and effort as required to make this work.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next 2 years? I would like to see a series of quality tournaments held across the country that will attract players of all abilities from the UK as well as international competitors. They need to appeal equally to the experienced big money players, as well as those relatively new to the game. Well attended, well run tournaments create excitement and keep players coming back for more and this is essential for the UKBGF to prosper and grow.
- Why should people vote for you? As I have previously said, I have had a great deal of enjoyment out of the game for many years and feel it is time to give something back to the game that I love (and hate). The prospect of working with a team of likeminded enthusiasts excites me and I’d like to think that together we can make a real difference to backgammon in this country. I am hardworking, devoted, have enthusiasm in bucketfuls and am determined that this project should be a success for the benefit of all.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant. A little about me. I served 24 years as a soldier in the Royal Artillery and since retiring in 2003, I have been self-employed. Initially as a rally co-driver and team coordinator, I later moved on to working as a fencing contractor and doing general property maintenance. I was initially taught to play backgammon by a fellow soldier and subsequently took part in my first tournament in a rather unusual place; on a 10 day boat trip across the South Atlantic in 1982, en-route to the Falkland Islands. I won the 21pt final at DMP with an essential 6-6 to clear the 4 checkers left on the 6pt! ☺. For many years I played online backgammon, not realising that there was an active ‘live’ scene. A chance match with Neil Young from Bristol led him to invite me to come and play at his club. Since then, I have been well and truly ‘hooked’ to playing live. I play regularly at Bristol Backgammon Club, at tournaments around the UK and abroad when I can.
Organiser of Backgammon in Holland Park
Home Location: Ealing, London W13
Email via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?I am passionate about the game and its development, and I believe that the UK Backgammon Federation is the perfect vehicle to achieve this goal. In particular, I am convinced that we could develop the game to a much larger audience than what we have at the moment. The momentum is clearly positive thanks to several initiatives that have been launched in the last few years, thanks to brilliant individual efforts, such as the creation of the London League, the London Tour, the attempt to set up a national ranking system, etc. We are now reaching a stage where we could build on these efforts to help turn them into truly national features and catch a much larger audience. This requires a concerted effort from a dedicated team, hence the need for the UKBGF Board, and I would love to be part of that team.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?I am self-employed, and should therefore be able to have the flexibility required to dedicate sufficient time to the UKBGF. Given what I know of several other candidates to the Board, I assume that we would function in a sound team spirit, spreading workload among ourselves and assigning tasks efficiently, which will be key in achieving an ambitious development plan.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?
I would primarily aim to help develop the game along two themes that should be key in the development of the game:
- introduce as many new players to the game as possible:
- at the beginner / intermediate level, through dedicated events as well as, ideally, classes run specifically to provide adequate tutoring;
- among women and young players through advertising in universities, creating special prizes for young players and women, etc.
- by developing a truly national base of players to ensure that the development of the game is not limited to London, through assistance to regional tournaments, internet development, etc.
- develop a focused marketing strategy to help access a larger audience by:
- facilitating the development of UKBGF on the internet and in social media – this should be key to catch a truly national audience and develop the appeal and awareness of the game beyond our players base;
- bringing more prize money into UK events through sponsorships and corporate partnerships.
- introduce as many new players to the game as possible:
- Why should people vote for you?I am a true team player, a natural organiser knowledgeable about the game and genuinely eager to develop it. I could also bring my professional experience as a fundraiser, as well as personal connections with internet companies that could be key to help develop UKBGF on the web. Lastly, as a foreigner who has been a UK resident since 1996, I would bring an international angle that could be useful to develop international connections.
Home location: London SW2
Email via: email@example.com
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?My occupation revolves around implementing new technology and processes to drive efficacy and innovation online. I feel these skills could be useful in helping to establish an automated ranking system and creating a portal for tournament results to be submitted online.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?Due to the nature of my aforementioned job, I have to travel a fair amount Monday to Friday. However I would be happy to commit to attending at least one meeting a month, plus any UKBGF tournaments. While I am out of the country I’ll be happy to liaise with anyone from the Federation via email and phone.
As I am not a very accomplished player I am happy to take a back seat in UKBGF functions and help with some of the tournament director duties.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?
