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Persian Architect

Architecture. Art. Literature

Friday, October 21, 2005


Adib Farahani Posted by Picasa

Let me be honest with you. During the last thirty years of my life I had thought of backgammon as just a game of chance, therefore I never took it seriously, until this summer that is.
I am sure most Iranians, specially those of whom which are coming from an extended family, at one time or another have witnessed and watched some members of their family ever so ardently indulging in backgammon. My father is one of these ardent members.

This summer I went to Tehran for a visit. After arriving home and meeting my father and exchanging the usual courtesies, I saw him disappearing in to his room to return after a few minutes with his favorite backgammon board under his arms.
"Shall we?" he said.

The dear reader must realize that this was the first time I was being asked by my father to share with him the passion he has for the game. Not only did I accept his invitation, but believe it or not I took the gesture of his invitation as an honor being bestowed upon me. I felt that I was being initiated in to the world of adults and the wiseones, thus the game began.

To be precise, it was right after my fifth move when I noticed my father's face literally changing in to a dark reddish colour. My first response was to ask him that if something was wrong. He took a deep puff from his cigarette and gazed at my face.
"What kind of an architect are you?, Don't you know mathematics?, What have they been teaching you in that university of yours?"
By this time I was stunned and petrified by the barrage of questions being thrown at me and at the same time I tried to workout the relationship between Backgammon and my university!.
"How can it be? You have not even made a single right move."
He was clearly getting more anxious .
"Tell me, is something wrong? O, there must be, I am sure there is something wrong with you. You can't concentrate. I wonder, how can you even design anything with this amount of concentration?"

One month passed and we did not remind eachother of the backgammon incident, nor did we play again. It was during my flight back home when I found a book in my bag and a letter addressed to me, it was from my father.

"Dear son
I thought it best to write you a few lines a and explain the importance of backgammon, which I hope will enlighten you and clarify my reaction. Imagine the backgammon board to be a stage or even the platform of life. In this platform there are people, just like real life; whom I might add also want to win by using your weaknesses and lack of concentration.
In order to win there are there are two elements which you have to utilize. One, is upkeeping the faculty of mind and the other is to realize the chances provided to you by the dice. Let me remind you that the numbers and the combination of the dice is very similar to that of our lives.
All of us, before making any major moves in life throws the dice. Either we have a good combination of numbers or we don't, but what is essential regardless of the number of dice, is to use them in a most efficient way in order to reduce the harms which might come upon us.
Most people call this chance, but only a few can workout what is behind the myth of chance and they move accordingly. These people are the wiseones, for it is wisdom and pure concentration that can keep you safe both in life and backgammon."

Since then I have been playing backgammon almost every day. The game has also helped me to concentrate more and to gather my mind. It is astonishing to discover and notice the similarities of backgammon and life.

p.s : The book which was given to me by my father is about the histoy of backgammon, which also provides
some good tips and moves for you to learn.
The book is written by Dr. Abolghassem Tafzali.