top of page

BWW January Newsletter



 

Friends and fellow backgammon players,

 

As we approach a new year, we both spend considerable time, together and individually, looking back to evaluate what is working well and what needs adjustment or put on the back burner. Always at the forefront is our purpose, and our vision: To promote women's participation, place, and preeminence in competitive backgammon. For Karen, that puts her focus on competition, getting more women to compete and increasing the opportunities for women competitors to hone their skills and gain experience for tournament play. For Christine, it's feeding the funnel of women playing the game, especially in the beginner and intermediate arenas, in club play, online, and with friends and family.

 

Looking back on 2023, we are humbled by the growth of women at the table, and the emergence of strong results by those competing in the top tier of the game. We were also surprised and thrilled at the number of women coming to our events and reaching out who have just started to play, or want to get back to playing, some of whom would like to get their feet wet in competition. The input from all these humans has helped us craft what 2024 will be for our organization, with the hope and appreciation for every single person who comes to our events, and those who provide their expertise and input in making sure the events and sponsorships make sense, and add value to women playing the game.

 

So, here is a look back at the year 2023 (Karen does love those numbers!), with grateful thanks to every single person who has shown up, and our plans for 2024, which as always, await your thoughts and input. Here is to another great year for the growth of women in backgammon.

 

--Karen and Christine, co-founders, Women's World of Backgammon 



2023 IN REVIEW FROM WOMEN'S WORLD OF BACKGAMMON

 

It's exciting to see the work of Women's World of Backgammon (WWB) begin to bear fruit! We were founded in September 2021 to promote women's participation, place, and preeminence in competitive backgammon. After almost 2.5 years, the needle is beginning to move – more women are playing competitive backgammon, more women are competing at the top levels, and more women are winning! We applaud their achievements and give thanks to everyone who has joined us in this effort.

 

While it's hard to link cause and effect, WWB is pleased that the numbers on women's participation in competitive backgammon are moving in the right direction:


  • A growing number of women are competing in American Backgammon Tour (ABT) national tournaments:

247 women competed in ABT events in 2023, up from 186 in 2022.

74 women entered Open/Championship division events, up from 48 in 2022 – more than a 50 percent increase.

173 women entered Advanced/Intermediate division events, up from 138 in 2022 – a 25 percent increase.

  • While competitive backgammon participation is growing in the post-pandemic world for both men and women, women represent a slightly increased share of players:

Women's share of all ABT players increased from 12.2 percent in 2022 to 12.6 percent in 2023.

Women's share of Open/Championship players increased from 6.0 to 6.7 percent between 2022 and 2023.

Women's share of Advanced/Intermediate players increased from 19.2 to 20.7 percent between 2022 and 2023.



Activities and Achievements in 2023

  • WWB provided $30,000 in added money, backgammon board prizes, recording and transcription services, Zoom sessions, and creating YouTube videos to provide recognition to women in the winners' circle at major U.S. and international tournaments and create learning sessions to help players – men and women – improve their game.

  • As you will note from our new name, WWB has an international focus. Partnering with international backgammon organizations, especially the World Backgammon Federation and the World Backgammon Internet Federation, we're thrilled that there are now both live and online World Women's Championships and an online Women’s World Team Championship with a commitment to a live Women’s World Team Championship in 2024. Kara Schultz (USA) won the Online Women’s World Championship, Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria) was second, and Leyla Zaloutskaya (USA) was third. We've provided added money, streaming, marketing, and recognition for winners.

  • Karen Davis (USA) served as co-organizer of the WBIF Women’s World Team Championship with Julia Hayward (UK) and served as captain of Team USA. Sixteen countries fielded 5-women teams. Norway won the event; Team USA had the best average team Performance Rating.

  • This year for the first time the Backgammon World Championship included a live Women's World Championship (upgraded from the previous Ladies Event). It was won by Maggie Diamantidis (USA/Greece).

  • Tiffany Van won the U.S. National Online Women's Championship. WWB provided added money, streaming, marketing, and recognition of winners.

  • WWB has encouraged women to record and transcribe their matches and improve their game by studying their mistakes and identifying areas of weakness.

  • Women are also beginning to enter Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB) qualifying events. These events establish personal benchmarks for improving performance, as well as provide a path to certification at various skill levels. In 2023 Irina Litzenberger (USA) and Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria) were certified at the Master level – bringing to four the number of women worldwide who hold  the Master level certification.

  • Eight American Backgammon Tour Women's Cup events were held in 2023, up from two in 2021. The number of women entering Women's Cup events increased from 36 in 2021 to 94 in 2022 and 127 in 2023. WWB provided added money, backgammon boards, and/or recording/transcription services to five Women's Cup events in 2023.

