Once a favorite pastime of thrill-seeking gamblers, backgammon has evolved over the last half century into a true statistical science, with its top players rigorously training with artificial-intelligence programs in their quest to master the game’s secrets.

The vocabulary of backgammon has evolved as well. While much of it remains that of a craps player out of a Damon Runyon story, it now also teems with expressions denoting mathematical parameters and techniques that would have left an old-school risk-taker utterly at sea.

This dictionary, a companion volume to the author’s The Backgammon Chronicles, captures the language in this transitional phase, preserving its colorful, traditional argot while clearly defining the concepts that enable the modern player to analyze the game with unprecedented depth and accuracy.


The Language of Backgammon will be published in December 2019.

The Language of Backgammon: A Player's Dictionary

  • A chess master who collected a PhD in philosophy in his late twenties, Robert Wachtel is a rare breed: an accomplished game player with a helping of literary brains to match his mathematical brawn. Currently ranked the #8 backgammon player in the world, Robert is the editor of PrimeTime Backgammon, the United States Backgammon Federation's flagship magazine. Over the last 20 years, Robert has written two advanced treatises on backgammon endgame play - In the Game Until the End (1993) and In the Game Until the End Volume II (2014), and an acclaimed collection of online and journal articles, wittily chronicling the evolution of modern backgammon from the early 1990s to the present day.

  • Paperback

    Coming December, 2019