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Tue, Feb 21


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2023 Backgammon Expertise Learning Series - February

The 2023 Backgammon Expertise Learning Series will feature matches of outstanding women who compete in women’s events around the world, along with expert commentary. On Tuesday, February 21 at 1 PM EST we will feature a doubles match between the U.K. and U.S. with commentary from Chris Bray.

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2023 Backgammon Expertise Learning Series - February
2023 Backgammon Expertise Learning Series - February

Time & Location

Feb 21, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Receive link upon registration.


About the Event

Women in Backgammon is pleased to announce the 2023 Backgammon Expertise Learning Series. It will feature matches of outstanding women who compete in women’s events around the world, with expert commentary from grandmasters and leading teachers. Everyone is welcome to watch the series. Register on the website to receive notices.

Coming up is a special treat on Tuesday, February 21 at 1 pm Eastern US time. It features a doubles match including captains of the U.K. and U.S. teams and most valuable players in the 2022 Genud Cup – a team competition won by Team USA 150-106 against the U.K. women’s team. Julia Hayward, captain of the UK women’s team, and Cecilia Sparke Rogers, most valuable player for the UK team face off against Karen Davis, captain of the US women’s team and most valuable player for the US along with most valuable player for the US Irina Litzenberger. Chris Bray, a superb teacher, will provide commentary. You won’t want to miss this event!

Cecilia Sparke Rogers (U.K.)

Cecilia Rogers learned to play backgammon as a child with her dad. In her early 30s she joined the Bristol Backgammon Club and started to take backgammon more seriously. She met and married Chris Rogers, a BMAB master class 1, and started playing regularly in international tournaments and chouettes with fine players which she attributes to improving her game.

Notable achievements:

  • BMAB Master Class 3
  • 2015: Winner of the Bristol Backgammon Premier League.
  • 2016: Winner of the Monte Carlo Ladies World Championship.
  • 2016: Winner of the Ladies tournament in Georgia-
  • 2017: Finalist in the Bristol Open.
  • 2018 - Winner of the Brunel Cup 2018, a Bristol tournament that runs over a year.
  • 2021 – Finalist in London Players Championship

Julia Hayward (U.K.)

Julia started playing around 1978, played during her university years, then took a break to raise three children. She picked up the game again in about 2009 online, and started going back to tournaments soon after as well as directing several. Set up a Cambridge town club and league, now involved with running Mind Sports Olympiad as well as the UK Backgammon Federation.

Best results:

  • Won BMAB December 2018
  • Won Cambridgeshire league six times in eleven seasons
  • Ten medals in Mind Sports Olympiad, including gold in 2015/7 and seven silvers - I'm good at losing finals
  • Undefeated in this year's UK Men vs. Women challenge (when the opposition are Messrs. Cross, Barnes and Bennet, that's something to feel good about!)
  • Won the UKBGF Charity Challenge in 2021, the online Backgammon-Meisterschaft league in two consecutive seasons in 2022, as well as being semi-finalist in the Irish Cup, and a minor trophy arrived in the form of the Wrestlingworth Invitational 2022. My count of MSO medals also went up another two, but not exactly against strong fields!

Irina Litzenberger (U.S.)

Irina was the finalist in the 2022 Online Women’s National Championship. Among her accomplishments are:

  • 2022 - Sunny Florida Championship Consolation winner
  • 2022 Backgammon World Championship Ladies Event, 3rd/4th
  • 2022 Doubles event winner with Roberto Litzenberger, Texas, Michigan, Cherry Blossom, and Ohio.
  • 2021 Battle of Sexes, Las Vegas, winner
  • 2021 Wonder Woman event, California State, winner
  • 2021 Chicago Classic, Old Town Open Jackpot, winner
  • 2022 and 2020, member of the USA Women’s Team winning the Genud Cup against the U.K.

Karen Davis (USA)

Karen is well known both for her expertise over the board and her leadership roles in the U.S. Backgammon Federation and organizing backgammon events. Among her accomplishments are:

  • President and Executive Director, U.S. Backgammon Federation (2017-2020), member Board of Directors (2009-2022) and Chair from 2010-2017; Chairman and President of U.S. Backgammon Foundation
  • Member of the American Backgammon Hall of Fame
  • BMAB Master Class 2
  • 2022 USBGF National Women’s Champion
  • Organizer of the Cherry Blossom and Sunny Florida ABT Backgammon Championships
  • #6 in USBGF Lifetime National Master Points, and #2 in USBGF Lifetime Online Master Points.
  • 2019 – 1st Super Jackpot, NY Metropolitan Open; 1st in BMAB-USA at the Cherry Blossom
  • Member, Team USA in 2020 Magriel Cup, winning 5 of her 7 matches; captain of U.S. Women’s Team 2020-2022 and Most Valuable Player for the U.S. in the Genud Cup 2020 and 2022.

Chris Bray

  • Chris Bray is a renowned columnist and author known for his insightful analysis and cogent explanations. He authors a weekly column, Bray’s Learning Curve, for the U.S. Backgammon Federation, and is the backgammon columnist for The Times of London. For 23 years he was the backgammon correspondent of The Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom
  • He has been playing backgammon for forty years after moving to the game from chess and bridge in the late 1970s, at the time of the last great backgammon boom. The 1970s was a heady time for the backgammon community but while others only tarried a while Chris became fascinated with the game and its history. As well as developing his own game to the point where he can compete with the best players in the world on an equal footing, he began to take an interest in educating others and promoting the game.
  • Chris is the author of multiple backgammon books, including two for beginner and intermediate players: Backgammon to Win and Backgammon for Dummies, Seven of Chris’s books drew on material developed in his columns and articles, the most recent one being Backgammon – The Final Wind, which was published in May 2019.
  • As well as writing Chris also provides backgammon tuition for individuals, groups and corporations and often gives seminars at backgammon tournaments.
  • Chris worked in telecommunications and IT for much of his working life, latterly for IBM. The fact that computer technology has played such a large part in the development of the theory of the game in the last twenty years has meant that Chris was in the right place at the right time to combine his day job with his passion for the game of backgammon. He has worked with the developers of JellyFish, Snowie and Extreme Gammon (XG) – now the leading backgammon software program in the world – to enhance their products and help bring them to market.
  • Chris lives in East Sheen, close to Richmond Park in south-west London, with his wife Gill (also a keen backgammon player). He has one daughter, Kate, who has recently married. He is a member of the Roehampton Club and captains their team in the London Backgammon League. He is a life-long supporter of Manchester United and a keen but very average golfer!
  • For more information about Chris or to purchase one of his books, please visit

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