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Meet  Zdenek "ZZ" Zizka
Backgammon Grandmaster and Private Coach


“Backgammon is more than a game for me; it’s my passion and my discipline.”

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Why I love to Play

Zdenek "ZZ" Zizka

Everything we do, we do for a reason—for pleasure, for fame, for financial gain. The motivations for what we do are many. For some, a game like backgammon would fall into the category of entertainment, or recreation; for me, it’s so much more than that. For me, backgammon is about focus. Determination. Strategy. Playing my best. Winning. And freedom.

The nature of backgammon is unique to it alone. Because of our inability to control the dice, part of the game’s excitement—for me—is in thinking about my optimal moves, regardless of what the dice send my way. Playing any game, not just backgammon, to the best of my ability has always been my joy. Maximizing my chances to achieve something, analyzing my best options, choosing the optimal moves and steps everywhere I go and in anything I do based on the available information. To me, backgammon is like life—I like to do things that bring me enjoyment, but also bring the reward of knowing that I am doing my best.

I am a rational person by nature and I need everything to make sense. I am also a positive person. As such, I value the sense of freedom I feel when I play backgammon. For me, freedom is the feeling of no restrictions or limitations. Freedom is having the chance to become someone who is good at something, ideally the best. What makes me feel freest is choice—the freedom to choose between possibilities and see that making the right choices helps me achieve the ultimate goal of winning. The opportunity to make choices represents the ultimate freedom I experience when playing backgammon. The possibility to decide about my move, or about doubling, or rejecting a double; I have the freedom to play the game the way I want, and this comes with the knowledge that, while I may not always win, if I’ve made the right decisions I have at least maximized my chances to do so, and had fun while doing it. That’s the game of backgammon in a nutshell—winning while having fun.

 

We all have desires. They don't have to be on the surface, for all the world to see; they can be buried deep down, so that you have to search to find them in yourself. Backgammon is exactly like that. It is a path, where every move is a choice, where randomness plays a leading role—and it is our role to make every decision that we can in the best way we can to maximize our probability of winning. The fact that we do not win every game, even when we make every correct move, is the same as life. My ultimate goal is to do what I can to maximize the probability of becoming the winner, and then, win or lose, to let go of that outcome and move on to the next match, the next life experience, the next step I choose to take in my journey.

ZZ’s Highlighted Backgammon Accomplishments

2023 placings 

Runner up in the UBC contender 2023

2022 placings 

Winner of Super Jackpot Dubai 

Winner of Athens WBIF Tour 

Runner up in the UBC contender 2022

Runner up in Monte Carlo World Backgammon Championship

Runner up in Las Vegas Open

Additional placings

Winner of Monte Carlo Open in 2018

Winner of the Intermediate Merit Open, Cyprus, 2016

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