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BWW March Newsletter

So many of you have been extremely generous with your time, your money, and your supportive emails and outreach to us, assisting us in expanding our reach. Thousands now receive our emails. We are in conversation with major brands about possible collaboration. What started three years ago as a desire to up the ante for women attending and competing in backgammon tournaments has grown. We have a global reach now. We have a posse. We have agency. 

It's a good day for women who play backgammon.


We believe that our ability to provide true value for women's place at the tables is extended by those who have already joined our ranks and by the input we get from those needing our help. Thank you!


That leads to our thoughts for this month's newsletter. So much of anyone's ability to do anything is based on their financial standing. It turns out, to truly compete in Backgammon, you have to have the financial means to attend tournaments, improve your game through lessons and mentorship, and travel. Online tournaments are wonderful, and we’re happy to be sponsoring some, but traveling to play in live tournaments is important. They take place all over the world. It is really the only way to get to the top.


It turns out that it's a complicated issue in areas we hadn't considered. Take for example backgammon in Eastern Europe, which is thriving. And the level of play of those serious competitors is solid. Actually, it is at the top of the game. And women play in Eastern Europe. They are great players. But their income level from the work they do, and the translation of their currency to dollars or other currencies needed to compete, is challenging. So challenging, in fact, that for them to travel to compete where it matters, and where they can create a name for themselves in the sport, is often unattainable.


We have personally sponsored a few women, from countries where financing is challenging, in competitions online so they can start to play at the higher level necessary to get their ranking on the books. There are women who play as well as any woman in the world, whom we are trying to sponsor so they can travel and play without worrying about the airfare, the hotel, and the entry fees. And in the U.S., we know that despite its wealth, there are women who don’t even play in major tournaments in their own area because they can’t afford the entry fees. It's still in the early stages, but we know that if we can set up a scholarship fund for sponsoring some of the amazing players who need the funds to get the exposure, it's an investment worth making. The internet leveled the playing field in some ways, and also points out the varying degrees of opportunities in others. It's complicated. And so transactional, rather than based on skill in the game.


We aren't ready to put all this together yet, but we wanted to put it in your minds as something to consider. We welcome your input or introduction to women you think might benefit from this type of scholarship money.


--Christine Merser & Karen Davis, co-founders, Women's World of Backgammon


Kicking-off the WWB Mixed Doubles Tournament

The 3rd Women's World of Backgammon Mixed Doubles Tournament kicked off in a WWB Zoom session on Tuesday, March 12. A record-shattering 35 teams are competing in the event – 23 in the Championship division and 12 in the Intermediate division. The number of Intermediate division teams has doubled from last year. Teams include players from 15 countries – including Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, the Caribbean, France, Germany, Israel, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Slovakia, the UK, Ukraine, as well as the U.S. 


The Zoom session featured a first-round consulting doubles match of Joe Russell-Antoinette Marie Williams against Lynn Ehrlich-Larry Shiller. Joe Russell is on the Board of the World Backgammon Federation. He won the 1989 Backgammon World Championship in Monte Carlo. He is in the American Backgammon Hall of Fame and on the Giants-64 list. Antoinette-Marie Williams won the 2019 Ladies World Championship in Monte Carlo. She is an excellent long-time backgammon player, winning the Texas State Championship in 2017, and serving on the 2020 Women’s Team USA which won the Genud Cup. Lynn Ehrlich is the director of the New York Metropolitan Open – which had 295 entrants this January, the largest tournament in the U.S. She was a finalist in the 2022 U.S. National Women’s Championship. Larry Shiller is known as the Voice of Backgammon for his striking commentary on matches at major tournaments.


 To see the status of the brackets in the Championship division click here.


To see the status of the brackets in the Intermediate division click here. 


If you aren't able to watch any of the matches, we will be sending out the recording posted on our YouTube channel a few days later. 


The Championship division format is 9-point matches, single elimination, $100 entry per team, 80% return; optional side pool $50 per team, 100% return. Up to 9 teams losing in the first round may buy back to fill a bracket of 32. 


The Intermediate division format is 7-point matches, single elimination, $50 entry per team, 80% return. No side pool. Up to 4 teams losing in the first round may buy back to fill a bracket of 16. 


The prize money will be allocated to the top four teams in the Championship division and top two teams in the Intermediate division. In addition, the winning team in both divisions will receive a Women’s World of Backgammon board valued at $650.


Winning Women Around the World

 Women are increasingly placing in American Backgammon Tour and international events.

In February/March they include:


Massachusetts State Championships – February 2024

NOVICE #1 (4): 1-Regina Dinkes (FL)

NOVICE #2 (2): 1-Veronica Bacon (MA), 2-Mary Whitney (MA).

