Backgammon Books

  Fascinating Backgammon
50 Problems of match and money play

  AUTHOR: Antonio Ortega
  EDITOR: Danny Kleinman
  YEAR: 1993
  PUBLISHER: Editorama
  CITY: San Josť, Costa Rica
  ISBN: 9977-16-008-2
  BINDING: Softcover
  PAGES: 154
  SIZE: 27.5 cm high, 21 cm wide
  NOTE: Originally published in Spanish in 1982. Revised English edition is edited by Danny Kleinman. With foreword by Carol Joy Cole.

     "Fascinating Backgammon consists of 50 problems with approximately 100 analyzed positions including all of the variations. The problems cover various aspects of money and match play with emphasis on cube action in the endgame. The author, an experienced international player, has won the Costa Rican National Championship in four of the last five years.
      The book is a fine tutorial for advanced beginner and intermediate players and a handy review for the expert. However do not expect to find any trailblazing insights here; most of the concepts and several of the positions have previously appeared in other backgammon publications.
      Still, the book has many strengths, such as offering the reader convincing solutions supported by hard data. Many solutions include results from computer rollouts or bearoff programs, and there are exhaustive match-equity calculations to support the recommended cube actions in match play.
      The production quality of the book is excellent. The text and board diagrams are easy to read and the binding construction should last for many years. I recommend Fascinating Backgammon as a worthwhile purchase or holiday gift for any player from advanced beginner to expert."—Roy Friedman, December 1993


     "A great book. Covers basics of equity through advanced match play problems. A great review for experts, a thorough course of study for striving intermediates. Not so much on actual play vs play problems (but there is some)—much more on equity concepts for cube decisions, match cube decisions, etc."—Jeremy Bagai, February 1996



1.1 Concepts of Money Play
Problem 1: Equity
Problem 2: Minimum chances required to take a cube
Problem 3: Duplication
Problem 4: Communication and control
Problem 5: Cube action in 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-roll endings
Problem 6: Smoothing
Problem 7: Magriel's criteria for safe plays and bold plays
Problem 8: The running game
Problem 9: The blitz
Problem 10: The priming game
Problem 11: The holding game
Problem 12: The backgame

1.2 Concepts of Match Play
Problem 13: Match equity
Problem 14: Estimating racing chances
Problem 15: Takepoints
Problem 16: Cube actions: gain-versus-risk analysis
Problem 17: The free drop
Problem 18: Cube actions when there is a gammon threat
Problem 19: Approximate match-equity formulas
Problem 20: Review of match-play concepts


2.1 Problems from Money Games
Problem 21: Golden point and golden anchor
Problem 22: A pass-or-take decision
Problem 23: Whether to break anchor
Problem 24: Too good to redouble?
Problem 25: A redoubling benchmark
Problem 26: Bearing off against an ace-anchor
Problem 27: Preparing to clear a point
Problem 28: Bearing off against checkers on the bar
Problem 29: Which blot to leave?
Problem 30: To hit extra checkers or not to hit?
Problem 31: Redoubling after the hit
Problem 32: Dodging a direct shot
Problem 33: The split to hit
Problem 34: Cube actions in mid bear-off
Problem 35: A 3-roll ending benchmark
Problem 36: Picking up a second checker
Problem 37: One roll to save the gammon

2.2 Problems from Matches
Problem 38: Priorities in a contact bearoff
Problem 39: A redouble by the trailer
Problem 40: Cube control by the leader
Problem 41: Overdoing cube control
Problem 42: A double with a gammon threat
Problem 43: The impact of a 1-point lead
Problem 44: A large lead inhibits a redouble
Problem 45: But don't overdo caution
Problem 46: Too good to redouble?
Problem 47: The impact of a monstrous lead
Problem 48: Bear off boldly, cube safely
Problem 49: Pushy doubling in a 2-point match
Problem 50: The ultimate backgame proposition

APPENDIX 1: Equity tables
APPENDIX 2: Detailed calculations for Problem 32


  COVER: Fascinating Backgammon explains and illustrates with copious examples many central concepts of money and match play, emphasizing equities and cube-handling.
      Antonio Ortega, three-time National Champion of Costa Rica, offers this book as a training tool for refining your backgammon strategies and maximizing the element of skill in the game.
      Danny Kleinman, world-renowned analyst and theoretician of backgammon, has revised and edited this English version.

   Backgammon: Costa Rica 1993
Final Match: Wilcox Snellings vs. Mike Senkiewicz plus other selected matches from the Second the Tournament of the Americas
Antonio Ortega, Max Esquivel, Mario Madrigal, Neil Kazaross
1994: Grupo Deyesa, S.A., San Josť, Costa Rica
   Backgammon: Costa Rica 1994
Final Match: Mike Senkiewicz vs. Mike Svobodny from the Third Tournament of the Americas
Antonio Ortega, Mario Madrigal, Danny Kleinman
1996: Editorama, San Jose, Costa Rica
   Cubes and Gammons Near the End of a Match
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
1997: Editorama, San Jose, Costa Rica
   Jerry Grandell: His most important matches
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
1999: Editorama, S.A., San Jose, Costa Rica
   Backgammon With the Giants: Neil Kazaross
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
2001: Editorama, S.A., San Jose, Costa Rica

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