Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Double Trouble

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Backgammon For Dummies (Chris Bray)
- Highlight on Page 78 | Loc. 989-91  | Added on Monday, March 14, 2011, 07:33 AM

In a game you may make up to 30 decisions about how to move your checkers, but you’re likely to make only two or three doubling of decisions, so taking the time to get them right is worth it. As Paul Magriel said, in his 1976 book Backgammon, ‘Good checker play will never compensate for serious errors of judgement in doubling.’
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Backgammon For Dummies (Chris Bray)
- Highlight on Page 99 | Loc. 1245-49  | Added on Monday, March 14, 2011, 08:06 AM

One of the keys to winning backgammon is to double when you have a strong threat, not after you’ve executed that threat perfectly. Remember, your opponent has to have some chance of winning in order to take your double. Winning just one point when you may have won four (via a doubled gammon) won’t make you rich, or leave you satisfied. Of course, sometimes you double and your opponent turns the game around and wins it. You just develop the knack of living with that possibility. If certainty is what you seek, backgammon is probably not for you. If, however, you want excitement, you’re playing the right game!
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I have come to the conclusion that backgammon is a solved problem. For any particular roll of a dice there is a statistically best move you can make. Neural net based backgammon bots have proved this. However, you can play a match making the best moves all the way and still lose due to bad dice luck.

So I'm putting my short-lived online backgammon career behind me.

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