Backgammon Tournament Traveling Accessories

Posted on Feb 10 2012 by Zontik Games in Backgammon
My First Dal Negro Board

My First Dal Negro Board

I give backgammon lessons six days a week now to people across the globe. This happy accident sometimes shows me things I wouldn’t otherwise see. For example this past week after one of my lessons I was sent a video link of one of my student’s matches in a live tournament. I mainly watched it to see how he played but I couldn’t help being rubbed the wrong way about the accessories, or lack there of.

The biggest concern I had were the dice cups. Before I come off as someone who is actively over concerned about cheating let me say I am not in the least.  I just want to make sure I have a fair shake, as it were. I prefer the dice to be completely random and I don’t want to worry about any external factors so that’s one reason why I carry a nice set of lipped dice cups with me to every tournament, even ones where I don’t tote along a backgammon board. I’ve become so spoiled by the shake and certainty of getting a random result that I even play games such as Yahtzee and many war strategy games with quality dice cups.  I haven’t went as far as playing something like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit with dice cups yet but I do love those games.

The second concern I had were the dice. While they appeared to be precision dice they were non-translucent. Not a big deal but as I believe you can see in an older post on this blog, not being able to see through the dice offers a minor concern. One way to load dice is to insert a weight of sorts into the dice. If you can’t see through them this makes it much much easier to do. I take my own translucent precision dice to every tournament I attend. Dice cups, precision dice, they are so small to travel with there’s no reason not to and using them should keep your mind always at ease.

One other item that I usually travel with is a clock. More and more tournaments are becoming clock friendly/clock mandatory. The problem we still have though is there aren’t enough clocks available at a tournament to clock every match. I am not a particularly fast player any more. I would play better backgammon if I was given unlimited time. However, this doesn’t make a tournament enjoyable for a lot of people and tends to hold up brackets and aggravate opponents.  I prefer to play on a clock so that I’m also not annoyed by my opponent’s slow play. He can take all the time he wants on an opening 64, I know he is being held accountable. I have a nice over-sized backgammon board and all the items I’ve listed so far, dice, cups, clock, fit neatly inside it.

My last travel buddy is a backgammon board. Growing up before I knew there was much more to backgammon than trying to push checkers around a board I played on your typical stuff it under the couch family backgammon board. I remember seeing this big booming suit case like boards at my first backgammon tournament.  It made the game feel like much more than a simple ‘game’. I got home and before you knew it I had bought my first professional board, a Dal Negro board. The design was nice and the checkers slid smoothly across the board. I didn’t travel with my board at all times after this because sometimes it’s annoying to carry it along on flights but at another tournament I ended up having to play on one of these small home boards again. They all play the same, I can’t complain in that respect, but I don’t see things as well on the teenie boards. I need robust checkers on a large visual playing surface. Also, a good board will help the dice to roll freely whereas some boards the dice will slide more than roll, something I prefer to avoid also.


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