Hear from our many satisfied students
I first started playing backgammon in March. I became hooked over the spring and summer and entered my first tournament in September. I finished third in the Novice division and decided I needed some help. I started taking lessons with John O'Hagen and then Phil Simborg. In my next tournament in October, I won the Novice Division. In the January NY tournament, I won a Blitz. I entered the Virginia tournament in February for the first time at the Intermediate level - and won. This rapid success is due in large part to the exceptional teaching methods developed by my mentors. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Gary Koscielny, FSA, MAAA, EA
Yesterday we have ended up our summer season in our backgammon club in Izmir. I won 2 cups in this particular season (season is 2 months period). I won the championship of one point tournament which was around 40 players. And I also won the Izmir city cup (9 point matches until quarter final and 13 and 15 point matches semi and final match) I have learned a lot from you over the past 3-4 months and i know i will learn lot more in the future.Thank you one more time for all your help and guidance.
Phil thanks for encouraging me to come to San Antonio and play in the event. I had no idea what to expect as I have never played in a tournament before. When you suggested that Tuvya Felt should be my coach and he would be better for a rookie like myself, you were so right. He was so patient and explained things clearly and illustratively. After my third lesson he suggested I could be in the advanced division and not the novice. And I came in second place! What a great experience, Phil and Tuvya, you’re the best.
I finally admitted it to myself, that having been involved in backgammon for more than twenty years my game had hit the proverbial brick wall. If I was ever going to reach the higher echelons that would enable me to compete with the big guns on a level playing field I was going to need a new game face; a whole new way of thinking. In so many words, I explained all this to Phil in an email I sent him several months ago. Phil proposed a series of lessons designed to restructure my knowledge of the cube and equip me with the necessary tools I needed to lower my PR and achieve my endeavor.
Let me start off by saying, distance learning via WebEx is a blast! From the onset of lesson 1, I was introduced to Phil’s Desktop which, by the way is an encyclopedia of backgammon literature. If Phil doesn’t have a lesson plan for a particular topic, then it probably hasn’t been invented yet. As an instructor, Phil’s ability to simplify the most complicated of backgammon themes is merely the tip of the iceberg of his teaching prowess. What I appreciate the most about Phil is that he follows up each lesson by sending me all the key aspects covered in the lesson; equally important, Phil records the session enabling me to return to it as often as I need to. My lessons with Phil are ongoing and I can honestly say, that the ground I have made up in the last two months has put the last twenty years into perspective. If I was ever asked to comment on Phil as an instructor, I would simply say this:
“Phil’s greatest asset is his ability to empower students to develop beyond the scope of their limitations”.
Nigel Merrigan a.k.a. Mr. Majestyk
Just executed my first ever successful blitz and only a success because of your lesson. Thanks! Not only that, I had just doubled the opponent–it was a double / take — a huge take, and a 4% error to not double. I won a gammon :-) Thanks for your lessons. You are a great teacher and a wise and witty person, all of which makes it a pleasure to work with you. I look forward to continue the privilege of continuing under your tutelage, Yoda of Backgammon!
All best for the holidays and the new year,
Andrew Kaye, Bethlehem PA
I want to thank you. I won the quiz for the advanced that Mochy gave on backgames at the Chicago Open. Most of the positions, or at least the ideas behind the right play, I learned from the 1.5 hour lesson on back games with you. Not only that but I am first in my clube with a .666 winning percentage, thanks almost entirely to the lessons I took from you. (By the way, I also got 1st Consolation at the Chicago Open.)
Lucas Bauer, Bloomington IL
Tonight I played a 5 point match against Uri from Northwestern in the USBGF Collegiate Room. I have attached it. I played at 2.7. Not only that, but my average for the last 2 weeks is 5.6 (42 matches that were all 5 or 7 point matches).
When I started taking lessons from you just over two months ago I did not know what a take point was, gammon value, market loser, Wollsey Law. I didn’t even know there were 36 rolls on the dice. I am very proud of my new skill because I have worked very hard, but you are an awesome teacher and all the time and help you give all the college players is amazing and we all appreciate it.
I know I will be playing backgammon the rest of my life and some day I will teach my children and tell them about you. I hope you will add this to the testimony on your web site.
University of Chicago
From Tony Mann, Manchester, England
I have just completed my 10th hour of ongoing lessons with Phil Simborg. I could not be more satisfied. The format is superb and highly professional, incorporating a direct link to Mr Simborgs desktop, with powerpoint presentations, logical and coherent progression of themes and full explanations. After each lesson I can access a recording of the lesson, and I receive excellent information relevant to the current theme. In addition to learning world class cube and chequer methods, bad habits are identified and corrected. I can hardly believe the extent of the useful new information which I have recently assimilated, not least an entirely new system to evaluate cube decisions. I have been an intermediate level full time money player for almost 2 years. My only regret is that I didn’t begin this 2 years earlier. I can honestly say that I am 100% satisfied with my choice of teacher. Not only is Mr. Simborg a great player, but his many years of teaching experience are immediately apparent. In addition he is well connected to most of the best players in the world. I have no doubt that I will recoup the cost of the lessons from increased money play profit, and that I will achieve my dream of becoming an open level professional player.
From Marcel Mander, Germany
I love Backgammon more and more with every day. I have dedicated most of my time learning, training and analyzing blunders, and I’m nearly obsessed by the game. My game has improved dramatically over the past 10 months and you can take full credit for the results. Without John’s and your help, I wouldn’t have an effective system to analyze every position, and would have some trouble to come up with my own system while studying backgammon literature. I wouldn’t have any type of a didactal structure and in order to come up with one, I would need to know more about the game. There are many disciplines, even complex accademic disciplines, which allows you to be an autodidact or even to learn without any kind of structure.
But when it comes to Backgammon, every system I’ve learned during the last years broke down. The results were disappointingly bad. I’m very glad that I contacted you last year. I’m quite sure that my game otherwise wouldn’t have improved that much.