NOVICE #3 (6): 2-Melissa Poyet Borys (RI).


Atlanta Backgammon Classic – March 2024

ABT Advanced: Melanie Hughes, 2LC

BMAB Player’s Cup: Irina Litzenberger, tied 1st on basis of Win-Loss; Karen Davis, 4th on basis of PR


Click here to catch up on all the action from the Atlanta Backgammon Classic. 

Upcoming Tournaments and Events

March 1 – July 31 – WWB Online Mixed Doubles. 

Contact Karen Davis for details, 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, Hearndon, VA View details here.


May 22 – BMAB in conjunction with the Chicago Open, Dmitriy Obukhov.

View details here.


May 22-27 – 42nd Chicago Open, Hyatt Rosemont O’Hare, IL. The 2024 Women’s National Championship will start on May 23. View details here

Rory Pascar 617-699-9100


June 5 – BMAB in conjunction with the Los Angeles Open, Roberto Litzenberger, director.


June 6-9 – 47th Los Angeles Open, Hilton LAX, Los Angeles, CA 

Candace Mayeron 310-422-1646

View details here.


July 3 – BMAB in conjunction with the Michigan Summer Championship, Novi, MI, Dmitri Obukhov and Roberto Litzenberger, directors.


July 3-7 – 49th Michigan Summer Championship, Sheraton, Novi, MI 

View details here. 810-212-9731


July 7-14 -- WBGF Women’s World Team Championship, Stockholm, Sweden. Held in conjunction with the Swedish Open. View details here


October 16 -- BMAB Denver, Ben Friesen director held in conjunction with the 6th Wild West Shootout, October 16-20, Embassy Suites, Denver, CO 303-356-3679. View details here

Upcoming Tournaments and Events

April 8, 7 pm EST – Zoom Session on Utilizing Heroes to Improve Your Game with Art Benjamin - Register to attend here


April 9, 7 pm EST – WWB Online Mixed Doubles Zoom Session 

on Round 2 Matches - Zoom link to follow. 


April 22, 7PM - Roberto Litzenberger will give a WWB Learning Session based on the women’s matches in the Atlanta BMAB event. Details to follow.


Stockholm, Sweden 8-14 July, 2024


The World Backgammon Federation is sponsoring the inaugural World Women’s Backgammon Team Championship in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Grand Hotel Saltsjöbaden 8-14, July 2024. It will be played alongside the World Team Championship offered by the World Backgammon Federation since 2018. The Tournament host is Jörgen Granstedt, two-time world backgammon champion and Chairman of the Swedish Backgammon Federation.


An expected 10 teams, including Women’s Team USA, will compete for the title of World Women’s Backgammon Team Champions. Six women were selected to compete on Women’s Team USA by virtue of their performance in the 2023 World Backgammon Internet Federation Online World Women’s Championship.


They include:

Karen Davis, captain;

Irina Litzenberger

Leyla Zaloutskaya

Teri Harmon

Lynda Clay

Rain Ackerman


Traditionally, teams have worn jackets honoring their home country. Team USA finished second in the World Team Championship held in North Macedonia in 2023 proudly wearing the USA colors.


The Women’s Team captain, Karen Davis, is co-founder of the Women’s World of Backgammon, serves as Deputy General Secretary of the World Backgammon Federation, and is Chairman of the U.S. Backgammon Foundation. She was inducted into the American Backgammon Hall of Fame in 2021 and ranks in the top 64 Giants of Backgammon. She is one of four women in the world, along with Irina Litzenberger, awarded the rank of Master by the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body. She was captain of Women’s Team USA which won the Genud Cup against the UK Women’s Team in an online competition in 2020 and 2022. She was awarded Player of the Match in 2020 and tied with Irina Litzenberger for Player of the Match in 2022.


NY Metro Women's Cup

Ten difficult decisions arising in the WWB Women’s Cup at the New York Metro final match between Alexandra Knupfer (Switzerland) and Irina Litzenberger (US) were analyzed at a Women’s World of Backgammon (WWB) Zoom session on Tuesday, February 27th. Women’s World of Backgammon (WWB) provided $1000 in added money to the Lady Liberty Cup event, which drew forty women players to compete.


This inaugural Zoom session was prepared by Roberto Litzenberger, director of the BMAB Player’s Cup, who selected the ten positions for in-depth analysis and moderated the discussion. Two-time world champion Akiko Yazawa from Japan provided written comments. Grandmaster Marty Storer provided live commentary, with over 40 live viewers raising questions or adding comments.


View the session below:

You may also view the entire match with eXtreme Gammon Feed showing the best decisions on all plays by clicking below.

