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G1 Victor Ashkenazi - USA (Grandmaster Class 1)

Victor Ashkenazi Victor Ashkenazi, moved from Moscow to New York when he was 25, later becoming a USA citizen. Before switching to Backgammon in his late 20s, he was an accomplished Chess player, with speed chess his speciality. He started playing backgammon in 1998 and within two years he became a much feared opponent amidst the thriving Times Square backgammon scene. He soon became an accomplished online player, reaching and maintaining high rankings on the major servers.
Victor has very high standard of play in live tournaments, as can be seen from his many streamed matches (over 75 to date). His notable wins include the Las Vegas Open in 2007, the NY Open in 2009 and 2012. In 2012, his best tournament year, he also won the Tampa Open and the Masters events in Las Vegas and LA. In 2015 he won the Carolina Masters.
In 2013, he was voted onto the 32 Giants List for the first time reaching #11. In 2013 he was selected for the World vs. Denmark annual event and has been a member ever since. His GridGammon nickname is Vic.

G3 Karsten Bredahl - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 3)

Karsten Bredahl Karsten Bredahl, born in Copenhagen in 1970, learnt to play backgammon in the mid-1980s. In 1993 he became a registered member of the DBGF. Throughout his backgammon career, Karsten has had great success in doubles and team events, starting in 1995 when he became the Danish Doubles Champion. Moreover, he is the only Danish player to have been a winner in the Danish Team Championships five times (in 1998, 2000, 2007, 2010 and 2012). He has also been very successful in singles events, winning the Nordic Open in 2003 and 2005, and the XG Masters Live Tournaments in 2012 and 2013, amongst other events. At the Nordic Open he has been awarded 12 prizes over his career.
In 2012, Karsten was awarded the prestigious title of Super Grandmaster by the DBGF. Currently, he is the only player in the Danish Norms system to have reached this level. In that year he was also awarded the title of “Danish Player of the Year” and played in the winning Danish Team in the prestigious World vs. Denmark event. In 2013, he was voted onto the 32 Giants List for the first time reaching #26. His nickname on Gridgammon is “PlzDontCube”.

G2 Matt Cohn-Geier - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

Matt Cohn-Geier Born in Illinois in 1984, Matt (or MCG) discovered backgammon in 2006 while at University studying Philosophy and two years later was runner-up at the Las Vegas Open. His notable tournament wins include the Illinois Masters and Las Vegas Super Jackpot in 2009, the Minnesota Open and Masters Jackpot in 2010, the Las Vegas Open and Nordic Open Super Jackpot in 2011, the Japan Open Consolation and Super Jackpot, the Monte Carlo WBF Cup, and the Super Jackpots at the Nordic Open and US Open in 2012. In 2013, he was runner-up in the Chicago Open, the Nevada State Open and its Super Jackpot, and in the Texan Championship Duel-Dual.
In 2009, he was voted onto the 32 Giants List for the first time (at 25, the youngest player ever to do so) and has remained in the list ever since, reaching #5 (his current level) on two occasions. In 2010 he was selected for the World vs. Denmark in the inaugural event and has been a member ever since. He joined the Under 4.0 Club in 2013. His GridGammon nickname is atrifix.

G3 Jess danielsen - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 3)

Jess Danielsen I was born in 1974 in Denmark, and I started playing online backgammon in 1998. I heard about the cafe tournaments in Copenhagen, I attended, and I was completely hooked. When I had kids I had a 4.5-year break from the game, but I returned in 2011 eager to retain knowledge. During my break, DBgF had introduced a norm system with titles like chess, and that just motivated me even more. Over the years I have won a few Danish tournaments, but my best live result is 2nd place in 2015 in the Elite division of the Danish team tournament. I play for the Danish online national team and have done for the past few years. I won the EBIF European Cup 2016 and got 3rd in the EBIF Champions Cup 2017. Online my nick is "erroneous". I want to thank BMAB for making this possible, and my team Casino Copenhagen Backgammon for endless inspiration, and last but not least I want to thank my wife and kids for their support, and for coping with me when I talk a bit too much about backgammon :). I still have so much more to learn about this game, so the study continues.

