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About the Bristol Open 

The Bristol Open began back in 2005 with the ‘Wedding Tournament,’ which was a unique event to coincide with and celebrate Roland and Simonetta Herrera’s marriage. The following year, the Bristol International Festival of Backgammon was held primarily to celebrate Roland and Simo’s 1st wedding anniversary.


Both of these events were a great success and attracted a considerable number of their friends from around the world.

In 2008 Bristol Backgammon decided to run the Bristol Open with the intention of making it an annual event. For 3 years this is what happened and the event gained a reputation as a top National and International event.

After a gap of 5 years, the Bristol Open returned in 2016 in a new venue at the Rainbow Casino in the buzzing Bristol Harbourside.

In 2019, no one could have forseen the events of the past 2+ years and most of us will have lost someone who was either close to us or someone we knew.  May they all rest in peace.  Life (and backgammon) go on and we hope to provide a great event this year.


Using a similar format to the massive Merit Park Open in North Cyprus which takes place during the following week, our event is ideal to use as a 'Warm Up' in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.


Erhan Doğrusöz sadly passed away in 2018 and is sorely missed. His wife Ozlem and son Alp, are continuing to produce beautiful handmade backgammon boards and have provided one as the prize for the Warm-up tournament.

Past players

What past players say.... 

Sebastian Wilkinson - Bristol Backgammon Open Champion 2016

"Bristol hosts a fantastic tournament, superbly run, with a fun and friendly atmosphere. I highly recommend it to anyone who seeks a great tournament experience."

Sebastian Wilkinson (UK) - Bristol Open Champion 2016

Michihito Kageyama - World Backgammon Giant No 2

"I spent great time in Bristol Open. I played many matches and met lots of great guys. Actually Bristol is like my second hometown. It has incredible wide lawn area called "the Downs". Clifton suspension bridge is so beautiful. I enjoyed the tournament and the city at the same time. Maybe you will enjoy my seminar during the tournament as well."

Michihito Kageyama (JPN) - World Backgammon Giant No 2

Chris Rogers - European Champion 2016

"The Bristol Open is an excellent, fun event. Last year was brilliantly organised and I look forward to another great event this year. Not a tournament to be missed!"

Christopher Rogers (UK) - European Champion 2016

Eric McAlpine - World Doubles Champion 2017

"The Bristolians, are such a merry and harmonious bunch, and with the terrific trio (Tim Line, Ian Tarr, Gaz Owen), orchestrating such a backgammon bonanza, this is an event not to be missed. My enthusiasm for good backgammon tournaments, is well known, and I am delighted that the Bristol Open, has returned back to the UK backgammon calendar. Love this tournament, and without doubt, in my top 3 UK tournaments of the year...."

Eric McAlpine [UK] - Doubles World Champion 2017

Carter Mattig - USA - International backgammon champion

"If you are looking for a tournament to dispel the notion that English are incapable of fun, this is the one! The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is cheery, and the surroundings are excellent! My favorite tournament to attend in England without a doubt!"

Carter Mattig (USA)

Bristol Backgammon

About Bristol Backgammon 

What is now Bristol Backgammon has its origins in the Computing Department at the Rolls-Royce aero engine factory in Patchway, Bristol. In 1980 Ian Tarr thought he might attract as many as eight players into a knock-out competition to be held during lunch breaks. He got a response from 20, and from that moment on, competitions flourished to the point where – at the peak of activity -- there were around 60 players.

In 1987 two of those players, Phil Charlton and Dave Pym, were instrumental in branching out into evening tournaments, which continued at the modest rate of no more than three per year at various locations, until settling at the Bristol County Sports Club in 1997. By this time the original Rolls-Royce players had become outnumbered by others.

Historic Bristol Harbour
Girl playing backgammon

From 1999 Ian started running more regular evening competitions, gradually building things to a point where there are now two evening sessions per week – Mondays at the Bristol County Sports Club (a k a Sportsmans) and Thursdays at the Rainbow Casino -- plus occasional Saturday or Sunday tournaments at the casino too.

Alongside these sessions, a flourishing league scene began to make its mark in 2000 with the Bristol Premier League and later its intermediate feeder league, the Bristol Conference League. Leagues have since been set up in many other UK locations, arguably drawing upon the initial inspiration of the Bristol leagues.   

From quite modest beginnings, the best Bristol players can now compete with confidence and no little success anywhere in the world.


(Correct at 03:00 Hrs 6th August 2022)

•  Our latest new player, Daniel Miles, is the 676th player to compete in a Bristol Backgammon competition.

•  The number of matches played (excluding 1 point matches), stands at precisely 40723!

•  2021 marked an annual record of 4752 competitive matches played, but may well be broken again this year.

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