  • In addition WWB ran a live tournament for women: the Palm Beach Women's Classic won by Lee Genud, backgammon world champion in 1981. Lee was inducted into the American Backgammon Hall of Fame in 2023; Karen Davis presented the award and WWB provided support to Lee's attendance at the American Backgammon Hall of Fame awards dinner honoring her in connection with the New York Metropolitan Open.

  • The WWB Mixed Doubles Online tournament drew 24 teams (18 Championship and 6 Intermediate); it was won by Joe Russell, vice-chair of the World Backgammon Federation and director of the U.S. national women's championship, and Antoinette Williams. Hall of Famers Kent Goulding and Karen Davis won second place in the Championship division; they presented an analysis of their critical cube choices in a WWB Zoom session. WWB provided backgammon boards to Antoinette Williams on the Championship team and Mary Morse and Phyllis Shapiro in the Intermediate division.



YouTube Learning 2023



Our YouTube Channel roars with content to help your game. In the last two years, we have added fifty videos, with more than 136,000 views. This year look for more on this platform. Have an idea for an interview or match we should stream with commentary? Email us and let us know. And, in 2023 we added a stipend of $150 to each commentator.

 

Want to catch up on some highlights?

 

Our most viewed video has 14,000 views and it's the doubles match between Jonah Seewald and Kara Schultz versus Art Benjamin and Daphne Downs. If you haven't watched it, you might want to. Great backgammon. Click here.

 

We have increased our BMAB support this year. Watch Roberto Lizenberger share why it's a must to participate in moving forward. It's you against you. You can challenge yourself to improve your Performance Rating (PR) and gain ground to a better game. Click here.

 

Kara Schultz has dedicated herself to her competitive game over the past year and her results speak for themselves. Christine interviewed her more than a year ago, and she talks about her approach to becoming the best player she can. It will inspire you to set a schedule and approach the game and your learning in a disciplined way. Click here.

 

Starting in 2024, we will be offering sponsorship for our YouTube Channel's events. If you would like to sponsor one of our videos, let us know.

 

Onward 2024 Commitment

 

We will continue to learn as we go, building on what works, while reshaping or discarding anything that isn't instrumental in achieving our mission. We will continue to support international women's tournaments; select American Backgammon Tour Women's Cup events; mount a new initiative supporting the BMAB-USA Player's Cup Circuit; create a Carol Joy Cole Annual Award for leadership in promoting women in backgammon and providing opportunities for them to learn and to compete; hold the Palm Beach Women's Backgammon Open; offer the WWB Online Mixed Doubles tournament; and Zoom sessions twice a month. Specifically:


  • International – added money for the World Backgammon Internet Federation Online Women’s World Championship and streaming the semi-finals and final; support for streaming the final of the live Women’s World Championship; support for a live World Backgammon Federation Women’s World Team Championship.

  • U.S. – support for an online U.S. Women's Championship; and support for four or five American Backgammon Tour WWB Women's Cup events.

  • BMAB-USA – recognition of women with excellent performances in the new BMAB-USA Player's Cup Circuit, including the woman with the most annual points and women with the best record at up to four BMAB events across the nation.

  • Carol Joy Cole award – for the woman who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting women's participation, placing, and preeminence in competitive backgammon.

  • WWB Palm Beach Backgammon Women's Open – this women's tournament will bring women players in South Florida along with some of the nation's leading players to a competitive tournament.

  • WWB Online Mixed Doubles – this women’s online tournament will bring women and men playing together in partnership with expert commentary of select sessions including the semi-finals and final.

  • WWB Zoom events – twice monthly sessions showcasing women players with expert commentary and learning sessions that provide techniques and insight into improving your game including sessions on leading books; peer coaching; how to handle difficult decisions; highlights of matches of women players in Women’s Cup and BMAB events; and interviews with women who have become BMAB masters and achieved excellence.



Winning Women Around the World

 

Women are increasingly placing in American Backgammon Tour and international events. Results are from the Chicagopoint.com. In December and January they include:

 

New York Metropolitan Open – January 2024

ABT Intermediate, Melanie Hughes, 3rd/4th;

Advanced Beginners, Maria Schultz, 1st; Lucy Marinkovich, 2nd Consolation; Jamie Rosen, 3rd/4th Consolation; Chris Coppa, 3rd/4th Consolation; Kathy licursi, 2nd Last Chance;

Beginners, Olivia Upton 2nd; 1st Last Chance, Joyce Goldstein;

Lady Liberty Cup I, Alexandra Kupfer (Switzerland), 1st; Irina Litzenberger (VA), 2nd; Martha Ghio (NY), 3rd/4th; Ann Maher (UK), 3rd/4th; Lady Liberty Cup II, Tyler Glenn 1st; Chris Coppa 2nd.