G3 Amir Esgraghi - Iran (Grandmaster Class 3)

Amir Eshraghi I was born in Tehran in 1983. I enjoyed solving intelligence and mathematical puzzles in my free time. I discovered Backgammon when I was a Masters student of Mechanical Engineering in 2007 while I was actually a snooker player (it is a game based on skill and luck).I found that Backgammon and Snooker have common features so I tended to play and learn backgammon. I searched for information about Backgammon in google and found some interesting articles. Unfortunately Backgammon was illegal to play in Iran and there were no books, clubs, tournaments or strong players. After 3 months of online playing, I found GNU as a reference and a true teacher! I used GNU from 2007 until 2012. After a while I got an account in GridGammon as “Amirsnooker”, and learned by watching top players. I Started using XG in 2012 (second coach)! My first achievement was fourth place of Online Nations Cup Team Championship in GridGammon 2011. In 2015 I started to participate in international tournaments. I won Istavder Anniversary in 2015 with about 350 players on the first go. I was also a finalist of the Istavder doubles tournament in February 2016 and the Shiraz Open Championship with 110 players in Iran May 2016.I hope I can participate in more serious international tournaments in the future. I believe Backgammon will bring peace to different nationalities, beliefs and religions.

G3 Julian Fetterlein - United Kingdom (Grandmaster Class 3)

Julian Fetterlein Born in Cheltenham UK in 1956, Julian Fetterlein started playing Backgammon in the early Eighties. After a 15 year break with education and employment he returned to the game. Julian has built up a reputation as perhaps the foremost British backgammon match player over the last 15-20 years, and has made a significant impact as a lecturer and teacher/trainer. Many of the newer generation of top players in the UK have thrived from his tutelage.
He achieved a record 16 consecutive wins at BIBA (British Isles Backgammon Association) and obtained the highest ever rating of 2103. After a period of perennial second places in the Bristol Open (twice), the London Open (twice) and the Las Vegas Open, main and consolation he seemingly discovered how to win. His notable recent tournament victories include winning the UK Finals and the UK Open. In 2015 he won the Birmingham Open, the Arena Cup and the first UK BMAB (UK) Ranking Tournament.
He attributes his Grandmaster title to the software developers who have finally produced a program clever enough to understand his game. His online nickname is "joolesf". (photo by courtesy of David Startin)

G2 Steen Grønbech - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 2)

Steen Grønbech Steen Grønbech, born in Odense in Denmark in 1970, has lived in Copenhagen for most of his life. He learnt to play backgammon in the early-1990s and in 1994 he became a registered member of the DBGF. Steen has won many national titles over the last 20 years and has been particularly successful in team events, winning the Danish Team Championships four times (in 2000, 2007, 2010 and 2012) and the Nordic Open Team event in 2004.
Besides being a top quality player, Steen is a major organiser and promoter in Backgammon. He is currently the President of the EuBGF and has been President of the DBGF three times. He has directed the Nordic Open over the last several years (preventing his participation in the World vs. Denmark events). He has also directed many other international tournaments including the Monte Carlo World Championships from 2010-14.
In 2009, Steen was voted onto the 32 Giants List for the first time and has remained in the list ever since, reaching #22 (his current level is #28). In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious title of Grandmaster by the DBGF. His nickname on Gridgammon is “Spiril”.

G1 Michihito Kageyama - Japan (Grandmaster Class 1)

Michihito Kageyama Based in Osaka, Michihito “Michy” Kageyama, started taking Backgammon very seriously after visiting the Chess and Backgammon Club in New York in 1995. There followed five years of rapid development culminating in his winning the highly prestigious “Bansei” (Board-Spirit) tournament four times consecutively from 2000 to 2003.
His notable victories on the international circuit includes wins in the Menton Open and the Super Jackpots at Las Vegas in 2011, winner in the consolation of the European Championship and runner up in the Monte Carlo World Championship in 2012, winner in the European Championship and Munich Open in 2013, and winner of the Portuguese Open, Athens Open and Cannes Super Jackpot in 2014.
In 2009, he was voted into the Giant-32 List for the first time and has remained in the list ever since, reaching #2. (his current level). In 2010 he was selected for the World vs. Denmark in the inaugural event and has been a member ever since. He joined Mochy’s Under 4.0 Club in 2013. His GridGammon nickname is michy.