- Increase the functionality of the website
- Create pages for each of the different clubs to publish about their event and news
- Provide an automated ranking system that is accessible to view and update online
- Increase the online presence to gain notoriety within the international backgammon community
- Attract more players into the UK Backgammon circuit
- Arrange doubles tournaments where new players are paired with experienced players to introduce more people to the game
- Look at offering more value / entertainment to player like myself whom attend for the social aspect of a tournament (as there is little chance we’ll ever win!)
- Why should people vote for you?Players in most of the backgammon tournaments I have attended seem to be predominantly male. I suspect this will also be reflected in the candidates who have nominated themselves to be in the UKBGF Board. Being a woman in my late 20’s may offer some alternative insights in discussions, prevent the UKBGF becoming an ‘Old Boys Club’ and help to bring some new blood on to the tournament circuit.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.What I lack in backgammon knowledge, I hope I make up for in other talents!
Most improved UK player in recent years
Home location: West Norwood, London SE27
Email via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?My reason for standing for the UKBGF board is that I believe I have a vision and strategy to improve and grow our game of backgammon. For many years there have been different events and ideas, but my aim is to maximise the use of our intelligence to take the game forward. We have a wonderful array of talented, hard working players and organisers in the UK and this is the first time we have taken a major step, in a better direction. To become a representative of these players on the UKBGF board would be an honour, and it is a privilege to be considered. To stand, and have an opportunity to make a difference, for the future of our game is something I feel inspired and motivated to achieve.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?How much time I would devote to the UKBGF, is almost like asking ‘how long is a piece of string’? What I would say is, I will do whatever it takes, in terms of time and effort, to attain improvement and progression for UK backgammon.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?My plans for the UKBGF over the next 2 years are, primarily, to engineer an exciting membership package, a definable ranking system, and to improve the tournament structure over a calendar year.
- Why should people vote for you?You should vote for me, as I have the characteristics and diplomacy to harmonise our game of backgammon. I have previous experience of playing the minority sport of squash, at a professional level. My past knowledge and assertiveness could be utilised for a better approach towards improving UK backgammon. “Backgammon for All” is my natural slogan, and I hope I can be given an opportunity to make our game more exciting, fun, competitive and impulsive. One day, maybe, the UK can emulate the great backgammon-playing nations of Denmark and Japan.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.Early in 2014 I was asked by the interim UKBGF board to act as Captain of the UK team for two online international backgammon tournaments. I selected players for these events on a completely impartial basis, using players’ results and recorded PRs as a guide. I would be happy to continue performing this role.
Organiser of Backgammon in Clapton
Home location: Clapton, London E5
Email via: email@example.com
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?
I want to stand for the board for three main reasons.Firstly, I want to represent the views of grassroots backgammon players at the highest level. I am convinced that backgammon in the UK can only grow by encouraging play at all levels. Much as the Premier League and the Football League sit on top of a massive pyramid of semi-professional and amateur involvement in the game, so we must ensure that standards at the top thrive and improve by increasing numbers at all levels. We should make sure we cater for those who want to play essentially for the love of the game and not necessarily for high stakes. This will in turn lead to higher standards at the top as players learn and improve.
Secondly, I have a developing interest in the organisational side of backgammon having set up and run Backgammon in Clapton for over a year now, running monthly tournaments and feeding results in to the London Backgammon Tour. Having enjoyed running at a local level, it feels like a natural step to take on a role at national level.
Thirdly, having spent a good part of my career in a field which requires a calm and rational approach to problem solving under pressure, I believe I have the skills to help run UK backgammon and help find solutions to all the issues that arise.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?The question pre-supposes that there is a right amount of time that should be given, but my answer is that what is needed will vary enormously according to the demands of the moment. I am no longer in full time employment, and I have much more time than I previously had to devote to backgammon, and consequently have the flexibility to give whatever time is necessary, often at very short notice.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?Over the next two years the main aims of UKBGF should be threefold: to provide a unified organisational structure for all UK backgammon events, including a national rankings and ratings system; to run and support tournaments at national (UK Open) and regional (Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, London, Birmingham, Bristol etc.) level, providing variable entry fees to suit all; to set up, develop and support local backgammon clubs encouraging more players into the game.
