Upcoming Newcastle Open

Hi All

As the Eva Bitel Tournament has almost run it’s course and the Newcastle Open had to be abandoned this year, introducing The Newy, the online version of the Newcastle Open.

The tournament will not be following the format of the live tournament but will be run under the following conditions.

Entry: FREE!! therefore FREE!! of prize money as well. Glory, an entry on the Newcastle Club Hall of Fame and the chance to play in the Newcastle Champion of Champions tournament next year against players from the NEBA club in the UK are the awards for the winner.

Entries close at Noon AEST on Sunday 27/9/20

The Final of the Newcastle Champion of Champions

The Final of the Newcastle Champion of Champions between Mick Dyett
(2019 NBC Club Champion) and Alastair Woods (2019 NEBA Newcastle  open  winner) will take place Friday 12/6/20 at 19.00AEST on  GridGammon (beekind2me vs aliwoods).

Alastair beat Robert Disney 13/9  and Mick defeated recent LA Online Open winner, Tim Cross, 13/3 to  make the Final.

Congratulations to Mick Dyett.  He defeated Alastair Woods to become the 2020 the Newcastle Champion of Champions.


Congratulations also to the North East Backgammon Association on there win in the inaugural Novocastrian Challenge  (10 Games to 6).


Australia New Zealand Challenge Finals


The final has just been run and the results are in – after 112 matches:

Congratulations to our top three. A great effort and a great Aussie result.

1st Place – Robert Disney (Newcastle)

2nd Place – Hossein Haydari (Adelaide)

3rd Place – Steve Clarry (Sydney)


Well done to all and thank you for taking part – your feedback on how this has gone is more than welcome – all comments taken on board!

Greg and AJ

Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic




Message from ABF President, Greg Ash

As we roll into 2020 it seems that the Board of the Australian Backgammon Federation Inc can now move forward with more certainty. I would like to thank members for their patience during this process and thank and congratulate all who have put their hands up to fill the various Board positions. The full roster of Board members should be available via the website.

Firstly, we should acknowledge the tremendous sadness felt at the passing of Founding President, Eva Bitel. Her considerable efforts at getting us to share her vision for Australian backgammon have led us to where we are today, and provide an inspiration and springboard for efforts to move forward. In accepting the role of incoming President, I am fully aware of the big shoes I have to fill.

Thanks also to outgoing Board members for their work – in particular, I would like to single out Simon Woodhead who is going to be busy doing other BG things but is still willing to help out on the technical side. Simon was instrumental in getting us on board with our own version of the UK BGF ratings scheme and I firmly believe that this is our most significant achievement to date.

I have some ideas for the kind of things we as a national body should be doing to improve the lot of ordinary members and member clubs – I will be putting those thoughts to the Board, and once they have had an opportunity to dissect, embellish and refine those ideas, I would like to put those ideas out to the membership to see where you think the priorities for us should lie. We have a very modest budget, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do some innovative things to promote backgammon.

I will be asking the Board to “meet” more often than it has in the past and I commit to making some communication from those meetings available to members in a timely fashion (this is not a criticism of past practice, more a reflection of the way I like to operate!).

Dr Greg Ash

President, AusBGF

31 January 2020

AGM for Australian Backgammon Federation 23rd November, 2019

Venue: Persian Rose Restaurant, Turramrra. 

In the absence of the President and Vice President, John Symon welcomed attendees to the meeting


Simon Woodhead, Carol Wakelin, Ian Dunstan, Taeed Athari, Michael Dyett, John Symon


Eva Bitel, Greg Ash, David Kinston

Minutes of the previous AGM were confirmed and accepet. Nominated by Mick Dyett, seconded Taeed Athari

President’s Report was not available due to the ill health of the President, Eva Bitel

Treasurer’s Report confirmed cash in bank being $4,224.27, and increase of $879.00 on the last year. The treasurer also confirmed the membership numbers as 6 affiliated clubs and 79 individual members

Resignations and Election of office holders:

Eva Bitel resigned from the presidency and the board, Carol Wakelin resigned as secretary, Simon Woodhead resigned from the board but will continue in a technical support role.

Greg Ash was nominated by Simon Woodhead as the New President, and was seconded by John Symon. Greg has accepted.

Ian Dunstan was nominated as Secretary, seconded by Mick Dyett. Ian accepted.

John Symon was nominated as Treasurer and Public officer, seconded by Taeed Athari. John accepted.

Michael Dyett was nominated to the board by Taeed Athari, seconded by John Symon, David Kinston was nominated by Michael Dyett, seconded Carol Wakelin, Taeed Athari was nominated by Michael Dyett, seconded by Ian Dunstan

Changing the venue for the 2020 Australian Open was discussed, and it was decided that Queensland should hold the next Open, and, after the well run and successful running of the  Queensland Open and Masters this year, the 2020 Australian Open will be organised, promoted and run by Simon Woodhead and Steve Roberts

The Future of the Australian Backgammon Federation was the next topic for discussion. Simon Woodhead suggestion that a regular newsletter, monthly or quarterly should be circulated to all members highlighting a national calendar of upcoming events, results from tournaments  and any other information relating to backgammon generally, and in particular the Australian backgammon scene. Simon suggested that Shane McNally should be approached to undertake the newsletter duties. It was also suggested that promoting tournaments will make backgammon more inclusive. Further, Mick Dyett volunteered to contact Grant Hoffman to ask whether syndication of Grants “Position of the Week” via the ABF was an option. Ian Dunstan will approach “Fergus” whether the online doubles tournament software which Fergus uses could be made available to the ABF for a forum to discuss the “positions of the week”

Under the heading of Any Other Business, it was noted that the ABF Facebook Page and associated mail is still being controlled by Gemma Purves and that Eva would ask Gemma to surrender any log-ins and passwords to the ABF. The invitation by Bernhard Mayr on behalf of the WBIF to organise and supervise an Australian involvement was discussed and agreed that at this stage it was not a practical option. John Symon to reply to Bernhard

The meeting was closed at 8.55am.











