Miscellaneous Pictures

Now that I've got this page on a roll I'll catch many more when they aren't napping (or more likely when they are), but for now here are some digi-snaps of note. (Note that some of the later pics are not thumbnails, but bigger pictures viewed small; if a left-click doesn't do anything, try right-click View Image)
Mike Senkiewicz, New York Summer 1996 

I had been meaning to buy a digital camera for quite a while, but only finally got one on impulse one afternoon in New York. I happened into the Staples office supply store across from Bryant Park where Steve Manning sets up chess and backgammon boards during the nice months. I didn't realize how small the Kodak DC20 was. I had just come from Dallas (via Kiev, but that's another story!) where I had been a consolation finalist in the World Cup, so motivated by Chuckie Papazian's classic "Spend it before you lose it" I snapped one up. (In a later application of The Great Swami's wisdom, I bought a Sony DSC-F1 around May 1997.) After some installation gyrations I took this, my first picture. 

Not bad considering the subject matter [heh]. Mike Senkiewicz was voted the best player of 1995 in Yamin Yamin's player poll last year. He has been at the absolute top for a good two decades. I've known him since 1969 or so (when we were both chess players), so he knows that he can subject me to searing abuse that would wilt less insulated souls.

Bryant Park, New York Summer 1996

Since I mentioned it, here's a shot of the action in Bryant Park last summer. What's so interesting about the opening position? And why does no one (except that one sweet girl :-)  (Okay, it's time to admit it -- it's **tinker!!**) notice me standing there with a camera? Typical games players...

Philling In

 Phil Laak, Istanbul Jan 1998

Yes. This is.... The Man... The UltraMan... The Legend... The Genius... 
none other than...
***!!!Philly Boy!!!***

Okay, so maybe he hadn't been getting much sleep at this point -- blame it on me, waking him up at 7 am when I'd get on the Net to the U.S. At least he wasn't taking any more first-round naps. Or maybe he had seen so much backgammon by this point that it was affecting his vision. You know how that smokey air can be.
Phil Laak, Jerry Grandell, Andreia; Istanbul Jan 1998

Perhaps, after staying up every night playing the various ex-Soviets and recording matches most of the days, he started to feel he really did know how to play backgammon for a while -- but then he was slapped back into oblivion in the money round of the blitz. He tried...

Here he is kneeling at the feet of the Master... No, this is not the 1987 World Champion (and soon-to-be winner of Istanbul 1998) telling him where "Help!" is, but it could be...

Flavia, Phil, X22; Rio Nov 1998

Phil may have abandoned the idylls of San Francisco for the mean streets of New York, trying to convince his bankroll that he *does* know how to play the game. Or maybe he should learn Gin. Well, anyway, he seems to have found his stride, making the 2-point against Jeff Westheimer and dreaming of crocodiles. And now he's gone into... INTERIOR DECORATING? Oh well, more later -- this is really just a scratch on the surface that is Punxatawney Phil.

Steve w/ Mia

I think he's the first person I ever played backgammon with. 1976 or so. Friday night, cold January, Capablanca Chess Club, Maplewood, Missouri. We played backgammon all night, 10 cents a point. Real cents. I lost $13. That's 130 points! I was SO STEAMED!! I figured there HAD to be something going on, how could I lose so badly! (Note: I was never a gambler.) Thus transferred my games drive from chess to backgammon, and the rest is history, etc. etc.


MJH, Miller

St. Louis managed to have a fair number of backgammon players. Balaban's in the Central West End was our favorite place to play. Alas, Herbie and Pete, the amazing Martha (of "Martha Point" fame), community pillar Mark Molasky are all gone; Mike "The Rock" Rochman (the original Games Grid acolyte!) plays less (I hear the divorce "took a lot out of him"), but some are still at it. Jim Painter gets around to the tournaments some, and The Great One, Michael Julian Hirschfeld, still carries on. (Boy does he carry on...)


Stevie and I have both found our way to the Bay Area, at different times, in different parts. I didn't see him here until I came back from my Chess Life Assistant Editor stints in 1994 or so. I was going back and forth from Berkeley to Santa Cruz, and Steve gave me a motorcycle he figured he wouldn't be riding much any more now that he was about to be a father. And that's pretty much just the way he is. Okay, so the Lexus got smashed up after I dropped him off at the airport just before Christmas; Kaoru and he don't seem to mind.

[Addendum to that all-night game: At 8:30 or whatever time it was, we realized there was a chess tournament about to start downtown. So we raced there and entered. Steve fell asleep, literally, during his first-round game, and withdrew. I went on to score 5-0, but looking at the games I can still see that I wasn't really there...]

Kit and Patti

A number of us Bay Area FIBSters like to get together for dinner at almost any opportunity. Here are Kit Woolsey and Patti Beadles at the Claremont Inn in Berkeley this last summer, on the occasion of a visit from Sandor Fekete of Cologne, Germany. Sandor put Patti and me up during part of our crazy tour of Europe the summer of 1995.

Abbas Zaltash, Pittsburgh 1997 

An improved picture of the Persian Doughboy, 'abz' on FIBS and Games Grid, previous winner of the American Backgammon Tour and perennial tournament success story. Please don't tell him that I'm learning anything from watching him play on FIBS. [In fact, I've noticed him making the ace point lately...] 

Click on picture for a typical pose from the traditional Sunday Night Chouette...

Kent Goulding 

Another games player I've known since chess in the 1960s. Longtime player, author of the "Backgammon With the Champions" series, co-editor of "Inside Backgammon" (with Bill Robertie), and retired calcutta auctioneer (alas).

Jake the Fish Taster

Another popular face in American (and Thai) backgammon: Jake Jacobs of Chicago. A quietly strong player, entertaining author, Far East traveller, incorrigible raconteur. What is he studying this time?    I credit the merest scanning of his new book "Can A Fish Taste Twice As Good?" (before I sold it to the Japanese fellows in Dallas) with my grinding out all those Texans en route to making the consolation finals of the World Cup. (But not for beating Jake in the first round! He no fish. But no problem, if I hadn't won he'd have ended up where I was, unable to even play in, let alone win, the U.S. Open -- which he did!)
Carol Joy Cole 

Carol has for many years been responsible for the phenomenally successful Flint Backgammon Club, plus its excellent newsletter. She acts as a director at many tournaments both in the U.S. and internationally, and when she isn't directing she's playing! (and she ain't easy, either!) 
Click on her picture for Carol showing just how unflappable she is under pressure...

More? MORE? Oh, very well...