- Why should people vote for you?Backgammon players across the UK should vote for me because I have a passionate belief that the UKBGF should be there for the benefit of ALL players, at whatever level and for whatever stake (or none) they wish to play for; because I have 15 years experience of playing the game in tournaments both national and international, local clubs, chouettes, leagues, and at home just for fun; because I have the time and skills to give for the foreseeable future; and because I generally get on well with people whatever their character or background.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.For those of you who don’t know me, a little background information might be useful. I spent 27 years working for the BBC, and became a radio drama sound specialist. I now work freelance in that field and also as a composer, as writing music is something I have always done since childhood. My latest work is an opera which will be performed at the Rye Festival in 2016.
I came to backgammon relatively late, as it was only 15 years ago that my then partner (now wife) Martha introduced me to the game. I am now much more hooked than she is! I have attended almost all the Live In London events, have been a BIBA member since 2001, have played at The Nordic Open in Copenhagen and The Irish Open in Dublin, and as I indicated earlier, have run a monthly backgammon event in my part of London since September 2013.
2014 UK Open Champion
Home location: Camden, London NW1
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?Simply put, I love backgammon. The game has given me so much, and after a string of tournament successes over the board, I feel the time has now come for me to give back to the game. As such, I would be happy volunteering some of my time to creating more and better backgammon events in the UK, promoting the game online and in print, and helping to standardize the rules and principles that govern worldwide backgammon. I’d also be happy to try to use my connections in the media to help bring some more lustre — and hopefully also sponsors and added-prize money — to UK backgammon events.
There is absolutely no reason why the UK should not be on par with the Scandinavian countries or the USA in terms of the quality of its backgammon events and players. In fact, the UK enjoys many advantages when it comes to hosting world class backgammon events: the English language, the favourable geographic position (only a short flight from anywhere on the Continent and one of the nearest European countries to the USA), excellent air and rail links with North-western Europe, a plethora of possible world class venues, and a culture of gambling and gaming. Obviously, UK Backgammon is not going to achieve Danish heights in only a few years, but the establishment of the UKBGF to promote, organize and develop the game is the first step in the right direction. I am looking forward to being a part of these efforts and to serving on the UKBGF’s first elected board. I also think my managerial and media experience could be quite a useful addition to the UKBGF’s toolkit and range of perspectives. For more on my credentials please consult my CV here.
My specific causes that I would like to address within backgammon are hosting events that promote quality, punctuality, fairness, respectability, and charity. The UK backgammon scene already has a great network of local clubs and pub tournaments and doesn’t need any big changes in that field. I am also very proud that a major tournament on the UK scene is a charity tournament. I think the UK Open should offer a charitable side event or jackpot next year and make charity a core pillar of the UKBGF’s principles which we will incorporate into every tournament. I was very honoured by Eric MacAlpine’s efforts on behalf of our injured colleague. I thought this showed the charitable potential and spirit within many backgammon players. I have an idea that we should have a hundred pound entry charity tournament with optional cash side pool. 50% of the money, plus 100% of the sidepool will be returned in prizes to the winner and runner up. And the winner must donate the rest of the 50% of the money to any UK charity of his choice. This would be a tournament that I believe many would be honoured to win.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?I am willing to devote around ten hours a month to backgammon organising and UKBGF committee matters. As a self-employed academic (I own my own consulting company, Libya-Analysis.com, and am a doctoral student at Cambridge University), I have a highly flexible schedule. Moreover, as a man of diverse interests I organize a wine club/society and participate in various professional organisations such as the Society of Libyan Studies and the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies). This means I have both the time and knowhow to be a productive member of the UKBGF’s board. Although I am an American by birth, I have lived in England for the last five years, hold a degree from Oxford and plan to live in London until at least 2017 if not much longer. As such the UKBGF board have determined that I meet the eligibility criteria concerning “living in the UK for the foreseeable future.” I think having an American citizen on the UKBGF’s board would be advantageous as Backgammon is inherently international and UK backgammon wishes to appeal to more than just Brits but to Europeans and Americans who are resident in England as well as those who love to come over for a long weekend to play a backgammon tournament. I believe I understand the concerns of such groups when it comes to finding hotels, getting to tournaments, and deciding which events are worth the trip.
