Mike: Hi Zoe, thanx for agreeing to
Zoe: Hi Mike.
Mike: You have had your share of good results in the few years
that you have been playing backgammon – Mind Sports Olympiad
Cambridge winner 2005, 2 WSOB Satellite Finalists in 2008 and The
Scope Charity Tournament Masters Flight Finalist in 2010. You’ve
also made great strides in the filming and presentation of
backgammon for the internet though working for WSOB, presenting
Backgammon Live in London 2009 and The Nordic Open 2010. As such
quite a few heads have turned your way and you’re now a know
person of the backgammon world.
Over the last few years you have been very much against the
holding of Ladies Tournaments in backgammon. Can you explain your
reasoning for this please?
Zoe: A long time ago, women weren't able to compete with men in
all kinds of events, owing to lack of schooling, in extreme cases,
nutrition, and in all cases because of a lack of expectation from
society. Initially, along with not having access to meaningful
employment, women would simply not have competed at all. As they
started to compete, the skill gap was such that it only made sense
for them to compete in separate events. Nowadays, although there
is still a case for separate events for some physical sports,
there is certainly no need for one in backgammon. The wonderful
performance of Pia Jeppesen in reaching the semi-finals in the
main world championship event this year is proof enough of this.
Mike: I agree with you that backgammon is a mindsport and that
in this day and age there should be no place for such gender
discrimination events. So can you now please tell us why it is
that you entered the Ladies World Championships Tournament in
Monte Carlo this year?
Do you not feel as if you have betrayed your principles in playing
in a Ladies Tournament?
Zoe: You can get too stressed about these things :)
Mike: Did you just enter the Ladies Tournament in Monte Carlo
simply because it carries the title of World Champion?
Zoe: It has always been my dream to be the Backgammon World
Champion, and I confess that this year when I was offered a second
chance after I'd been knocked out I took it. I have never played
in a ladies'
tournament prior to this. As you say, it was sell-out time.
Mike: What sort of signal do you think your actions send out to
other female players?
Zoe: I've noticed at all events that the top female players are
not interested In competing in female only events. I don't expect
anything I do to change that.
Mike: What sort of signal do you think your actions send out
to those outside of backgammon?
Zoe: There is still an issue that not many women compete at the
top level of backgammon. I think that articles such as this one,
saying that women can compete at the top level on equal terms, can
only be a
Mike: Will you play in other Ladies Tournaments now?
Zoe: Nope :)
Mike: Thank you Zoe for this interview.
Zoe: Thanks Mike and thanks for all the great work you do at
Backgammon in London and helping to run international tournaments.