The backgammon season is upon me and I nurture the forlorn wish to improve on my woeful performance last year, where I got knocked out in the first round of almost anything that I entered; for some reason my standard of play was so abysmal that, had I had no opponent, I still would have lost.
I am convinced that I should take it more seriously. A few years ago I was narrowly beaten in a final by a man who used his own dice – apparently they were precision dice. That is real dedication to the sport. Rather like the man who brings his own cue to a game of billiards, it can be quite unnerving for the casual player such as I am, who is used to chucking whatever numbered cubes happen to be at hand and hoping for the best.
It seems that one of the benefits that I heard mentioned in connection with bringing one’s own dice was that they are easier to see, and this is of particular interest to me in that my eyesight is not what it was. Accordingly I have managed to lay my hands on a large onyx die. I found it at Déjà Vu in Marbella; its sides are about 4in long.
As it is made of stone, it is rather heavy to roll, but it makes an excellent paperweight and it is the sort of thing that almost inspires one to start pressing flowers. Moreover, the spots are highly visible. At the moment, it is only half a pair, but I am thinking of bringing it along to the next tournament so that if all else fails I can use my own die to bludgeon my opponent into unconsciousness – now, that’s what I call using your own dice to maximum effect.