Corona Virus Update 07.09.20: Face-to-face Ayr U3A Backgammon group meetings remain cancelled until further notice. However we are continuing to run regular Tuesday evening meetings to play Backgammon via online Backgammon websites alongside a Zoom conference session where we enjoy the more social aspects of the game with associated banter and friendly words of encouragement!
If you are new to Ayr U3A or to Backgammon in general and you would like more information either on Backgammon itself, the Ayr U3A Backgammon group or to play online backgammon with us please send me (Jules Smith) a message via the "Click to send a message" link on this page.
Recent or Future Exploits
Throughout the pandemic, members have been playing Backgammon matches in a range of formats.
A team representing Ayrshire Backgammon (and nicknamed The Clayrvoyants) played in the UK Clubs' Championship in August, this time an online event. Sadly we were beaten in the first round, but as with last years' competition which was held at York University, our players did exceptionally well and only lost by the smallest of margins.
Our regular nights often feature matches against each other in what we have dubbed "The Virtual Money Tournament". This runs for a season (approx 8 weeks), and members start off the season with £1000 virtual cash, and play matches worth £10 per point. Though no real money is involved it gives a the matches a certain gravitas rather than just playing for fun and pride. At the end of the season a 'champion' is declared, the virtual cash totals reset and a new season begins.
On a couple of occasions we have been treated to some online teaching/training courtesy of the UK Backgammon Federation (UKBGF) who oversee the game in the UK. A couple of 'Masters' level players have given these educational sessions which have been attended by many of our members in conjunction with members from the Aberdeen Backgammon club.
Andy Shand decided that a knockout cup competition would be another fun challenge for members, so this online competition runs approximately once per month with the trophy being held by the winner until the next winner. The current holder of the trophy, having recently defeated Maureen in the Final, is no less than Andy himself.
Future Events: Though most of us prefer the more social aspect of playing Backgammon face-to-face, online play enables us to play people who otherwise would be geographically too far out of reach. Consequently, Backgammon clubs and players are now playing matches against each other right across the world. Slightly closer to home, we have recently played a match against a Backgammon club from Manchester, and are now looking forward to matches against Liverpool and CityGammon who are one of several London-based clubs.
Members have also been considering whether they wish to play in European-level competitions and even a World-Wide knockout cup competition.
Life under the pandemic has made the world a very different place for virtually everyone. In the world of Backgammon it has opened up a whole range of new opportunities!
More about Backgammon and our group
Backgammon is a fast moving and exciting game normally for 2 people which, contrary to popular belief, is very much a game of skill despite the use of dice to determine how you move your pieces around the board. The game is essentially a race to get all your pieces home and off the board before your opponent but one where tactics and strategy are interwoven into the game along with the unpredictability of the dice. But... are the dice throws predictable? Hmmmm. Maybe you need to come along and find out!
In normal times (ie. when there are no virus-related lockdowns) our meetings are normally held on Tuesdays at 2.30pm at the Tesco Community Room though there will occasionally be changes to this schedule - if you are coming along for the 1st time use the envelope icon to confirm the group is on. Occasionally we may play matches against other Backgammon groups for additional experience and fun.
Our group sessions normally run for between an hour and 90 minutes, and the sessions can take various formats where we play friendly matches against each other, or we engage in our own tournaments. We also spend time looking at backgammon problems and strategic play with recommended ways of dealing with specific moves or situations.
Our facilitator, Jules Smith has been playing backgammon for over 30 years including tournament experience gained mainly in the 1980's, and is keen to get more people to start playing backgammon and taking them on to an intermediate or advanced level.
Please note that this group is as much for complete beginners as more experienced players. If you are interested in joining the group please email Jules (click on the 'Click to send a message!' link above right).
Here's a favourite backgammon quote: "Life, like backgammon, is constant decision-making under uncertainty." (Neil Kazaross)
and another: "Backgammon is about maximising opportunities and minimising the risks". (Mary Connelly)
As things stand, there are no dates for our next face-to-face meeting.
Please note that the Tesco Supermarket Community Room, Ayr is at the very rear of the store on the right hand side.