Saturday, May 28, 2011

Roll The Dice & Break It! - Tavla - Backgammon

You may find it nearly impossible to sit in a cafe drinking tea and playing a board game for 5 hours straight non-stop, while still enjoying every minute of it, but I am here to prove you wrong!

My friend and I decided to meet at a cafe before she left for Istanbul permanently. While talking and talking, she ended up saying, "Why are we not playing tavla?" I said "I have no clue, but I think we should start." So that was the start. Normally you play until one person wins five times, but we happened to never count, and we must have played over 20 games. After we realized how much time we had spent playing and talking about life, we decided to play until one person reached five.

Backgammon, or Tavla in Turkish is a game that is associated with the leaders and aristocracy of the ancient civilizations. Many variations being passed from Persia, Greece, and Rome, then moving over to the Asian areas, it made its move to the U.S. in about the 1930's where the rules were formalized and practiced today world-wide.

Backgammon is a widely played game by many Turkish people, older men in particular. In fact they have many cafes where only men are typically allowed in(socially, not legally), where they will sit there, hunched over, drinking tea and playing for hours. I always find it funny when walking pass these cafes, where its quiet and low mumblings and words about life and such.

Its not a game like checkers or chess. In those games you can ponder your opponents next move, however in tavla(Backgammon) your moves depend purely on the luck of your dice roll. This is makes it less stressing in the fact that you dont have to think about your opponents next move, but makes it stressful when deciding whether to leave your pieces open in fear of being broken.
I have been playing for quite some time now, and its a really fun game. Thinking fast and moving the checker pieces rapidly is what makes the game entertaining. The sound of the dice rolling and the sound when you slam a piece down and breaking someone like you had just won a football match. 

So go ahead, let the time pass, enjoy a few glasses of tea, strike up a conversation, all while playing a mad game of tavla.

How to play Backgammon (tavla):
Play Some Backgammon!

Note: I do not own the copyrights to the images on this post.


CanKoymen said...

Dustin, I know you love this game and try so hard to learn but let me face you the truth that you'll never play it like me. You should get I'm the best player on this fuckin' planet! Haha! Love you man! I'm gonna miss you and play Tavla with you! =')

online backgammon said...

I taught junior high students with learning disabilities and helped them
overcome their reading problems, but they still could not spell well.
I have to admit that I am a culprit of a few of these.
It's funny that I didn't realize until now that I was making a mistake!
Thanks for the post. Here's to a better-spelled 2012.