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Tavli (Backgammon)

On cool verandahs, in neighborhood coffee shops or even on the beach, you may hear dices being rolled and checkers being knocked on the wooden board. Tavli is a very popular boardgame on our island.

In Cyprus, the two main Tavli games are “Portes” or “Mana”. Portes is similar to western backgammon. The 15 checkers are set on specific points on the board. The aim of the game is to move all your checkers around the board to your home area and then collect them off the board.  In “Mana” each player starts with fifteen checkers on the opponent’s point-one.

A checker may be moved only to an open point that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers. The aim of the game is to bring all your checkers to your own home area and then collect them off the board.

Tavli tournaments are quite common on the island, especially during the summer months. You can participate at one of the tournaments in the area of your stay, if you are confident enough of your Tavli skills.  If not, no worries at all! Order a Cyprus coffee, watch a Tavli game and pay attention to the players’ and the onlookers’ passionate engagement! It is going to be a unique local cultural experience!

tavli cyprus

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