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Level Up Your Backgammon Skills
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Jet, Set, Victory

Backgammon is the game of the elite, it’s time you levelled up your game

They call Backgammon the game of kings. Games have been played for thousands of years (the oldest board found is 5200 years old), everywhere masters of the universe have congregated; from battlefields in ancient Rome to poolsides in the Riviera. 

In fact, few table games in history have made such an impact on the upper echelons of society. Egyptian pharaohs played it, Homer mentions it in The Odyssey, Roman emperor Claudius travelled with it and even Thomas Jefferson competed with it whilst finding inspiration for the US Declaration of Independence. 

In the 1960’s and 70’s the game found its place in the homes of the jet-set; being brought out on Mustqiue’s beaches and Gstaad’s chalets to entertain stars and business titans alike. Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, Hugh Hefner, Cole Porter, Gunter Sachs, Aristotle Onassis, Roger Moore were all avid players. Competitions between stars and their old money friends would fill gossip magazine pages with gammon rivalries and who was the latest victor. 

Bob Dylan sets up the board whilst taking break between shows
Bob Dylan sets up the board whilst taking break between shows

Wherever there was a board, you could be sure glamour and competition followed. Photographer Slim Aaron famously even captured many of these beautiful games in his poolside series.

Backgammon Players - Slim Aarons
Backgammon Players – Slim Aarons
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall mid-game in the Bahamas
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall mid-game in the Bahamas

In today’s world, celebrities like Leonardo di Caprio carry on this tradition competing among fellow stars like Charlize Theron and Taylor Swift on yachts and planes and at film festivals and beaches across the globe. It is rumored that diCaprio even hired the world’s number one player to tutor him in the finer art of the game.

Taylor Swift challenging a friend to a game - Backgammon
Taylor Swift challenging a friend to a game

 Now, it’s your turn to join to ramp up your skills. Whether you’re a novice or an aspiring pro this is the perfect time to hone in and learn the tricks of the trade so that whenever lockdown ends, you can tackle your next poolside game with the vigour of a professional. 

John Kennedy plays backgammon with brother-in-law Stas Radziwill ...
JFK playing with brother-in-law Stas Radziwill
Backgammon Players at the Marbella Club - Slim Aarons
Backgammon Players at the Marbella Club – Slim Aarons

DDW has hunted down the perfect (free) course for beginners here and for advanced players you can play/learn against a pro here.

If you’re feeling confident and the pictures above have sent you over the edge in nostalgic wanderlust for a beachside game and rosé, enter the world championships (still) taking place in July this year in Monte Carlo. You might even take home the $22K prize … 

Regardless, your new found backgammon skill will be a useful one for life, as you can compete against some of the world’s most connected people and in the most rarefied clubs. And here is something to look forward to; for members and readers that play, DDW will organise a small luxurious tournament accompanied by cocktails and champagne when lockdown ends.

In the meantime, pick up one of these boards to practice on:

Backgammon Nine Fair x Hotel Du Cap Eden-Roc
Nine Fair x Hotel Du Cap Eden-Roc
Crisloid Classic Blue Champion Tabletop
Crisloid Championship Board
Asprey Hanover Board
Asprey Hanover Board

NEXT: Murder, Intrigue and Legacy… read all about it