Forum Archive : Learning

Reference positions

From:   Chuck Bower
Address:   bower@bigbang.astro.indiana.edu
Date:   11 July 1999
Subject:   Re: Readers vs. Woolsey
Forum:   rec.games.backgammon
Google:   7manrd$8io$1@flotsam.uits.indiana.edu

A 'reference position' is one which you "know" the "correct" action
(doubling decision or checker play).  The idea is to memorize the exact
position and use it in the future.

No one (that I know of) who believes in reference positions expects these
to come up EXACTLY in real play, unless they occur either in the first
couple of rolls or late in the bearoff.  There are so many BG positions
that most will never recur in your lifetime.  (Surely some have never
recurred in the history of backgammon!)

If a position is close to a reference position, see if you can deduce the
best move by imagining how the situation changed between the reference
position and the actual one.

     For someone with a photographic memory and good analyzing skills,
reference positions might be quite useful in general.  For the typical
player, I'm not so sure.  First you must remember the details of the
reference position (location of checkers and cube, match score, equity,
etc.) EXACTLY.  Then the position must come up which is identical or very
close to the reference position.  Finally you must make the correct
deductions in the differences of the positions in order to reach the
correct conclusions.

     Sure, it is easy to create some reference positions (again, mostly from
the first couple rolls or the bearoff) which an expert can show to be
useful. But how many refernence positions can your brain hold?  And if the
answer is 'a lot', are you capable of making the subtle adjustments in
equity to find the right choice in an over-the-board decision?

   c_ray on FIBS
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