# New Ideas in Backgammon

## Book Preview by Kate McCollough

New Ideas in Backgammon is Kit Woolsey's and Hal Heinrich's amazing book of backgammon problems. Kit, runner-up in the 1996 World Cup, and Hal, winner of the 1990 Monte Carlo World Championship have assembled a collection of problems that tests the ability of even the best human players, yet provides instructive lessons for everyone from beginner to expert. All the positions in the book are taken from actual tournament matches in which a top expert made an incorrect choice. In each case, the correct play has been verified by an elaborate series of computer analyses using the neural net Jellyfish. In addition, all the problems have been shown to a panel of eight human experts, and only those problems which were able to stump most of the panel were finally included in the book.

These are not trick positions or exotic plays. The positions are of the sort that arise in every game, yet are misplayed by nearly all players. Hal Heinrich and Kit Woolsey have drawn on their vast experience to provide you with the theoretical framework behind the often counter-intuitive plays. It's fair to say that New Ideas in Backgammon stretches our understanding of the game more than any other book in recent years.

Try your hand at these two examples. The positions [below] are numbers 15 and 23 from New Ideas in Backgammon. In each position, none of the eight experts were able to find Black's [X's] best play. What's even more interesting is that none of the experts were able to find the second-best play, either! Do you see what the right plays are?

[Note: This is not the way the positions appear in the book.
The text boards have been used here for simplicity in

Do You Know the Right Plays Here?

+24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+18-17-16-15-14-13-+
| X  X  X        O |   |    O     X     X |
|                O |   |    O           X |
|                O |   |    O             |
|                O |   |                  |
|                O |   |                  |
|                  | X |                  |
|                  |   |                  |
|                X |   |                  |
|                X |   |                O |
|                X |   |                O |
|          X     X |   |                O |
|    O  O  X     X |   |       X  O     O |
+-1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+-7--8--9-10-11-12-+

X to play 4-4 from the bar.

__________________________

+24-23-22-21-20-19-+---+18-17-16-15-14-13-+
|       X     O  O |   |    O     X     X |
|       X     O  O |   |    O           X |
|                O |   |    O             |
|                O |   |    O             |
|                O |   |                  |
|                O |   |                  |
|                  |   |                  |
|                  |   |                  |
|                  |   |                  |
|                  |   |                  |
|          X  X  X |   | X  X           O |
|       O  X  X  X |   | X  X           O |
+-1--2--3--4--5--6-+---+-7--8--9-10-11-12-+

X to Play 2-1.

New Ideas in Backgammon, by Kit Woolsey & Hal Heinrich. 336 pages, softbound. Price: \$40., plus shipping. Shipping charges: USA \$4, Foreign surface \$5, Europe or South American Air Mail \$15, Pacific Air Mail \$20. Available exclusively from The Gammon Press, PO Box 294, Arlington, MA 02174, USA.