What is the BMAB?

The Backgammon Masters Awarding Body (BMAB) is the
international organisation that confers Masters and Proficiency titles

So You Want To Be A Grandmaster?

If you want to become a Backgammon Grandmaster you will have to play below a 4.0 PR. Your Performance Rating (PR) is calculated by what is considered the strongest backgammon analysis program, eXtreme Gammon (XG).

How Is It Measured?

Analysis uses the current version of XG with the following settings:

  • standard ‘World Class’ analysis
  • ‘gigantic’ search interval
  • 15 x 8 bearoff database
  • resignation errors count

What Is XG?

eXtreme Gammon is currently considered to be the strongest backgammon analysis program. It is endorsed by many national federations but perhaps, most importantly, is its use by the BMAB as their preferred analysis engine for the grading of aspirational grandmasters. The program may be found here: www.extremegammon.com.

So if you would like to measure your performance rating by the same parameters as the Grandmasters do, use the BMAB settings and play like hell!

BMAB tournament format and recording set-up

Now that you have become proficient in analysing your games using XG and the BMAB settings, it is time to move on to the real thing. Competing in a BMAB tournament.

A tournament format will be chosen by the organisers that will facilitate and guarantee a minimum number of matches for each player. For this reason Swiss and Round Robin formats are typically adopted. It is expected for a player to play between 5 and 10 matches.

Matches will be video recorded, transcribed and sent to the BMAB for evaluation.

A BMAB tournament will be organised with these specific guidelines.

  1. Matches will be live and therefore played over the board (OTB).
  2. Matches will be clocked. A typical setting is 2 min. per match point with a 12 sec. delay. If a players time bank runs out, they are considered to have ‘resigned’ the match.
  3. Matches will be pre-designated. This refers to the tournament format having a known number of matches per player to be played to a known number of points.
  4. Matches will be a minimum of 7 points.
  5. Experience Points (EP) count as the sum of the match points. That is to say a 7 point match equals 7 EP.
  6. Performance Rating (PR) is the average PR of the most recent matches until 300 EP is reached. If fewer than 300 EP have been accumulated, the whole match history is used.
  7. All matches played in the tourney will be included in your submission. You are not able to ‘cherry pick’.
  8. Matches will otherwise be conducted under the governing body’s set of Tournament Rules.

It is also possible for an individual to apply directly to the BMAB. They must, however, be able to demonstrate that matches forming their submission are pre-designated and played in accordance with the specific requirements and rules of the BMAB.

The major technical aspect of your application will be the recording and transcription of your matches. To do so you will need access to a recording station and have an intimate working knowledge of the technology you will be using. I will admit that the last match that I recorded, for the purpose of practising my transcription, did not in fact record at all. It goes without saying that your application will be entirely inadmissible without the raw data of the video.


BMAB Match Recording and Transcription

Melbourne will be hosting Australia’s first BMAB tournament on the June long weekend 2023. Matches will be recorded, transcribed, authenticated and analysed.

Recording: The video recording must have the players names displayed on their side of the board as well as clearly showing the clock and scorecard. Matches must be accessible for public scrutiny and accountability. Here is an example of a match uploaded to YouTube, with permission from Nick Blasier – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsBaW5AHfHc

Transcription: The transcription file must have this information contained in it: Players names, location, event, round and date and time the match was played and must be transcribed within 7 days from being played.

Authentication: The Tournament Director will coordinate the transcribed matches and videos to centralise the process and avoid duplication. The match transcriptions and videos will be collected, vetted and sent to the BMAB with an authentication statement confirming they were played within the BMAB rules and

Analysis: The BMAB will carry out the first stage XG match file analysis twice and use the lower of the two PR’s to count towards the player’s average. A second stage analysis will include a comparison and correlation between the match video and transcription.

Recording station

The New England Backgammon Club has an excellent article regarding recording stations, which can be found here. For my part, I have found it more convenient to record straight from a web cam to my laptop.

There are many webcams on the market and your choice will obviously come down to your budget and personal preference. I purchased a Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam which also provides you with free downloadable software to easily record your match.

Details of Australia’s first BMAB tournament will be coming soon.

Play like hell.

ANZBGF BMAB Coordinator Andrejs Liepins