Carol Joy Cole Leads the Way for Female Backgammon Players

Carol Joy Cole forced herself to learn the game of backgammon in the 1970's in an effort to keep with her two children, who were taught to play the game by their babysitter.

More than thirty years later, Cole's backgammon resume includes numerous wins in national backgammon tournaments, participation in international tournaments and the start of the Flint Area Backgammon Club.

Cole said that backgammon is a very dynamic game so she enjoys playing it very much especially with her friend. Cole's latest backgammon win came at the American Backgammon Tour's US Open, which happened in Washington D.C. from June 4th, 2009 and ended on June 7th, 2009.

The Flint resident edged out a playing field of twenty-four players and defeated 1989 Backgammon World Champion Joe Russell in the heads-up showdown to be the first female backgammon player to win the U.S. Open Backgammon tournament.

Cole said that the she was very happy with her accomplishment since Joe Russell is a very good player. Cole describes backgammon as a board game that combines the strategies use in chess and the gaming elements of poker. Each participant has a home board, the winner decides who moves their pieces and gets them off first.

Backgammon players can use a doubling cube, which introduces the gambling factor in the game. As a 3rd generation Japanese-American, Cole was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where her parents lived in an internment camp during World War II.

When she was 3 months old, her family was released from the camp and they settled down in Flint. Now that Cole is retired from her job as the business reference librarian at Flint Public Library, she is letting her love of the game lead her across the US as a full-time backgammon player on the eighteen tournament American Backgammon Tour and to international backgammon events in Spain, France, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Greece.

Winning and finishing high in backgammon events helps Cole to pay her participation in backgammon tournaments. Bill Davis, the operator of and Cole's friend said that she is known as the queen of backgammon.

Davis added that Cole is one of the few women that play at such a competitive level. Davis hopes that Cole her win at the US Open and her victory last year at the Southeast Championships in Georgia can help attract more female players in the game.

Cole founded the Flint Area Backgammon Club in the 1970's. Back then, the club would normally attract around fifty-sixty players on weekly basis during the game's "heyday". Interest in the game drop off during the mid 1980's but surged back with the debut of the World Wide Web in the 1990's.

The Flint Area Backgammon Club meets every Thursday at the Days Inn, 2207 W. Bristol Road, Flint. Cole stated that the club usually attracts around twenty players a week.

The club requires no membership fees and it is open to the public. There are also free lessons offered at the club for beginners and small backgammon tournaments are played each week.


July 20, 2009