A precursor of backgammon, the game of 'nard', was known in China as early
as 700 A.D. The local name for the game was Shan-liu (meaning double six). A
reference can be found in the following book; Stewart Culin, 'Chinese Games
with Dice and Dominoes', (Washington 1895), at page 80.
Nard closely resembled backgammon: ie race game played on the 'backgammon'
board with 30 checkers whose movements were governed by chance from the
throw of 2 die.
If one considers 'backgammon' to be a generic term encompassing the numerous
variantions in rules, set up and movement (ie so it would include variants
such as Russian Backgammon, Greek Backgammon etc) then its safe to say that
backgammon was played in 19th century China.
However, if one defines 'backgammon' very narrowly as a specific variant
with a distinct set of rules, (ie so as to preclude variants such as Russian
Backgammon, Greek Backgammon etc) then the answer might be 'no', as more
research is needed.
Hope that helps.
backgammon wrote in message