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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 20, 1979)
tuesday, november 20, 1979
Club members back to gammoning
in preparation for tournaments, fun
By Cheryl Kisling
If you walk into McGuffy's on Wednesday nights,
don't be surprised if backgammon boards seem to be over
running the place. It's the Lincoln Backgammon Club and
they are determined to make their presence known.
Hess Baluch, recently "drafted" president, is excited
about the group and the potential growth of back
gammon , which he said is just hitting the Midwest.
The club, which is affiliated with an Omaha club, now
is a member of the Las Vegas chapter and can participate
in national tournaments which have existed for about 1 1
years, Baluch said. Being part of a local club is a definite
advantage in getting into national tournaments-it is
cheaper to enter and there is local competition to practice
with. - v
National winners can win up to $ 1 10,000, Baluch said.
"Like golf, there are amateurs and professionals. In
Lincoln, the amateures are excellent," Baluch said. He
added that member Bob McCulley will participate in the
National Amateur Tournament in Las Vegas Nov. 28 and
could win $140,000 in prize money. .
Baluch , who was active in chess, said he has been play
ing backgammon for a year. But the art of thinking and
strategies he learned in chess have made him successful m
backgammon, he said. .
"Chess, like backgammon, is meticulous in moves If,
the mind is trained for that, it becomes easy," Baluch
said "We would like to bring some elegance and sophisti
cation to the game as has been done for chess." Baluch
said the club is encouraging anyone to come in and parti
cipate. "We are interested in university students," he said.
"Wf want them to nartirinate Thp. Aw ic ovon nninn tn
offer lessons for them so they can come in and learn."
The club is offering free lessons on Wednesday nights
to anyone who wants to learn, he said, adding that there is
no prerequisite and that a person always be free to greet
newcomers. r ; y, V
"The Club wants to get people interested in the art of
backgammon at any level. If a person wants to learn for
fun, we teach it for fun. If they want to be competitive,
.we will teach them so they become a champion," he said.
. y'Ray Rutherford last year's winner of the Omaha Invit
ational Backgammon Tournament, said "New players
tend to be intimidated. We don't want that at all, it
jJiowldnJ .be that way.
Rutherford, along with about 18 members, encourages
anyone who wants to learn the game to come in .
An individual can learn the game in a matter of hours,
according to Baluch, but it takes much longer to master it.
'The single most important word in the strategy of
backgammon is HOLD," he said.
He went on to explain that II is for holding a strong
innerboard, 0 is to observe flexibility and timing, L is to
leave a "blot" (knowledge of the probability of being hit)
very effectively and to gain advantage for yourself. D is-
"don't leave your opponent's survival point and position
yourself to take advantage."
Another advantage of backgammon, which Rutherford
describes as the essence of the game, is the double or "dia
t bolical" cube. -
It is the cube that progresses geometrically during the
game and doubles the points for the winner, he said.
"Every game is worth one point. If a player at any time
during the game feels he has the advantage, he offers his
opponent the cube. If the cube is accepted, the game is
worth two points. If he rejects it, he loses and the winner
(person who offered the cube) gets a point," he said.
This aspect, Rutherford said, can take months to learn
to use effectively because the course of the game can
change with just one roll of the dice.
"If the situation changes and the person who accepted
the cube earlier now has better standing, he can offer the
cube right back, only with the point value doubled " said
Rutherford. "That cure can either be your ally or
Rutherford said that backgammon, like other competi
tive games; becomes involved, and he has even seen a loser
react by throing the board through a window. The rules of
etiquette always should prevail, he said .
"Players should not wear their emotions on their
sleeves, he said. 'There should be gracious winners and
gracious losers." '
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TIL 3 A.M.
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