Former Backgammon Player Tim Holland Dies of Emphysema

Tim Holland, a former world backgammon champion who was one of the most popular players in the game's heyday, has died on March 10th, 2010. He was 79 years old. Holland died of emphysema at his West Palm Beach residence, according to his daughter, Vanessa Holland of San Diego, California. Backgammon is a combination of strategy and luck game, played with dice and checkers on a board that had elongated triangles.

When the game enjoyed a renewal in popularity in the 1960's and 1970's, Holland traveled all over the world defeating fellow backgammon players. He won the WBA (World Backgammon Association) championships in 1967, 1968 and 1971 (no backgammon event was held in 1969 and 1970) and made his living between tournament purses and his own betting.

Holland authored the book "Beginning Backgammon", Backgammon for People Who Hate to lose", and "Better Backgammon". He also made a teaching aid named "Autobackgammon" and opened the now-shutdown Park 65 Backgammon Club in New York.

Tim Holland, who was born Simeon Harold Holland on March 3rd, 1931, in Rockville Center, New York, he grew up enjoying bridge and golf in the town about fifteen miles east of New York City. For a number of years, he made a living as an amateur golf player.

As interest in the game of backgammon increased along with its earning potential, he set his goal on a new calling, spending a couple of years polishing his skills on the game. He lost in the first few games that he played, but he eventually mastered backgammon, mesmerizing opponents with his skill and mindset, traits discussed in a chapter devoted to Tim Holland in the book "Fast Company", which was released in 1975.

The author of the book, Jon Bradshaw, said in the book that Holland rarely speaks and smile when he is playing. He added that he is also focused when he is rolling the dice on the board and moves with a poise of a player who knows that victory is within reach. Backgammon eventually lose some of its popularity and Holland changed his focus again, returning to playing bridge in the professional circuit. He played bridge until he died.

The former Nancy Zorn of West Palm Beach is Holland's wife. Several prior marriages of Holland, including one to the former Joanna Ulrich, who later married "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson. Holland discussed backgammon's positive characteristics in "Fast Company" and discussed receiving retribution for his early failures in the game.

Holland said that it is the luck characteristic of the game that lures individuals into believing that they have a good chance to win. But that is just wishful thinking if you do not have the any strategy or technique in the game.


April 29, 2010