The winner of the New York Women’s Cup event, Alexandra Knupfer, is one of the top Championship players in Europe, having placed in numerous prestigious events across the continent. She is best known in the U.S. for winning the 2019 Chicago Open Championship as well as placing third in the Faster Master Chicago Open event. In 2022, she secured 3rd/4th place in the Merit International Open in North Cyprus 2000Euros Mega Jackpot and also in the Speedgammon event. In 2021, she achieved 3rd/4th place in the Speedgammon event at the 1st Merit International Oasis Backgammon Cup in Dubai. In 2018, she finished second in the Ladies Event at the Merit International Open in North Cyprus among a field of 64 women.


The finalist, Irina Litzenberger, is one of the top women Championship players in the U.S. This year, she attained the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body Master Class 3, becoming one of only four women in the world to be certified as a Master. She finished 3rd/4th in the Backgammon World Championship Ladies Event in Monte Carlo (2022) and placed second in the Cherry Blossom Women’s Cup in 2023. She also won the Sunny Florida Championship Consolation (2022). Irina is a frequent winner of Doubles events with her husband Roberto, triumphing in Ohio (2023), Texas (2022), Michigan (2022), and Cherry Blossom (2022). She clinched victory in the Battle of Sexes event at the 2021 Las Vegas Open, the Wonder Woman event at the 2021 California State Championship, and the Old Town Open Jackpot at the 2021 Chicago Classic. Additionally, she was part of the USA Women’s Team that won the 2022 Genud Cup against the U.K., where she was selected by the directors as tied with Karen Davis for U.S. Player of the Event.


Peer Coaching Boosts Australian Woman to Gold Coast Intermediate Championship

Tatiana Morgan of Brisbane, Australia, heard about the Women’s World of Backgammon (WWB) Peer Coaching program and promptly asked for a Peer Coach. While she missed getting assigned one in the first round of matches, she was invited to participate in a Peer Coaching Clinic with Karen Davis, co-founder of WWB. Karen invites women for whom Peer Coaches aren’t yet available to join together playing a Consultation Match on

Their first session took place on Friday, February 23. Lisa Speer and Yvonne Dalpay of Palm Beach, FL, who play in Karen’s Sunny Florida Backgammon Club, joined in. Within minutes of joining the Zoom call, Tatiana found she had much in common with Lisa and Yvonne. She formerly lived in Jupiter, Florida, just north of Palm Beach, and remembers her time living there fondly, in part because her son was born there!


Yvonne volunteered to play a short consultation match with Tatiana on Heroes with Karen commenting on different cube and checker decisions they were considering. Their friendship blossomed quickly! Tatiana vowed to make the journey to South Florida on a planned trip to the U.S. in late April.


The next day, Tatiana went on to win the Intermediate Division of the Australian Gold Coast Summer Championship – a first for her! It would be a stretch to say that one teaching session made the difference, but it was definitely a boost in confidence! We look forward to more interaction with Tatiana as she joins a worldwide network of women committed to improving their backgammon game!


Women's World of Backgammon Announces Support of the

Player's Cup

The Women’s World of Backgammon (WWB) is pleased to announce that it will present crystal vase and bowl awards to women who excel at the Player’s Cup. The Player’s Cup has just been formed to award points for players entering a dozen BMAB-USA events in 2024. It is designed for those who wish to compete at the highest level and continuously enhance their game. All matches are recorded, transcribed, and submitted to the Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB) for recognition and application towards individual titles. Participants receive a link to the videos and the XG files for analysis.


WWB will present a stunning crystal vase with the name of the woman champion with the most points in the 2024 Player’s Cup tour. It will also present personalized crystal bowls for women with the most wins at the Atlanta (2/29), Cherry Blossom (4/17), Michigan (7/3), and Denver (10/16). In case of ties, the woman with the best Performance Rating will be awarded the bowl. Irina Litzenberger won the first crystal bowl tying for first on the basis of win-loss record at the Atlanta BMAB event on February 29.

Roberto Litzenberger is preparing a WWB Learning Session based on women’s matches in the Atlanta BMAB event. It is scheduled to be presented in a Zoom session on April 22 at 7 pm EDT.


BG Blast From the Past

Dan Aykroyd watches a game of backgammon being played at his club in a screen shot from the movie Trading Places (1983). If it were today, women would be in the room, at the backgammon table!


More on the WWB's Upcoming Book The Backgammon Primer 

Since posting last month about rules and our responsibility to know them when competing we have received input regarding things to include in the Primer. We are expanding it to incorporate some insights from backgammon masters on how they prepare for tournaments, as well as some anecdotes.


If you have questions, reminisces, anecdotes, or suggestions for inclusions, please email us with your thoughts. We are excited to finalize the book and share it with our followers, so please send us your emails within the next week to be included.


See you at the bookstore!


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