Backgammon's Modern History


By 1920's the doubling cube was believed to be introduced in the United States specifically in New York City by an unknown gambler which enhanced the factor of skill in backgammon and increased its marketability more and insuring its place as a popular pastime.

Backgammon, for the most part, was limited to the upper class in secluded clubs even though some introductory backgammon publications broke onto the scene. Backgammon rules were altered in the year 1930 in the United States to what broadly speaking governs today's game of backgammon.

At some point there was somewhat of a down slope in popularity of backgammon however in the 1940's a light resurgence was seen as a couple of more texts were published even though there was no real advance skill. Then during the World War II the interest of people playing backgammon faded once again.


In the 1960's the popularity of the game backgammon slightly increased with the good efforts of Prince Alexis Obelensky, also known as Oby, who dedicatedly organized and promoted backgammon tournaments and its first official "World Championship" held in Bahamas and instantly, it became backgammon's highest ranking honor that still holds true today. A productive publishing trend of backgammon books begun with the title: "Backgammon: The Action Game" written by Oby.

The 1970's have been often described as the "Heyday" of backgammon as it witnessed a huge increase in publicity, popularity, tournaments and more backgammon literature which included magazines, books as well as newspaper columns.

Backgammon moved from the upper class to the middle classes and it also became more popular with younger generations. Tournaments surged into 6 digits and backgammon's popularity was seen all throughout the United States and in Europe.

However in the 1980's another downfall in popularity of backgammon among the youngsters was felt because of video games which became popular shoving aside more traditional games such as backgammon.


The revolution of the computer age continued to push through in full force as IBM's Gerald Tesauro wrote software that could teach people how to play backgammon with the use of Neural Networking in TD-Gammon which created a world class player.

In 1993 the first Internet Backgammon server was created by Andreas Schneider and he also hosted a free academic computer in Sweden. There were only about 100 players playing backgammon on the Internet around this time.

The birth of backgammon software that is user-friendly was introduced by Olivier Egger; this was called "Snowie", which was a more commercially popular software.

At present, backgammon has gained in popularity once again with tournaments held all over the United States and Europe and are well attended by many players.

The Internet has provided players many backgammon servers which are enjoyed by many and a multitude of backgammon resources are available now on the Internet. Backgammon pushes forth to be one of the most popular games ever and it doesn't look like it will slow down.