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Backgammon Masters

by Michael Strato Backgammon masters are considered to be exceptionally skilled backgammon players, who through study have reached a high level of expertise in the game’s strategy and have won important competitions at major international backgammon tournaments.

Many backgammon masters have also written highly-acclaimed books on the game’s tactics or are teachers that offer great backgammon lessons or give seminars at backgammon meetings.

However, it is impossible to completely master the game of backgammon in a lifetime because to do so a backgammon master would have to know how to correctly play all backgammon positions and that would mean remembering the analysis of billions of possible positions that can come up in a game backgammon.

Still, there are many backgammon players, who are known as backgammon masters or backgammon gurus. These leading players are mentors of our game and have won such high-stakes competitions such as the World Championship in Monte Carlo or the Las Vegas Open, and have shared their knowledge authoring books that have achieved recognition around the world.

backgammon pro
Bill Robertie competing in the Atlantis Milliontournament
in The Bahamas in 2007.


Bill Robertie is a master of backgammon and one of only three backgammon players, who has won the title of World Champion twice. He is the author of 10 classic backgammon books including Modern Backgammon and 501 Essential Backgammon Problems, and amongst the backgammon masters that give lessons; some of the best coaching sessions on key concepts of the game can be heard from Mr. Robertie.

backgammon master
Paul Magriel playing at the Paris Masters in 2001.


Paul Magriel is probably the most famous of backgammon masters. Paul, also known as “X-22”, won the World Championship in 1978 and wrote Backgammon in 1976; a book that is sometimes called “The Bible of Backgammon”, and which even today is considered to be one of the best books for backgammon players, who want to learn how to play backgammon better.

Kit Woolsey is a renowned player and backgammon master as well as a Bridge World Grand Master. He has won countless backgammon tournaments involving other backgammon masters and has written nine books on backgammon including 52 Great Backgammon Tips, Backgammon: Master Versus Amateur and How to Play Tournament Backgammon.

Nack Ballard is another backgammon master, who was voted #1 player in the world three times in the Giants of Backgammon ranking list, a poll which is conducted every two years.

The above mentioned backgammon masters have been around in the game for decades and the list goes on and on and would need to include many of the world’s top backgammon players today, such as Masayuki Mochizuki, Matvey “Falafel” Natanzon, Neil Kazaross, Francois Tardieu, Sander Lylloff and many others.
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