Book Review

Kennedy and Papazian's Backgammon Master Games
Kit Woolsey, 1982

From Backgammon Times, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 1982.

Backgammon Master Games
by Bill Kennedy and
Chuck Papazian.

Palo Alto, Ca.:
Shima Publishing, 1982.

The current trend in backgammon literature is toward annotated games. A major work in this department is Backgammon Master Games by Bill Kennedy and Chuck Papazian. The book consists of 64 games between top experts collected by Bill Kennedy and 40 problem positions. The games are selected from important matches and expertly annotated by Chuck Papazian.

The book is divided into seven chapters, with each chapter focusing on an important theme, such as prime vs. prime, 2-away holding games, and backgames. For each game, the annotator explains the thematic ideas that both players are trying to carry out and pays special attention to critical decisions. Since the games are individually selected, each game is interesting, and the author does not waste space with the dull endings of the games such as races or winning from a closeout. Consequently the reader gets a high proportion of challenging decisions.

I found that I disagreed with a number of the annotations. While these differences of opinions are what make horse races and backgammon games, it does seem that the annotator could have been less dogmatic on some of the more controversial positions so the reader could determine which moves were clear-cut and which were close decisions. The other drawback is the fairly high price, but this price is competitive with that of similar publications. The book has been carefully written and is remarkably error-free, and has diagrams at crucial positons. It should prove a valuable addition to the literature, and is a worthwhile purchase for any serious student of the game.

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