Thursday, November 11, 2004


When I was in third grade, our teacher asked us to compose an essay as usual for the end of the week but the subject this time was challenging: assume that you have to go to a trip and you can only choose one thing to carry; what would you choose? Well I chose “Takhte” which is backgammon's board. (In Farsi the game is called “Takhte Nard.”) Well, I got into trouble, because it was a forbidden game (not a big trouble though). Any way, I learned it from my grandfather, when I was 7. Then for a long time after my essay, I could not play, simply because we had to hide it. My favorite game today is still Backgammon and I take my board with me, wherever I go. So if you have bothered to read till here, please take a look at the rest; it is intresting to know where Backgammon, the oldest game in the world, came from.

Backgammon is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia in the Persian Empire or the present day Iran, Iraq, and Syria and it is the oldest known recorded game in history. The game was typically played on surfaces such as wood, using stones as markers, and dice made from bones, stones, wood or pottery and it can be traced back thousands of years BC to board-games played by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Romans, and Persians.

The name Backgammon became known around the mid-seventeenth century when the Saxons called it the "bac" (back) "gamen" (game) since the checkers when hit go "back" and have to re-enter the "game".
In certain societies, backgammon was outlawed. In Japan, during the reign of Empress Jito, it was illegal. In England, in the time of Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey commanded all boards to be destroyed by fire. To continue playing, the English crafted backgammon boards inside hollow books to look inconspicuous also in Iran it is illegal because it is considering as a gambling tool and gambling is forbidden in Islam.

Finally, today, the history of backgammon is taking yet another turn. With the invention of the computer and subsequently, the Internet, people from all over the world can meet and play with each other from the comfort of their homes on a number of commercially available backgammon servers. Computer programs such as Snowie and Jellyfish, often referred to as robots or 'bots', can now be used by every level of player to learn and practice with.

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