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The Phil Simborg Interviews
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Phil Simborg
Phil Simborg
Phil Simborg has interviewed many of the most interesting people in backgammon. This includes some of the best players in the world, and people who have contributed to the game in other ways too. There are teachers, authors, inventors, tournament directors, and even movie makers.

These interviews show a side of players you don't normally see. How did they get started playing backgammon? How did they become so good? How do they prepare for tournaments? What advice do they have for beginning players that want to improve? It's fascinating reading!

Phil is a full-time backgammon player and teacher, and volunteers much of his time to bringing new and young players into the game. Visit his web site at The Backgammon Learning Center.

Bob Koca
Bob Koca is a backgammon player and mathematics professor from Baltimore, Maryland who made the Giants of Backgammon list for the first time in 2010. In this interview, Bob shares his thoughts and opinions most generously with our readers.
Bob Wachtel
Bob Wachtel is quiet, polite, and unassuming, but over the backgammon board he consistently murders his opponents to the extent that he is now ranked the Number 10 player in the world on the Giants of Backgammon list.
Brian Lonergan
Brian Lonergan is not afraid to say, out loud and for all to hear, that he intends to be a Giant someday. I haven’t seen anyone since Matt Cohen-Geier and Stick came on the scene that has impressed me more and risen so quickly.
Chiva Tafazzoli
Chiva Tafazzoli is one of the most respected and prominent figures in backgammon today. Less of a player and more of an organizer and Tournament Director, Chiva founded the World Backgammon Association (WBA) and made it the leading authority for international tournaments in less than a decade.
Ray Fogerlund
Ray Fogerlund ("Coolrey") is No. 2 player on the all-time ABT point list. And he is among the top 32 players in the world on the Giants of Backgammon list. Ray is often the auctioneer at many tournaments.
Danny Kleinman
Danny Kleinman might be called the "Accidental Backgammon Author." When I ask experienced players to name the best backgammon books, at least one of Danny's is often on that list.
Ed OLaughlin
Ed OLaughlin is currently ranked No. 18 in the world on the Giants of Backgammon list. Ed was highly rated on the KG Rating list for 10 years and even reached the No. 1 spot in 1996. He has some very interesting perspectives and insights and strong feelings on several subjects.
Jacob Garal
Jacob Garal is author of 14 scientific publications, three inventions, and one book, Fair Backgammon Tournament Rules, which he hopes will be the turn stone for his attempts for changing the tournament rules in the backgammon world.
Jake Jacobs
Jake Jacobs is one of my oldest and best friends in backgammon, and one of the most interesting and intelligent people I have ever known. This is long but, like everything Jake says and writes, it is well worth the time.
Larry Liebster
Larry Liebster attends many ABT events around the US and has given freely of his time to help beginners and intermediates understand the basic odds and concepts of the game. Larry is well known for his many articles, full of humor and good will.
Lyle Rubin
Lyle Rubin might just be "The Best Novice Player in the World." The 12-year-old son of David and Jolie won the Novice division of Ohio State Championships in 2010 and the Midwest Children's Backgammon Tournament in 2006 and 2007.
Mary Hickey
Mary Hickey's backgammon skills have been well known by U.S. players for years, but her recent win of the U.S. Open, coupled with several other wins and high finishes, has catapulted her ranking and has established her as one of the better players in the game.
Matt Cohn-Geier
Matt Cohn-Geier is backgammon's new rising star. He played in his first tournament just three years ago and was recently ranked number 15 on the Giants of Backgammon list. By the way, he's only been playing backgammon for four years!
Maya Peycheva
Maya Peycheva has distinguished herself as a true force in the backgammon world, and a contender for becoming a Giant one day. I was greatly impressed by her determination, her sense of humor, and how much fun she seemed to be having between matches.
Mike Corbett
Mike Corbett is one of the most intelligent and fiercely competitive people you have probably ever met. He gets listed year after year as one of the Giants of Backgammon, and he is author of the popular book, Backgammon Problems.
Masayuki Mochizuki
"Mochy" (Masayuki Mochizuki) won the 2009 World Championship in Monte Carlo, becoming the first Japanese to win the coveted title. Mochy is a full-time backgammon professional player, teacher, and student of the game. More importantly, he is known as a generous, fair, and friendly player.
Nack Ballard
Nack Ballard is considered by many to be the greatest backgammon player that ever lived. He has been consistently at or near the top of the Giants of Backgammon list. Nack has also contributed several variants and adjuncts to backgammon, including Nackgammon, Nactation, and Naccel.
Patrick Gibson
Patrick Gibson is best known as a tournament director and organizer. He's been doing it over 30 years, primarily in the L.A. area, but also throughout the US, Europe and the Caribbean. As a player, Patrick captured the Number 3 ranking on the ABT tour in 2007.
Petko Kostadinov
Petko Kostadinov has been ranked in the top 32 players in the world on the Giants of Backgammon list the past two votings. Opponents only respect his game from the standpoint of technical skill, but also for his terrific insights and creativity.
Philip Vischjager
Philip Vischjager is probably best known as the winner of the 2006 World Championships in Monte Carlo, but backgammon players all over the world know he is always a formidable opponent.
Robert Stoller
Robert Stoller has the distinction of being the first Alaskan ever to have won points on the American Backgammon Tour. He was also the first Alaskan to have joined the U.S. Backgammon Federation.
Sabri Buyuksoy
Sabri Buyuksoy of Istanbul is the current WBA European Champion. He has won many tournaments and done well in Open and Masters events in the past few years around the world.
Sean and Zoe
Sean Williams and Zoe Cunningham are two fast improving backgammon players from the UK. They are two of the nicest, most interesting, and most involved players in the world and one of the few husband-and-wife Open-level players in the world.
Tobias Hellwag
Tobias Hellwag grew up in Germany and now lives in Zurich and travels all over the world playing in major backgammon tournaments and visiting chouettes and friends in major cities.
Tuvya Felt
Tuvya Felt popped up on the backgammon scene less than a year ago at the Chicago Open. Since then he has shown impressive results, tying for second place in the Charlotte Open and winning the Masters in New York.
Victor Ashkenazi
Victor Ashkenazi moved to New York City from Moscow when he was 25 where he now works as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs. In 2013, he was voted the No. 11 Giant of Backgammon. He brings not just great skill to the game but also a wonderful demeanor and good sportsmanship.
Xavier Dufaure de Citres
Xavier Dufaure de Citres has brought to the backgammon community eXtreme Gammon but also GammonSite and, in the past, NetGammon.

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