Eva Bitel. May She Rest In Peace.

The Australian Backgammon community today lost one of its hardest working and dedicated advocates with the death of Eva Bitel.

Eva and her late husband Ivor have been an integral part of Backgammon in Australia for over 40 years and both did all they could to promote the game and attract new players to a game they were both passionate about.

At the time of her passing, Eva had just recently retired as President of the Australian Backgammon Federation, which had enjoyed a revival under her stewardship .

She will be sadly missed by not only the backgammon family, the medical fraternity that she had been an active member of, and the bridge community, but also by so many others from all walks of life who came in contact with this wonderful warm, caring, intelligent, fierce and funny lady.

Our lives are richer for having known her.


2019 Australian Open and Masters Results

The 2019 Australian Backgammon Championships and Master’s was played over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th November.

34 players competed for the National Championship. There were players from New Zealand, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Newcastle and of course Sydney. The venue for the tournament was The Persian Rose Restaurant in Turramurra.

The format for the Open was Round Robin with the top two players from each group advancing to a 16-player knockout.

As is normally the case before such a big tournament there was much excitement in the room as players anticipated winning Australia’s most coveted Backgammon Competition and becoming the 2019 Australian Champion.

The Games began at 10 am. By mid-afternoon the Round Robin brawling had stopped and there were 16 players left standing. The rest were …well…defeated. It was time for the knockout, sudden death where insanity can be just one roll away, (this game is not for the feint hearted). After two rounds and 12 deaths we had four survivors. These Gladiators were Greg Mitchell from Newcastle, Habib Shalala from Sydney, Martin Sargadian also from Sydney and Pat Halpin from the Central Coast.

Martin Sargadian and Pat Halpin

Habib Shalal and Greg Mitchell

Greg overpowered Habib while Martin outmuscled Pat. The scene was set for a blockbuster match between two very fine players. They certainly did not disappoint the crowds as they fought a long and very exciting match, their experience was evident in their play. The match was very tight with Greg Mitchell coming out the victor. Congratulations Greg, you are the 2019 Australian Champion and congratulations to Runner Up Martin for putting up a hell of a fight.

The 2019 Australian Champion,                                                            and the Runner-Up

Next up was the Master’s with 11 players competing. The format was knockout with five byes in the first round. After two rounds we got the Semi-finals. The match-ups were Zvi Bendavid against Habib Shalala and Ian Dunstan playing Ron Shaked. Both these matches were very close with Habib defeating Zvi while Ian took care of Ron. Both Habib and Ian are very seasoned players. The match reached 6 away 6 away when Habib found a backgammon on a two cube to finish Ian off. A big congrats to the Masters Champion Habib and to runner up Ian.

2019 Masters Champion Habib Shalala, being congratulated by Taeed ,

And on his way to a close second, Ian Dunstan .

There are some people that deserve a big thank you or making the weekend a huge success. In no particular order, a big thanks to Taeed Athari who has made The Persian Rose Restaurant home to the Australian Open and New South Wales Open for many years without cost. Thankyou also goes to Zvi Bendavid who has donated all trophies for both these tournaments, and has done so for many years. The kind generosity from both these wonderful men has enabled me to return all entry fees as prize money. And last but not least I thank my wife Sharne Dyett for her selfless engagement in running these tournaments while I play. If not for her I would be unable to lose as often as I do. (thanks honey).

All in all, everyone I spoke to had a ball and look forward to next year.

Mick Dyett.

2019 Spring Backgammon Tournament

Sunday October 6 th saw the 2 nd Sydney Open Backgammon Tournament being held at the Canada Bay Club in Five
Twenty three players attended, slightly less than last year , but a combination of school holidays, the NRL grand final ,
a long weekend and the start of daylight saving time may have all contributed to this, and these factors will be taken
into consideration when picking next year's date.
All players competed in the first round with the top 12 after 3 rounds going on to compete for the main prize and the
remainder participating in a second flight tournament .
All matches were to 7 points, with two being played before the lunch break and last match of the 1 st flight and all 3 of
the two second flight matches taking place over the afternoon and early evening.
Arthur Ramer was the eventual victor taking home not only the Main flight prize money and a beautiful crystal
doubling cube, but also an entry to a $1000 satellite tournament in the upcoming Melbourne tournament – thanks to
Ralph Burd for supporting us in this way – your generosity is very much appreciated.
Robbie Solomon picked up 2 nd place and also the side pool as he was the top-placing player of the five who entered.
Ron Shaked took out the main flight consolation prize
Kee Yio Wan won the Second flight tournament
Mahnaz Rostami took home the Second flight consolation prize.
Thank you all for your support and we hope to see you all again next year .