Forum Archive : Learning

Study plan

From:   Tenland
Address:   ht_tenet@hotmail.com
Date:   19 November 2012
Subject:   My plan for improving, does it look good?
Forum:   BGonline.org Forums

I am a new player. I have only played backgammon for about 6 months, but
have read a few of the best books.  At this point, my PR is just over 7,
playing unlimited games against XG. My goal is a PR of 5, playing unlimited
games against XG, by October 2013.

I figure that the higher my PR, the faster it will decrease, so to reach 5
by October, I set another goal: PR below 6 by March 2013.  As of now, I
can't afford a coach, and I expect to be able to put in something like 1-2
hours a day, on average.

I would be really grateful for any feedback on my plan (from now until
March). Ok, here goes:

* Learn all the reference positions in Backgammon Encyclopedia (not exact
numbers but at least correct cube action and take action) -- my cube error
rate is a bit higher than my checkerplay error rate, so far.

* Learn all the cube reference positions in Backgammon bootcamp.

* Construct some more reference positions on my own, eg., one checker back,
two anchors where one is the barpoint, and an anchor + a blot.

* Learn all third rolls in opening ceremony. (I already know the bot plays
of the first two rolls for money.)

* Play five games per day, and go through each move by both me and the
computer afterwards trying to understand why the moves are best (or

Should I be done with the first 4 bullets before March, my plan is to learn
the cube positions in 501 Essential BG problems (rolled out) and to find
difficult positions from my games and replay games over and over from
there, in order to understand them better.

In order to play better live, I also plan on improving my pipcounting
speed, learning naccel (it seems to be the best, right?). That won't make
my PR lower playing against XG at home with infinite time, though.

David Rockwell  writes:

Your plan is excellent. Perhaps it goes without saying, but I would watch
to see where your biggest weaknesses are and let this data reshape your
plan as appropriate.

As long as you are progressing, you shouldn't worry too much about ranking
priorities. If you get stuck, you need to know why. The primary barrier to
progress is declining interest, not studying the wrong phase of the game.
Keep your study enjoyable and it will go well.

Chuck Bower  writes:

Regarding learning "Cube Reference Positions" and ref. pos's you develop on
your own, I recommend concentrating on positions that are close to the
lines (i.e., close to the doubling point and close to the take/pass point).

For matchplay, it's important to know the typical cGWC and gammon prices
for positions. So in addition, use CRP to estimate those for similar types
of games. For example, gammon prices in blitzes and cubeless game winning
chances in holding games of different pipcount deficits.

I think it might take you more than 1-2 hrs/day to accomplish everything on
your list, but you can adjust your goals as you proceed.

Finally, you didn't mention Woolsey's "How to Play Tournament Backgammon."
Maybe you've already absorbed that book, but if not I'd put it at the top
of your to-do list.

Bob Koca  writes:

Learning third roll positions should not be a high priority.

The theory in boot camp is much more important than knowing its reference
positions and a similar comment applies to encylopedia.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     



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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)  [GammOnLine forum] [Long message]
Three steps to better play  (David Montgomery, July 1998) 
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What more can I do?  (Alison Wylie+, Apr 2000) 
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