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Playing Backgammon on the Internet

Unfortunately there are much less backgammon players than chess players for instance. Therefore it's not easy to find players for live play in your town. Playing on the internet is a good alternative to live play to excercise your ability of tournament and match play. On the internet you can meet players from all over the world, make friends and watch world class players. This is a good way to improve your strength of play!
Below I will introduce four recommendable backgammon servers. By clicking on the respective logo you will get to the website of that server 1) .
Logo FIBS FIBS was and still is the First Internet Backgammon Server. FIBS went online in 1992, was once situated in Germany and Sweden and is now running in the USA. FIBS is my favourite Backgammon Server. It has a nice, very active backgammon community, a lot of tournaments and leagues are held regularly and it is absoultely free of charge. FIBS development stopped many years ago. So compared to commercial backgammon servers some of its features are a bit archaic. But still the best choice, as long as you are not interested in playing for money. That's not possible on FIBS. Here all you can gain is fun, friends and experience.
Other than other backgammon servers, FIBS does not come with an own interface. FIBS is based on TELNET. If you are a hardcore computer freak you can still play via TELNET. I recommend however to use one of the graphical based user interfaces. Follow this link to find more information about FIBS.
True Money Games
Logo True Money Games
I recommend not to play for money in the internet. Easily you can lose a lot of money. If you can't resist, you should really know what you are doing!

On TrueMoneyGames you can play just for fun without risking any money (freeroll tournaments, play money games). My recommendation only applies to playing without any money involved!
As the name indicates already, it's all about the big (and small) money at True Money Games. But it's also possible to play for "play money" there. You can play both money game sessions, matches and tournaments at TMG. In money game stakes are possible between 0,25 and 200 US$ each point, matches of 1 to 15 points can also be played for stakes of 0,25 to 200 US$. Tournaments are held for both play money and entries up to 100 US$. They are usually relatively short tournaments with 3 point matches in the first rounds and 5 point matches in the later rounds.
Such money attracts gamblers, sharks and professional players. It's difficult to win money against such a clientele. So be cautions not to loose to much money there!
If you are looking for a nice community, like on FIBS, you won't find it there. You can't see who's online, you can only see those players actually playing. And you can only talk to each other during a game or match. But is is interesting, entertaining and instructive indeed to watch some of the better players there.
There is no annual fee at TMG. TMG makes it's money by keeping a part of of the stakes (the so called "rake"). The rake structure changes quite frequently so make sure, you know how much TMG will take from your money. Recently TMG introduced a players rating. The rating will also affect the rake. Be aware that it takes much more than winning 50% of all your games/matches to not lose money!
The user interface is very comfortable and user friendly. You can actually see how your opponent ponders about his moves. The overview over running tournaments is also very nice.
A great service is the live broadcast of some top tournaments. They did broadcast some of the top matches of the World Championships in Monte Carlo 2005 and 2006, and also part of the Nordic Open 2006. A lot of top players like Neil Kazaross and Hugh McNeil were commenting the matches. That were really magnifcient events! Make sure to check in for future top events like that!
Daily Gammon-Logo A very different way to play backgammon on the internet - online while offline. The two players playing a match don't have to be online at the same time. Whenever you want spend some minutes playing backgammon you log in at DailyGammon and play some moves. You can play many matches at the same time, so there are usually some matches waiting for your moves each time you log in.
Depending on the match time settings, a match can take days, weeks or even months. There is no haste. For every decision you have as much time as you need. For backgammon a very uncommon speed of play, which allows you to ponder over the correct winning strategy as long as you want.
There's a staggering variety of player-managed tournaments (round-robins, TTTs, ladders, team play, leagues, eliminations, swiss) of backgammon and nackgammon. For your rating, though, only the matches played in the official (site-managed) tournaments count.
For more details about how to register and play read the DailyGammon Help.

What is quite confusing in the beginning is the fact that you can usually play a couple of moves at one visit to the table - even though your opponent is not online. Using "computer guessing" the site software judges what the opponent is most likely to play and moves accordingly. If, when it's their turn to make some moves, the opponent plays differently, the match is moved back to that position. This "computer guessing" lets the matches finish much faster than one would expect for such a turn-based backgammon server 2) .
DailyGammon is free of charge. Its user interface is web based, so no special access software is required. The boards are quite small and there is no real "animation" of the moves. But you can play it on every simple computer and don't need a fast internet connection.
More comfort can be ensured by using a special webfilter, which allows you to select a wider range of boards in any size you want, sending long messages to DailyGammon members, etc. This webfilter is explained and available for download here.
1) Each link will open in a seperate window.

2) If a game rewinds due to your opponent moving an unexpexted move, the dice are rerolled. Otherwise the players could do their moves with knowledge of the next rolls.
Last update: 18th December 2010