Interview With a ChampionAlso attending the tournament was the reigning backgammon world champion, Dennis Carlston. It is a slightly misleading title, however. Carlston is barely a part-time player these days and is no longer considered among the game's true elite; the Backgammon World Championship, held each summer in Monte Carlo, was as spectacular a run for Carlston as it was surprising. Still, Carlston, a youthful 59-year-old with an MBA in finance who manages portfolios for private clients in San Francisco, was a topnotch player back in backgammon's disco era heyday. His colorful history also includes time as a professional poker and blackjack player, games that, like backgammon, he still enjoys at a very high level today. Carlton starting playing backgammon in the early 1970s, just before it became really popular in the U.S. At that time, the Mayfair Club in New York City was the center of backgammon in the U.S., but "we'd go from Las Vegas to the Bahamas to Switzerland to Monte Carlo to Greece for backgammon events," he recalls. "It was an around-the-world, nonstop, crazy time in my life."