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2014 Texas Backgammon Championships -- San Antonio

Posted By: Bill Riles
Date: Wednesday, 21 August 2013, at 2:53 p.m.

The Texas Backgammon Championships will again be held at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio from January 30 to February 2, 2014. The 2013 event was very well received and was a tremendous success. We believe the 2014 event will be an even greater success.

Tara Mendicino and I conceived this tournament as a 'destination event' providing, in addition to a great backgammon tournament, great facilities and opportunities for tourism, dining, art, history, and other activities. We chose a large, easily accessible host city. We chose a late January/early February date taking advantage of the mild South Texas winter weather while much of the States is experiencing very cold temperatures. We chose an historic, downtown hotel with a beautiful 'ballroom suite' playing area. We chose the downtown location proximate to the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and all of the many attractions which make San Antonio one of the premier tourism/convention cities in the United States.

Players and their guests, almost without exception, loved all of these aspects of the 2013 event. Several of our favorite anecdotal occurrences/comments included a Giant of Backgammon who wanted to leave a 2014 deposit before he left the 2013 event, claiming the Texas Backgammon Championships as his new favorite tournament. Carol Joy Cole, who has probably attended as many tournaments all over the world as anyone, recently said "San Antonio is the perfect backgammon tournament venue". Californian Cheryl Anderson described the nearby RiverWalk (a block away) as "an amusement park of restaurants".

We intend the 2014 event to be bigger and better than the 2013 event. Many successful aspects will remain unchanged; however, there will be some changes and some new events and features. Those things remaining the same include the full array of ABT events, the USBGF affiliation and events, the innovative Dual-Duel tournament, and the many side events. Phil Simborg will return and conduct at least two free lectures/seminars with one specifically tailored to less experienced players -- I'm sure we might expect some prominent guest co-hosts to participate. We will continue to stream as many matches as we can with the reliability of a hard-wired internet connection. Last year we streamed something on the order of sixty matches. Look for some innovative surprises in the streaming arena.

One of the most popular changes has been that each of the twenty-six suites (of varying sizes) in the Menger Hotel are available at a tournament rate of $150/night (the tournament rate for standard rooms is $99/night). Many of the suites have already been reserved by players but some remain. If this interests you, suites may be reserved on the on-line Menger Hotel site in the same manner as all other rooms. The Menger Hotel is an older, historic hotel with many additions over the decades. Room sizes vary greatly. Singles are typically the smallest rooms, so it may be advisable to reserve double rooms for the additional size. The Menger Hotel staff was most accommodating this year in relocating those few guests who expressed dissatisfaction with their rooms.

Other changes, in response to our own learning experiences in 2013 and in response to feedback from players, include that all four days of the tournament will be held in the spacious ballroom suite. Beginning Thursday afternoon, the continuous entry seniors and doubles events will commence as will the USBGF National Championship qualifiers. Starting these events earlier, and not having to move from the smaller Minuet Room to the ballroom suite on Thursday night/Friday morning will enable and ensure better execution of the seniors and doubles events in comparison to 2013. Further, we will have a couple of free entry events. The Ultimate Backgammon Challenge will be limited to Advanced and Novice players and will provide an extensive array of prizes for the winner(s). We will again have a DMP Surprise Freeroll -- this year we plan two independent start times and larger fields (each player may only enter once). We plan a Speedgammon Event and Monte Carlo World Championship qualifiers.

In 2013, as designed, we had a large number of guests in attendance with the players -- spouses, partners, siblings, children, and more. In 2014 we have included two 'Backgammon Widows Receptions' to facilitate many of these people meeting each other and perhaps allowing the planning of joint activities and the like.

As in 2013, the 2014 event will occur on Super Bowl weekend. A Super Bowl TV party will be held in the Directors' Suites for all who wish to attend. By having this event in private suites, we can provide better food and drink at a more reasonable price in comparison to 2013. Also, for those arriving in San Antonio early, we are attempting to acquire a number of tickets for the Wednesday night, January 29, NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs, of course, are a superb team that reached the NBA Finals this year. The Bulls, a second round playoff team in 2013 without their best player, should be a much improved team with the return of Derrick Rose. This could be a fun event for those wishing to attend and can provide a unique opportunity to see two top NBA teams -- many international players and US players from smaller markets rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to see an NBA game in person.

Tara has created an exceptional website -- http://www.texasbackgammon.com/ -- providing a wealth of information on the tournament, the city, dining options, things to see and do, and more. The tournament brochure may be accessed at the website. Details on all of the various events described above are available on the website and/or the brochure.

We look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio. We can guarantee you a most enjoyable destination tournament event experience.

If you came in 2013 we know you'll be back. If you didn't make 2013, you don't want to miss it again !!

Regards and best wishes,

Bill and Tara

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