G3 Bernhard Kaiser - Germany (Grandmaster Class 3)

Bernhard Kaiser Bernhard, born in 1969, learned the game at the age of 14 during a vacation on a small Greek island. His teacher, his Greek landlord, was known as the Backgammon King of the Island. They played for ice cream, and Bernhard usually lost. Back home, he studied the game seriously and managed to slaughter the "King" two years later!
During the late eighties and early nineties he played successfully at many tournaments, culminating at the Backgammon Olympiad in Venice 1996, where he won the title in the Champions Class as well as in the Doubles Consulting event and finished second only to Paul Magriel’s Squad in the Teams event.
He then took a long break, concentrating on his family and job as a mathematician, but returned to the tournament scene some years ago, winning many local tournaments and leading the German Elo-ranking list for some time. He also won the WSOB Online Tour in 2012.
Bernhard has rarely been seen at international tournaments, but is planning to change this in the future! His Gridgammon nickname is "rosinabeck".

G2 Neil Kazaross - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

Neil Kazaross Neil Kazaross, who resides near Chicago, has been at the forefront of backgammon achievement over most of the four decades since he first started playing competitively in the later 1970s. He is justifiably famous as both an outstanding player and leading analyst.
Neil has won countless trophies both in and outside the USA. Perhaps his most notable achievement has been winning the prestigious ABT first place prize on six occasions (1994, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2012, and 2013). He has won 17 ABT tournaments overall, an astonishing record.
Neil has made major contributions to the science of backgammon, particularly in relation to Opening Theory and Match Equities most notably through his formulation of “Neil’s Numbers” and his seminal collaborative work with David Rockwell, using the power of modern bots to construct a modern Match Equity Table. He has co-authored a couple of backgammon books and has been a contributor on several others.
Neil has been voted to the Giant 32 List every time since its inception in 1993, reaching #2 (currently he is ranked #4 and has been in the top 10 since 1995). In 2015 he was inducted into the USBGF Hall of Fame. His online nickname is “neilkaz”.

G3 Athanasios Katsios - Greece (Grandmaster Class 3)

Athanasios Katsios Born in 1981, Athanasios is one of a group of very strong Greek players. He appeared on the international backgammon circuit in 2013, cashing with third place in the Masters event in the European Pro Championship in Northern Cyprus.
He joined Mochy’s Under 4.0 Club in 2014. This achievement was quite dramatic because in the second match he played PR 12.4. Rather than quit the attempt he valiantly fought on in the remainder of the series and played well enough to meet the target. Later in 2014, he won the highly prestigious Masters event (from a field of 235) at the Merit Open in Northern Cyprus, and was also a semi-finalist in the Doubles Championship at the same venue.
In his short time on the international circuit Athenasios has earned a reputation for being a very intelligent and strong player, whilst also being exceptionally kind and modest; a perfect gentleman over the board and one of the most pleasant opponents to have. His Gridgammon nickname is afisikos.

G2 Petko Kostadinov - USA/Bulgaria (Grandmaster Class 2)

Petko Kostadinov Petko born in Burgas, Bulgaria, started playing backgammon from the age of 11. He had high level training within the Bulgarian Merchant Navy, where he served as officer on large crude oil carriers. Subsequently he and his family moved to the USA, where both he and his wife have pursued very successful academic and professional careers. Since starting playing on the ABT Tour in 2001, he has steadily built up his reputation through both top level play and for perfect sportsmanship, resulting in his being voted into the Giants List several times, with current status #6. He has won Masters Tournaments in Pittsburgh (twice), Michigan and Charlotte (twice), and the SuperJackpot in Las Vegas.
In 2013, he had a particularly glorious year, winning the 2nd IBC, third place in the Monte Carlo World Championship, and winning the 2nd Giants Invitational Tournament in 2013 (with 2.52 over eight 9 point matches). In 2014 he joined the World Team for the Nordic Open, and won the Masters Jackpot in Illinois. His Gridgammon nickname is Bulgari.

G2 Thomas Kristensen - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 2)

Thomas Kristensen Born in 1978 in Copenhagen Denmark, Thomas Kristensen discovered backgammon in 1996 on the streets of Copenhagen where professional ‘hustlers’ played it for money.
In the strong Danish backgammon environment he quickly improved and decided to become a full time professional player in 2000. He continued living solely off backgammon until 2003 where poker took over as his main game.
His notable recent tournament victories include winning the European Championships for national teams both live and online in 2014. In both championships he had the best individual score on the team.
He also played each year from 2010-2015 on the Danish team which plays in the inaugural event vs. The World team. He has exceptional online results playing for Denmark in premier individual and team championship tournaments organised by EBIF. He is currently the 3rd ranked player in the PR-ranking table. His nickname on GG is Kristensen.