For me, Backgammon is more than a game. It is a community, a way of analysing problems, and a network of trust and connections. Backgammon can only function in this fashion because a few individuals are willing to devote their time to the organization of a range of live events to cater to different people’s wallets, skill levels, schedules, and geography. The game has infinite possible tournament variations and each guise can be appropriate for certain people. For this reason I have branched into the tournament hosting space. Last year, I hosted the Ides of March Cambridge Invitational, a high-stakes, high-skill level, round robin event. For more about this, please consult this document. This year I plan to host the Ides of March Open on Sunday March 15th at the Hippodrome Casino (you can purchase tickets from me at Live in London or by emailing me at Jason@Libya-Analysis.com). This will be a high-stakes round robin of varying match lengths. I will devote my own time and money to hosting the event and will serve as tournament director as well as organizer. I am also interested in seeing more events like the London Open and Live in London which cater to a range of skill levels and pocketbooks. I thought the cubeless round robin beginner event at the 2014 UK Open was excellent. If elected, I will spend a significant portion of my time trying to promote beginner and intermediate events throughout the UK and I have some novel ideas about how to entice UK players to get family members, kids, and spouses to play beginner events.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?In addition to helping organize new events, it is important to keep the ones we have going. I think that the UKBGF must expand upon the success of its first inaugural UK Open and make the event annual. Possibly it should be hosted in a more accessible and more pleasant location than Coventry or the Ricoh Arena, but I think the double elimination format with a range of side events was very successful. I believe the event should be a full three day event so as not to be so rushed. Possibly, the UK Open should feature a tournament of club champions and each local club throughout the UK should conduct a satellite tournament to produce a club champion whose entry fee and hotel they will then sponsor to participate in the UK Open. This model will guarantee that the UK Open is Britain’s top tournament and differentiate it more from the London Open or the British Open each of which cater to different audiences. As the first UK Open Champion, I hope to see the UK Open establish itself as a world class event in a world class venue and become the UK’s premier tournament. It is important to assure that there should not be a competition with BIBA, and as former BIBA British Open Champion, and someone who gets along decently with Michael Crane, I believe the two events can be de-conflicted and various synergies sought. The UKBGF is not trying to replace or outdo BIBA, it is attempting to fulfil an entirely different function.
Over the next two years, the UK Open should establish itself with a consistent format at a fixed time of year — i.e. like the Nordic Open is over always over Easter or NY Metropolitan Open is always the second weekend of January. Possibly it should move around among the UK’s main cities/areas or possibly it should become established in a world class venue (but one outside of London) where, overtime, it could come to rival Las Vegas, Chicago, or Tokyo as premier destinations on the international tournament scene.
Part of fixing a structure for the UK Open will be to standardize and formulate UKBGF rules. These rules will then be used to advocate for the establishment of international BG rules, which the major BG organizations will sign onto and state that any tournament which is to receive their imprimatur should use this rules. As a result of its standardization and mainstream-ization, Poker has become a ‘respectable’ sport. Backgammon can learn a lot from poker on how to appeal to a wide range of people and build an image of glamour combined with fairness and standardization.
- Why should people vote for you?As a former British Open Champion and current UK Open Champ, I have achieved top results in UK backgammon and consider myself a UK — rather than a US — backgammon player. I have barely played in the US over the last four years and have played more than twenty UK tournaments in that time. I understand what is needed to promote quality play at the international standard, to improve attendance and to promote a positive image of Backgammon in the UK and of British Backgammon abroad. On this point, I actively publicize my Backgammon interests and results outside of BG circles. This means in places like academia, Whitehall, or think tank circles, I explain my backgammon hobby. Spreading the word about the value and structure of the game outside of its normal milieu helps get the word out and promote interest in the game.
If elected to the UKBGF board, I will use professional connections to give backgammon a boost and to seek to attract sponsors and media attention to the sport. As stated above, I think it will be advantageous for UK Backgammon to have at least one UK-resident, non-British passport holder on its board. It also would seem to be advantageous to have the first UK Open winner on the board of the UKBGF as it would establish the precedent that winners (as well as top players) should give back to the backgammon community via organizing and tournament directing. This is a principle which is not widespread internationally as very few of the world’s top players or winners of the big national tournaments are involved with organizing at all, Steen Grønbeck and Mochy being the most notable exceptions.
