INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Friends & Profiles

We would like to thank our International Backgammon Friends who have kindly given their time to play Australian Backgammon League winners of each monthly tournament.

Mary Hickey - USA

 

Date of birth: 1955

Birth Place: USA

Current City of Residence: Kirkersville, Ohio

Marital Status: Married, to Bob, 30 years

Children: Two, both much too smart to play backgammon

 

Occupation: Self-employed writer, backgammon player and teacher, and keeper of the family farm, formerly a chemical engineer, newspaper reporter and photographer

How I Started playing Backgammon: While in Houston on a business trip, I let some sharks in a bar show me how to play. Since the game appeared to be at least partly skill, I told them I’d come back and play for money as soon as I learned how to play it right. If you’re down in Texas sometime and find them still waiting, tell them it may be awhile longer!

Backgammon Nickname: mamabear

Current Skill level: World Class

Number of years playing Backgammon live: Let’s see, 7 or 8 plus 16... let’s round that up to about 25. Taking a break can be good for your game, but the 8 or so years I took were probably a bit more than necessary.

Favorite Tournament Venue: Places right here in my beloved Midwest

Titles won:
- US Open in 2011 and 2010
- Mid-Atlantic Championship 2010
- Ohio State Championship 2009
- Ohio Masters 2002, 2003, and 2006

- Indiana “Indy 300” Masters 2006

Two time US Open Backgammon Champion, Mary Hickey, will play the winner of the March tournament in an exhibition match. We thank Mary for her contribution to the Australian Backgammon League.

Masayuki Mochizuki, or "Mochy"- JAPAN

Masayuki Mochizuki, or "Mochy" as we know him, will play the winner of  the ABL April Bracket. in an Exhibition Match. We thank Mochy for his contribution to the Australian Backgammon League

Mochy won the 2009 World Championship in Monte Carlo, defeating Lars Trabolt 25-20 in a most exciting finals, and becoming the first Japanese to win the coveted title.  Mochy is a full-time backgammon professional player, teacher, and student of the game.  More importantly, he is known as a generous, fair, and friendly player.

 

Date of Birth: 1979

Lives:  Tokyo - JAPAN

Occupation:  Professional Backgammon Player

Nic Name : Mochy

Current Skill Level: World Class - Listed as  Number 2 Giant in 2012 

How did you  get introduced to backgammon?

I played Japanese chess (Shogi) in high school. After I graduated from high school, I failed the university entrance exam. I had a lot of free time until I could take the exam again the next year.
 One day in my senior year of high school, someone from the shogi club introduced me to a funny-looking game. I don't know why I became hooked on the game, but it was probably because I had too much free time and BG is good way to kill time. Also, the people who played backgammon were so much more fun than most of my friends in cram school.
 I was very lucky to pass the exam the next year but I dropped out after studying two years at the university, because I had decided to become a backgammon professional.​​

 

​ Do you have any philosophy to believe in that applies to backgammon or life?

There is always tomorrow. Even after the most painful loss, you are still alive. That’s a lot.

How many hours a week do you play backgammon?

I spend a lot of time, not just playing backgammon, but studying and teaching, as well. I am not sure exactly how many hours per week, but most of my waking hours are spent in backgammon activities.  

Do you teach backgammon?  If so, where?
 

I have given backgammon lectures many times in Japan and sometimes abroad. I also go to a high school once a month to teach backgammon to a group of boys. They have a backgammon club and I'm their coach. Falafel and Serge Rived (from France) visited the club with me when they were in town for the Japan Open!



What's the best backgammon book or article you've ever read?
 

All of Kit's and Robertie's books are great, but New Ideas in Backgammon (by Woolsey and Heinrich) was a real eye opener.

 

Titles Won

-2003 Las Vegas Open

- 2005 Bristol Open

- 2006

  • Belgian Open,
  • Second Consolation: World Backgammon Championship,Monte Carlo

-2007 20th Partouche Gammon Nordic Open Backgammon Championship

- 2009 Winner World  Backgammon Championhip,Monte Carlo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

​Date of birth​ :  1960

Lives:      Los Angeles, California

Occupation:  Backgammon Player, writer and teacher

Online Handle:  STEAMSAX

Skill Level :    World Class ( Giant #10)

Steve Sax - USA

Steve Sax is consistantly listed as a Giant of Backgammon and has many titles to his name.  Steve is considered to be one of the great fixtures in the backgammon world, not only because of his skill, but also because of his attitude.  Steve is ALWAYS working on his game, working to improve, and never just “settles” for a win, he wants to know if he played well, and if not, why.  Steve is also generous with his knowledge and always ready to share his ideas with others. We thanks Steve for his generousity in giving his time to the Australian Backgammon League  in playing the winner of the ABL May Bracket in an exhibition match.

​How were you first introduced to backgammon?

I was first introduced to backgammon by my mother, Ricky Sax.  She was the 1980 Women's U.S. Open Backgammon Champion.

Do you have any philosophy to believe in that applies to backgammon or life?

As far as philosophies are concerned, basically "The Golden Rule".  Treat others with the same respect that you would like them to give to you.

How many hours a week do you play backgammon?

I play between 30 and 40 hours of backgammon per week, more if you count practice matches online.

Do you teach backgammon? If so where?

I teach backgammon to players of all skill levels online or in person.  I taught Nicole Kidman in 2002 while she was on breaks from filming "Cold Mountain".

What is the best backgammon book or article you have read?

There are quite a few good backgammon books that I have read over the years and different ones impacted me differently depending on what stage of expertise I was at.
 
I started out by reading "Backgammon" by Paul Magriel and then read "Paradoxes and Probabilities", by Barclay Cooke and "Backgammon for Profit", by Joe Dwek.
 
After that I moved on to "Advanced Backgammon volumes 1 and 2", by Bill Robertie followed by "How to play Tournament Backgammon", by Kit Woolsey and finally "Backgammon Boot Camp", by Walter Trice.

What do you love about Aussies?

What do I love about Aussies?  There is so much, I don't know where to start?  But I love the Aussie's frontier spirit as well as their friendliness.  I love that they are such individuals, but as a whole that are always willing to help a stranger in need.

 

Other interests...?

I'm an avid photographer and have attended just about every major sporting event except the "Super Bowl".

Titles:

1983-Louisville Labor Day Championship Division
1990, 1997-Gammon Associates Championship Division
2000, 2009-Grand Crystal Beaver Jackpot
2002, 2005-Indiana State Backgammon Championship
2002-ABT (American Backgammon Tour) Player of the Year
2003(2)-Gammon Associates Super 32 Jackpot (June and December)
2003-Michigan Masters
2004, 2007-Super Jackpot Las Vegas
2006-Vietor Cup
2006-World Doubles Championship
2007-Badger Classic Jackpot
2011-Golden Gate Masters Jackpot
2011-Giants of Backgammon Invitational Tournament
2012-California State Backgammon Champion