How does a successful backgammon club get started? It takes enthusiastic backgammon club directors who make everyone feel welcome, a format that is fun and non-intimidating for players at all levels, and a venue that enjoys having backgammon played on its premises. Roger Lourie and Ed Corey have followed that formula to great success in Northwest Connecticut.
Roger, a long-time resident of Sharon, CT, initiated the idea and enlisted the help of the Sharon Historical Society and Museum in publicizing the weekly gathering of backgammon players. He reached out to the owner of the Le Gamin restaurant, who is a backgammon enthusiast. A big banner “Backgammon Here” hangs outside the restaurant visible to the main thoroughfare.
Roger sought help from Ed Corey, a Connecticut resident who is the CEO of GammonGuys, the distributor of beautiful ArtGammon and Crisloid backgammon boards. Ed, the personification of a friendly, out-going backgammon enthusiast, helps newcomers get started by playing consulting doubles with them, making suggestions about how they might improve their play.
The club started in July 2022, and now attracts 10-16 players weekly, starting around 8:30 am on Saturdays and continuing until 2 pm. The Le Gamin restaurant provides free coffee and croissants. The format is just having fun playing each other – no entry fee, no tournaments, no points, no prize money. Skill level ranges from those who have no idea how to play to those who have played it with family and friends since they were children. Top-level players from the New York City area come on occasion and help teach players how to strengthen their game.
Roger and Ed make everyone feel welcome. Families bring their children. Ed gives old pairs of dice and runes (rocks with symbols) as gifts to the children. He brings copies of back issues of the PrimeTime Backgammon magazine to meetings for players.
It’s no surprise that attendance has grown steadily. Roger and Ed have demonstrated how to build a thriving backgammon club in an area that initially had almost no backgammon players.
Reach out to Ed Corey if you're in the area and interested in joining!