Tag Archives: backgammon

Top backgammon players head to the Lakes

backgammon board

Top backgammon players from across the UK will head to Windermere at the weekend for the annual Lake District championship.

The Lakes event is being staged for the fifth time at the Cedar Manor Hotel, with the backing of the UK Backgammon Federation and the British Isles Backgammon Association. It will bring together 16 of the most experienced and award-winning players from far and wide for what promises to be a nail-biting series of matches on Sunday.

Lounge & Bar

Last year’s winner was Bradford’s Steve Lee who claimed victory after a final 7-3 win over Pol Lapidakis from Newcastle.

One of the world’s oldest board games, combining skill and chance, backgammon is played in cafés across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs, with world championships staged in exotic locations.

The championship is organised by Cedar Manor owner Jonathan Kaye who learned to play backgammon when he was manager of Raffles nightclub in London. His dream is to see backgammon established as part of the café culture of the Lake District, as it is in Mediterranean countries, and he hosts a regular local backgammon club.

“We are now recognised as one of the major tournaments on the UK calendar,” he said.

“But while we attract the top players, we also welcome people of all abilities at our regular monthly club event. We will be very pleased to hear from any local players who want to take part.”

The winner gets a cash prize and a voucher to stay at the hotel.



Lake District has new backgammon champion

The new Lake District backgammon champion is Edinburgh-based science researcher Samantha Wilkinson.

She took the title after a thrilling final against financier Barry Teece, also from Edinburgh, at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel. Last year’s winner Graeme Turner from Newcastle was knocked out in the first round by Grasmere Gingerbread owner Andrew Hunter. Andrew’s 11 year old son Monty, playing in his first big tournament, was defeated by Ambleside chef Robert Shaw.

The only other woman in the contest, 17 year old Dallam school student Kate Watton, was beaten by finalist Barry Teece in the first round.

Sixteen players from across the UK took part in the competition, part of the British Isles Backgammon Association Backgammon Tour and Grand Prix, which is organised by the Cedar Manor’s owner Jonathan Kaye. Champion Samantha won a two night stay at the hotel and a cash prize.

Jonathan Kaye, who runs a regular backgammon club at the hotel, said: “It was a terrific day with some really thrilling games. It proves that backgammon is growing in popularity. We’d like to see it played in cafes and bars across the Lakes, as happens elsewhere in Europe.” ends

Thrilling finish in Lake District backgammon championship

A 16 year old Dallam schoolgirl reached the semi-final of the inaugural Lake District backgammon championship, in her first ever competition.

Kate Watton, from Grange over Sands, was stopped from reaching the final by the reigning Midlands open champion Ian Hesketh, from Edinburgh, in the contest at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel. Hesketh then lost in a close and thrilling final to Newcastle’s Graeme Turner.

Turner, a commercial banker who took up serious competition only a year ago, had knocked out current British open champion Martin Barkwill in an earlier round. He carried off £100 in prize money, a free weekend at the Cedar Manor, and a signed copy of The Wind of Change, by backgammon journalist Chris Bray.

Kate, an A level student who hopes to study English Literature at Durham University, defeated her father, John, in an earlier round. He said later: “We play three games a day over breakfast.”

Her semi-final opponent Hesketh, a learning technologist, said: “She should be very proud to do so well in her first tournament. She was in a field that included players who travel the world competing.”

Also reaching the semi-finals was Samantha Wilkinson, an academic scientific researcher from Edinburgh who has won two contests in Scotland.

In another family affair, Staveley’s Robbie Altinyollar reached round two while his father, Farit, was beaten by Ian Hesketh in the opening round.

The contest was organised by Cedar Manor owner Jonathan Kaye, who was knocked out in the first round by Kate.

He said: “It was great to see so many players coming into the Lakes for this event. It was a very enjoyable day, and the start of things to come. People were making new friends, and arranging to meet and play again, or even form clubs in the area. Backgammon is very popular on the internet and it is really good to see people enjoying the game in the real world.”

The contest was supported by the UK Backgammon Federation, and was promoted by journalist Chris Bray who is the backgammon correspondent for The Independent and has been playing and studying the game for more than 30 years.