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Many games historians have had a go at the rules including HJR Murray, Roland Austin, Robbie Bell and more recently Irving Finkel and Ulrich Staedler but a paper on the game by Ulrich summed up the situation well when he said "We cannot say anything concerning the rules of Duodecim Scripta The earliest confirmed date for Duodecim Scripta is 2nd century BC from Publius Mucius Scaevola which mentions a formidable XII scripta "game of 12 points" player in ancient sources Quintilianus, Institutio oratoria, XI, chap.
For Senet, the argument is that both boards have a topological set of 3 x 12 points and were played with 3 x 6 sided dice but given that hardly anything else is known of the rules of Duodecim Scriptorum, it's a pretty speculative assertion.
There is also a gap of several centuries between the latest record of Senet and the earliest evidence for Duodecim Scripta.
Similarly, Duodecim Scripta has 2 tables of 3 sets of 6 playing areas separated by a gap while Tabula has 2 tables of 2 sets of 6 points separated by a gap the bar so the theory goes that the game just lost one of the rows to become Tabula.
But that's quite a leap of faith with nothing else to go on so this author is unconvinced. The rules of Senet are understood much better, although details probably changed over time, so it is possible to compare those with the rules for Tabula.
Based on facts with reasonable certainty, a comparison of similarities with Backgammon can be made:. In Asia, the game of Nard appeared sometime prior to AD, in South West Asia or in Persia depending upon which version of history one believes, and variants are played today throughout the continent.
Chinese history gives that t'shu-p'u, the Chinese name for Nard was invented in Western India, arrived in China during the Wei dynasty - AD and became popular from to AD.
In Japan the game was called Sugoroko and was declared illegal during the reign of Empress Jito - AD. Nard, in turn, seems to have been introduced into Europe via Italy or Spain following the Arab occupation of Sicily AD.
The famous Book of Games by Alfonso X of Spain has a whole sub-book on the game of Tables, showing how boards and pieces were made and giving rules for around 14 different games that could be played on a Tables board.
Or perhaps it simply came from the fact that most chessboards were marked for backgammon on the back. In fact, the game was so popular among his fellow clergymen that Dean Swift once advised a friend in the country, with tongue in check, to study the game "that he might be on friendly, that is playing terms with the rector And certainly debates about hits were easier of settlement than disputes about tithes from Sir Roger de Coverley - who when he wished to obtain from the University a chaplain of piety and urbanity, in short a Christian minister, conditioned that he "should know something about backgammon".
Sir Roger was of course Addison and Steele's fictitious country gentleman, whose exploits entertained the readers of The Spectator And in Soame Jenyns composed the following verse:.
Here you'll be ever sure to meet A hearty welcome, though no treat; A house where quiet guards the door, Nor rural wits smoke, drink, and roar; Choice books, safe horses, wholesome liquor Billiards, backgammon, and the vicar.
The Entering division and the Home are common to both players. The Entering division must he either the right-hand near division, or the left-hand opposite division.
For unknown reasons, there was no championship in , but in , Tim Holland again won the title. The competition remained in Las Vegas until , when it moved to Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
In , Lewis Deyong, who had promoted the Bahamas World Championship for the prior three years, suggested that the two events be combined.
By the 21st century, the largest international tournaments had established the basis of a tour for top professional players.
Major tournaments are held yearly worldwide. PartyGaming sponsored the first World Series of Backgammon in from Cannes and later the "Backgammon Million" tournament held in the Bahamas in January with a prize pool of one million dollars, the largest for any tournament to date.
The event was recorded for television in Europe and aired on Eurosport. The World Backgammon Association WBA  has been holding the biggest backgammon tour on the circuit since , the "European Backgammon Tour"  EBGT.
In , the WBA collaborated with the online backgammon provider Play65 for the season of the European Backgammon Tour and with "Betfair" in When backgammon is played for money , the most common arrangement is to assign a monetary value to each point, and to play to a certain score, or until either player chooses to stop.
The stakes are raised by gammons, backgammons, and use of the doubling cube. Backgammon is sometimes available in casinos.
Before the commercialization of artificial neural network programs, proposition bets on specific positions were very common among backgammon players and gamblers.
The game is included in Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics for the Nintendo Switch , a collection of tabletop games. Backgammon software has been developed not only to play and analyze games, but also to facilitate play between humans over the internet.
Dice rolls are provided by random or pseudorandom number generators. Real-time online play began with the First Internet Backgammon Server in July ,   but there are now a range of options,  many of which are commercial.
Backgammon has been studied considerably by computer scientists. Neural networks and other approaches have offered significant advances to software for gameplay and analysis.
The first strong computer opponent was BKG 9. It was written by Hans Berliner in the late s on a DEC PDP as an experiment in evaluating board game positions.
Early versions of BKG played badly even against poor players, but Berliner noticed that its critical mistakes were always at transitional phases in the game.
He applied principles of fuzzy logic to improve its play between phases, and by July , BKG 9. It won the match 7—1, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in any board game.
Berliner stated that the victory was largely a matter of luck, as the computer received more favorable dice rolls.
In the late s, backgammon programmers found more success with an approach based on artificial neural networks. TD-Gammon , developed by Gerald Tesauro of IBM , was the first of these programs to play near the expert level.
Its neural network was trained using temporal difference learning applied to data generated from self-play. Tesauro proposed using rollout analysis to compare the performance of computer algorithms against human players.
