Backgammon Books

  Classic Backgammon Revisited
120 Previously Published Problems ... Reanalyzed

  AUTHOR: Jeremy Paul Bagai
  YEAR: 2001
  PUBLISHER: Flaming Sparrow Press
  CITY: Portland, Oregon
  ISBN: 0-943292-29-8
  BINDING: Softcover
  PAGES: 201
  SIZE: 23 cm high, 18 cm wide
Visit the publisher's website and you can view the introduction and a sample chapter online. This book is in its second edition, which includes a few minor changes from the first: "Problem #32 now mentions the best play, which is generally considered a plus. Problems #52 and #68 include new lines of reasoning. Some paragraphs were edited to fit a single page. Pip counts were corrected, typos retyped." (See here.)

     "Five books that should be in any serious player's library are: The Backgammon Book, by Jacoby and Crawford, Backgammon for Profit, by Dwek, Backgammon, by Magriel, Paradoxes and Probabilities, by Cooke, and Advanced Backgammon, by Robertie. These books contain many reference positions that the backgammon community used for years to make decisions over the board. What if the books were wrong?
      Jeremy Bagai painstakingly analysed all the positions in these books using Snowie and collected 120 where there is a significant analytical error in the original solution. Classic Backgammon Revisited does not come into the category of "nice to have." I believe it to be an essential purchase for anyone serious about developing their understanding of the game."—Chris Bray, in What Colour is the Wind?


     "An excellent book that points out many of the incorrect recommendations in Backgammon and other important books of the past based on our new knowledge from the neural nets. Classic Backgammon Revisited is a superb effort, with excellent analysis backed up by the computer rollouts."—Gregg Cattanach


     "With the help of Snowie 3, Bagai analyzes 120 problems from some of the old classics. The problems he examines were all gotten wrong by the authors of these books. Bagai tells why, giving Snowieís rollout results to support his own analysis. Although Bagai uses Snowie to help find the correct play—or at worst a group of close plays clearly stronger than the move recommended by the original author—the analysis is Bagaiís own, and itís first-rate.
      Bagai does his best not only to determine why the author gets a problem wrong, but to show under what circumstances the authorís reasoning might be valid. He gives a slight modification to the position in which the author's analysis would be well motivated and would therefore have recommended the right play for the right reasons.
      Classic Backgammon Revisited does a great deal to correct bad reference positions from all five books, and thatís a very valuable service to the world of backgammon."—Marty Storer


     "Bagai set out to write a book which he thought would be most effective in improving his game. Each selected problem is clearly presented to the reader with a sizeable diagram of the board position and a table illustrating the results of a rigorous Snowie analysis. Bagai's accompanying text informs and entertains the reader with a lucid assessment of the relevant themes and concepts, which influence Snowie's data output. Many positions are further augmented by benchmarking to clarify the key factors at work—by moving a builder or an anchor, or by altering ownership of the cube.
      Bagai's effective blend of art and science has generated glowing praise from many of the 'living legends' of the game including Kit Woolsey, Danny Kleinman and Walter Trice. One caveat however, the book is probably unsuitable to those players who have not yet been around the block. Bagai throws the reader in at the deep and assumes a basic familiarity with backgammon theory. On a critical note, I think the book would have benefited from brief introductory and summary overviews for each respective section to reiterate and summarize the salient lessons to be learned."—Mark Driver, GammonVillage, October 2001


     "Anyone with a laptop could print out positions with equities. Bagai, with a clarity and wit reminiscent of Robertie, provides the insights needed to make sense of these numbers.
      The problems presented are very important ones, not just because they correct published errors, but because in many instances they bring out new lines of thinking that we have only recently come to appreciate through programs like Jellyfish and Snowie.
      Although Barclay Cooke takes it on the chin now and then, on the whole, Bagai demonstrates the utmost respect for all of these authors and credits them for being the first ones to write about many important concepts. The book is professionally produced with superb graphics and a binding of excellent quality."—Art Benjamin, Flint Area BackgammonNews, June 2001

OPENINGS:  Checker plays; Cube decisions
MIDDLE GAMES:  Slotting and splitting; Hits and misses; Positional play; Cube decisions
PRIME VS. PRIME:  Priming and timing; Tactics; Cube decisions
BEARING IN:  Early bear-in; Late bear-in; Cube decisions
BACKGAMES:  Avoiding; Playing; Defending against; Cube decisions
END CONTACT:  Escape and containment; Gammons
Appendix A:  Rollout methodology
Appendix B:  Index of positions by author
  COVER: The biggest errors from the best authors. Collected and corrected.

The Backgammon Book, Oswald Jacoby and John Crawford (1970)
Backgammon for Profit, Joe Dwek (1976)
Backgammon, Paul Magriel (1976)
Paradoxes and Probabilities, Barclay Cooke (1978)
Advanced Backgammon, Bill Robertie (1991)

  QUOTES: "The best stuff I've seen since Magriel came out. I like the problem selection, the analysis, and the prose. New concepts, and original fresh phraseology. Fantastic!"—Walter Trice

"Anyone can do computer rollouts; the trick is in the analysis. With his lucid and concise explanations, Jeremy Bagai hits the nail on the head every time. This is a great book."—Herb Gurland

Jeremy Paul Bagai has published backgammon articles in Anchors: The New England Backgammon Review, Chickago Point, Flint Area Backgammon News, and Inside Backgammon. His annotated match with Kit Woolsey was one of the very first instructional works on backgammon to be available on the Internet. This is his first book.
      He received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in the psychology of human decision-making from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an actor, playwright, guitarist, juggler, and unicyclist. He lectures part-time at the Wharton School in order to pay off his gambling debts. He wishes he played backgammon better than he does.

    Recommended Reading
  Where to Buy Books
    Picture Gallery
  List of Books by Author

Copyright © 1996-2016 by Tom Keith

Return to : Backgammon Galore : Books