Forum Archive : Etiquette

Am I too slow?

From:   sevenout
Date:   15 April 2004
Subject:   Am I too slow?

I play on TMG's play money tables and my opponets are always typing
"zzzzzzzz" or "go go go go" when its my turn to move because I take
more time then they do, I just started playing backgamon a month ago
after playing chess for the last 7 years and am used to being able to
take my time.  Is backgammon a much more faster paced game where if you
take 2 minutes to make a move you are too slow? I watch other people
play and always seems they just whip out the moves without thinking.

Bob Newell  writes:

I have the same issue, being a checkers player.  Even in a *timed* game
I got complaints for taking 10 seconds on some moves.  I asked an
expert player who is a tournament official, and she said I needed to
practice until I get my time down to a typical 5 seconds per move.

Douglas Zare  writes:

To be polite to your opponents, play more quickly, or at
least warn them ahead of time that you play extremely slowly.

Experts are under no illusion that they always find the best
play within 5 seconds. However, taking longer doesn't
improve the quality of play much, and it greatly decreases
the quantity. As a beginner, you should try to play a lot. By
playing too slowly you mainly extend the time in which you
are inexperienced.

You don't need to match your opponents' speed, but try to
keep it under 15 seconds/move unless the position is
particularly strange and volatile or you are deciding
whether to take or pass. Play now and analyze later.

Douglas Zare

Hardy Hübener  writes:

How about having a look at the playing speed of some very good players?

The only documentation of speed of play that comes to my mind is found in
Antonio Ortegas excellent books "Costa Rica 1993" and "Costa Rica 1994".
Both books contain the annotated final matches of the 2nd and 3rd
Tournament of the Americas:

  1993: Wilcox Snellings vs. Mike Senkiewicz (15 pts)
  1994: Mike Senkiewicz vs. Mike Svobodny (15 pts)

  | Statistics: |

                     +--------1993-------+   +-------1994------+
                     Senkiewicz  Snellings   Senkievicz Svobodny
  total time            51:40      36:00       36:54     57:11
  max. time cube       < 0:30       0:50        1:15      1:15
  max. time checker      2:20       0:55        1:30      1:30
  average *              0:13       0:09        0:08      0:12

  (* average time for cube _plus_ checker play decision)

So in 1993 no single decision took more than 1 minute, in 1994 the maximum
time was 1:30 for both players. Most decisions took only 3 or 4 seconds.

How do those top player make their decisions so fast?

Senkiewicz: "I think about cube decisions during my opponent's turn to
play. Obviously I can't take that with checker plays. This would account
for all my time beeing used for checker plays, mostly technical ones."

Snellings: "On the matter of time used in matches, I would say in general
I use a bit less time than my opponents. This is due to a confidence that
I have found the best play, however close, and the theory that further
deliberation is simply a waste of mental energy and may actually detract
from some inner 'feel' or sense of the flow of the game."

Okay, most of us are no champions (yet), and especially a beginner will
need some time for his decisions. But the more you get used to the match,
the more, you practice the game and study reference positions, the faster
your speed of play will become. And: Use your opponents decision times for
your own cube decisions!

Its not really a pleasure to play a player that needs one minute or more
for each decision :-)

Seeing you soon on FIBS,

Hardy / Hardy_whv
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Am I too slow?  (sevenout+, Apr 2004) 
Am I too slow?  (Stephen Turner, Jan 2002) 
Am I too slow?  (Daniel Murphy, June 1997) 
Commenting on dice  (Ron Barry+, Mar 2001) 
Dealing with droppers  (Bill Hill, Dec 1998) 
Dealing with droppers  (Patti Beadles, Mar 1996) 
Dice cup  (Walt Swan, June 2000) 
Direction of play  (Ric Gerace+, Aug 2001) 
Doubling opponent out  (bustedchucks+, June 2005) 
Doubling to end a game early  (Douglas Zare, Aug 2001) 
Etiquette for online play  (Dean Ayer+, June 1997) 
Going for backgammon in a one-point match  (Douglas Zare, Nov 2000) 
How long to wait?  (Marsha Wisniski+, Dec 1997) 
Listening to music while playing  (Max Urban+, Oct 2009) 
Moving hit checker first  (Timothy Chow+, Oct 2009) 
Premature shaking  (Paul Epstein+, July 2005) 
Rolling the dice  (Julius Selbach+, July 2005) 
Rude conduct  (Igor Schein+, Mar 2003) 
Under resigning  (Bob Newell+, Aug 2004) 
Under resigning  (Ilya Vinogradsky+, May 1994) 
When to quit  (Albert Steg, Nov 1998) 
Why I never complain about the dice  (Phil Simborg, Mar 2004) 

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