My interview of Backgammon crazy that is biggest Backgammon group on Facebook .
Today we talk to Akiko Yazawa, the best female backgammon player in the world, a world champion and backgammon giant.
BGC: "Hello Akiko, I am very pleased to meet you. Please tell us, when did you start playing backgammon?"
Akiko: "I started playing backgammon when I was a student in University. I went to Egypt to scuba dive in the red sea and saw people playing backgammon on the beach. When I went back to Japan I started to play.
BGC: "What is your favorite activity beside backgammon?"
Akiko: "When I was younger I was into scuba diving and car racing. Now my favorite hobbies are traveling, swimming, and playing the board game Go."
BGC: "I just started playing Go, it's a huge challenge... Do you have a preferred match length?"
Akiko: "My favorite match length is 25 points because it is long. The longer the match length the more chance I have of winning."
BGC: "You are a world champion. Do you need to prepare for tournaments?"
Akiko: "Of course! I prepare for many things. But the most important thing is preparing for jet lag before the tournament starts. I try and get on the local time of the tournament a week before I leave from Japan."
BGC: "Which board brand you like the most and why?"
Akiko: "For me, the most important part of a board is the color. I have difficulty distinguishing colors and if the checkers are too similar in color sometimes it gets mixed up. There are many great board makers, but the ones that allow you to customize colors are the best. Many times the colors are so similar that both checkers look like the same color. When I was younger I felt it was rude to request a board change, but now I have no problem doing it."
BGC: "What's your advice to our members to improve their play?"
Akiko: "If you are a beginner, the most important thing is to play a lot of matches and gain experience. After you have played a lot of matches, studying becomes important more than playing. You should always study your match file on the computer and go over your play. If I play for one hour, I will study for two or three hours looking over my match. After I started this method I became world champion two years later."
BGC: "Are you sometimes tired of playing backgammon?"
Akiko: "I mostly play backgammon at tournaments because after a tournament I have many match files that I have to study. I enjoy looking at my match files more than playing backgammon. I do not play many games of backgammon therefore I do not get tired of playing."
BGC: "Akiko, you are a very successful professional player. Is there a secret for your success?"
Akiko: "When I won the world championship in 2014 I wore a wig, because I was battling cancer. No opponent at a tournament is more scary than my opponent of cancer. I already fought my most strongest opponent so the rest are not difficult."
BGC: "Is there an opening roll you move different from standard/XG?"
Akiko: "For money game I always play regular XG openings. When I play matches, if I am behind and I have a good read on an opponent I will play different openings."
BGC: "What's your next challenge?"
Akiko: "No one has been the world champion three times in backgammon history. My goal is to be the first!
BGC: "Akiko, it was a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much. Our best wishes for your future, especially for the world championships in Monaco, 24th to 25th, July 2016. Good rolls!"