Forum Archive : Learning

Advancing beyond intermediate

From:   James Eibisch
Address:   jeibisch@revolver.nomed.co.uk
Date:   21 July 1998
Subject:   Re: intermediate strategy
Forum:   rec.games.backgammon
Google:   35b5c722.72173@news.demon.co.uk

Charles Platter wrote:
> I've been playing on Fibs for a few weeks now--about 100 experience
> points, rating a little under 1450.  So I'm doing OK and improving a
> lot but I'm not knocking the breath out of anyone.  In fact, by
> playing more I see a lot of roles and situations that I'm just not
> sure what to do with.  Any advice on useful texts, tutorials, etc to
> start thinking about this kind of stuff??  I suppose in any event the
> best thing to do is to play a lot and pay attention but I'll take any
> advice I can get.

I would suggest any of the following, in no particular order:

o Buy (not borrow) and read Paul Magriel's book "Backgammon". Read it
at least twice. It was written a fair time ago (mid 1970s) but its
principles are sound. It's commonly considered the "bible" of
backgammon for new and intermediate players.

o Ditto Bill Robertie's "Advanced Backgammon" volume I ("Positional
Play"), if not volume II ("Technical Play") too.

o Simply, learn and memorise two-dice probabilities -- e.g. how many
rolls hit a blot seven points away, the probability of entering
against a three-point homeboard, a four-point board, etc. Magriel's
book contains some relevant tables.

o If you're mathematically inclined, try Kit Woolsey's excellent "How
to Play Tournament Backgammon". It covers match play where Magriel and
Robertie concentrate on money play. They're quite different things.

o Keep reading rec.games.backgammon - over time you'll come across
many expert analyses of positions and strategies. For example, Michael
Zehr's current "Lessons from the Board" series. Try also browsing
DejaNews' archives of r.g.b.

o Go to some backgammon Web sites for tutorials and discussions. Tom
Keith runs Backgammon Galore (http://www.bkgm.com/) which contains an
archive of good r.g.b. posts.

o Play friends and local players in a club. Play for significant money
stakes - it sharpens your game!

o Set up some interesting positions on your board and roll them out (a
rollout is taking a board position and playing both sides until the
outcome is clear, but several times -- as many as you can stand). It
takes time but can teach you a lot about the value of a position.

o Register with a sizeable backgammon association and play in
tournaments. If I'm right in thinking that Mindspring is a West Coast
ISP, there's quite an active bg community in the bay area.

o Use computer software. As you use Free Agent, I assume you run MS
Windows. Search for Matchqiz, Jellyfish and Snowie. Jellyfish and
Snowie are world-class players, Matchqiz provides a step-by-step
run-through of historical matches with expert commentary (Kit again).

o Avoid most other backgammon "shareware" - a lot of what's out there
is simply not good enough to learn from.

o As you say, play a lot. On FIBS, try the command "show games" and
watch high-rated players. Record the matches, print them out, and read
them on the train. For that matter, seek out previously-recorded
matches and study them. ftp.gammon.com/fibs/matches/ contains a *lot*
of matches between high-rated FIBS players.

That's my checklist - maybe others can add to it. Good luck in your
games and your education.

James        _    To mail me, spell "nomed" in my address backwards
Eibisch,   ('v')
'Ivan'     (,_,)        N : E : T : A : D : E : L : I : C : A
on FIBS.  =======          http://www.revolver.demon.co.uk
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]
Committing to memory  (RobertFontaine+, Feb 2011) 
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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