So Backgammon is dying?
Posted By: Adam Torkelson In Response To: So Backgammon is dying? (Phil Simborg)
Date: Friday, 5 July 2013, at 6:30 p.m.
In Response To: So Backgammon is dying? (Phil Simborg)
I never worry about backgammon "dying". It has existed in some form or other for 5,000 years.
To me, backgammon offers just as much intellectual stimulation as chess and just as much excitement as poker.
Backgammon has not had the promotion of its competitors (poker and chess). Texas Hold 'Em had been broadcast on ESPN since the 1980s and no one gave a rat's behind about it. It wasn't until the movie "Rounders" came out in 1998 that Texas Hold 'Em became popular.
Same with chess. Interest in chess was mediocre at best, reserved for "snobbish" intellectuals up until 1972. In 1972 the Cold War was still going on, and the US and Russia wanted to be the best at everything. The US had finally won the space race at the time (moon landing in 1969) that had been going on since the early 50s. But the Cold War still pressed on and the opportunity arose where the two best players in the world were from the US and the USSR. Chess is considered by westerners as the highest game of intellectual pursuits, so there was the opportunity once again to beat the other country at something very difficult during the Cold War. Winning the chess championship meant everything (symbolically).
The championship match is still known to this day as "The Match of the Century" with Bobby Fisher vs. Boris Spassky. The whole incident was very dramatic and drawn out (Fisher acting like a drama queen), and when Fisher won it ended 24 years of Russian domination in chess. For weeks the whole thing was front page news (the events leading up to the match). To say the least, Fisher became a household name and an "American Hero", and according to my dad *everyone* became interested in chess.
Backgammon has not had this type of vehicle yet to springboard its popularity, but something could happen someday. Either way, it's not dying. Its lack of being as popular as poker or chess has nothing to do with the game being inferior.
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