Book Suggestions

Forum Archive : Book Suggestions

Books for serious players

From:   Douglas Zare
Date:   26 February 2003
Subject:   Re: Best BG books for serious player

> I have only two books, "501 essential backgammon problems" by Bill
> Robertie and "Backgammon" by Paul Magriel. I'm looking for 5 to 10 new
> books. What are the best ones? BTW, math doesn't scare me :)

In addition to those, you should also get (in no particular order)

Jeremy Bagai, _Classic Backgammon Revisited._
Kit Woolsey and Hal Heinrich, _New Ideas in Backgammon._
Kit Woolsey, _The Backgammon Encyclopedia, Volume 1._
Bill Robertie, _Modern Backgammon._

I should warn you that some of these are most useful to an expert. I don't
recommend that an intermediate attempt any of these four except _The
Backgammon Encyclopedia._

Honorable mentions:

I like Robertie's _Advanced Backgammon_ (2 volumes), but it upsets many
people that many of the solutions are wrong. The analyses are deeper than
those of his _501 Essential Backgammon Problems,_ but the latter doesn't
recommend as many blunders.

Unfortunately I don't think that there is a complete introduction to match
play. Kit Woolsey's _How To Play Tournament Backgammon_ is too short,
little more than a pamphlet, and I don't think it is his best writing on
the subject. More common than trying to understand how to handle an 8-cube
at 11-away 19-away is trying to understand the nuances of the 5 point
match, and he wrote an excellent introduction to that in his magazine, . Actually, I think Gammonline and GammonVillage (and some
defunct publications) are better than any one book.

Kleinman has written a lot of interesting stuff, although much of it is
entertaining or of historical interest rather than helpful. The canonical
book of his is _Vision Laughs at Counting_ (2 volumes), but even that is
dilute if you are studying to be a player. Some of his ideas have been
reiterated and further developed by others, so if you don't read all of
his books you might see the ideas elsewhere.

There are many annotated matches available. I couldn't choose any
particular set as essential. You can also find many online, although when
an expert explains what the game plan is, what the goals are, what to
watch for at that match score, or otherwise explains why a move is right,
it is much more helpful than just getting some numbers from a bot. I think
Kit Woolsey's commentary is generally accurate and insightful, but there
are some other good annotations, too.

There are many books with lower target audiences, or which are more
specialized. Also, I haven't read through the entire backgammon literature
yet, so I might have missed a gem or two.

By the way, I've ordered many of these titles from Carol Joy Cole:

Douglas Zare
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     


Book Suggestions

After Magriel  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen+, Aug 2000) 
Annotated matches  (Walter Trice, Jan 2000) 
Best books from the bot era  (Chuck Bower+, Nov 2007) 
Best next step  (Gregg Cattanach+, July 2002) 
Bibliography  (Carl Tait, Apr 2000)  [Long message]
Books for advanced players  (Edward D. Collins, June 2003) 
Books for serious players  (Douglas Zare, Feb 2003) 
Books on match play  (Keene Marin+, Sept 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Buyer's guide  (Chuck Bower, Feb 1998) 
How to read backgammon books  (Gary Wong, Jan 1998) 
Ideal book on backgammon  (Laury Chizlett, Apr 2000) 
Informal book survey  (Chuck Bower+, Dec 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
John Bazigos's suggestions  (Mika Johnsson, July 1993) 
Magriel, Robertie, and Kleinman  (Gregg Cattanach, May 2000) 
Marty Storer's reading list  (Larry Hunter, May 1992) 
Recommended Backgammon Books  (Butch Meese, Jan 1984) 
Survey of some available books  (William Hill, Jan 1998) 
Three underrated books  (Mary Hickey, July 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
What's a good second book?  (Tommy+, Dec 2000) 
Which book by Chris Bray should I buy?  (Timothy Chow+, July 2012) 

[GammOnLine forum]  From GammOnLine       [Long message]  Long message       [Recommended reading]  Recommended reading       [Recent addition]  Recent addition

  Book Suggestions
Computer Dice
Cube Handling
Cube Handling in Races
Extreme Gammon
Fun and frustration
GNU Backgammon
Luck versus Skill
Magazines & E-zines
Match Archives
Match Equities
Match Play
Match Play at 2-away/2-away
Opening Rolls
Pip Counting
Play Sites
Probability and Statistics
Source Code
Strategy--Bearing Off
Strategy--Checker play


Return to:  Backgammon Galore : Forum Archive Main Page