Top players of one of the world’s oldest board games will return to a Warwickshire hotel for a flagship UK competition.

Coombe Abbey Hotel will be the historic backdrop once again for the UK Backgammon Open Championship - which is now in its fifth year.

The three day event, organised by Peter Bennet and Raj Jansari of the United Kingdom Backgammon Federation (UKBGF), promises to be the event of the year. 

Around 150 players ranging in ability from world class professional players to novices will converge on the Brinklow-based venue from August 31 to September 2.

Top players from across the globe will battle it out, with competitors from Ireland, France, Germany, Finland and the USA all signed up to play.

This year’s edition boasts significant star-power, as recently crowned 2018 Backgammon World Champion, Akiko Yazawa, will be in attendance for the weekend. 

Akiko, who also won the World Championship in 2014, will be the guest of honour at a dinner for UKBGF members, where she will tell all regarding her backgammon journey, before taking questions from attendees.

She is the first woman, and only the fourth player, to have won the Monte Carlo World Championship twice.

One lucky member will also get the chance to join forces with Akiko and take on other teams in a doubles tournament on the Saturday.

David Penn, Vice President of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, will also be taking part, along with another Coventry competitor, Michelle Ford.

Selected matches will be live-streamed over the course of the weekend with prizes, generously donated by Geoffrey Parker Games Ltd, scheduled to be given out on the final day at 6.30pm.

Peter Bennet, Vice-Chair of the UKBGF Board, said: “Many of the finest players from around the world will be competing for the coveted UK Open Masters Championship title, including Backgammon Grandmasters Julian Fetterlein, Gaz Owen and Sebastian Wilkinson, plus the third place finisher in Monte Carlo, Lawrence Powell. 

“Following his recent success when he won the 2018 Cambridge Open in July, blind player Yan Kit Chan will also be trying to go one better than last year when he was a finalist in the Masters.

“Since the formation of the Federation just six years ago, backgammon has flourished in the UK with tournaments now regularly fully subscribed and many new clubs springing up in all parts of the country.  The UKBGF signed up its 500th member earlier this month, but non-members are still welcome to come along to the UK Open to try their luck and test their skill. 

“To ensure that players may fill every waking moment of their weekend with backgammon there are numerous side events including a Friday Freeroll, Warm-up, Super Jackpot, Speedgammon and Consulting Doubles.”

For those new to the game, beginners will be offered informal tuition throughout the weekend, while two ‘Social Swiss’ tournaments will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Fans of the game will be given the chance to see one of Backgammon Grandmaster Julian Fetterlein’s hugely popular seminars. He is widely recognized as the UK’s best backgammon theoretician and teacher and has been playing for over 40 years.

Ron Terry, general manager of Coombe Abbey Hotel, added: “We are thrilled that the UK Backgammon Open is coming back to Coombe Abbey once again.

“It proved a fantastic event last year, so we’re looking forward to seeing the United Kingdom Backgammon Federation back, along with its members.

“We wish everyone the very best of luck and hope that it is a great weekend for everyone involved.”

For more information about the event and all the events taking place, visit ukbgf.com/uk-open.