S3 Masayuki Mochizuki - Japan (Super Grandmaster Class 3)

Masayuki Mochizuki Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki, born in Tokyo in 1979, has played on the international circuit since 2001. His notable tournament wins include the Las Vegas Open in 2003, the Bristol Open in 2005, the Belgian Open and the Second Consolation of the Monte Carlo World Championship in2006, where in 2009, he became World Champion, and in 2012 he was runner-up. His wins also include the Nordic Open Super Jackpot in 2010, the European Championship and Las Vegas Open in 2012, the European Pro Championships, the Chicago Open and the Velden Super Jackpot in 2013, the Munich Open, the Monte Carlo Super Jackpot and the Texan Backgammon Championship in 2014, where he was also the Dual-Duel PR winner.
In 2005, he was voted onto the 32 Giants List for the first time and has remained in the list ever since, reaching #1 (his current level) on two occasions (his current level). In 2010 he was selected for the World vs. Denmark in the inaugural event and has been a member ever since. He joined the Under 4.0 Club in 2013. He has a professional relationship with BackgammonAce, where his nickname is bgmochy. His GridGammon nickname is mochy.

G2 Thomas Myhr - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 2)

Thomas Myhr Born in 1972, Thomas Myhr was introduced to backgammon by a friend in 1992 and played for fun as a leisure game. He considered backgammon as primarily a game of luck until he purchased Bill Robertie’s book “501 problems” in 1999. This was an eye opener, that completely changed his view on the game. He bought all the books about backgammon that existed and started to study the theory of the game.
He steadily progressed his skills to become a full time professional online player from 2005-2009. In this period of time he was one of the most succesfull online tournament players, winning numerous events. His notable live tournament victories include Nordic Open 2012, XG Masters 2015 and the Super Jackpot at Nordic Open 2018. In 2013, he was selected to play for Denmark in the annual prestigious DK vs World event at the Nordic Open and remained a regular team member until this event ended in 2016.
In 2018, Thomas Myhr was awarded the prestigious title of Super Grandmaster by the DBGF in accordance with their Norm system. He has played for the Danish National team since 2016, which has achieved amazing results winning the European Team Backgammon Championship 2 times and winning 3rd place twice since the start of this event in 2014. He is currently the 4th ranked player in the EBIF PR-ranking table. His Nickname on GG is ZicoBlack.

G2 Yoshiyuki Nakamura - Japan (Grandmaster Class 2)

Yoshiyuki Nakamura Yoshiyuki Nakamura, born in 1988, is a semi-professional backgammon player who lives in Tokyo. Besides playing he also teaches and tutors many students, and regularly promotes, organises and directs backgammon tournaments and events.
He is the most successful player from the highly prestigious U25 Group, a project to find, train and fast-track, the best young players in Japan, directed by Mochy and supported by the Japanese Backgammon League (JBL). He is consistently in the top 10 on the JBL rating list.
He has already won the very prestigious national title “Meijin” (Master) on two occasions. All rounds in the "Meijin" title are 25 point matches. He joined Mochy’s Under 4.0 Club in 2014.
He started to play on the International Backgammon circuit in 2014, where he is likely to make a big impact soon. His GridGammon nickname is yosiyuki.

G3 Kiyokazu Nishikawa - Japan (Grandmaster Class 3)

Kiyokazu Nishikawa Kiyokazu Nishikawa, who lives in the Tokyo area, is a player with a massive reputation in Japan. He has won several of the Japanese Backgammon League’s (JBL) most prestigious titles including being Japanese Champion on three occasions and "Bansei “ (Board-Spirit) winner twice, which is equivalent in status to the famous "Meijin" winner. Each round in the “Bansei” title is played in the format of best of three 11 point matches.
He is famous for changing his style and strategy to suit different opponents, in order to exploit their weaknesses. When necessary he is able to play at very low PR levels as shown by his joining Mochy’s Under 4.0 Club in 2015.
He has not played an international tournament yet but may do so in the near future. So watch out! His GridGammon nickname is fairytails.

