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CONGRATULATIONS to the German player Michael Meyburg on becoming only the second person to win the Monte Carlo World Championship twice. The only other person who has accomplished this is Bill Robertie. Meyburg defeated Elliot Winslow of the US in the final. Congratulations also to Richard Whitehouse, a regular at London's Double Fives, who won the Last Chance.

To those not familiar with tournament formats, your entry fee (in the case of the world championships a not insignificant $750) entitles you not only to play in the main championship but also in the Consolation once you have lost in the main event. Elimination from the Consolation puts you into the Last Chance - in the world championship there is also a second Consolation. Each tournament has shorter matches than the one before and less prize money but they are still very much worth winning.

Even after you have been knocked out of all the tournaments you can enter mini-jackpots. These are eight-player tournaments that require a new entry fee where the winner takes all - jackpots at different entry fees are normally available. When you have finally had enough tournament play you can play money games, either head-to-head or in chouettes.

The availability of so much backgammon requires some discipline to make sure you get enough sleep each night. Sadly, I know from personal experience that very short nights become the norm.

The backgammon circus now moves on to Dallas for the bi-annual World Cup where, in addition to the usual tournaments, there is also a World Chouette Championship. This is the first time that this has been attempted, and it will be interesting to see how well it goes. Matches in the World Cup are played as the best of five 11-point matches rather than the longer (up to 25 points) match format which is used at Monte Carlo. This is generally considered to be a fairer format as a single freak eight- or 16-point cube need no longer decide the outcome of an entire match.

For those interested in trying their hand at a tournament for the first time, there will be backgammon tournaments at the second Mind Sports Olympiad to be held at the Novotel Hotel, in Hammersmith, London, from 24-30 August. Entry fees are expected to be in the pounds 10-pounds 25 range.

For further details, send an SAE to Mind Sports Olympiad, PO box 13388, London NW3 2ZF