Book Suggestions

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Which book by Chris Bray should I buy?

From:   Timothy Chow
Date:   9 July 2012
Subject:   Which book by Chris Bray should I buy?
Forum: Forums

I'm thinking about buying one of Chris Bray's books. Here are some of the
things I look for in a backgammon book.

1. Lots of interesting positions. It's not so critical to me how good the
   answers and analysis are, since I tend to supply that myself anyway, but
   of course good analysis is a plus.

2. Interesting random facts. For example, on the strength of Tom Keith's
   recent recommendation, I'm planning to buy Ray Kershaw's book for this

Given my above preferences, does one of Chris's books stand out as the one
I should buy? (I might eventually buy more than one but only if I like the
first one enough.)

Chris Bray  writes:

Let me offer a mildly biased view! Two of my books are for beginners,
"Backgammon for Dummies" and "Backgammon to Win". I wouldn't expect readers
of this site to require either except as presents for friends or
colleagues. Please note that a revised and updated version of "BG to Win"
will be published in about four weeks time.

My other four books are mainly anthologies of my newspaper column articles
for "The Indepemdent" in the UK . The column recently celebrated its 18th
birthday so has definitely come of age. It is written for a relatively
broad audience so combines.instruction at different levels with reviews,
tournament analysis, occasional pieces of history and pure whimsy. An
imaginary cast of characters (just possibly based on some real life
characters) do battle in the chouette. Wanting to give the chouette a touch
of class the Dowgager Duchess joined the cast a few years ago and has been
very popular.

The three 'wind' books (in chronological order): What Colour is the Wind?";
"Second Wind" and "Wind Assisted" each cover a number of years of the

I would start with "WA" and work backwards. "WA" has the advantage that for
the first time I published full rollout data for the more serious players
to study.

The next book in the series, "The Wind of Change", will be published in
early 2013.  All of my books except 'Dummies' can be obtained from

Hope this helps.  Regards,


Timothy Chow  writes:

At Chris's own recommendation, I recently purchased "Wind Assisted." So far
I am happy with my purchase. Each page has an interesting position at the
top followed by some discussion of it. Rollout data may be found at the
back of the book.

The nature of the book means that some of the positions are geared towards
beginners and intermediates and are not so interesting to a more advanced
player, but there are plenty of difficult decisions to chew on, which is
what I was looking for.

There is only one major flaw from my perspective: Sometimes it's not
possible to determine what the decision is just from looking at the
diagram. Crucially, the match score is not presented with the diagram; you
have to read the text to determine it, and the process of doing so may
expose you to spoilers.

Also, for cube decisions, it's not always clear who's on roll. Usually the
player on the near side is on roll, but I believe I've already encountered
some positions where this is not the case. I think I even encountered one
position where the diagram showed Black owning the cube, yet the
interesting decision was not "Black on roll; cube action?" Instead, the
diagram showed White on roll just after Black had taken White's cube, and
the interesting cube decision was the one that had just occurred.

I strongly recommend to Chris that if he publishes another book in this
series, he should make it clear what the decision of interest is from the
diagram alone, without forcing the reader to read the text to determine the
match score or who is on roll. Even if Black is always the player with the
cube decision, it can't hurt to indicate this in every diagram.

> Where is the best place to purchase "Wind Assisted"? The best price also.

I don't know, but I bought my copy from Carol Joy Cole, If you are happy with an electronic
version then you can get it more cheaply at

Chris ray  writes:

First the easy bit. All of my books are available from,
most of them in digital format. CJC also stocks all my books and for those
resident in the US I would suggest you contact her.

As to Timothy's comments I always appreciate feedback from readers and this
is an interesting spin. However, as he comments, the book is targeted at a
wider range of readers than a book such as "What's your GAME PLAN?" and it
is an anthology of articles and not a workbook. Structuring it as a
workbook would not endear me to the vast majority of my readers and so I do
not intend to change the style. That is the reason the rollouts do not
appear on the same page as the problem as many hundreds of readers just
don't study rollouts - this may come as a surprise to some readers of this

I do intend to write a very technical book on the middle game once I retire
from my day job in a couple of years time and that will have a very
different style.

FYI - In the problems it is always Black who has the basic decision to make
although White occasionally has to do some work as well.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

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


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Which book by Chris Bray should I buy?  (Timothy Chow+, July 2012) 

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