Tips for playing a live backgammon tournament

We have compiled a list of tips that will be of use to those of you who are new or relatively new to the world of playing backgammon in live tournaments.

Prior to any tournament

  • Be sure to converse with the tournament director ahead of time and find out exactly what division and events that you should be playing in. Usually you will want to play in the lowest division you are eligible for. If you are a pretty decent player be sure NOT to enter the Novice section as this will not be very challenging.
  • Be sure to bring a backgammon board. If you dont have one borrow one. Use quality rounded dice and cups.
  • Learn how to play in both directions on a backgammon board, practice this a lot !
  • Learn the rules of play in order to learn the legal moves, ending a turn, doubling protocol, rules for shaking the dice, etc.
  • In order to play backgammon well you need to be able to calculate the Pip count. See our article The Backgammon Race – Part 1
  • Learn about the basic concepts of match equity and cube strategy. In tournaments, equity plays a critical part. See also our article Backgammon Equity
  • Aquire a copy of the entry form and accompanying tournament information and read it all very carefully. Be on time, know where you have to go to, and check when the breaks are. If there are any interesting backgammon lectures or other events, try to attend or participate in them, it will make for a more rewarding experience.

During the tournament

  • Any question you may have , ask the tournament staff, they are there for that purpose 🙂
  • Check the draw sheet and check how many points each match is played to. This can vary in every round of some tournaments. Do not assume anything !
  • Write down the score everytime and check with your opponent verbally to see if he/she has the same score.
  • Ensure that the result is reported to officials straight after the match.
  • Be sure to have fun, relax and not stress to much about making mistakes, after all we all do ;-). Remember you are there to enjoy yourself, learn about the game and meet like minded people.