Furthermore, I believe my novel ideas relating to hosting charity jackpots at all UKBGF events, promoting intermediate and beginners, attracting sponsors, standardizing Backgammon’s rules, and fixing the format and scheduling for the UK Open will all promote higher attendance and more enjoyment of backgammon for its players. Lastly, as a small business owner and an academic I have the flexible schedule that will allow me to devote the necessary time to helping the UKBGF grow its base and succeed in promoting the game. My writing, publicity, and social media skills as well as experience sitting on organisation boards and committees could prove useful in the UKBGF context.
- Any other comments that you feel relevantThere is more to backgammon than tournaments: I am also interested in the scientific and the psychological side of the game and as such have written a series of backgammon articles for GammonVillage and the USBGF’s magazine, Prime Time Backgammon. (You can read some of them by going to this link. I will continue to write about backgammon and such backgammon journalism can be away to attract UK and non-UK players to our events. Chris Bray’s columns have reached many people and interested them in backgammon, I think that is not impossible to arrange coverage of backgammon events or backgammon personalities in major magazines and newspapers.
I also have a series of ideas for improvements to the Monte Carlo World Championship of Backgammon. I outlined these in my article for Prime Time Magazine in the September edition and you can read that here. I think it is important for the UKBGF to team up with its sister organizations the DBgF and the USBGF to lobby for certain changes in the organisation in Monte Carlo while also offering Patti and Steen help in the implementing of these improvements. International backgammon is only as respectable or as legitimate as our community’s flagship tournament, therefore I believe that the World Championships are the only non-UK tournament that the UKBGF should take an active role in trying to improve.
I believe that the issue of punctuality and fairness which is quite poorly understood on the Continent seems to be grasped quite well in England. I was honoured to see that tournament directors at the London Open and the UK Open this year started their rounds roughly on-time and enforced penalty points for late players. I believe UK backgammon can lead the way by honouring and enforcing the rules of gentlemanly play. I believe even social (i.e. low stakes play) should be gentlemanly play. I believe a movement towards mandatory clock play (even if not at fast speeds, I prefer 15 second delays) is a first step towards standardization and fairness on a global level.
Lastly, I think it is relevant to note that a big potential pool of players at UK backgammon events are Americans from the East Coast, especially New York, Boston, and Washington DC. If elected I will seek to establish links between UK Backgammon and the major East Coast Backgammon clubs and get advertisements for our tournaments in their magazines and in their clubs so that we can boost attendance by intimately connecting the UKBGF with efforts and events that are happening elsewhere.
Tournament Director and Player
Home Location: Epsom, Surrey KT18
Email via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?The UKBGF has the potential to do great things for backgammon in the UK. However, these formative years are critical. I want to be in a position to ensure that the UKBGF is built on solid foundations so that it can grow and develop into the premier backgammon organisation in the country.
From a strong base, we can work together to make our community bigger and better, and the UKBGF can support this game we love and all of its players.
The UKBGF must cater for all backgammon players whether novice or experienced, serious or social. I believe I have a good understanding of the differing needs of those in our community and will make sure that the UKBGF looks after everyone.
The UKBGF has the potential to do great things for backgammon in the UK. I am standing for election because I can help the UKBGF achieve this potential.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?The amount of time I devote to the UKBGF will depend on what projects the board decides to undertake. I intend to see that anything the board embarks upon is done as thoroughly and to as high a standard as possible.
You can be assured that if elected I will give as much time as I can in order that the UKBGF succeeds in whatever it sets out to do.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?The UK Open 2014 was a great success. I would like the UKBGF to hold another UK Open in 2015, and to make this tournament an annual fixture on the backgammon calendar.
I envisage that the UKBGF will start issuing memberships in 2015. It is important that the benefits, membership criteria and joining fees are set appropriately. I also plan to see that the organisation has a robust written constitution.
The current board, in particular Raj Jansari, has produced an excellent first set of tournament rules, which were implemented at the UK Open 2014 and are currently used by several other backgammon organisers. I intend to refine and improve these rules to encourage more tournament directors to adopt them for their events.
I want to see more people playing live backgammon. I think we all do. As well as running the UK Open and perhaps other tournaments, the UKBGF should aim to guide home players to their local backgammon club. It can do this not only by providing information about clubs on its website, but also by raising awareness of the game among the general public and encouraging home and internet players to try out a live tournament.
I want to make the UKBGF website the go-to site for information about backgammon in the UK. As well as improving the current content, I plan to add articles and resources to help people learn the game and to join us in playing backgammon live.