G3 Freddie Noer - Denmark (Grandmaster Class 3)

Freddie Noer Born in 1958 in Holbæk, Denmark, Freddie started playing backgammon in 1992 when the game was just starting to boom in Denmark. He gained considerable experience playing in thousands of games against Michael Weile, analyzing and discussing positions from various tournaments.
Since commercial bots became available, Freddie has developed a fantastic analytical approach to the game and spends much time perfecting his game. This approach has brought him exceptional results including winning his first Danish Team Championship with his club “Soiree Dansante” in 2009. In 2014 he won the most prestigious PR tournament in Denmark (perhaps in the World), the XG Masters.
Freddie is a natural choice for the Danish National Team, and was among the 6 best players in Denmark who won both the European Championship in Croatia 2014 and the European Championship of online backgammon on EBIF, where he is currently the second highest ranked player on the PR-Ranking list. He regularly represents Denmark vs the World in the Nordic Open.
Freddie was a very good chess player as a youngster and also has titles in bridge, golf, badminton and Soccer. He is a true gentleman in whichever sport he participates. His nickname on Gridgammon is Miraculix.

G2 John O'Hagan - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

John O'Hagan Born in Illinois, John learned how to play backgammon in college. He started entering tournaments in the mid 1980s. His first big cash came in 1989 when he came in 2nd in Lake Tahoe. He has won several ABT tournaments over the years. He won the Chicago Open back to back in 1996 and 1997, the 2008 Nevada State Super Jackpot and the 2009 Nevada State Championships. In 2010 he won the New Mexico and Florida State Championships. He won the Ohio State Championships in 2011 and the Wisconsin State Championships in both 2012 and 2013. He also finished 2nd in Monte Carlo in 2005. He has been on the giants list since 2007 and is currently ranked 15th in the world. He has spent a lot of time studying match equity and has developed several rules for takepoints and gammon values in match play. He is a backgammon teacher and has been giving lessons for the last few years. His gridgammon nickname is johnoh.

G2 Dmitriy Obukhov - USA/Latvia (Grandmaster Class 2)

Dmitriy Obukhov Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1979, Dmitriy moved to Michigan, USA, in 2000. He started playing Chess in 1992 and became a USCF National Master in his mid 20s. In 2009, he discovered Backgammon and in 2010 he obtained XG, finding his PR to be just over 5.0, giving an early sign of his very exceptional natural gift for the game.
Dmitriy has had notable successes. In Cleveland in 2011, he was second in the Consolation, and in 2012 was second in the Main and won the Masters. In doubles, he was second in Peoria in 2012 and winner in Chicago in 2013. He joined Mochy’s Under 4.0 Club in 2014.
Online, he won two IIBGF ranking events. He won the Russian Premier League in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 he was second in the USBGF Online Championships. In the 2014 EBIF European Championship he won all 9 matches for runner-up Latvia. He is top 5 in the EBIF ranking list. His GridGammon nickname is Lyurix.

G3 Gaz Owen - United Kingdom (Grandmaster Class 3)

Gaz Owen Gareth 'gaztafari' Owen was born in Ashford, England in 1979. He graduated in Pure and Applied Mathematics with honours from Exeter University in 2002 where he got his nickname, gaztafari, from his love of dub reggae.
He discovered backgammon in the staff rooms of casinos in his mid 20's and soon gave up his job when he realised there was more money to be made playing on his break than dealing roulette!
His notable win is Merit Park Open 2015.Gaz was also runner-up in the Consolation of the World Championships in Monte Carlo in 2013.
Gaz describes himself as a blitz middle game player. He can't wait for the advent of electronic boards as he detests pip counting. He also enjoys other games with a twisted luck element such as football, tennis and golf. In 2015 he set himself 4 goals; win a major tournament, get on the giants list, reach UK no.1 ranking and become a grand master. 6 months later, here he is. (photo by courtesy of David Startin)

G3 David Presser - Israel (Grandmaster Class 3)

David Presser David Presser was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1980. He grew up as a chess player and became a National Master by the time he graduated high school. David took his first serious leap into backgammon at the local Chicago Bar Point Club in 2012, while studying for his masters degree at Northwestern University. Today David is a highly respected, avid player, a reputable teacher and lecturer, and an active member and supporter of the BMAB and USBGF organizations with the goal of promoting the game. David has many major victories in the US including the prestigious Chicago Bar Point Club Championship in 2013 and 2015, 2014 Minnesota Masters Jackpot, and 2014 NY Metro Limited Jackpot. He intends to participate in international tournaments in the near future. His GridGammon nickname is DMP.

