Backgammon Tradition in Turkey

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Backgammon, which was invented around 1400 years ago by Büzur Mehir who was the vizier of the Iranian shah Nevshiyan. Drawings on the backgammon represent units of time. 6 reciprocal digits represent 12 months, 15 stamps in two different colors each represent 15 nights and 15 days in a month, and 12 reciprocal digits represent 24 hours of the day. The 4 corners of the backgammon represent all four seasons.

Backgammon Shown on an Ancient Painting
Backgammon Tradition in Turkey Shown on a Medieval Painting

Backgammon, which has developed over the years in different geographies and was played in different styles, became widespread in the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. There are many varieties in the backgammon playing styles, which continue even today as it was played in the Ottoman Empire. What I mean by “modern backgammon”; It means the game of backgammon in which the cup is used for throwing dice to prevent the dice tricks. There is no difference in rules between the modern and the classic game.

Turkish Backgammon

There is a story about the game of chess and backgammon coming from ancient times. When the Indian Emperor sent a chess game to the Persian Emperor as a gift, the gift contained the following inscription:

Who thinks more knows better

Whoever sees further wins

That’s how life is…

Indian emperor
Ancient Backgammon

Indian emperor sent this message to the Persian Emperor. So the Persian Emperor told his vizier to invent a game to present to the Indian Emperor in return for this gift. This is how the game of backgammon emerged, and the Indian Emperor found the following message in the gift:

Yeah, who thinks more knows better

Whoever sees further wins but it’s also a bit of luck

That’s what life is…

persian emperor
A Modern Turkish Backgammon

Known as the most played board game of all time, backgammon is popular among tradesmen in our country Turkey. Tournaments are organized between cities, universities, professional groups, and friend groups. Large-scale backgammon tournaments are also held around the world.

Turkey was included in the World Backgammon Federation, which was established in 1986, in 2000. The aim of the federation is to ensure that backgammon is accepted as a game of intelligence and strategy, rather than being a game of chance, by combining the game rules, which are played with different names in many countries in the world and actually show minor variations, under certain standards.


Play Backgammon in Turkey

I love to play backgammon during my free time during my tours. You can always find backgammon laying somewhere in Turkey. I will be happy to challenge you for a game of backgammon when you visit Turkey. You don’t know how to play it? Don’t worry I will teach you. Contact me to hire a professional tour guide in Turkey and also you can learn some local traditions too! See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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