Book Reviews

Review: Costa Rica 1994
by Kit Woolsey
This article originally appeared in the May 1996 issue of Chicago Point.

Backgammon: Costa Rica 1994
Antonio Ortega, Mario Madrigal,
and Danny Kleinman
1996, 161pp, Editorama
Antonio Ortega and Mario Madrigal have once again combined efforts to produce an excellent annotation in their newest book, Backgammon: Costa Rica 1994. The book thoroughly examines the Third Tournament of the Américas Cariari Masters final match between experts Mike Senkiewicz and Mike Svobodny.

In addition to using manual rollouts to supplement the analysis, the authors, along with guest coauthor Danny Kleinman, have also employed the powerful JellyFish computer tool. Not only is JellyFish able to produce rollouts, but it can also help with cube analysis. Utilizing these features, Ortega and Madrigal have supplied very valuable information on doubling and market losers in critical positions, an excellent type of innovative analysis.

Although the annotations were very good, they were not quite of as high a quality as with their previous book, Costa Rica 1993. Perhaps the authors may actually have leaned too heavily on the JellyFish rollouts.

Also, there was much discussion of how much time the players took to make their individual moves. The time was recorded from the match videotapes. This is really not very educational because a player may have been thinking about lots of things, or he may have been distracted. The time he takes may have nothing to do with whether or not he feels he has a difficult choice.

Still, there is a lot of valuable material in Backgammon: Costa Rica 1994, which is quite entertaining as well as instructional. I would certainly recommend it to any serious student of the game.

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