Backgammon Championships 2015

Backgammon Championships 2015

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Success across the board at the Cedar Manor

The game that’s played at pavement cafes across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs is now played regularly at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel.

The monthly backgammon sessions have become a popular fixture since they were introduced by owner Jonathan Kaye.

They were started following the success of an annual backgammon championship staged at the hotel, part of the British Isles Backgammon Association Backgammon Tour and Grand Prix. This is now organised each spring by Jonathan, a keen player himself.

He would roll the dice during his time living in London, where for 10 years he managed the exclusive Chelsea nightclub, Raffles, frequented by celebrities and royalty.

“It’s a fascinating game, not difficult to learn, and knock-out tournaments like our annual event can be staged in one day,” said Jonathan.

“We have some real enthusiasts now, from experts to absolute beginners, coming each month. It is not difficult to learn. Our nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth picked it up very quickly.”

The winner of this year’s Lake District backgammon champion was Edinburgh-based science researcher Samantha Wilkinson. She took the title this spring after a thrilling final against financier Barry Teece, also from Edinburgh. Last year’s winner Graeme Turner from Newcastle was knocked out in the first round by Grasmere Gingerbread owner Andrew Hunter. Andrew’s 11 year old son Monty, playing in his first big tournament, was defeated by Ambleside chef Robert Shaw.

Jonathan said: “We have some really thrilling games here. It proves that backgammon is growing in popularity. We’d like to see it played in cafes and bars across the Lakes, as happens elsewhere in Europe.”

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and a player wins by removing all of his pieces from the board before his opponent. Excavations have revealed that the game was played around 3,000 BC in Persia (Iran) and it was played in various forms by the ancient Romans, and subsequently throughout Europe. The first world championship was held in Las Vegas in 1967, and later moved to Monte Carlo for many years. The game is also played extensively online.

The next meeting of the monthly club is Tuesday 28th June

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