The rollout score of the human or the computer is the difference of the average game results by following the selected move versus following the best move, then averaged for the entire set of taken moves.
Neural network research has resulted in three modern proprietary programs , JellyFish,  Snowie  and eXtreme Gammon,  as well as the shareware BGBlitz  and the free software GNU Backgammon.
The strength of these programs lies in their neural networks' weights tables, which are the result of months of training.
Without them, these programs play no better than a human novice. For the bearoff phase, backgammon software usually relies on a database containing precomputed equities for all possible bearoff positions.
Computer-versus-computer competitions are also held at Computer Olympiad events. The history of backgammon can be traced back nearly 5, years to its origins in Mesopotamia modern-day Iraq.
The Royal Game of Ur from BCE may also be an ancestor or intermediate of modern-day table games like backgammon.
It used tetrahedral dice. Various other other board games spanning from the 10th to 7th centuries BCE have been found throughout modern day Iraq, Syria, Egypt and western Iran.
Today the game in various forms continues to be commonly played in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan throughout the Arab world.
In the modern Arab Levant and Iraq, the game is commonly called tawle , which means table. This may represent a shared name origin with the Roman or Byzantine variant of the game.
It is also commonly referred to by shesh besh shesh meaining six in Hebrew , Aramaic and Northwest Semitic , and besh meaning five in Turkish , amongst Arabs as well as by some Kurdish, Persian and Turkish speakers.
Shesh Besh is commonly used to refer to when a player scores a 5 and 6 at the same time on dice. An older game resembling backgammon may have also been played in the easternmost part of the prehistoric Iranian plateau , far from Mesopotamia.
The rules of this game, like others found in Egypt, have yet to be deciphered. It is however made from ebony, a material more likely to be found in the Indian subcontinent which indicates such board games may be more widespread than once thought.
In the 11th century Shahnameh , the Persian poet Ferdowsi credits Burzoe with the invention of the tables game nard in the 6th century.
He describes an encounter between Burzoe and a Raja visiting from India. The Raja introduces the game of chess , and Burzoe demonstrates nard , played with dice made from ivory and teak.
Murray details many versions of backgammon; modern Nard is noted there as being the same as backgammon and maybe dating back to — AD in the Babylonian Talmud,  although others believe the Talmud references the Greek race game Kubeia.
Iranologist Touraj Daryaee , Chair of Persian Studies at U. Irvine, on the first written mention of earlier variants of backgammon—writes:.
The use of dice for the game is another indication of its Indic origin since dice and gambling were a favorite pastime in ancient India. According to the historical legend, the Indian king Dewisarm sends his minister Taxritos to Persia with the game of chess , and a letter challenging Sasanian King Khosrow I to solve the riddle or rationale for the game.
Khosrow asks for three days to decipher the game, but initially, no-one in the court is able to make any progress.
On the third day, Khosrow's minister, Wuzurgmihr, successfully rises and explains the logic of the game. As a reciprocal challenge, Wuzurgmihr constructs the game of backgammon and delivers it to the Indian king who is unable to decipher the game.
There are two games of nardi commonly played:. Short nardi : Set-up and rules are the same as backgammon. Long nardi : A game that starts with all fifteen checkers placed in one line on the point and on the point.
The two players move their checkers in opposing directions, from the point towards the 1-point, or home board. In long nardi , one checker by itself can block a point.
There is no hitting in long nardi. The objective of the game is bearing all checkers off the board, and there is no doubling cube. It is described in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno AD — Like today, each player had 15 checkers and used cubical dice with sides numbered one to six.
The only differences from modern backgammon were the use of an extra die three rather than two and the starting of all pieces off the board with them entering in the same way that pieces on the bar enter in modern backgammon.
Zeno, who was white, had a stack of seven checkers, three stacks of two checkers and two "blots", checkers that stand alone on a point and are therefore in danger of being put outside the board by an incoming opponent checker.
Zeno threw the three dice with which the game was played and obtained 2, 5 and 6. As in backgammon, Zeno could not move to a space occupied by two opponent black pieces.
The white and black checkers were so distributed on the points that the only way to use all of the three results, as required by the game rules, was to break the three stacks of two checkers into blots, exposing them and ruining the game for Zeno.
The earliest known mention of the game is in Ovid 's Ars Amatoria 'The Art of Love' , written between 1 BC and 8 AD.
In Roman times, this game was also known as alea , and a likely apocryphal Latin story linked this name, and the game, to a Trojan soldier named Alea.
If hit, a blot is picked up and placed on the bar, and the owner may make no other move until it is reentered.
Reentry must be made in the adverse inner table upon an open point of the same number as is cast with either die. The player who first bears off all 15 stones wins the game.
Backgammon Article Media Additional Info. Print Cite. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. The Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine , a high-quality glossy, begins publication and features news, problems, and player profiles.
More new stars emerge in the U. Invitational Championship in Washington, D. Mike Corbett of Florida defeats Sandy Lubetkin of Texas in the finals.
Jerry Grandell of Sweden finishes second at Monte Carlo in Philip Marmorstein of Germany wins the World Championship in The biennial tournament attracts a field of 46 players from around the world playing long matches from a point first-round match to a point final match.
After a week of struggle, Joe Sylvester of Michigan defeats Ray Glaeser of New Jersey Gerry Tesauro from the IBM Labs in White Plains completes work on TD-Gammon 1.
He tests the program against some top pros, who are impressed but still consider it a notch below the best humans. The magazine has an eight-year run before folding in Tesauro releases version 2.