With the worst of the pandemic (hopefully) now behind us, life is slowly returning to something approaching ‘normal’….and live backgammon is also returning.
Since last year, the only option for most addicts like me has been online play. This was fine for some, but for many it was a pale shadow of live backgammon, with its social element, which has been sadly almost entirely absent for the last eighteen months. Now the backgammon calendar is once again filling up with live events, and clubs are starting to re-open; some in new venues and some on different days. Sadly some have disappeared, but hopefully new ones will spring up in due course to replace them.
Backgammon in Ealing (BGiE) is one club where there will be many changes. This Sunday, 5th September, we say a fond farewell to The Ealing Bowls Club which has been our home, on and off, since 2012. We are holding a one-day 32-player double elimination tournament which is fully subscribed (but please email me on the off-chance of any late cancellations). UKBGF Chair, and Ealing regular, John McNeill will be our TD, after which all the members of the current BGiE organising committee (Darren Woodcock, John McNeill, Ben Owen and myself) will be standing down.
Out with the old, and in with the new…..as another Ealing regular, Sion Edwards, who has been running weekly online Ealing tournaments on Backgammon Hub for most of the pandemic, will take up the reins for the return of live weekly tournaments in Ealing from Monday 13th September at The Grange pub on Ealing Common. This excellent venue will already be familiar to many players in West London and beyond, because BGiE had been organising monthly events here for several years prior to the pandemic. It was also the go-to venue for many players to arrange their league matches, and there’s no reason why this should not continue.
Soon after backgammon restarts at The Grange, BackgammonLondon, run by Andrew Selby & David Potter, return with their monthly club night on Thursday 23th September from 5pm at the new but well-known location of The Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel (venue for the 2019 London Open).
Additionally, Andrew Selby and David Potter are providing a brand-new live competition exclusive to UKBGF members – The London Masters. This is a 64-player League and Cup event to be played in London from January to June 2022. Sponsored by P-40 and GammonVillage this event will offer 13-point matches to all, as well as prizes and side-pools, and be both UKBGF and World Backgammon Federation rated.
Also within the BackgammonLondon umbrella, the season-ending Players Championship will return over the weekend of December 11-12, this year at The Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel. Sponsored by Golden Gammon this will herald the return of a major weekend tournament to London.
Among the other venues in and around London already offering regular live action are:
Backgammon at Holland Park
Sapphire Backgammon at VQ Euston
St Albans Backgammon (now in Lemsford)
The Tollgate Tournament
Wanstead Backgammon Society
Note that individual clubs or venues may impose differing Covid-19 policies to safeguard players now that most legal restrictions have been lifted. Please refer to our Covid-19 Information Page for general guidance.
Visit the UKBGF Clubs page –> London –> and follow the links on the individual club entries for more information. And if you are a club organiser PLEASE tell us about your plans for weekly, monthly or other live (or online) events. We can only add them to the UKBGF Calendar or Clubs page if we know about them! Just contact any of the UKBGF Board members, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
And as some of us used to say….let the good times roll!