Fun and frustration

Forum Archive : Fun and frustration

Choking under pressure

From:   Kevin Bastian
Date:   24 December 97
Subject:   Re: rankings and ratings...and CHOKING!
Google:   01bd10bd$80eb2780$

I'll bet most of us have choked at one time or another. I'll spare you some
of the details -- in fact the details of the game are only approximations
based on a fuzzy recollection, but I assure you, the nuts and bolts of the
position aren't the issue. The choke part of the story is painfully
accurate. Bear with me...

Perhaps my biggest choke of all was, strangely, against a bot. I was
playing mloner a couple years ago, and it was horrendously late at night. I
was WAY past tired, in that zombie-like state that won't let you type
"quit" but won't let you effectively use more than 2% of your brain either.

It was late enough that most Americans, even in the western time zones,
were doing what I should have been doing: sleeping. So as was usually the
case, mloner had been kicking my butt, but I'd been coming back, though on
this final game things weren't going so well and my only hope was to go
into a back game. If memory serves correctly, I didn't do too well at that
either, and it deteriorated to the point where I was on the bar during
mloner's bearoff, hoping for a shot. With a hit, I do recall that I was a
healthy favorite to win the match. So I watched. And waited.

Why does one choke against a bot? Well, since mloner was the top player on
FIBS at the time, it attracted a lot of attention. At this hour, it seemed
that the Europeans were all awake and alert. One by one, my match was
drawing watchers. I'd sometimes check to see who they were, and they were
generally 1800+ German players. Now, at the time, I was around 1500 (not
the mighty 1600 player I am now ;-) and the mere presence of an 1800 player
made me VERY self conscious of my game. And I didn't have just ONE of them
watching, I was starting to collect them like grocery store coupons. A more
focused player would have ignored all that, but I was doing the "whois"
command far more than I was concentrating on the game.

So, back to the game. mloner's starting to bear off, the tension is
building, and mloner gets a roll that it uses to clear the 6 point, but it
gives me a blot to hit on the ace point! If I can only roll a 1...

All eyes are on me. I roll a 6 1!!! YES! The crowd no doubt was excited
that this lowly 1500 player was about to defeat the mighty mloner!!!
Hooray for the underdog!!!

So what do I do? I come off the bar with the 6 and run, not hitting the
blot I'd been so eagerly awaiting. My mind was somewhere else, but what
brought me back to FIBS reality was noticing a quick flurry of "so-and-so
stops watching you" messages. I wondered if I'd passed gas or something!
Why did everyone leave suddenly? Then I saw. All of a sudden that queasy
sick feeling came over me... I had finally been handed my roll, and I
didn't even use it. All I could think about on my way to bed was how much
all those German 1800 players must have been shaking their head at that
idiot KevinB. Why was such a stupid player occupying mloner's time...

Oh well, I probably will never make it to Germany anyway, and if I do, I'll
go under an assumed name...

Merry Christmas!
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Fun and frustration

A game brings you money  (Michael J. Zehr, Feb 1996) 
A story from my youth  (neilkaz, Aug 2008) 
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Backgammon haikus  (Phil Simborg, July 2004) 
Backgammon hustler  (Socks, Apr 2004) 
Backgammon laws  (Walt Swan, Dec 1999) 
Beginner's luck  (Paul Tanenbaum, May 1999) 
Characters we all know  (Alan Webb, Feb 1999) 
Choking under pressure  (Kevin Bastian, Dec 1997) 
Danish Championship semifinal match  (Daniel Murphy+, Nov 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Don't come looking for sympathy ...  (Ian Shaw, Nov 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
"Good roll!"  (jfk+, Jan 1998) 
Hard luck story contest  (Einar Tryggvason, Apr 1996) 
"I resign"  (neilkaz, June 2011) 
Lonely checker's lament  (Luvrhino+, Aug 2001) 
Losing streaks  (Stanley E. Richards+, June 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Losing streaks  (Leo Bueno+, Nov 1999) 
Losing streaks  (Jim Peplow, July 1998) 
New Year's resolutions  (Alan Webb, Jan 2000) 
One-liners  (scuba, Jan 2007) 
Simborg's laws of backgammon  (NYCGuy, June 1997) 
Some learning humor  (Daniel Murphy, Aug 2011) 
Ten commandments of backgammon  (Morten Wang, Nov 1997) 
The square thing  (David B. Sandler, June 1996) 
Translation fun  (James Eibisch, Feb 1998) 
What are the chances?  (Pete+, Mar 2003) 
Wishing good luck  (Michel Tarragnat, Apr 2005) 

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