IT IS played in cafés across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs, with world championships staged in exotic locations.

Now a Windermere hotelier is planning to bring backgammon to the Lake District. Jonathan Kaye, who owns the Cedar Manor Hotel, is hoping to stage a one-day tournament that will attract interested players from across the north of England.

“It’s a fascinating game, not difficult to learn, and knock-out tournaments can be staged in one day,” said Jonathan, a keen player himself.

He would roll the dice during his time living in London, where for 10 years he managed the exclusive Chelsea nightclub, Raffles, frequented by celebrities and royalty.

“Everyone who has been on holiday to Greece or Spain will see how popular backgammon is there, with games being played at roadside cafes by all age groups,” he said. “We want anyone who might be interested to get in touch, and then we will arrange a competition.”

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and a player wins by removing all of his pieces from the board before his opponent.

Excavations have revealed that the game was played around 3000BC in Persia (Iran) and it was played in various forms by the ancient Romans, and subsequently throughout Europe.

The first world championship was held in Las Vegas in 1967, and later moved to Monte Carlo for many years. The game is also played extensively online. Jonathan is in contact with the British Isles Backgammon Association, and should a low-key event prove popular, he hopes to stage a bigger tournament eventually.

Anyone interested in taking part is asked to contact him at 015394 43192