Dr. Cihangir Çetinel, starting backgammon 40 years ago, he spent periods of high attention to the game which gives him a feeling of being at home in his life. In his speech during 2015 World Backgammon Championship prize giving ceremony in Monte Carlo last week, he gave glimpses of how he emphasizes friendship more than anything during his backgammon adventure.
Cihangir Çetinel is married with a child. He has been working at a state hospital as an urologist for 20 years. He has about 20 international published articles. He has been postponing his application for associate professorship for 1.5 years just because of backgammon.
Like most Turkish tavla players in Turkey (traditional cubeless version of backgammon), his interest in backgammon carries social influences. He started playing backgammon with a special board his mom brought from the USA. He discovered that the game can be played at a simple level for fun and also expert technical level. He developed an expertise in backgames and started challenging his play mates with complex situations. He tried other games like bridge and poker when he couldn’t find enough challenge and further development opportunities in backgammon. Then a few years ago he returned to the game in the more challenging arena of Turkish backgammon leagues. He met other enthusiastic players and also gained international experience in Cyprus tournaments. Last few years, he studied the game systematically developing his reference positions using XG. With his meticulous studies he started playing at the World Class level.
Getting strong analytical and training support from a top player like XG and using his occupational advantage of being close to people, Çetinel developed a strong feel in the human dimension of the game. With his years of gaming experience and playing backgammon against a group of players with a variety of strength, he started playing to win and including World championship won a lot of titles in 2015. Like Akiko Yazawa, he gave a good focus to presence over the board and got his title from her hands.
Monte Carlo adventure was not easy for him. Due to a mistake in his hotel reservation, he had no place to stay in Monte Carlo and he stayed in tough conditions in his friends’ apart. During the tournament, he took care of a friend who got sick and spent some nights with not much sleep. Apart from being a good player, the speech he gave in Monte Carlo prize giving ceremony reminded us he is a sensitive good person. He dedicated his trophy to his Armenian originated Turkish friend Miran Dayı who was in intensive care last two weeks and passed away recently after. He so to speak deserved his marvelous title with his friendship promoting attitude. As if he was there to show us the direction of friendship even in the existence of so much cultural clash.