Forum Archive : Learning

Lowering your error rate

From:   Stick Rice
Address:   checkmugged@yahoo.com
Date:   23 April 2009
Subject:   Response to Frank_N_Stein - improving
Forum:   BGonline.org Forums

One of the first things I believe any player trying to improve from
anything higher than a 4 ER should do is play the bots on their highest ply
over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and
over and over and over again. You will learn without learning. Plays will
become secondary to you even if you don't know why you're making them. Now,
that may not be ideal, you'll want to understand the 'why' behind moves
ideally, but that comprehension will come with time. If the worst that
happens is you end up playing like a bot, well, it's not bad being compared
to the best players in the world.

Once you've hardened the bot game into your head you can start playing the
bot on a lower ply, 0 ply on GNU v. the standard WC 2 ply, or 1 ply with SW
v. its standard 3 ply. This will give you a more human element
overblitzing, doubling early, taking passes, etc... I do not think you
should play the bot on its lower plies first and form bad habits that you
may later have to break. If there's one thing I hate it's relearning
something because I was taught wrong to begin with.

Something else I also did along the way was to play Snowie v. GNU thousands
of games and I often watched. They were playing on their highest settings
so I'd have time to think of my reflex move and later go back to the
position if we disagreed somewhat violently.

You may also be surprised that I might suggest studying the opening phase
of the game. Many of these themes repeat down the road into the middle or
even end game. I also sleep all warm at night knowing when I'm awake that
I'm outplaying everyone in the world on the first 3 rolls, including Snowie
and GNU.

Adding small chunks of reference positions to your repetoire is the best
route. Constantly seeing and experiencing new positions and adding them as
reference positions to your long term memory never knowing when they come
in handy is a good thing. You can't learn it all at once. You should pick
apart some aspect of the game until you're content with it whether it be
the opening part of the game, holding games, blitzes, containment, bearoff,
whatever keeps your interest the most.

Playing positions out you don't understand can be an enormous help. You'll
come to understand why you should have passed when you see GNU beat you
into the ground game after game noting how the position developed and what
you failed to initially understand. You can do this with anything, if
you're going through a book and don't see the merit of Play A over Play B,
plug it in to GNU or SW and play it out a while, see what comes of it. Play
it out, analyze your play, see where the bots' thoughts and your own
diverge, and ask yourself why it thinks its way of thinking is correct.


Bob Koca  writes:

Here is a study technique. Play a match against the bot to go over later.
Don't have the hint feature on and don't check anything during the play.
You are not allowed to do that in a tournament and it may give you clues
for subsequent plays. For each move write down what confidence you have in
your assessment (low, medium , or high) and if you think the choice was
clear or close. If you think the decision is very close and make a .01
error but knew it was close do not worry about that. The big ones to look
at are errors you made even when you had high confidence. If there was a
play you thought was crystal clear but actually was very close include it
as an error for purposes of the exercise.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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



Advancing beyond intermediate  (James Eibisch, July 1998) 
Beginners' mistakes  (Alan Webb+, Nov 1999)  [Long message] [Recommended reading]
Best way for a beginner to learn  (Koyunbaba+, July 2007)  [Long message]
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Getting better than "awful"  (Morph+, May 2004) 
How to excel in backgammon  (Max Levenstein+, Aug 2011) 
How to improve  (N Merrigan, Jan 2007) 
How to improve  (Albert Steg, Feb 1996) 
How to improve cube handling  (RealNick+, Jan 2011) 
How to learn and improve  (Hristov, Aug 2005) 
Lowering your error rate  (Stick Rice+, Apr 2009) 
Maintaining your game  (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, Apr 2005)  [GammOnLine forum]
Matchqiz and Jellyfish  (Gilles Baudrillard, May 1997) 
Missing candidate plays  (Klaus Evers+, Apr 2009) 
Most efficient way to learn  (Stick+, May 2007)  [Long message]
Practice and preparation  (Ian Shaw+, Mar 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Practice/study plan  (Marcus Brooks+, Nov 1995) 
Reference positions  (Chuck Bower, July 1999) 
Study Methodology  (Phil Simborg, Dec 2012) 
Study method  (Jason Lee+, Jan 2012) 
Study plan  (Tenland+, Nov 2012) 
Taking your game up a level  (CW+, Aug 2002) 
Taking your game up a level  (Ron Karr, Aug 1996) 
The backgammon cake  (Daniel Murphy, Nov 1997) 
The best way to learn  (Chuck Bower+, Oct 2003)  [GammOnLine forum] [Long message]
Three steps to better play  (David Montgomery, July 1998) 
Using Jellyfish tutor  (Stephen Hubbard, Sept 1997) 
What more can I do?  (Alison Wylie+, Apr 2000) 
Zen in the art of backgammon  (Robban+, Aug 2009) 

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