This is just what I would like the UKBGF to do. More important is what you want your federation to do. If elected, I will survey members so that the board really knows what you want and can then aim to provide it.
- Why should people vote for you?I am an experienced player, but I can remember when I was new to live backgammon. As a result I have a good understanding of what different players want and will make sure that the UKBGF represents everyone.
I am an experienced tournament director and have written sets of backgammon rules previously.
I am committed to keeping live backgammon as accessible as possible for everyone. This doesn’t just mean keeping tournaments affordable, but also making it easier for people to find a live backgammon event to suit them.
I intend to see that anything the UKBGF embarks upon is done as thoroughly and to as high a standard as possible.
The UKBGF has the potential to do great things for backgammon in the UK. Please vote for me to help it fulfil this potential.
2014 UK Open Semi-Finalist
Home Location: Long Ditton, Surrey, KT6
Email via: email@example.com
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?
- Why should people vote for you?
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.
I would like to put myself forward for consideration to join the committee of the UKBGF because I believe I can bring a lot to the table. I feel the current team does not have the diversity reachout to all spheres of the UK and tends to stick to its own tight clique. I have a wide range of friends from lots of different social aspects. In the past I have;
- Managed pop groups/musicians Julian Lennon being the most significant one.
- Staged Placido Domingo and the Gypsy Kings at the Guards Polo Club
- Had my own magazine that controlled the fashion industry
- Limousine company that serviced all the London Hotels and had clients such as Boris Yeltsin, Saudi Royal Family the Getty family …the list goes on and on
- Hope to have my own polo team playing out of Ham Polo Club 2015
- Last year I Introduced the Amy Winehouse Foundation to Square Peg Media their current event organiser who introduce Google, IBM, Barclays as headline sponsors.As a result of which the Foundation won Diversity Charity of the year award.
- As a result of the London Backgammon Tour I have played virtually every serious backgammon player in London at some point or another and as a result of which have become firm friends with many of them. As Richard Biddle recently commented ‘I know the back routes/rat runs to every Backgammon Social club in London. God knows how many miles I will travel to get just five points. As a result of which have won a tournament at almost all of them.
- I have played backgammon in all the major clubs such as 5 Hertford Street and been invited by Ben Goldsmith to play at Brooks club later this month
- I have had first hand experience in running my own tournament at the Groucho Club
- I have been asked by The Cafe Royal Club ( of which I am a member) to host regular Backgammon evenings
- For a number of years I was on the Scope Committee at the RAC
- I would like London to take over as the World Centre of Backgammon as it is pivotal for all international players to come to.
- As I am self employed business man therefore I can make time to be actively involved in hosting and attending committee meetings
Reason for Wanting to Join the Committee
The main reason for joining the committee is because I was very upset that I did not get a trophy for getting to the Semi Finals of the current UK finals despite offering to pay for the semi final trophies myself. I felt this was very demoralising and someone needs to correct this kind of attitude.My children would have loved for me to get a trophy as most contestants did at the current London Open. Something must be done about this shortsightedness.
I still do not know what the prize is for leading the London Backgammon Tour as no one seems to know. If we are going to make Backgammon more attractive we need to make the goals clearer and attractive.
Member of the Interim UKBGF Board
Home location: Bristol
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?I believe that the UKBGF gives backgammon in the UK its best chance to develop and grow as never before. Until now many individuals have been doing a sterling job, carrying the flag by organising great events and running local groups, although more often than not without any thought to the bigger picture.
Our counterparts in such nations as, for example, Denmark, Japan and the USA have shown how things can be taken to a higher, more professional, organisational level. We now have the chance to emulate – and hopefully even improve on –what they have done, and I would very much like to be a part of this.
- How much time will you devote to the UKBGF over the next year?As a retired person with a variety of interests, I am able to devote as much time as any part time employee to whatever needs to be done.
As a part of the founding team, I have already spent a good deal of my time, participating in discussions and decision making on a variety of topics, but principally on the project to establish a meaningful UK rankings list, liaising with club organisers throughout the country to harvest their results, which I have been doing consistently from January 1st, 2014. While I have not yet succeeded in implementing a system for publication on the website, work is ongoing and contact has been made with operators of similar systems. I am committed to seeing this project through, whether or not I succeed in gaining election to the new UKBGF Board.
