Print media from years gone by provide a rich history of how backgammon has been played, promoted, and enjoyed over time. These materials can also reveal the biases and prejudices of their day, so they should not be viewed uncritically — nor should the attitudes of publishers in the 1930’s or 1970’s be taken to be those of the NEBC or any current backgammon organization.
Clicking on the article image will take you either to a searchable PDF file that may be viewed in your web browser or downloaded to your computer or tablet for offline reading, or to the online archive provided by the copyright holder. Most popular magazine issues can also be hunted down on eBay or other online sites.
Popular Magazine Features
When backgammon is hot, you can bet it will turn up in a variety of popular magazine titles. All of the titles in this gallery feature a substantial article on backgammon of the day.
The New Yorker (1930, Oct. 18)
Harper's Bazaar (1931, Oct.)
In “The Backgammon Boom,” expert of the day Walter L. Richard offers insights into the origins of the two great backgammon innovations credited to the jazz age: doubling and chouettes. See the Chicago Point account of this article’s discovery!
Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine
Las Vegas Backgammon publication was a deluxe magazine running from approximately 1978 – 1982, published by las Vegas club president Michael Maxakuli. These issues, provided by Candace Mayeron for scanning, offer a trove of backgammon articles, images, and ads that capture the glamor and avarice of backgammon during the peak of the game’s popularity in the United States, as well as the evolution of tournament practices and game strategy in that period. Another thing they capture: the casual sexism of their day. Women featured on the covers serve mostly as “eye candy” (note that few of them are even pretending to play backgammon) — and some viewers may find some images inappropriately revealing.
The Las Vegas magazine employed an almost comically inconsistent numbering system, but was published on a roughly quarterly basis despite purporting to be a “bi-monthly.” Estimated dates are placed in [brackets]. If you would be willing to contribute scans of earlier Las Vegas newsletter/magazines, or later ones, please contact us.
This ambitious but short-lived “national” backgammon magazine was published by Buddy Berke and edited by Sidney Jackson. A paucity of national-brand advertising may have made it difficult to sustain its high production values and cost. Its substance and style is very close to the Las Vegas magazines, including the exploitive cover imagery.
GAMMON (1979, Preview Issue)
Alfred Sheinwold on Organizing BG; Hugh Hefner Celebrity Profile; American Women BG profile; Cube as a Weapon; Tournament Reports (Acapulco, Pebble Beach, Lucille Ball, Chicago, San Francisco); Club profiles on Pacific Northwest, Turnberry Isle, Mayfair, Cavendish West; “The Man in The Box” Pt.1; PIPS Club; Thorp on Endgames.
GAMMON (1980, Winter)
The PDF files in this section contain brochures / flyers for various backgammon events in the 1970’s-80s, loosely grouped into batches according to geography or event. Most were generously provided by avid Los Angeles player Candace Mayeron for scanning. If you have additional pre-1990 materials you’d be willing to contribute, please contact us.
Before settling down in Monte Carlo in 1979, World Championship events were held in Las Vegas and Paradise island. For a detailed account, see this article in Bill Robertie’s Gammon Press blog.