G2 Steve Sax - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

Steve Sax Steve Sax was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1960. He played his first backgammon tournament in 1976 at age 15 and won his first major tournament in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983. He has won 24 titles over the years including ABT main events or consolations, jackpots and club championships. His two most notable victories were his 2000 Grand Crystal Beaver victory over Nack Ballard and his win in the Giants Invitational in 2011 over "Falafel".
He also has had the honour of playing and winning 10 doubles tournaments most notably the World Doubles Championship in 2006 with partner Brian Zembic. In 2002 he won the ABT championship. Steve has also been voted to the "Giants of Backgammon" list seven consecutive times beginning in 2001 and has reached a ranking as high as 6th.
As well as backgammon, Steve enjoys to play bridge, gin rummy and poker all of which to much lesser degrees of success than backgammon. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California where he competes, teaches and writes about backgammon. You can find him at GridGammon often playing under the name of STEAMSAX.

G3 Frank Simon - Germany (Grandmaster Class 3)

Frank Simon Frank Simon, born in 1965, played his first chouette in Thailand in 2004. After winning a satellite tournament, he finished his first international tournament, the Thailand Open, as Runner-Up. Later in the same year, he reached the final in the 16th European Backgammon Championship 2004.
After taking a break, he started playing international tournaments again in 2010 reaching the Quarter Final when playing the Nordic Open for the first time. In 2011 he won the Super-Jackpot in Cyprus in the European Pro Backgammon Championships, was Runner-Up in the 2nd Consolation in Monte Carlo and won the Super-Jackpot in the Buki Memorial Georgian Open. In 2012, Frank won the Thailand Open, and was Runner-Up in the German Backgammon Masters and the European Championship in Velden. In 2015, he was Runner-Up in the German Backgammon-Masters. His online successes include first places in the EBIF Three Lives Open, EBIF Open, EBIF European Cup 2014 and the USBGF Masters Divisional VII.
He has often been the leader of the German Elo-ranking list, and currently he is starting out as a backgammon teacher. His GridGammon nickname is pattayastyle.

G2 Marty Storer - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

Marty Storer Marty Storer lives in the northeastern U.S. He has played since 1975. He honed his skills in the dim-lit backgammon dens of New York, Buffalo, and Toronto, winning his first big tournament in Ottawa in 1983. He won the inaugural American Backgammon Tour, and won two ABT tournaments in 1994. By 1995 he was ranked 13th on Kent Goulding's International Rating List. Since then, software engineering and family have come before backgammon and he has played relatively rarely. Still, he was New England Backgammon Club Champion for the 2012-13 season and runner-up in 1995-6. More recently he won the 2015 Michigan Summer Championship and the 2015 U.S. Backgammon Federation Eastern Championship, also placing in the 2015 Carolina Invitational. He wrote the acclaimed two-volume Backgammon Praxis (2005) featuring matches of Malcolm Davis, and co-authored a book of middle game strategy, What's Your Game Plan?, with Mary Hickey (2011). He is the USBGF Feature Editor for Annotated Matches, and regularly writes articles for the USBGF's magazine Prime Time. He will be seen more often on the tournament circuit from now on. He is not on GridGammon—yet.

G1 Hideaki Ueda - Japan (Grandmaster Class 1)

Hideaki Ueda Hideaki Ueda started playing backgammon at the end of 2016. He has been playing and discussing with the top players in Japan, including Mochy and Michy, in local tournaments in Tokyo and Osaka. In only two years, he became a BMAB Grandmaster (G2), which made him the youngest Grandmaster in Japan at that time. He won one of the biggest titles in Japan, "Bansei" in 2019, and won the Super Jackpot at the Japan Open 2019, both in his first attempt. Hideaki has been expanding his backgammon activities, including participating in tournaments outside of Japan and authoring the 2019 backgammon proficiency test. Hideaki plays as “takadaleft on GridGammon and BackgammonGalaxy.

