Gammon Associates West
Candace Mayeron Tournament Producer
Candace first began playing backgammon almost 40 years ago, and quickly became a highly visible player and participant of the iconic 70’s Los Angeles backgammon scene -- reigning supreme at Pips and Cavendish West. With Tom Gilbert and Gaby Horowitz as her main mentors, she played all over the U.S., plus Puerto Rico, Bahamas, London and Monte Carlo. She played doubles with Billy Eisenberg, Barclay Cooke and Oswald Jacoby, and more recently John O’Hagan, Kit Woolsey, Stacy Turner & Herb Roman. She was very close friends with Paul Magriel in the late 70’s and was selected to be the organizer and hostess for the 2018 Paul Magriel Memorial Tribute. She won Pebble Beach (Novice) in 1979, was Finalist in the Lucille Ball Tournament in 1979 (Open); more recently won Advanced Consolation (Texas 2018) and San Jose Doubles with Kit Woolsey in 2018. In 2016 Patrick Gibson handed over the producing reins for the international ABT events: the LOS ANGELES OPEN (June) and the CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP (December). “I genuinely view these events as if I were giving a private party in my home and every attendee is my guest. It is my goal to make each guest's entire experience memorable.” She assists the USBGF with its photo archives, serves on the Tournament Directors Advisory Committee and attends or staffs over ten US tournaments annually in addition to her own two Los Angeles events.
Patrick Gibson Executive Tournament Director
Patrick Gibson was a member of the USBGF Board of Directors and Executive Committee for its first seven years. He has overseen the creation of the USBGF ratings and statistics database, which includes data on ABT tournaments since 2009. As a player, Patrick won the Nevada State Championship in 2010, the 2007 Michigan Summer Championships, the San Diego Grand Prix in 1994 and most recently was the 2019 U.S. Open Finalist! Over his long career in backgammon he’s garnered two trophies on the annual American Backgammon Tour – 2nd in 1994 and 3rd in 2007. He created Gammon Associates in 1978 and has directed over 3800 weekly events in Los Angeles and produced or directed almost 100 ABT events! Patrick participated in the development of the US Backgammon Tournament Rules & Procedures and the US Backgammon Clock Rules & Procedures and “Clock Ethics.” All are currently in use throughout the U.S. He was elected to the American Backgammon Hall of Fame in 2016.
Ben Friesen Tournament Director
The tallest guy in backgammon and one of the most well-liked is 30 year old Michigan native Benjamin Freisen, who stands an impressive 6’7” and has been playing backgammon since he was taught by his father at the age of five. When he discovered Carol Joy Cole’s backgammon club in Flint, Michigan he started really working on his game, mostly with the aid of eXtreme Gammon. He won the U.S. Collegiate Backgammon Championships in 2013, and has been ranked as high as 12th on the Larson-Silliman backgammon ratings. Ben spends a lot of his time supporting ancillary backgammon efforts, like Voice of Backgammon’s new Gammon Points ranking system and was elected to the USBGF Board of Directors in 2019, specifically to help stimulate the growth of the game. He currently serves as USBGF Online and Virtual Director. Not many people know Ben is also a competitive volleyball player.
Ceci Pedroza Events Director
Ceci is a former Los Angeles radio newscaster and a full time travel agent for more than 50 years. She began playing backgammon socially in the 1970s…and became a tournament player shortly thereafter. She competed in Monte Carlo and won a Ladies Division Consolation prize. As a top 16 player of Gammon Associates, she has qualified for each year's Tournament of Champions -- finishing as high as second place. In addition to staffing Candace's tournaments, she works staff at the Vietor Cup in Carlsbad, CA. Ceci is one of three women to ever achieve a “brass cube” award for winning ten consecutive matches at GA events. Ceci sits at the far end of the staff table and will be collecting all registration money as well as managing side events.
Jean Mangone Results Director
Jean Mangone would be a backgammon widow if she did not work staff at the Los Angeles Open & California State Championship. Husband Paul is an avid Open player and the two of them travel to tournaments around the US whenever they have vacation time. She’s been staffing for six years. Before retirement Jean spent 31 years in education, both as a teacher and psychologist. She is active in her church and has also worked as a choreographer in children’s theater, and helped create the award-winning Pageant of the Arts at McGaugh School in Seal Beach. Her current project is trying to get her husband to agree to ballroom dancing lessons! You will find Jean at the side of the room, managing the drawsheets. Please report match scores to Jean.
Alain Azoulay Auctioneer & Host
A working actor with over 100 films and commercials to his credit, Alain has been playing backgammon for over 30 years. He is a member of the fierce Southern California Gammon Associates club. He won the Dingwell Amateur Jackpot in 2017, and plays in the Open division.
An accomplished Host and Master of Ceremonies, his rich baritone has earned him extensive voice-over work in both film and video projects. “I love to play backgammon for days!” says Alain. “My good friend David Taniguchi and I have frequently clocked 24 hour sessions. Both of us are now seeking therapy.”