Backgammon Hall of Fame

Who Are the Best
Players in the World?

Monte Carlo World Champions
The World Championship of Backgammon is held each year at the Loew's Hotel in Monte Carlo. Typically 200 to 250 people participate in the Championship section. Matches begin at 17 points in the early rounds and increase to 25 points in the finals. Here are the Monte Carlo winners and runners-up since 1979.

  Winner: Luigi Villa, Italy   
  Runner-up: Jeff Westheimer, USA   
  Winner: Walter Coratella, Mexico   
  Runner-up: Al Hodis, USA   
  Winner: Lee Genud, USA   
  Runner-up: Joe Dwek, United Kingdom   
  Winner: Jacques Michel, Switzerland   
  Runner-up: Mike Corbett, USA   
  Winner: William Robertie, USA   
  Runner-up: Simon Naim, China   
  Winner: Michael Svobodny, USA   
  Runner-up: Uli Koch, Germany   
  Winner: Charles-Henri Sabet, Switzerland   
  Runner-up: Shimon Kagan, Israel   
  Winner: Clement Palacci, Italy   
  Runner-up: Lorenzo Tizzani, Italy   
  Winner: William Robertie, USA   
  Runner-up: Jerry Grandell, Sweden   
  Winner: Phillip Marmorstein, Germany   
  Runner-up: Ron Rubin, USA   
  Winner: Joseph Russell, USA   
  Runner-up: Mika Lidov, USA   
  Winner: Hal Heinrich, Canada   
  Runner-up: Freddie Narboni, France   
  Winner: Michael Meyburg, Germany   
  Runner-up: Gerhard Mauerer, Germany   
  Winner: Ion Ressu, Switzerland   
  Runner-up: John Simon, United Kingdom   
  Winner: Peter Jes Thomsen, Denmark   
  Runner-up: John Sjolin, Denmark   
  Winner: Frank Frigo, USA   
  Runner-up: Peter Jes Thomsen, Denmark   
  Winner: David Ben Zion, Israel   
  Runner-up: Josef, Tissona, Israel   
  Winner: David Nahmad, Israel   
  Runner-up: Shlomo Vahab, Israel   
  Winner: Jerry Grandell, Sweden   
  Runner-up: Frederic Banjout, France   
  Winner: Michael Meyburg, Germany   
  Runner-up: Elliott Winslow, USA   
  Winner: Jörgen Granstedt, Sweden   
  Runner-up: Gadi Carmeli, Israel   
  Winner: Katie Scalamandre, USA   
  Runner-up: Thomas Holm, Denmark   
  Winner: Jörgen Granstedt, Sweden   
  Runner-up: Thomas Holm, Denmark   
  Winner: Mads Andersen, Denmark   
  Runner-up: Felix Ziva, Israel   
  Winner: Jon Royset, Norway   
  Runner-up: Moshe Tissona, Israel   
  Winner: Peter Hallberg, Denmark   
  Runner-up: Bob Wachtel, USA   
  Winner: Dennis Carlston, USA   
  Runner-up: John O'Hagan, USA   
  Winner: Philip Vischjager, Netherlands   
  Runner-up: Luigi Villa, Italy   
  Winner: Jorge Pan, Argentina   
  Runner-up: Alvaro Savio, Brazil   
  Winner: Lars Trabolt, Denmark   
  Runner-up: Mario Sequeira, Portugal   
  Winner: Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan   
  Runner-up: Lars Trabolt, Denmark   
  Winner: Lars Bentzon, Denmark   
  Runner-up: Ricardo Malas, Lebanon/Spain   
  Winner: Takumitsu Suzuki, Japan   
  Runner-up: Fabio Gullotta, Italy   
  Winner: Nevzat Dogan, Turkey/Denmark   
  Runner-up: Michihito Kageyama, Japan   
  Winner: Vyacheslav Pryadkin, Ukraine   
  Runner-up: Lars Trabolt, Denmark   
  Winner: Akiko Yazawa, Japan   
  Runner-up: Doug Mayfield, USA   
  Winner: Cihangir Çetinel, Turkey   
  Runner-up: Sergey Erokhin, Russia   
  Winner: Jörgen Granstedt, Sweden   
  Runner-up: Joseph Russell, USA   
  Winner: Didier Assaraf, France   
  Runner-up: Petko Kostadinov, USA   
  Winner: Akiko Yazawa, Japan   
  Runner-up: Philip Kazemieh, Germany   
  Winner: Eli Roymi, Israel   
  Runner-up: Petko Kostadinov, USA   

Prior World Champions
Before 1979 the World Championships were held in the Bahamas, and before that in Las Vegas. Here are the early world champions of backgammon.

