Backgammon Books

  Backgammon Openings
Book A: 3-1

  AUTHORS: Nack Ballard
Paul Weaver

  YEAR: 2007
  PUBLISHER: The Backgammon Press
  CITY: Richmond, California
  ISBN: 0-9797053-0-4
  ISBN-13: 978-0-9797053-0-4
  BINDING: Hardcover
  PAGES: x-x+126
  SIZE: 30 cm high, 22 cm wide
The entire book is dedicated to the topic of how to play 3-1 in the first three rolls of the game. There are three chapters: (1) How to play 3-1 in the first roll; (2) How to play 3-1 in the second roll; (3) How to play 3-1 in the third roll. There is also an Introduction, Glossary, and Index of second and third roll positions. The book is based on thousands of hours of computer rollouts, but no actual rollout results are given.

     "This book has over 200 diagrams covering every significant variation on 3-1 within the first three rolls of the game. The explanations are concise, and the backgammon is solid. This is a book that belongs on everyone's backgammon shelf."—Jake Jacobs, in Chicago Point Newsletter, September 2007


     "Ballard's and Weaver's original idea was to produce a single book but the quantity of material was such that the concept expanded into a series. In this volume they look at how to play the roll of 3-1 on the first roll, as a reply to all opening rolls, and finally a selection of third roll positions. The book is a learning tool to play the opening correctly and not an encyclopaedia of all opening positions.
      The innovative page layout may prove to be a new standard. Each problem has a diagram on the top left of the page with the alternative plays, each with their own diagram, listed in order of merit on the right hand side of the page.
      This is a quality book where the meticulous care of the authors will amply reward the reader. Highly recommended."—Julian Fetterlein, Make Your Point magazine, September 2007


     "With this well-written book, you get the comments and reasoning from two of the world's best players. The authors have obviously spent much time writing and going over everything again and again. The writing is some of the best I've seen in a backgammon book. It is lucid and to the point without being overly verbose. All the information needed to understand the book is meticulously given, and there is a nice introduction as well as appendixes. Hats off to Paul and Nack for a superb contribution to backgammon that belongs on every player's bookshelf."—Neil Kazaross, Flint Area BackgammoNews, October 2007


     "I received Nack Ballard and Paul Weaver's book as a Christmas present and was most pleased. Explanations are lucid and insightful. There's never room for doubt about the intended meaning; everything is expressed with a view toward precision, and just about every aspect of the book bespeaks the precision of thought typical of a highly mathematically erudite person such as Paul, and no doubt that of Nack Ballard as well. Production quality is excellent (solid hardcover with attractive dust jacket). Presentation is likewise excellent. "—Marty Storer, January 2008


     "Most backgammon books published in the last few years have been problem collections, designed to be starting points or contributions to a discussion. Ballard and Weaver set the bar for themselves much higher. They focus on a small but significant set of early game problems, and provide both data and explanations intended as a lasting monument, not merely another brick in the wall. They offer well-thought-out expert explanations of the bot data put into human terms, making this book far more valuable than just its information.
    The expert player, who already knows enough about the game to put this new knowledge into an existing framework, will gain many valuable new insights into the early game, and hence all that follows. But the beginner, and even the intermediate or advanced player, needs to work on other issues first."—Mary Hickey, GammonVillage, December 2008

Forward by Paul Magriel
Introduction by Nack
Introduction by Paul

Playing 31 in the Opening
Chapter 1:  The First Roll
Chapter 2:  The Second Roll
Chapter 3:  The Third Roll: Hitting in the Inner Board; Hitting in the Outer Board; Hitting on the Opponent's Side; Anchoring; Splitting; Slotting

Reference Material
Appendices:  Error Scale (explanation); Rollout Methodology; Match Play; Nactation; Reference Positions; Page Format
Indexes:  Bibliography; Glossary; Index of Second Roll Positions; Index of Third Roll Positions; Error Scale (table only)

  COVER: Path-breaking analysis of the early game presented by two leading theoreticians.

Forward by Paul Magriel

  QUOTES: "The best backgammon book today, for players of all levels."—Falafel Natanzon, Israel

"A materspiece fantastique ... worth reading at least twice."—François Tardieu, France
"The only place to get insightful explanations of early game play."—Neil Kazaross, USA

"A significant advance in our understanding of the game ... elegantly conveyed!"—Bob Wachtel, USA

"Incorporates in brilliant detail strategic concepts that players of all skill levels can apply throughout the game."—Dirk Schiemann, Costa Rica

"Beginners and intermediates will learn a tremendous amount, and experts will learn a lot more than they would like to admit."—Mike Senkiewicz, USA

Nack Ballard was a teenage chess expert. At 17, he began playing backgammon and became a world-class player within three months. In 1982, Nack won the World Professional Championship in Las Vegas. Two years later, at the US Invitational in Washington, DC, the director polled all the attending experts, who voted Nack the #1 player in the world.
      During an eight-year backgammon hiatus, Nack became one of the best Scrabble players in the world, maintaining a rating over 2000 until he retired in 1993. He is also one of the top Caucasian go players (5-dan).
      On the Giant-32 list, Nack has reigned as the world's #1 backgammon player since 2001.
      Nack has countless victories the world over. His simultaneous multiple event wins at the World Cup and Las Vegas tournaments and three consecutive wins of the prestigious pro-am doubles event have earned him nicknames: "Tiger Woods," "Superman" and the "Executioner."
      Nack Ballard is also the top color lines player in the world, and an enthusiastic pianist. He resides in the San Francisco Bay area with his lovely wife, Hsiao-Yee.

Paul Weaver began playing backgammon in 1978. He has been voted to the Giant-32 list every time since its inception in 1993. Currently he is ranked #16 in the world.
      Paul has given lessons on four continents. An experienced teacher, he takes a lot of pride in his former students who are now competitive players.
      As a guest lecturer, he has given nineteen seminars at tournaments in these locations: Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Cleveland and Madison.
      He has written dozens of articles that have appeared in at least ten venues. Some of his backgammon writings have been translated into Japanese, Danish, German and Italian.
      An avid traveler, Paul has been in all fifty states of the USA. He has spent a total of four years in forty additional countries and he has played backgammon in twenty-eight. He has won tournaments on four continents.
      Paul earned a bachelor's at Vanderbilt and a master's at Purdue in math. Also known as Wally Peever, he lives in Hoover, Alabama.

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