Playing backgammon both on and offline can be a very exhausting business as it requires a good deal of effort to get fit for the game – one of the best ways to do this is to combine cerebral exercise with that of the physical type.
We recommend a short course in Backgammon Fitness; this course is given by the esteemed Professor of Physical and Mental dexterity Soloman Phlange PDF and MDF (Professor of Dexterity fitness and Mental Detexterity Fitness).
Professor Phalange's experiments for post natal backgammon depression found favour with many backgammon players in the recent Eskimo & Artic Challenge who used the professor's technique in developing how to cope with losing matches better as part of their training schedules in these tournaments.
Professor Phlange has now moved on and has developed a short course for backgammon players who feel that they want to tighten up their fitness.
Exercise One: The eyes - keeping your eyes in peak condition is a big bonus for the successful backgammon player as when playing off line it is always a good ploy to maintain good eye contact with your opponent, blinking should be avoided if possible. Wash your eyes with a good eye cleaner at least twice a week to keep the eyes clean and alert. In the case of glasses wearing, clean the lens with a soft yellow duster and make sure you get all the fluffy stuff off.
Exercise Two: One of the most used but neglected pieces of backgammon equipment are the buttocks, or bottom. This is an essential component of both online and offline play, as having a comfortable position for your buttocks is not always possible depending upon the furniture that you are using. Cushions are a good option, but can be a distraction; one of the best forms of exercise for the buttocks is the cheek clench. An exercise that keeps the buttock cheeks from becoming too stiff, and uncomfortable. The clench is a natural muscle exercise and can be easily achieved either standing or sitting. A good time to practice is when standing in a queue at a bus stop or in a shop.
Exercise Three: Fingers for the backgammon player, fingers and nails in particular are the tools of the trade. A good index finger on a keyboard can work wonders for your game, although it is not wise to have a finger bowl at the keyboard for fear of blowing the key board up with a careless drip of water. However, a finger bowl at a safe distance placed away on the side of a cabinet or table, can be a great reassurance to the cramped backgammon finger. A solution of warm water and lanolin oils is much recommended for this practice.
Exercise Four: Scratch regular and often, there is nothing in the rules about scratching, scratching gets the circulation working and makes the blood flow, Bears scratch against trees and you will often see dogs and cats scratching. Backgammon players don't scratch enough in the Professor's opinion he sees a good scratch as a healthy way to energise the body, during intense play. It is wise however, to use caution though when scratching in public as the new introduction of TV cameras picks up all the action in a game including the nether regions of a player's scratching.
Exercise Five: Dishwashing Tables, this is an old practice which the Professor has reinstated, Automatic dishwashers have meant a collapse in the hand wash sinks approach, getting in with the soap suds was always a good way to stimulate finger movement, particularly when encased in pink rubber gloves. The water movement against the dishes mingled with the dishwashing liquid gives a warm feeling to the hands and fingers which again stimulates the flow of blood through the arteries to ward off cramp.
The only problem with hand sink dishwashing though on the physical side was good; the mental side is mind boggling boring.
To solve this, Professor Phlange created his Tables Algorithm a simple formula which meant that whilst washing you recited your tables to your self over and over adding one to each number, by the time you reach eight's, your mind is in overdrive, trying to keep the immense combinations of the sums flowing coherently. This is where you have to have complete concentration as this is the critical point when dish or plate can slip from the pink rubber onto the floor, to be shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. It is sometimes good to practice the algorithm a few times before dipping your hands into the suds.
Watch out for more exercise tips from Professor Phlange in the coming months.