Backgammon Books

  Championship Backgammon
Learning Through Master Play

  AUTHORS: Barclay Cooke
René Orléan

  YEAR: 1980
  PUBLISHER: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  CITY: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
  ISBN: 0-13-126102-9
  BINDING: Hardcover
  PAGES: 338
  SIZE: 24 cm high, 18 cm wide

     "Barclay Cooke was one of the legendary players on the International tournament circuit during the 1960's and 1970's. Championship Backgammon marks the final chapter in his 'trilogy' of backgammon works and does little to break the mould set by its predecessors. The book will be of interest only to the keenest modern enthusiast or collector. Beginners will find the style too advanced and Intermediate/Advanced will find much to criticize from a technical viewpoint.
      However the book is worthy of perusal for a number of other reasons, not least of which are its historical and entertainment value. Cooke, teamed up with Canadian Champion René Orléan, provides lively, and at times brutal, commentary on the first 16 games of an Inter-Atlantic Duplicate Backgammon challenge between the USA and Great Britain. The first sections of the book relate the historical background to the match and feature entertaining mini-biographies of the players. They reveal key differences in the style and attitude of the protagonists and amply set the scene and suspense for the meat of the book.
      Modern readers may take some time getting used to the arcane board notation (R5, W5 etc), and the use of arrows indicating the actual move played may spoil the enjoyment of readers who prefer a 'match-quiz' format. Cooke's technical analyses, though often way off the mark, are an entertaining window on the thought processes of experts of that era."—Mark Driver, January 2002


     "Championship Backgammon is an analysis of the 1973 team match between Barclay and Walter Cooke and a British team of Joe Dwek and Philip Martyn. Cooke's comments are biased rather markedly towards the American team, and his treatment of Philip Martyn is particularly unfair. The book does, however, provide a time-capsule look at the state of top-flight backgammon in the early 1970s, and it is the only book that analyzes a match from that era. By modern standards, Dwek seems clearly to have been the best player of that group."—Bill Robertie, 1987, in his book Reno 1986.

Author's Note
1.  Inside Backgammon
2.  The Match
3.  The Players
4.  The Games
5.  Reflections on Some Lessons of Backgammon World-Class Play
  COVER: Learn the secrets of championship backgammon in a lively play-by-play of the 1973 international champion match.

In the first and only backgammon guide designed expressly for the serious player, two recognized masters of the game, International World Champion Barclay Cooke and Canadian Champion René Orléan, provide and expert analysis of backgammon strategy and tactics as played on the world class level.
      Through a unique format—a lively, colorful play-by-play study of eight hard-fought duplicate games of the first International Champion Match held in London in October 1973—Cooke and Orléan demonstrate the techniques, artistry, and skills of advanced backgammon while allowing you to match wits with Britishers Phillip Martyn and Joe Dwek versus Americnas Barclay Cooke and his sone, Walter.
      By playing along, move by move, with these four world class masters, you are able to grasp the finer points of the game, not through static rules and artificial situations, but through the actual flow and dynamics of backgammon play, both on the board and in the players' minds. Through this give-and-take of play, you not only experience the excitement, drama, and adventure of backgammon as played by experts, but gain valuable insight into the subtle strategies of the game, including: how to strengthen your position on the board; how to minimize the role of luck; and how to make imaginative plays that will create exciting opportunities for you.
      Nearly 300 "living" diagrams vividly illustrate not only the actual moves made, but possible alternative positions and their relative merits. Throughout, the authors emphasize the critical role of psychological stress in determining game play, showing that even the most seasoned player can crumble under the intense pressure of championship competition.
      Whether you are an enthusiastic beginner eager to sharpen your skills by playing along with experts, or an advanced player ready to challenge recognized masters, Championship Backgammon provides the key to the techniques and tactics, the excitement and drama of world class play.

  QUOTES: "Barclay Cooke pulls no punches, his in-depth and penetrating analysis of difficult plays and match strategy will reward any player who reads this work. Bravo to a new and exciting form of backgammon book."—Lewis Deyong.

Barklay Cooke is a backgammon expert and International Champion who ranks as one of the leading players and theoreticians of the game. He is the author of Paradoxes and Probabilities and Backgammon: The Cruelest Game, written with Jon Bradshaw and considered to be the best backgammon primer available. Mr. Cooke resides in Englewood, New Jersey.

René Orléan, also an expert backgammon player, won the Canadian Championship in 1975. Born and educated in Paris, Mr. Orléan now makes his home in New York City.

   Backgammon, The Cruelest Game
The Art of Winning
Barclay Cooke, Jon Bradshaw
1974: Random House, Inc., New York
   Paradoxes and Probabilities
168 Backgammon Problems
Barclay Cooke
1978: Random House, New York

    Recommended Reading
  Where to Buy Books
    Picture Gallery
  List of Books by Author

Copyright © 1996-2016 by Tom Keith

Return to : Backgammon Galore : Books