G2 Bob Wachtel - USA (Grandmaster Class 2)

Bob Wachtel Bob Wachtel was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He became a chess master at 16 and twice placed second in the United States Junior Championships. Bob received a B.S. in chemistry from Rutgers University in 1969 and a PhD in the philosophy of science from the University of Toronto in 1977.
Bob has won major tournaments in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Austria, France, Norway, and Switzerland. Among the highlights were wins at the 1st Backgammon Olympiad in Venice, 1992; both singles and doubles titles at the Worldwide Twin Championships, Las Vegas, 2001; and the "Dual Duel" title at the Texas Championships in San Antonio in 2016. Bob was runner-up in Monte Carlo, 2004 and in the Crown's Cup, Berlin, 2007.
Bob published In the Game Until the End, a monograph on late-contact bearoffs, in 1993, and has authored more than 50 articles for online backgammon sites and journals since then. He has served as the senior editor of the US Backgammon Federation's flagship magazine, PrimeTime Backgammon, since 2009. In 2014 he published In the Game Until the End, Vol II, updating and expanding his earlier work.

G3 Paul Weaver - USA (Grandmaster Class 3)

Paul Weaver Paul began playing backgammon in 1978. He has been voted to the Giant-32 List every time since its inception in 1993 and he is currently ranked #13. Paul is a member of Mochy's Under 4.0 Club. He is the only person who has won backgammon tournaments on five continents (all but Africa and Antarctica). He has also given lessons and seminars on five continents.
With Nack Ballard, Paul co-authored the ground-breaking work on opening theory, “Backgammon Openings, Book A," published in 2007. Over the last three decades he has also written countless articles, which have been published in more than a dozen venues. Paul's hobbys include playing piano and travelling. He has visited all 50 states in the USA and 60 countries. Paul has played live backgammon in 36 countries.
Paul won a tournament in Baden, Austria in 2010 and another in Portugal in 2011. He was a semi-finalist in the Monte Carlo World Championships in 2011 and he won the Vegas Super Jackpot in 2012. His GridGammon nickname is peever.

G3 Kit Woolsey - USA (Grandmaster Class 3)

Kit Woolsey Kit Woolsey, a graduate from Oberlin College) is an American bridge and backgammon player. In bridge, he was the winner of the 1986 Rosenblum Cup world teams championship. He was also runner-up in the 1982 Rosenblum Cup, 1989 Bermuda Bowl and won the Senior Teams at the 2000 World Team Olympiad, and another gold at the 2003 Senior Bowl, as well as more than a dozen ACBL national championships. Many of his successes were in partnership with Ed Manfield. In backgammon, he was runner-up in the 1996 World Cup, and has regularly been voted as leading player on the Giants List since its inception in 1993 (reaching as high as #5 in 2005 and currently ranked #15). He was also an inductee into American Backgammon Hall of Fame in 2015, its inaugural year.
Woolsey authored many bridge and backgammon books, and contributed to the bridge bidding theory with innovations like the two-way checkback convention and a defense system against opposing notrump openings. He won the 1978 International Bridge Press Association (IBPA) award for Best Article or Series on a System or Convention. Since 1984, Woolsey has been one of four (six as of 2005) directors of The Bridge World's Master Solvers Club. Kit Woolsey is editor of the online backgammon magazine GammonU. For a complete bio and list of accomplishments and writings, click here.
(provided by the kind permission of the USBGF)

G3 Zdenek Žižka - Czech Republic (Grandmaster Class 3)

Zdenek Žižka Zdenek Žižka was born in Prague in the Czech Republic in 1998. He started to learn backgammon at the age of 5, tutored by his mother, Eva Žižková, also a very talented backgammon player and BMAB master. Zdenek studies at a specialist mathematics high school in Prague. He started taking Backgammon seriously in 2014, winning his first international tournament in Cyprus, in the intermediate division. In 2015, he had played at championship level player, winning the super jackpot in Zagreb and being runner up in the superjackpot in Sibenik, besides winning the PR prizes in BMAB tournaments in Schwaz and Prague. In 2016 he was runner-up in the last chance in Berlin, and again won the PR prize in the BMAB tournament in Vienna. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Zdenek has shown himself to be amongst the strongest players at the Backgammon Club Munich, winning the Monthly Championship in 2016. He has also had great success in the USBGF Online tournaments winning close to 67% of his matches and winning the Masters Divisional IV event in 2015.
In 2016, he was selected to play in the prestigious World vs Denmark event held annually at the Nordic Open. His Gridgammon nickname is XZet24.