DID YOU KNOW?
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in existence, predated only by checkers and senet. It has been played for around 5000 years, as proven by archaeological evidence found in Mesopotamia (modern day Iran). The name “backgammon” literally means “back game.” “Gamen” is the Old English form of “game,” and “back” is in reference to the counters that go back to the bar. Backgammon might have been a later form of the Royal Game of Ur, a board game played in ancient Mesopotamia in 2600 BCE. In modern times, the popularity of backgammon can be partly attributed to Prince Alexis Obolensky, the father of modern backgammon. He founded the World Backgammon Club, the organization that sponsors the annual World Backgammon Championships. Paul Maglier, famously known in the backgammon world as X-22, is the world’s most awarded backgammon player. If Obolensky is the father, Maglier is known as the godfather of backgammon. His background in mathematics has helped him reach high levels of expertise in mind sports, particularly in chess and poker. Thanks to its nature as a game of probability, backgammon has been a source of interest for computer scientists alongside chess. In 1992, Gerald Tesauro developed TD-Gammon, an artificial intelligence that ranked second to the best human backgammon player at the time.