Backgammon: the most ancient game or a tool for astrology?


In the East, backgammon was considered not only a popular intellectual game but also a way to resolve disputes and conflicts even at the state level, no wonder one of the oldest names of this exciting board game “Takhte” literally sounds like “a battle on a wooden board”.

In Asia Minor, archaeologists managed to find a perfectly preserved ottoman at a very advanced age – the board turned out to be more than three millennia old. In Greece, backgammon was called by the sonorous word “table”, which translated meant “table”.

In ancient Persia, backgammon was given simply enormous importance, because they were used to predict events that could change the course of the history of an entire state. It was backgammon divination that opened the veil of the future for the great rulers and their entourage. A person who could recognize the signs of fate with the help of a stone or wooden gambling board, as well as clay or bone checkers, enjoyed great respect among the highest strata of society. The field for checkers symbolized, according to ancient divination, the starry sky, the division of the board into squares denoted the seasons, and twelve rows – calendar months, checkers also acted as days of the lunar calendar. Backgammon divination was also popular in Mesopotamia. It was in the capital of Mesopotamia, the city of Ur, that one of the oldest games was found.


In ancient Mesopotamia, there have been disputes about the emergence of backgammon for many years and legends are passed on. According to one of them, the Indians, who wanted to test the ingenuity of the Persians, sent them a set of chess, in the hope that the latter would not be able to guess the rules.

Bozorgmehr not only coped with the task but also found something to answer the enemy by sending backgammon instead. Unfortunately, the government of India was not so smart, and the riddle of backgammon tormented the minds of Indian rulers for twelve years.


Backgammon was known in ancient Rome, where this game was used for ruin and enrichment. The noblest Roman lords had the right to have fun with backgammon at any time. Having an unreasonable passion, they could completely lose their fortune. Backgammon was so exciting that less influential citizens of Rome were allowed to play it, although only certain days were given for this.


Backgammon gained fame in Europe after the Crusades. The Crusaders, returning from their campaigns, brought this entertainment to their homeland. Fans of backgammon became noble nobles of blue blood. It is noteworthy that the second name of backgammon – “trik-trak” was received in Europe, according to the sound that the playing cubes made when shaking.

The rules of backgammon brought by the Crusaders seemed inconvenient and confusing to Europeans, so in 1743 the Englishman Edmond Hoyle popularized the new rules in his book. The game with the original rules of the game, Eastern, was called “long” backgammon, European — “short”. According to the original rules of the game, specific tactical techniques are widely used, in “short” games-they do not make sense.

Today, it is more common to play “short” backgammon, since their rules are more understandable, the process is better organized and worked out. International tournaments and championships are held on the backgammon game, where you can get an impressive prize pool. For example, in Azerbaijan, the winner of the Golden Zara tournament is awarded dice made of pure gold.

The dice are called “zars”. You can’t talk bad about them, otherwise, the luck will turn away from the player. For luck to visit the player, he should not cross his arms or legs during the game. Any player can have their mascot. It can be passed to other participants to hold “for good luck”, the talisman becomes stronger with each victory of its owner. In order not to jinx a successful roll of the dice, skilled backgammon players do not advise looking at the zars during the throw.