Strategy, Luck, and Friendship

In 2006, Thomas Watts and Ted Hill became neighbors on Strawbridge Court in the then newly built cottages. Thomas had retired from a career as a college mathematics professor and Ted was a physician. They quickly settled into their new homes and began enjoying community living. There was an active backgammon group at the community and that is where Thomas and Ted began their long friendship and rivalry across the backgammon board.

I had a chance to meet up with Thomas and Ted and learn a bit about them as well as the game of backgammon. Each week they get together to play 3-4 games. They were quick to point out that neither of them dominates. They evenly share the win and loss columns. As a matter of fact, they often help each other with the best move. On several occasions I chuckled as I heard Thomas say, “No, no, no! You have a better move than that!” or Ted declaring, “You can escape! You can move here!”. The banter between them was entertaining! Ted said that bragging rights are only good for one day.

Thomas enjoys backgammon because so much of the game is based on chance, the luck of the roll. Thomas was an Applied Mathematician, so numbers and probabilities are his forte’. He prefers it over bridge, which requires good short-term memory. He shared, “The game is interesting because it can feel hopeless and then all of a sudden you win with a few good rolls.” Thomas likes to learn by observing and is willing to teach anyone who is interested, but Ted was adamant, “Get a book and learn the basics, then join in the fun.” He recommends “Backgammon for Dummies”.

Both men were very focused on the game during my visit, but they were so enthusiastic and wanted to teach me all about it. They have had as many as eight participants in their group over the years and would like to get back to those numbers. It is obvious these two men enjoy the time they share across the backgammon board and want to share their love of the game with others.

If you’d like to learn more about playing backgammon or other special interest groups at Givens Estates, please contact Debbie Cauble, Assistant Director of Life Enrichment, at 828-271-6937.