Backgammon Books

  Vision Laughs at Counting
With Advice to the Dicelorn

  AUTHOR: Danny Kleinman
  YEAR: 1996 (1980)
  PUBLISHER: Larry Strommen
  CITY: Los Angeles, CA
  BINDING: Softcover, spiral-bound
  PAGES: vii+223
  SIZE: 28 cm high, 22 cm wide
Volume 2

Some of the history behind this book: Vision Laughs at Counting was originally a 200 page book which sold for $30. Then Kleinman wrote a Supplement to the first edition (95 pages, $14). Or you could by the new Second Edition of Vision, which combined the First Edition and the Supplement (315 pages, $46.65). This was followed up by a new book, Advice to the Dicelorn (126 pages, $16). Finally, Kleinman combined all of these works together — (1) the original Vision Laughs at Counting, (2) the Supplement, and (3) Advice to the Dicelorn — into a new two-volume book (464 pages, $64). That is the book that is described here.

     "Danny Kleinman is an American games theoretician who produced a number of excellent backgammon books in the 1980's and 1990's and is still active today. He has a slightly quirky style that is particularly evident when he assumes the persona of Mss Lonelyblots, his fictitious backgammon agony aunt.
      His two volume set Vision Laughs at Counting with Advice to the Dicelorn is a comprehensive explanation of many of backgammon's fundamentals. Some of Kleinman's analysis is very mathematical but the results have helped give a better understanding of the dynamics of the game. It is recommended reading for anyone who wishes to really understand the game."—Chris Bray, in What Colour is the Wind?


     "This book contains much sound advice on the practical aspects of backgammon play (e.g., sections on hustlers, cheaters, and chouette money management), seminal advice on handling the doubler, and even a few unprecedented mathematical characterizations of aspects of certain positions (e.g., how many pips to penalize a player for having one or more checkers on the bar). The writing is generally insightful and often very amusingly written, but not suitable as an introductory text, sometimes obsolete, and sometimes simply wrong."—John Bazigos, July 1993


     "Technical articles on general subjects are interspersed with a format of letters to Miss Lonelyblots, the ever-faithful counselor to the "Dorn-Lorn". The books are not entirely technical but address the tricky subject of mental attitude of how to approach the game. In addition, they detail many cheating techniques in order to alert the unwary player to these pitfalls."—Butch Meese, January 1984


     "Seminal work on match play, money play, doubling cube, races, and more. His analyses are often more mathematical than the average reader can handle, but the layperson with math aptitude shouldn't be fazed. He does the important work of formulating the right problems the right way, where many others couldn't.
      His analyses often lack world-class insight. In particular, his middle-game intuition seems less than world-class. But this is more than made up for by the wealth of information. Kleinman is a subtle thinker and a meticulous analyst of the countable. His stuff is often uproariously funny, but sometimes one gets impatient trying to filter out what's relevant to the practical player from the humor."—Marty Storer, May 1992


     "The two volume Vision Laughs at Counting is my favourite backgammon book. Kleinman is arguably the most knowledgable deep theoretician of the game, and his dynamic prose never fails to keep the reader entertained. At $80 for the set, Kleinman's wisdom doesn't come cheap, but money players will soon find that their investment is recovered many times over, from careful perusal of the text.
      Kleinman's forte is chouette play and much of the first volume focuses on chouette strategy and tactics; including the mechanics of play and the deeper psychology of the game and money management. Lessons are reinforced in humorous vignettes which take the form of letters to Miss Lonely Blots (Kleinman's alter-ego).
      Kleinman is noted for his mathematical genius, and has a gift for putting a number to every conceivable concept of the game. The second volume contains extensive content on cube theory with reference to money games, chouette and tournament matches, amply illustrated with match equity tables, gammon price tables, and lots of mathematical formulae."—Mark Driver, December 2001

About the Author

The other Side of the Checkerboard
Wish They All Could Be California Rules
Letter from Gary Goniff
Luck and Skill in Backgammon
Choosing the Right Chouette
Letter from Avi Gahl
Support Your Local Hustler
Picking Your Spots
Letter from Susie Suspicious
Beware the Backgammon Cheat
Letter from Marty Mafios
Illegal Moves
Stars and Stakes Forever
Experience and Habit in Backgammon
Letter from Colonel Whiteflag
Clinics and Symposia

