Backgammon Articles

Reducing Your Error Rate
by Bill Robertie
Posted on the Two Plus Two Backgammon Forum, September 7, 2009.

I want to improve, but I feel like I've hit a ceiling. I have been playing for four years. I have read numerous books (Magriel, Modern Backgammon, Backgammon Praxis, and many more).

I don't see improvement anymore. I think for someone that has played backgammon for four years. an average error rate of 7.4 is pretty terrible.

First of all, an error rate of 7.4 after 4 years of playing backgammon isn't so bad. It means you're better than 99% of the backgammon players in the world. That's pretty good, so stop beating up on yourself.

Players who have error rates in the 3 to 5 range are world-class players who've been playing for anywhere from 3-30 years. At some point in their lives, they took the game very very seriously. (Maybe they still do). They play and study constantly to improve their game. Are you willing to put in a similar level or work and dedication for a few years? If so, try this:

Every day, play a practice session against Snowie. A session of 10 cash games might be good. Have Snowie analyze the session. Go through and look at every play where you made a serious error (>0.03). Figure out why Snowie's play is better than your play. Were you careless? Did you overlook something? Or did you not understand the position?

If you can't figure it out, do a rollout and make sure that Snowie's play is indeed correct. (Even Snowie sometimes makes bad errors.) If you still can't figure it out, print out the position, put it aside, and look again a couple of days later. If need be, go to a tournament, find a good player, and ask them. Or post here. Someone will help you.

Record the results of all your sessions, and average them each week. Over time, the average will drop.

Keep doing this for a long time. Your play will improve.

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