Cast

Masayuki Mochizuki - Japan

Masayuki “Mochy” Mochizuki is the winner of the 2009 World Backgammon Championships in Monte Carlo and is the No. 1 Backgammon giant for 2009. Mochy is well known, not only for being world's leading backgammon player, but also for his self-discipline, fairness, and politeness.

Born in Tokyo, 1979, he has been playing professionally on the international backgammon circuit for more than a decade. He has also won the 2003 Las Vegas Open, the 2005 Bristol Open, the 2006 Belgian Open, and the Second Consolation of the 2006 World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo.

“Backgammon is not a game of luck. No special talent is required. Dedicate your time to learn strategies and memorize moves. Backgammon gave everything to me, I love Backgammon, and Backgammon seems to love me. I must now give something back to Backgammon.”

  • Mochy's Photo
  • Mochy's Photo
  • Mochy's Photo
  • Mochy's Photo
  • Mochy's Photo
  • Mochy's Photo

Paul Weaver - USA

Paul began playing backgammon in 1978. He has been voted to the Giant-32 list every time since its inception in 1993. He is currently #25.

Paul has given public seminars and private lessons on five continents. He is the only person who has won backgammon tournaments on five continents (England 1985, Brazil 1995, Hong Kong 1997, Australia (two in 2008) and USA 1987, 1991, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2007).

Paul co-authored Backgammon Openings, Book A with Nack Ballard, published in 2007. He has also written dozens of articles that have appeared in at least ten venues. Some of his backgammon writings have been translated into Japanese, Danish, German and Italian.

An avid traveler, Paul has traveled in all fifty states of the USA. He has spent a total of more than five years living abroad and traveling in more than fifty additional countries. Paul has played backgammon in 33 countries.

  • Paul's Photo
  • Paul's Photo
  • Paul's Photo
  • Paul's Photo

Marc Olsen - Denmark

Marc Olsen has been a professional football and backgammon player ever since he graduated from high school in 2005. In both games, he is known for putting in a lot effort, which is one of the reasons why he has become such a good player in such a short amount of time.

In spring 2010, he finally completed writing the long-awaited backgammon book “The World Class Series - Basic Checkerplay - Vol.1.” At present, the book is only available in Danish, but it is in the process of being translated into English. He has the necessary material and disposition to write many more books, and is hoping that he will have time in the future to complete them.

Marc opened a backgammon club in Copenhagen with his friends, and through his efficient training methods, one team of this club succeeded in receiving two promotions within the first three years of play. Now, the team is playing in the in the Danish team tournament’s premier division, the strongest team tournament in the world! The club has currently around 20 members split over three teams in different divisions. So, it is can be safely said that Marc can not only play backgammon but also teach it.

Marc was born and raised in Copenhagen, where he used to play football every day, and has always been very competitive in nature. In the last year, Marc has primarily been focusing on playing and studying poker, and more recently, he has begun studying economics at the University of Copenhagen.

  • Marc's Photo
  • Marc's Photo
  • Marc's Photo

Matvey “Falafel” Natanzon - Israel

Born in Russia in 1969, Matvey Natanzon is a popular Israeli backgammon player who was voted as the #1 Backgammon Giant in 2007. Matvey, which translates to Michael in English, moved from Israel to the USA to study, and in his spare time enjoyed playing chess. He later began to play backgammon for money on the streets of New York.

It was tough for Matvey at the beginning - he says that to endure through hard times he ate cheaply surviving on falafel, a spicy Middle Eastern sandwich made out of fava beans and/or chickpeas, fried in small balls or patties and served on pita, thus the nickname “Falafel”. Matvey began playing on the international circuit back around the late 1990s and encountered success almost immediately.

When Falafel's matches are analyzed by backgammon programs, he comes up with an amazing low error rate and he is considered for this reason, and of course his track record, to be the top player in the world.Another reason for Falafel's popularity is his jovial character and appearance. Even when wearing a suit, he will pop on his baseball cap backwards. Falafel is also very funny, especially when talking about backgammon, and comes out with lines that always crack up the crowd.When once asked, “How do you feel about hitting the big time?” - Falafel replied, “I am thinking I should change my nickname from ‘Falafel' to ‘Lobster'.”

  • Falafel's Photo

Jake Jacobs - Singapore

Jake Jacobs's movies are coming up soon!!

Jake Jacobs has been playing backgammon professionally, and writing about it professionally (a few grammatical errors notwithstanding) for three decades. While living in Las Vegas and working as a professional blackjack player he worked as Editor of the Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine, and at Publisher Mike Maxakuli’s urging created The Backgammon Scholar. During this era he enjoyed his first major wins, coming second to future World Champion Joe Russell at the Cavendish Open, and winning the first Nevada State Championship in January, 1984.

During the nineteen-nineties, when not travelling to Asia for various gambling ventures, Jake began writing in earnest. His columns appeared regularly in the Chicago Point and the Flint Area BackgammoNews, as well as the Hoosier Newsletter, Anchors, and the German Backgammon Magazin. With Walter Trice he wrote Can A Fish Taste Twice As Good? an examination of doubling theory in unequal matches. The following year he issued A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Four-Point! The latter part of the decade also saw his most successful run as a tournament player, with wins in the US Open, the Thai Open, the Chicago Open, the Midwest Backgammon Championships, the Pittsburgh Open, Player of the Year in the American Backgammon Tour, and many more. He is a perennial member of the biannual Giant 32 list.

In 2004 Jake went to work for an IT firm in Tokyo, Japan. Later, on behalf of his employer he started a company in Singapore, where he now lives. Reuniting with his longtime girlfriend Khampha Duiaisan, he married her in 2008. They have a six-year old daughter, Sasithon, and a one-year old puppy, Somtam. This leaves little time for backgammon, but he still keeps his hand in, writing a long-running monthly column for the online site Gammon Village. His most recent tournament win was in the fall of 2009 when he won the Super Jackpot and placed second in the Japan Open. He is teaching his daughter how to play, and she is already winning, especially after hiding four of papa’s checkers.

  • Jake's Photo
  • Jake's Photo
  • Jake's Photo
  • Jake's Photo