Mary Hickey

Full Name: Mary Hickey

Date of birth: 1955

Birth Place: USA

Current City of Residence: Kirkersville, Ohio

Marital Status: Married, to Bob, 30 years

Children: Two, both much too smart to play backgammon

Occupation: Self-employed writer, backgammon player and teacher, and keeper of the family farm, formerly a chemical engineer, newspaper reporter and photographer

How I Started playing Backgammon: While in Houston on a business trip, I let some sharks in a bar show me how to play. Since the game appeared to be at least partly skill, I told them I’d come back and play for money as soon as I learned how to play it right. If you’re down in Texas sometime and find them still waiting, tell them it may be awhile longer!

Backgammon Nickname: mamabear

Current Skill level: World Class

Number of years playing Backgammon live: Let’s see, 7 or 8 plus 16… let’s round that up to about 25. Taking a break can be good for your game, but the 8 or so years I took were probably a bit more than necessary.

Favorite Tournament Venue: Places right here in my beloved Midwest

Titles won:
– US Open in 2011 and 2010
– Mid-Atlantic Championship 2010
– Ohio State Championship 2009
– Ohio Masters 2002, 2003, and 2006
– Indiana “Indy 300” Masters 2006

Other important finishes:

– 6th in 2010 ABT, 9th in 2009
– Recent Doubles wins with partners including Claude Landry (Canada), Tara Mendicino, Adam Bennett, and David Dennis from the UK.

– Various side events, the most notable being winning the Blitz in California, December 2010, and in Las Vegas, November 2006.

Favorite Backgammon book(s):
Too many to list, so I will just say that if you want to play well, you have to read. Our current knowledge of the game has developed over many years–why repeat what others have done, when you can learn from their efforts and then go out and break some new ground? Perhaps the next good backgammon book will be the one you write!

Favorite Music: Depends on mood…anything from ballet to blues, Franz Liszt to the Grateful Dead, Gilbert and Sullivan to the Velvet Underground.

Favorite Food: Southeast Asian, Caribbean, and vegetarian food, at coffee houses run by earnest young people who want to save the planet.

Other Interests & Hobbies: Reading, music, gardening, visiting with family and friends

Person I’d like most to meet: former president Lula
Favorite Celebrity: Reba McEntire, because I love her music and she also plays backgammon!

If I could change anything in the world, I would… Divert the money we now spend on war to fighting disease, developing clean energy, assisting the poorest nations, and cleaning up the oceans

If I could change anything in the Backgammon world, I would… Get a lot more of the online-only players to give live play and tournaments a try.

Additional comments: Backgammon is a great game, the best ever devised, but it can be dangerous, too. Play it and enjoy it, but don’t let it become an addiction, nor let yourself become anxious and driven over it. Let it improve your thinking and broaden your mind, but don’t let it eat your life

If you are the author of backgammon books or articles:

Co-author of What’s Your Game Plan? Backgammon Strategy in the Middle Game, with Marty Storer, published in 2011

Author of 44-column series on chouette for GammonVillage, now also available as a CD-book titled Chouette and More: The World’s First and Only Backgammon Sci-fi Soap Opera

Series of “Game Plan Selection” columns for

Series of early game “Starting Off Right” columns for the USBGF newsletter

Occasional “Your Move” columns for Chicago Point

Book reviews and other articles for various publications, including Chicago Point, Flint Area Backgammon News and GammonVillage

What’s Your Game Plan? is a new book by Mary Hickey and Marty Storer that can be purchased through Carol Joy Cole’s at: Backgammon Boutique.