A Brief History of Backgammon in Vancouver
From the late 1990s to 2001, backgammon in Vancouver, BC consisted mainly of chouettes and head-to-head money play. The weekly chouette(s) was held at various restaurants in Kitsilano and downtown Vancouver, and sometimes drew quite a large crowd (10 or more). During the daytime in the summer the chouette moved to Stanley Park. There were about four weekend tournaments held at the Vancouver Bridge Centre, with Robert Chow as both the organizer and the tournament director. These events attracted several players outside of Metro Vancouver—from Vancouver Island, Interior B.C., and Washington State.
In 2001 Mark Cohen, who had moved from Atlanta to Vancouver, decided to organize a backgammon club which would offer weekly tournaments: Backgammon Vancouver was born. After much effort on Mark’s part, the first Backgammon Vancouver tournament was held at the Vancouver Bridge Centre in November 2001, on a Wednesday night, starting at 7:00pm. The entry fee ($20), and tournament format, were identical to what is used in the current Vancouver Backgammon Club tournaments. The weekly Wednesday night tournaments continued for just over two years with the last tournament played in December 2003.
Besides the cash prizes, the tournament format included a system where players were awarded points for finishing 1st and 2nd in the main draw, and for winning the consolation. The person earning the most points was named Backgammon Vancouver player of the year. Robert Chow won in the the first year (2002), and Brent Wik was the winner in the second year (2003).
Two weekend tournaments were held at the Vancouver Bridge Centre with a larger entry fee and longer matches. The winners were Brent Wik and Rudee Gessie.
The Vancouver Backgammon Club
The current iteration of the club, The Vancouver Backgammon Club, was started by Pat MacNeil in January 2007. A post on Craigslist looking for “serious” backgammon players quickly led to former Backgammon Vancouver members, and games are played across the Lower Mainland. In June 2013, Pat stepped down from his role as club president and Matthew Gruman took over.
Club members participate in monthly tournaments, and various social events. With an emphasis on including both seasoned veterans and newcomers alike, the club is gaining momentum and always looking to expand its membership.
Tournaments are held weekly at the Robson Public Market (1610 Robson St, in the upstairs food court) in Vancouver, BC., and social events are held in Surrey once a month. Details and directions can be found on the Events page, and all are welcome.
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Matthew Gruman, Club President and Webmaster
- Robert Chow, Tournament Director
- Carol McGannon, Social Activities Director