Forum Archive : Miscellaneous


From:   Kit Woolsey
Address:   kwoolsey@netcom.com
Date:   10 July 1995
Subject:   Re: Unusual movement pattern in Inside BG Mag
Forum:   rec.games.backgammon
Google:   kwoolseyDBHEBG.9yq@netcom.com

Tom Weber wrote:
> I am posting this for a friend and fellow FIBSter - Quoting Jerome:
> In the issues of Inside Backgammon, I have difficulty trying to follow
> the moves. For example, in the Magriel vs.Abadjian match (May-June 1995)
> the commentator, Bill Robertie seems to move both black and white from
> position 24 towards 1. I have recently finished reading Magriel's book on
> BG and he seems to trace the course of a game moving 24
> towards one for white and one towards 24 for black. This is easy to
> follow.
> The presentation of matches in Inside Backgammon is confusing. Am I
> missingsomething? Is there a simple way to understand both black and
> white's moves?

I guess it's just what you are used to.  The difference is somewhat
analogous to the descriptive chess notation (where both sides play P-K4)
and the algebraic notation (where white plays e4 and black plays e5 -- full
disclaimers if I have this wrong, since I am used to the descriptive
notation in chess).  Neither method is easier; but we have to choose
something.  The "standard" was pretty much set as the descriptive notation
(what you see in Inside Backgammon) when Kent Goulding published the first
modern collection of annotated matches several years ago in his excellent
series, Backgammon with the Champions.  Today I think you will find that
almost all backgammon literature, both books and magazines, uses the
descriptive notation where each player is moving down from his 24 point --
thus both players play 8/5, 6/5 when making their five point rather than
one player playing 8/5, 6/5 and the other playing 17/20, 19/20.  This is
the notation that I use when annotating a match or discussing a position.
I know that Marvin chose to adopt the "algebraic" notation of having the
point numbers fixed and having one player move "down" the board while the
other player moves "up" the board.  So be it, but the norm for backgammon
publications today is having both players move down, so if you want to read
these publications you'll have to get used to this.  You are correct that
in his book Magriel did use the algebraic notation, but it turned out that
the descriptive notation won out.

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