Your First Backgammon Lesson
Learning Backgammon Strategy and Tactics
Letter from Eddie Equanimity
Letter from Barbara Blearyeyes
Five Finger Exercises
"I Can Only Go Up the Scales, Never Down!"
The Aesthetic of Shade and Shadow
Bridge Bidding and Backgammon
Opening Moves
Letter from Hustler Hersch
Letter from Battered Wife
Choosing Your Battleground
Letter from Style Rote
Inside Points
Letter from Fivepoint Phyllis
On the Shoulders of Giants
Points and Spares
Letter from Barpoint Bob
The Patzer's Prerogative
Letter from New bold Norris
Letter from Throckmorton Threepoint
On Belaboring the Obvious
Letter from Ignoratius Bliss
Letter from Blott Lieber
The Chemistry of Anchors
The Anatomy of Primes
Time and Duration
Voluntary Risks in Backgammon
Letter from Gammon Prone
Killing and Maiming
Letter from Frankie Fiveroller
Letter from Albert Acexpert

On Counting Pips
The Magic Matrix
The Dialectics of the Dice
Double Coverage and the Prevent Defense
Letter from Deadeye Dick
Letter from Barry Bigplay
Coming Home After the Close-Out
Escape and Blockage
Bicolor Hyperprimes

Contact and the Race
Letter from Lenny Lamearm
Holding Game Equity of the Third Kind
Normal Race Takes
Letter from Abdul Ambiguous
Becker's Better Bull-Off
Letter from Dickie Doubledeuce
Odd Man Out
Newsletter Problem #35 (Gammon's of Chicago, January 1980)
Two False Bear-Off Conjectures
Aces in the Bear-Off
Calculating a Bear-Off
Estimating a Bear-Off
Letter from Pipp Counter
Kibitzer, Scholar, Swami and Witch
Equities in 211111 versus 4432 Bear-Off
Cub-Offs and the Crippled Cube
Letter from Shahbiz Sheshayan
Rules of Thumb in Cub-Offs
The Cub-Off Cube Chart
As Easy as 324
Letter from Sally Sophisticate
Eight Against Eight
Letter from Koch Eidoptimist
The Complete Ace-Point Bear-Off
Contact Bear-Offs
Letter from Shott Counter
Letter from Larry Largegap
Letter from Premature Gloat
Double Jeopardy
Washing That Man Out of Your Hair
A Nine-to-Five Job
Letter form Kant Bearit
Letter from Mike Metikulos
Letter from Arthur Aceroller

Win the Game or Save the Gammon?
Stop, Pip Thief!
Desperation Doublets
Letter from Harry Hastyplay
Getting off the Gammon
Letter from One-Eyed Jack
Letter from Onepip Away
Bear-In or Bull-In?
Leaving the Ace Point
Do You Wanna Dance?

[Continued in Volume 2.]

   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
   Meanwhile, Back at the Chouette
Danny Kleinman
1996: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   Wonderful World of Backgammon
Danny Kleinman
1996: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   Cubes and Gammons Near the End of a Match
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
1997: Editorama, San Jose, Costa Rica
   Is There Life After Backgammon?
Danny Kleinman
1997: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   Jerry Grandell: His most important matches
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
1999: Editorama, S.A., San Jose, Costa Rica
   Double-Sixes from the Bar
Danny Kleinman
1999: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   How Can I Keep From Dancing
Danny Kleinman
1999: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   The Dice Conquer All
Danny Kleinman
1999: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   Backgammon With the Giants: Neil Kazaross
Antonio Ortega, Danny Kleinman
2001: Editorama, S.A., San Jose, Costa Rica
   How Little We Know About Backgammon
Danny Kleinman
2001: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   The Other Side of Midnight
Danny Kleinman
2002: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   But Only the Hogs Win Backgammons
"The bulls sometimes win, and the bears sometimes win ..."
Danny Kleinman
2002: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   A Backgammon Book for Gabriel
Danny Kleinman
2003: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA
   Long Road to Gammon
Danny Kleinman
2003: Larry Strommen, Los Angeles, CA

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