Forum Archive :
I've played jellyfish (still losing at level 1) ... I've played yahoo (for
a year, hating the a/s/l thing) ... now I'm on games grid and I love it,
but I'm still a really bad player despite help from the Bill Robertie
books. Help me please somebody. I love the game, but sometimes I really
despair. What more can I do?
Bob Stringer writes:
I've been playing for a year and a half, so it wasn't all that long ago
that I was a newbie and "really bad.". I already had Magriel's book and
got about half way through it -- I know I should finish. I also bought the
two Robertie books on Advanced BG. I went through them once, and will
study them in greater detail again, because they were helpful. But still,
I found that the greatest help was playing and then seeing analyses of my
If you can afford it -- and it's pricey -- I'd suggest getting Snowie Pro.
Using Snowie to analyze my matches, so I can see the types of mistakes that
I make time and again, has helped my game more than anything else. After
every match I immediately save and analyze that match before playing
another, mainly concentrating on my blunders. After a while I see where I
keep making the same mistakes.
A much less expensive investment is to subscribe to Kit Woolsey's on-line
BG magazine, GammOnLine. Check it out at: http://www.gammonline.com/
There's a demo issue which will give you a good idea of what it's like.
Michael Crane writes:
I would suggest that you join a local club or group and get some
head-to-head advice. It's all very well reading books and playing bots but
you need someone to tell you where you're going wrong.
Mark Haley writes:
I started to play bg 2 years ago to the day (on gamesgrid btw).
I was beaten thoroughly on a daily basis and plunged into the 1300s.
This was very disheartening. Heres where it gets better.
First, I started watching alot of matches between better players, trying to
figure out why they moved where they moved.
Second, bought magriels book (must admit, never read it all) but
nonetheless it was a great help in understanding the basics.
Third, bought Snowie not for all the fancy features, but to see how I
actually played vs my opponent (I use more of its features a lot more now--
still dont understand half of it though.)
FINALLY and most important to me, I took some lessons from a good
player/teacher, and that has made all the difference. Snowie might have all
the answers, but if you dont know what questions to ask...
So be patient and try a few of the above things.
Incidentally Ive moved up from the 1300s to the mid 1700s in under a year.
mhaley on gamesgrid
Gregg Cattanach writes:
Reading through annotated matches helped me a lot in the beginner
intermediate stages. There are good ones (Woolsey vs. Bagai is a favorite)
at Backgammon Galore. www.bkgm.com There are also some *.cbg files you
can download and play through from the GamesGrid website. These are also
annotated to some degree.
I also would recommend HIGHLY subscribing to Kit Woolsey's on-line magazine
GammOnLine. www.gammonline.com Only $36 a year, and you will get access
to all the back issues immediately. A fully annotated match is in each
monthly issue, along with 8 great checker play problems (and solutions),
and lots of other interesting articles.
Also, if you have time, playing against JellyFish Free Player 3.5 (Level
7). Remember winning isn't your goal, learning is. Watch how it plays and
try to get a handle on what it's up to.
But be patient. You have to play a LOT of backgammon to slowly build up
your positional knowledge. It does take time. But the trip can be
enjoyable every step of the way!
JP White writes:
I can add that you have made a good choice of server with Gamesgrid. A
strategy that has worked out for me is to challenge someone with just a
little higher rating than yourself. You will find your own level and then
be stretched just enough to make it fun. Loosing all the time is no fun but
playing those at or around your level will result in enough wins to keep
you upbeat and keen to claw your way back up. (and you will go back up if
Remember that Gamesgrid has many very good players so don't feel that you
are no good, it's just that there are many good players that are better
than you (until you learn the game much better).
Gamesgrid has a weekly 'lesson' aimed at begginner/intermediates. Check
the schedule, but I believe it's at 8 or 8:30 (GG Time) on Thursdays. Look
for the green book next to ElaineS and Richard's nick. Join in by watching
the games they play, they comment and solicit comment throughout. The best
part is it's free.
Keep your chin up, play, study and play some more.
I've found Kit Woosley's "New Ideas In Backgammon" quite helpful. It's
great for getting a better understanding of the various categories that
games can be characterized under and which strategies should be used in
these categories. Its also quite comforting to know that the positions
were derived from real games played by experts who had misplayed the
roll, and that these positions underwent a high level of scrutiny by JF
analysis (results of rollouts of each position are actually included in
the appendix). And of course it's that Kit interprets this statistical
jibberish in a readable and organized way. My game has improved noticably
in the months after I completed it. Good luck!
- Advancing beyond intermediate (James Eibisch, July 1998)
- Beginners' mistakes (Alan Webb+, Nov 1999)
- Best way for a beginner to learn (Koyunbaba+, July 2007)
- 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)
- Matchqiz and Jellyfish (Gilles Baudrillard, May 1997)
- Missing candidate plays (Klaus Evers+, Apr 2009)
- Most efficient way to learn (Stick+, May 2007)
- Practice and preparation (Ian Shaw+, Mar 2004)
- 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)
- 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)