Athletes, like high-stakes gamblers, are motivated by all sorts of things: fame, strength, smarts… being the fastest or the first. An underwater diver from Turkey has his own game: he is now lauded as the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s “longest open-water scuba dive”.
Diver Cem Karabay stayed underwater along the Northern Coast of Cyprus, a Turkish territory, for a sum total of 142 hours, 42 minutes and 42 seconds. These numbers were to commemorate a bizarre and somewhat unsightly political move: to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
The act allowed Karabay to double his own personal record of 72 hours, which he set in 2015. And then previous records set in 2011 and 2009. In 2011 he earned the longest dive record from the Guinness World Record while hanging out in an Istanbul pool underwater for over 192 hours.
Being underwater may be challenging, but life must go on. While diving for that prolonged amount of time, Karabay had to eat and drink and he even managed to play a favorite Turkish past-time, a game of backgammon.
Northern Cyprus Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun was there to greet him out of the water when Karabay emerged.
Turks love backgammon. So do other Middle Eastern countries. The game of both strategy and luck is one of the oldest known board games in the world. If you have ever travelled to Turkey, Syria, or Greece, you will see men everywhere playing it, while sipping tea. There, they call it tavla. In rural communities, the women are out working in factories or in the fields. But there is allegedly a female version of the game, which we have never seen with our own eyes.
While it’s not clear whether or not the men playing tavla are gambling for actual money, we can assume that they are: on some sites like Quora, visitors to Turkey report on real life experiences playing backgammon in Istanbul for money. It’s something that may be hidden on purpose: Gambling is considered haram, or illegal in Islam. Like consuming pork or alcohol, it is likely done in secret.
There are loads of sites on the Internet where you can play backgammon, for fun or for high stakes. This site links to the best rated betting website where all sorts of games of your fancy can be found.
The thing is when you combine daredevils, with betting and winning, all sorts of interesting and new things can happen. Some people dive underwater for inordinate amounts of time, and others, like this notorious gambler and magician, agreed to get breast implants to win a bet of $100,000. Strange but true.
We’ll stick to Netflix or a game of poker with friends.