Seniors, Carol Joy Cole, 3rd/4th; Antoinette-Marie Williams 3rd/4th

 

WBIF Women's Championship – December 2023

1- Kara Schultz (USA); 2- Maya Peycheva (Bulgaria) 2nd; Leyla Zaloutskaya (USA) 3rd. Top PR went to Eva Zizkova (Czechia) at 4.28.

 

WBIF Women's World Team Championship – Final Results

Out of 16 countries entering teams in the WBIF Women's World Team Championship,  Norway finished in first place followed by Sweden and France. Top individual on the basis of her 9-0 Win-Loss record was Hanna Thorsen (Denmark). Top individuals on the basis of PR were: Pia Jeppesen (Denmark) 4.75 PR; Kara Schultz (USA) 4.90 PR; and Ingrid Sonnabend (Germany) 4.92 PR.


***


Wrap-Up from the 2024 New York Metropolitan Open


The 2024 New York Metropolitan Open Backgammon Championship directed by Lynn Ehrlich had a record-shattering attendance – proving that backgammon's attraction is stronger than ever!! The Main ABT divisions drew 223 players, up from 173 last year and a record high for the NY Metro. The Advanced Beginners and Beginners had 72 players, up from 58 last year, also a record high.

 

It was a star-studded group of attendees including two-time world champion Akiko Yazawa from Japan (2014 and 2018) and world champion Lee Genud (1981). Players came from all over the world: Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Switzerland, and the U.K.

 

Top honors went to Wilcox Snellings (USA/Costa Rica) who won the Championship division in a field of almost 100 players and to Oliver Squire (UK) who won the Super Jackpot in a field of 32 of the world's finest players.

 

Alexandra Kupner (Switzerland) won the WWB-sponsored Lady Liberty Cup with a total of 40 entrants in two divisions. Irina Litzenberger (VA), who recently was certified as a Master by the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB), was second. Martha Ghio (NY) took time away from her off-Broadway roles to attend and Ann Maher (UK) finished third/fourth. The intermediate division of the Lady Liberty Cup was won by Tyler Glenn (NY), with second going to Chris Coppa (NY).

 

Melanie Hughes (Caribbean) has shot forward in two short years at the game, finishing 3rd/4th in the ABT Intermediate division with a tough competitive field of 93 players.

 

New York often draws young people eager to achieve fame and fortune – and a number of them played in the Advanced Beginners division. It was chockful of women winners, who show great promise of future stardom! Keep your eyes out for the winner Marie-Schultz (NY) and Jamie Rosen (NY), a recent Princeton graduate, who has been winning trophies at the NY Metro since 2012.

 

Carol Joy Cole (MI) and Antoinette-Marie Williams (NY) – veterans of competitive backgammon did well in the Seniors event, finishing 3rd/4th.

 

Remy Davenport who has started the New York Backgammon Club that draws over a hundred players to weekly backgammon events helped staff the tournament directed by Lynn Ehrlich. She's helping grow the game by leaps and bounds, introducing many new players to backgammon and the competitive scene at the largest championship tournament in the U.S.



Upcoming Tournaments


February 7-11 - ABT: Texas Championships/UBC-USA will take place at the Gunter Hotel, San Antonio,. View details here.

 

February 23-25 - ABT: Massachusetts State Championship will take place at the Colonnade Hotel, Boston. View details here.

 

February 29 - BMAB in conjunction with the Atlanta Classic, Roberto Litzenberger, director. View details here.

 

February 29-March 3 - ABT: 14th Atlanta Classic will take place at the Sonesta Hotel, Atlanta, View details here.

 

March 1 – July 31 – WWB Online Mixed Doubles. Contact Karen Davis for details: karen.davis@jhu.edu; 917-488-5364.

 

March 21 – BMAB in conjunction with the Ohio State Championship, Dmitriy Obukhov, director. View details here.

 

March 21-24 – ABT: 29th Ohio State Championship will take place at the Crowne Plaza, Middleburg Heights, Ohio. View details here.

 

April 17 – BMAB in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Championship, Ben Friesen, director. View details here.

 

April 17-21 – ABT: Cherry Blossom Championship will take place at the Hyatt Regency Dulles, Herndon, VA. View details here.

 

April 29 – WWB Palm Beach Open, Palm Beach, FL. Contact Karen Davis for details: karen.davis@jhu.edu; 917-488-5364.


If you aren't already a subscriber, be sure and leave us your email to receive notices about tournaments, events, news from the backgammon world and more. If you'd like to receive occasional texts from us about tournaments or breaking news, add your phone number.

bottom of page