09/19 — I’m reese mack. I travel and play backgammon. Sometimes simultaneously.

I started this blog when I decided to get serious about improving my gameplay. I don’t know why one is linked to the other, really, other than perhaps as an online confessional of my addiction to the pursuit, but there it is.

I promise, I’ll try to make this as boring as possible. For the both of us.

You’re welcome.

The majority of my online play happens on DailyGammon (or at least it does as of this writing), so when I mention a FIBS/ELO rating, it’s my rating, or at least the one you’ll find there. If it’s a rating from somewhere else, like XG, I’ll note it.

If you don’t know what any of that means, you’re in good company with 99.999% of the rest of the world (margin of error, +/- .0009%).

If anything, you should know the FIBS frame of reference, which is to rate a player’s ability on a scale from 0 to 3,000, and while ratings of zero and three thousand are both theoretically possible, most of the action happens somewhere in the range of 1,000 to 2,000, making a rating of 1,500 the median.

My goal is become world-class, eventually go to the World Championship in Monte Carlo, and kick some backgammon ass.

Fortunately, I have a long horizon. We all have to start somewhere.

So why this? Because it’s a cool goal. Or at least I think it is. Once upon a time, I wanted to run with the bulls in Pamplona. That seemed cool, too, and none of my friends had done it (and very few had even considered it), either.

Then I got older and my knees caught up to my age.

So, what I’m saying is, I don’t want to die. At least not at the base-naturalistic whims of an extremely large herbivore.

So, backgammon it is.

My brother, who’s more than a decade older than I am, was a backgammon hustler during his college days. He played for money, drinks, dates— whatever— and he taught me the basics when I was a kid, but I didn’t keep up with the game at all, after.

I woke up one day, decades later, with a fairly large Birthday coming up and a trip to Rome planned to celebrate it, and being one of the oldest games in the world (the Romans played the game though they called it tabula), I thought it would be nice to play a few games in the Eternal City.

For old times’ sake, so to speak.

So I re-learned the game and taught it to my wife (who’ll be known here as “B”), and to my daughter (likewise, as “C”) and away we went.

That was in June of 2019, and it was a blast. So I kept playing.

And playing, and playing, and playing. Until I woke up to the realization that this game— this very, very ancient game that’s been played by millions and millions, for thousands and thousands of years— could become my new thing. My new Pamplona.

And it wouldn’t result in a goring. At least not by a bull.

So here we are.

Me, a board, and a blog. We’ll see where it ends.

Playing B in the Campo de’ Fiori