1967 Las Vegas
  Winner: Tim Holland, USA
1968 Las Vegas
  Winner: Tim Holland, USA
  No championship held
  No championship held
1971 Las Vegas
  Winner: Tim Holland, USA
1972 Las Vegas
  Winner: Oswald Jacoby, USA
  Runner-up: Edward Burns, USA
1973 Las Vegas
  Winner: Carol Crawford, USA
  Runner-up: Lewis Deyong, USA
1974 Las Vegas
  Winner: Claude Beer, USA
  Runner-up: Philip Martyn, United Kingdom
1975 Bahamas
  Winner: Billy Eisenberg, USA
  Runner-up: Arthur Dickman, USA
1976 Bahamas
  Winner: Vernon Ball, USA
  Runner-up: Arthur Dickman, USA
1977 Bahamas
  Winner: Ken Goodman, USA
  Runner-up: Jim Crosby, USA
1978 Bahamas
  Winner: Paul Magriel, USA
  Runner-up: Kal Robinson, USA

PartyGammon Million
The PartyGammon Million tournament (held January 2007, Paradise Island, Bahamas) was the richest and most prestigous backgammon tournament held in years. The entry fee was $10,000 and the guaranteed minimum prize money was $1,000,000, with the winner receiving over $500,000. The tournament attracted many of the best players in the world.

2007 Main Results
  Winner:   Andreas Märtens, Germany   
  Finalist:   Lasse Hjorth Madsen, Denmark   
  Semifinalist:   Nack Ballard, USA   
  Semifinalist:   Ralf Jonas, Germany   
  Quarterfinalist:   Alex Lehmann, USA   
  Quarterfinalist:   Sander Lylloff, Denmark   
  Quarterfinalist:   Arkadiy Tsinis, USA   
  Quarterfinalist:   Henrik Veje, Denmark   

2007 Consolation Results
  Winner:   Lars Trabolt, Denmark   
  Finalist:   Torsten Haase, Germany   
  Semifinalist:   Kent Goulding, USA   
  Semifinalist:   Yaniv Shimony, Israel   

World Cup
The World Cup was a premier backgammon event held in the United States every two years from 1988 to 1998. Matches were best three out of five 11-point matches. Each round took one day. These are the six World Cup winners.

World Cup I 1988   Joe Sylvester, USA
World Cup II 1990   Billy Horan, USA
World Cup III 1992   Mike Svobodny, USA
World Cup IV 1994   Billy Horan, USA
World Cup V 1996   Malcolm Davis, USA
World Cup VI 1998   Howard Ring, USA

World Amateur Championships
From 1978 to 1985, the American Backgammon Championships held ten World Amateur Championships in Las Vegas. These tournaments featured huge prize money and attracted top players of the day.

Amateur Section Open Section
  1.  January 1978   C. Felberbaum $180,400  
  2.  December 1978   Dave Leibowitz $130,000   Jason Lester
  3.  November 1979   Wayne Araki $150,000   Alan Martin
  4.  June 1980   Russell Sands $100,000   Mike Senkiewicz
  5.  June 1981   Bill Kennedy $100,000   Nick Maffeo
  6.  June 1982   Joe Neiman $100,000   Nack Ballard
  7.  June 1983   Joe Sylvester $100,000   Ron Rubin
  8.  June 1984   Jack Kissane $100,000   Leslie Stone
  9.  November 1984   Hossein Fooladi $35,000   Ron Weingrad
10.  June 1985   Dean Muench $62,500   Sandy Lubetkin

WBF European Champions
The Worldwide Backgammon Federation sanctions a European Backgammon Championship each year. Here are the winners of that tournament since 1990.
1990   Thomas Lumper, Germany
1991   Michael Meyburg, Germany
1992   Ion Ressu, Romania
1993   Matthias Körner, Germany
1994   Ion Ressu, Romania
1995   Evert van Eijck, Holland
1996   Nicholas Kitt, Romania
1997   Michael Löfblad, Sweden
1998   Elio Hamoui, Israel/Italy
1999   Mario Sequeira, Portugal
2000   Harald Johanni, Germany
2001   Francois Tardieu, France
2002   Katja Spillum, Norway
2003   John Slattery, Scotland
2004   Francois Tardieu, France
2005   Francois Tardieu, France
2006   Michel Serrero, France
2007   Werner Schmuck, Austria
2008   Fernando Braconi, Italy
2009   Christos Groutsos, Greece
2010   Ferat Gündogan, Turkey/Ger.
2011   Arda Findikoglu, Turkey
2012   Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan
2013   Michihito Kageyama, Japan
2014   Peter Blachian, Germany

American Backgammon Tour
The American Backgammon Tour is an annual master point race among players who participate in major tournaments throughout the United States. It takes a combination of skill and supportive attendance in ABT events to win. Here are the top finishers since 1993.