I also have a strong interest in the development of grass roots backgammon everywhere in the country.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next year?I envisage several things happening as the UKBGF becomes fully established:
(a) The UK Open, so successfully held for the first time in Coventry in September, will continue as the federation’s flagship tournament, and we should also be looking at establishing a programme of new and existing annual events to form a credible UK Tour.
(b) A constitution to safeguard the governance of the federation needs to be set in place.
(c) Membership criteria need to be established and implemented. Players will not, on the whole, feel compelled to become members through mere altruism. Different levels of membership, where value for money is tangible, will be necessary to attract members.
(d) I need to finish setting up the UK rankings list!
(e) Major consideration needs to be given to how we can grow the game in the UK. In the past, some have felt that large, glitzy, events are the way to grow the game. While we very much need these events, I strongly believe that a “grass roots upwards” approach is the only truly sustainable way to get more people playing live backgammon, and we should strive to give help and advice to anyone who wants to start up a new group or grow an existing group anywhere in the UK.
(f) We should develop more links with the online playing community, as there is a great deal of potential for more crossover activity.
(g) We should consider establishing a commercial “arm”, aimed at striking “bulk” deals with suppliers of equipment, travel, accommodation, etc., to benefit both members and the federation itself.
Digressing slightly into the medium to longer term:
(h) We need to do all we can to establish a network of fully competent Tournament Directors, to the extent that we are able to ensure that large events are always adequately staffed.
(i) I would like to see us set up a series of educational modules, which could be delivered to new and developing players around the nation. A culture of sharing knowledge should be the norm everywhere, to ensure that playing standards keep rising.
- Why should people vote for you?I have a wealth of experience in running live backgammon events (and the longest running leagues in the country) – mostly in my home city of Bristol – for more than three decades, and believe I have a pretty comprehensive grasp of the requirements.
This has been a passion for me, and I see no sign of this subsiding.
I also have a concern that the UK Federation should not be too London-centric. While the capital and its surrounding areas undeniably host the largest playing population, it also needs to be recognised that good things happen in a number of other locations, and we need to do more to try and encourage the game to develop in as many new centres elsewhere as we possibly can.
For this reason I believe it to be of paramount importance that the new Board should be as representative of the whole nation as possible.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.I would also express the hope that many candidates will have put themselves forward to stand in this election, as the more fresh ideas that are forthcoming the better it will be.
This federation has the potential to be the best thing ever to happen to UK backgammon, and the more active people we have on board, either as Board members or as volunteers, the stronger we will be, and the brighter our future will be.
Member of the interim UKBGF Board
Home Location: Russell Square, London, WC1H
- Why do you want to stand for the board of the UKBGF?I am passionate about promoting backgammon to a wider audience. Backgammon is a fantastic game but it is nowhere near as organised and coordinated as it needs to be to reach the same sort of audience as poker or chess. I believe that the formation of the UKBGF creates a huge opportunity to bring all of UK backgammon together under a single federation. That single organisation should spend its time promoting the game to new players and coordinating the many excellent tournament organisers across the country.
- How much time are you prepared to devote to the UKBGF over the next two years?I can dedicate ½ day a week to the UKBGF over the next two years.
- What are your plans for the UKBGF over the next two years?If elected to the Board my priorities would be: 1) To get more people playing backgammon 2) Link all of the disparate backgammon tournaments in the UK under a single ratings and points system 3) Launch a major promotional and marketing campaign aimed at bringing more players into the game 4) Ensure that the game grows in all parts of the UK not just London 5) Set up an online UKBGF playing site that would be a place for UK players to play and would also generate revenue
- Why should people vote for you?I bring a broad range of experience to the Board. I have set-up and run a successful £80 million turnover business employing 800 staff. I understand marketing, promotion, budgeting, organisation, management, planning and target-setting.
There are lots of good ideas in the backgammon world. There are very few people who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and actually get on and do it. I have a demonstrated track record of getting things done. In two years I took the London Open from being a small regional tournament to being the largest tournament in the UK and one of the largest tournaments in the world.
- Any other comments that you feel relevant.To achieve a big vision will require significant investment. That will mean membership fees that reflect the scale of what needs to be done. A vote for me is a vote for a well-resourced organisation that is ambitious in its plans to significantly increase the number of people playing live backgammon in the UK in the next two years.