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Children in London lives ruined by Backgammon - In support of Phil

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Tuesday, 25 February 2014, at 7:52 p.m.

In Response To: Children in London lives ruined by Backgammon - In support of Phil (Keene)

Excellent analysis and points. One of the major reasons I think Backgammon is a wonderful game for children is that it does teach them how to weigh risks and rewards. It helps them understand that there are consequences when you take risks, and that you should only take a risk if the reward is worth it, and you need to be able to understand that sometimes you will lose. Sometimes you lose because your opponent played well, and sometimes it's just the odds that the dice will occasionally decide to beat you, and often, it is both.

Learning this from backgammon will actually help prevent someone from becoming a wild gambler. In fact, the best "gamblers" I have ever known aren't really gambling at all...they are competing in events where they have a definite edge and they are more likely to win than lose. Shooting craps is gambling. Playing blackjack, if you play properly and count cards and can be sure you are not being cheated, is a skill game. Playing poker or backgammon where you are better than your opponents is not gambling.

It is precisely because I want my children to learn about the risks of taking unwarranted chances, and the positive affects of applying skill, and the ability to deal with both good and bad luck, that I believe backgammon is such a wonderful teacher of important life-lessons. I don't know of another game or activity that teaches these things (and math and probability and strategy and deductive and stochastic reasoning) as well.

Someone has stated that the reason we shouldn't be teaching kids backgammon is that they should be outside playing sports instead. This is not an either/or proposition....I don't believe backgammon replaces their sports activities...it replaces the time they would spend texting and on facebook and playing video games and Wars of Witchcraft and other more mindless and worthless activities.

To a large extent, we are preaching to the choir. Most knowledgeable, intelligent people who play and love backgammon can see the benefits of the game for kids, and support the USBGF and tournaments for appealing to younger people...not only for their benefit but for the growth and future and vitality of the game. The number of detractor are few, but again, unfortunately they are vocal, threatening, and unfortunately, for some strange reason, they do have followers and influence groups that listen to them. But their vocal comments, which extend to personal insults and even threats of undertones of physical and other threats, do hurt the cause and make it far less rewarding to volunteer time and effort to the cause. And it takes a lot of wasted time and energy to argue and fight with them and to try to avoid them at tournaments and public places where they lurk.

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