First Place Second Place Third Place
1993   Marty Storer   Art Benjamin   Howard Markowitz
1994   Neil Kazaross   Patrick Gibson   Abbas Zaltash
1995   Joe Russell   Doug Roberts   Abbas Zaltash
1996   Dennis Culpepper   Dave Cardwell   Art Benjamin
1997   Art Benjamin   Doug Mayfield   John O'Hagan
1998   Alex Caraplis   Perry Gartner   Maurice Barie
1999   Neil Kazaross   Gary Margosian   John Brussel
2000   Bob Bishop   Sam Pottle   Mike Senkiewicz
2001   Jake Jacobs   Rick Todd   Richard Del Furia
2002   Steve Sax   Ed O'Laughlin   Chuck Bower
2003   Malcolm Davis   Dean Adamian   Ray Fogerlund
2004   Frank Talbot   Ray Fogerlund   Neil Kazaross
2005   Neil Kazaross   Phil Simborg   Stepan Nuniyants
2006   Richard Munitz   Gregg Cattanach   Ken Fischer
2007   Ray Fogerlund   Richard Munitz   Patrick Gibson
2008   Neil Kazaross   Tim Mabee   Bob Koca
2009   Ray Fogerlund   Stick Rice   Ed Bennett
2010   Kit Woolsey   John O'Hagan   Richard Munitz
2011   Ray Fogerlund   Harvey Gillis   Neil Kazaross
2012   Neil Kazaross   Alfred Mamlet   Victor Ashkenazi
2013   Neil Kazaross   Ed O'Laughlin   Rod Covlin

Nordic Open
The Nordic Open is the largest annual backgammon tournament in the world. It is held in Denmark, a real hotbed of backgammon action. Here are the winners of the Nordic Open since 1989.
1989   Henrik Østergaard, Denmark
1990   Gerd Schiesser, Germany
1991   Jerry Grandell, Sweden
1992   Michael Herbst, Denmark
1993   Alan Steffen, USA
1994   Niels Fløjborg, Denmark
1995   Rolf Schreuder, Holland
1996   Mike Svobodny, USA
1997   Tommy Westerlund, Sweden
1998   Martine Oulés, France
1999   Anders Nielander, Denmark
2000   Peter Jes Thomsen, Denmark
2001   Lars Trabolt, Denmark
2002   Morten Holm, Denmark
2003   Karsten Bredahl, Denmark
2004   Thomas Lenz, Germany
2005   Karsten Bredahl, Denmark
2006   Athanasios Lagopatis, Germany
2007   Thomas Jespersen, Denmark
2008   Reymann Tassilo, Austria
2009   Claus Elken, Denmark
2010   Søren T. Larsen, Denmark
2011   Ralf Jonas, Germany
2012   Thomas Myhr, Denmark
2013   Ralf Jonas, Germany
2014   Marc Brockmann Olsen, Den.

Giants of Backgammon
Every two years Yamin Yamin of Illinois surveys championship-level players and tournament directors around the world. He asks them to rank the best currently active players in the world considering both their tournament skills and side action. The result is the Giants of Backgammon list. The top 16 players from the 2017 survey (published April 2018) are listed below.

Top Giants of 2017
  Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan
Michihito Kageyama, Japan
Victor Ashkenazi , USA
Matt Cohn-Geier, USA
Petko Kostadinov, USA
"Falafel" Natanzon, Israel/USA
Lars Trabolt, Denmark
Akiko Yazawa, Japan
  Neil Kazaross, USA
Jörgen Granstedt, Sweden
Bob Wachtel, USA
Steve Sax, USA
Steen Grĝnbech, Denmark
Thomas Kristensen, Denmark
John O'Hagan, USA
Tobias Hellwag, Germany

And here are the top Giants of previous years:

First Place Second Place Third Place
1993   Wilcox Snellings, USA   Mike Senkiewicz, USA   Joe Sylvester, USA
1995   Mike Senkiewicz, USA   Wilcox Snellings, USA   Billy Horan, USA
1997   Wilcox Snellings, USA   Mike Senkiewicz, USA   Nack Ballard, USA
1999   Jerry Grandell, Sweden   Nack Ballard, USA   Johannes Levermann, Ger.
2001   Nack Ballard, USA   Jerry Grandell, Sweden   Johannes Levermann, Ger.
2003   Nack Ballard, USA   Jerry Grandell, Sweden   Dirk Schiemann, Germany
2005   Nack Ballard, USA   Neil Kazaross, USA   François Tardieu, France
2007   Falafel Natanzon, Israel   Nack Ballard, USA   François Tardieu, France
2009   Masayuki Mochizuki, Jap.   Falafel Natanzon, Israel   Neil Kazaross, USA
2011   Falafel Natanzon, Israel   Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan   Neil Kazaross, USA
2013   Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan   Michihito Kageyama, Japan   "Falafel" Natanzon, Isreal
2015   Masayuki Mochizuki, Japan   Michihito Kageyama, Japan   Akiko Yazawa, Japan

  • World Backgammon Championships, 1967 to 1979.  Bill Robertie lays out what he thinks is an accurate list of winners for the period 1967 to 1979 based on printed sources of the time and some conversations with players who were then active.
  • World Championships of Backgammon.  Dale Kerr gives a comprehensive list of the winners and runners-up, and some of the history behind the "World Championships" of backgammon.

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