The Bristol Open began back in 2005 with the ‘Wedding Tournament,’ which was a unique event to coincide with and celebrate Roland and Simonetta Herrera’s marriage. The following year, the Bristol International Festival of Backgammon was held primarily to celebrate Roland and Simo’s 1st wedding anniversary.


Both of these events were a great success and attracted a considerable number of their friends from around the world.

In 2008 Bristol Backgammon decided to run the Bristol Open with the intention of making it an annual event. For 3 years this is what happened and the event gained a reputation as a top National and International event.


Photo courtesy of Roland Herrera
Photo courtesy of Roland Herrera
The Millennium Dome,  on Bristol's Harbourside. 
Photo courtesy of Roland Herrera
The Millennium Dome, on Bristol's Harbourside. Photo courtesy of Roland Herrera

There has been a gap of 5 years, but the Bristol Open is back in 2016 as the penultimate leg of the UKBGF tour!


This year’s event coincides with Simonetta’s 50th birthday and we all hope to be able to welcome many of her friends from across the world of backgammon to help her celebrate this milestone.


There will be some ‘special’ birthday events incorporated within the tournament. Details to follow!


Erhan Doğrusöz will kindly provide a beautiful handmade backgammon board as the prize for the Warm Up tournament. www.869bg-backgammon-boards.co.uk


What is now Bristol Backgammon has its origins in the Computing Department at the Rolls-Royce aero engine factory in Patchway, Bristol. In 1980 Ian Tarr thought he might attract as many as eight players into a knock-out competition to be held during lunch breaks. He got a response from 20, and from that moment on, competitions flourished to the point where – at the peak of activity -- there were around 60 players.

In 1987 two of those players, Phil Charlton and Dave Pym, were instrumental in branching out into evening tournaments, which continued at the modest rate of no more than three per year at various locations, until settling at the Bristol County Sports Club in 1997. By this time the original Rolls-Royce players had become outnumbered by others.



From 1999 Ian started running more regular evening competitions, gradually building things to a point where there are now two evening sessions per week – Mondays at the Bristol County Sports Club (a k a Sportsmans) and Thursdays at the Rainbow Casino -- plus occasional Saturday or Sunday tournaments at the casino too.

Alongside these sessions, a flourishing league scene began to make its mark in 2000 with the Bristol Premier League and later its intermediate feeder league, the Bristol Conference League. Leagues have since been set up in many other UK locations, arguably drawing upon the initial inspiration of the Bristol leagues.   

From quite modest beginnings, the best Bristol players can now compete with confidence and no little success anywhere in the world.


(Correct on 1st March 2016)

 Our latest new player, Steve Mott, is the 521st player to compete in a Bristol Backgammon competition.

•  The number of matches played (excluding 1 point matches), stands at precisely 21,003!

•  2015 marked an annual record of 2,150 competitive matches played.