Chris Bray was the backgammon correspondent of The Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom, a position he held for twenty-three years until the paper went digital in 2016. In December 2019, as backgammon saw a resurgence across the world, Chris was appointed as the backgammon correspondent for The Times of London, and his column was reborn.
He has been playing backgammon for forty years after moving to the game from chess and bridge in the late 1970s, at the time of the last great backgammon boom. The 1970s was a heady time for the backgammon community but while others only tarried a while Chris became fascinated with the game and its history. As well as developing his own game to the point where he can compete with the best players in the world on an equal footing, he began to take an interest in educating others and promoting the game.
Using his relationships from the chess community to get the backgammon column launched at The Independent (Grandmaster William Hartston was the first games page editor at the paper) was just the start of things. Chris has written articles for other periodicals and websites over the years and these articles plus the Independent material have formed the basis for seven of Chris’s books, the most recent one being 'Backgammon - The Final WInd', which was published in May 2019.
In addition Chris has published two books for beginners and intermediates, 'Backgammon to Win', and 'Backgammon for Dummies' in the famous yellow and black livery of the Dummies series. Both books cover largely the same material but have slightly different styles.
As well as writing Chris also provides backgammon tuition for individuals, groups and corporations and often gives seminars at backgammon tournaments.
Chris has worked in telecommunications and IT for much of his working life, latterly for IBM. The fact that computer technology has played such a large part in the development of the theory of the game in the last twenty years has meant that Chris has been in the right place at the right time to combine his day job with his passion for the game of backgammon. He has worked with the developers of JellyFish, Snowie and Extreme Gammon (XG) - now the leading backgammon software program in the world - to enhance their products and help bring them to market.
In Chris’s view there will be much more to come from the neural network technologies that underpin the likes of XG and this will help to further develop the theory of the game over the coming decade.
Chris lives in East Sheen, close to Richmond Park in South West London, with his wife Gill (also a keen backgammon player) and his daughter Kate. He is a member of the Roehampton Club and captains their team in the London Backgammon League. He is a life-long supporter of Manchester United and a keen but very average golfer.