Dynamic Cube Strategy
Nick Maffeo Dynamic Cube Strategy is an excellent contribution to the literature of backgammon. The authors, Gaby Horowitz and Dr. Bruce Roman, are articulate and thorough in their discussion of the principles of cube handling.
Dynamic Cube Strategy is much more than an introduction to the cube theory of future Advanced Backgammon Enterprise books, but rather a valuable tool for players at all levels. Inexperienced players will find concepts not discussed anywhere (not even in some high-level chouettes) and experienced players will discover a clarity of reasoning that will sharpen their play and hint at their own cube deficiencies.
Take, for example, the pneumonic C-U-B-E: Consider the potential gain versus the potential loss; too many players eschew the right decision for failure to follow through with the line of play yielding the greatest potential profit or minimum loss. Use the cube as a weapon not as a gift; pressure doubles are the spirit of the game. Doubling too late loses as often as doubling too soon. Blend checker movement with cube action; absolutely crucial for discerning play that measures the distinctions of cube position. Eliminate emotional influence — a point I approve of in theory, but disapprove in practice. The idea is well taken, but debatable semantically.
Dynamic Cube Strategy is not only an enriching course on cube handling, but a frank statement about backgammon and its players. Chapter 6, Skill Levels in Backgammon, may not be understood (or more probably overlooked), but it is a very important description of the personality and skill types you will encounter in everyday play.
Although I disagree moderately with only one or two plays, I did not find the problems "easy" ones. The text shows a skillful command of the English language, characteristic of Gaby and Bruce's writings, and a trademark of Mr. Horowitz's teaching style. The expressive commentary of Dynamic Cube Strategy provides important and constructive insights into a player's weak points and methods for deleting them from his game. After all, that is the purpose of a great teacher and a great book.
At $25 per copy, Dynamic Cube Strategy is well worth the price. I was asked by a student, "Isn't that too much? How can I afford it?" "You can't afford not to have it," was my reply.