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Darts1 interview
with George Silberzahn

George Silberzahn, american Darts legend, author and inventor of the Flight School was right at his 70th birthday available for this Darts1 interview, thanks a lot.

George, how long is it that you do play darts?

I first picked up a dart in 1960 after I got home from serving in the US Air Force.

And where did you first come in contact with it?

Local tavern just down the street from my home. Billy Burt's was it name.

Gibbstown, New Jersey was the town.

Was it then popular in America?

It was the American style darts game and every tavern had a dart board in it. It was very popular.

And where was it played?

In Taverns, Bars, Saloons and clubs such as the Italian American Club, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Moose Hall.

Did you have your own American dart games or did you more or less play 501 most of the time like they do in England?

There was only one game played in league - "Baseball." It was equal darts, not first one to end wins. The game consisted of nine frames - 1 through 9 -(We called them innings). Each team had five members for each game. There were three games played each night. The ten players alternated turns at each inning. Each team member attempted to score as many points as they could each inning. The total score for each person, and the team, was added up after each inning and after all nine innings the team with the highest score won. How was it organised in America then, did you have a league system of some kind and big national tournaments, where the best American players met? There were no national tournaments and no national organisation. There were many, many leagues and league play was held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The "best" players were decided two ways. One formal, one not so formal. The formal method was by average points per game, which was accurate down to decimal points since everyone played the same number of innings every game. The informal method was decided after and between league play where the "best" tested each other in a differently object way. We played head to head matches which took a few forms. Here are two.

1) A guarantee was a match where each person brought an agreed to amount of money with which to bet, then they played a mixture of games of short duration for some amount of money per game until someone ran out of money. The amount of money per game would sometimes increase the longer they played. These matches often ended when the sun was rising the following morning. The one with the money in the end was the "best." At least for that day.

2) A freeze out was a match where the first person to win a given number of games won however much money had been bet on the match.

What were you greatest achievements?

There are two categories for me. American style and English style darts. Greatest achievement in American - Averaging over 50 points per game, in two leagues. To put perspective on that a 'regular' player's average was between 37 and 45 points per game. My average and that I was expected to play in the 'anchor' position on all the teams on which I played. Anchor played last and was looked to for the crucial shot to win or lose the game. Greatest achievement in English - Ranked in the top six in America.

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