Cyber Connections Cafe\’

Real Stories of People Riding the Internet Wave

International Play by J.J. Hudson

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I play the oldest game known to the world. Ancient game boards similar to our backgammon board have been unearthed in the deserts of Iraq, though the variety the people at that time played we in modern times call the Royal Game of Ur. It’s quite a simple game and the finer points of strategy can probably be picked up in a night.

The beauty of the Internet is I now get to play backgammon with people all over the planet. Thanks Bill Gates! Geography is made obsolete with a toss of pixilated dice. I can’t see my international doppelganger, but I have some indication as to his ethnicity. Just today I’ve played the royal game with people who speak Hebrew, Norwegian and Japanese, somebody who speaks Francais, and a really angry Russian. I’m not claiming I’m a skilled player, but I’ve made quite a few self-appointed experts at the game very annoyed. I take pride in how the Russians seem to vanish, coitus interruptus, when they fall behind or even have a single bad roll. Such babies they are.

I feel like I’m learning a lot about the people of the world through my international play. I know the Russians are as temperamental as they are aggressive. The Japanese play very conservatively and take longer turns, which isn’t a bad thing if you need to run back to the refrigerator for another beer. The Norwegians are cold, hard strategists like they are generals looking over a black and white battlefield. As for those who speak Hebrew, they are clearly pragmatists about the game. They seem to understand the value of a loss. A loss is not to be taken too heavily upon the heart, because in the next game you can trick those previously victorious and overconfident into doubling and then doubling again. This is the equivalent of getting the executed to string the noose around their own neck while the hangman sits in the corner sipping an iced tea with lemon.

None of that probably made much sense if you don’t understand the fundamentals of the game.
I have one problem with playing backgammon over the internet. It’s the chat feature in the particular program I use. It only allows us thirty short and succinct messages to transmit to the opposition, inane comments like “Good Job,” “Thank You,” “I’ll be Back in a Minute,” and “Are You Still There?” This is unsatisfactory because I think a lot more could be done to expand the interactive functionality of this program.

How about these additions:

“Are you ducking any rockets?”

“How is the refugee situation in your part of the world?”

“Are you voting in the next election?”

“Do you have an election?”

“What do you think about President Bush?”

“It sucks.”

“He/She sucks.”

“I love him/her.”

“Fuck off.”

One thing I am alarmed about also is that there appear to be no players of an arabic or Persian persuasion. This is so shocking because the game originates from that part of the world. I just don’t believe Fox News regarding all the rich intellectual capital of the Middle East being pent up studying for jihad. We can do much to bring people together and fight this clash of civilizations that people at The New York Times and The New Republic keep fussing about. I would love to play backgammon with someone in Baghdad, Tehran, Karachi or Dubai.

Bill can you stop for just one minute giving away your money and get to work on that?

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