Forum Archive :
Advancing beyond intermediate
Charles Platter wrote:
> I've been playing on Fibs for a few weeks now--about 100 experience
> points, rating a little under 1450. So I'm doing OK and improving a
> lot but I'm not knocking the breath out of anyone. In fact, by
> playing more I see a lot of roles and situations that I'm just not
> sure what to do with. Any advice on useful texts, tutorials, etc to
> start thinking about this kind of stuff?? I suppose in any event the
> best thing to do is to play a lot and pay attention but I'll take any
> advice I can get.
I would suggest any of the following, in no particular order:
o Buy (not borrow) and read Paul Magriel's book "Backgammon". Read it
at least twice. It was written a fair time ago (mid 1970s) but its
principles are sound. It's commonly considered the "bible" of
backgammon for new and intermediate players.
o Ditto Bill Robertie's "Advanced Backgammon" volume I ("Positional
Play"), if not volume II ("Technical Play") too.
o Simply, learn and memorise two-dice probabilities -- e.g. how many
rolls hit a blot seven points away, the probability of entering
against a three-point homeboard, a four-point board, etc. Magriel's
book contains some relevant tables.
o If you're mathematically inclined, try Kit Woolsey's excellent "How
to Play Tournament Backgammon". It covers match play where Magriel and
Robertie concentrate on money play. They're quite different things.
o Keep reading rec.games.backgammon - over time you'll come across
many expert analyses of positions and strategies. For example, Michael
Zehr's current "Lessons from the Board" series. Try also browsing
DejaNews' archives of r.g.b.
o Go to some backgammon Web sites for tutorials and discussions. Tom
Keith runs Backgammon Galore (http://www.bkgm.com/) which contains an
archive of good r.g.b. posts.
o Play friends and local players in a club. Play for significant money
stakes - it sharpens your game!
o Set up some interesting positions on your board and roll them out (a
rollout is taking a board position and playing both sides until the
outcome is clear, but several times -- as many as you can stand). It
takes time but can teach you a lot about the value of a position.
o Register with a sizeable backgammon association and play in
tournaments. If I'm right in thinking that Mindspring is a West Coast
ISP, there's quite an active bg community in the bay area.
o Use computer software. As you use Free Agent, I assume you run MS
Windows. Search for Matchqiz, Jellyfish and Snowie. Jellyfish and
Snowie are world-class players, Matchqiz provides a step-by-step
run-through of historical matches with expert commentary (Kit again).
o Avoid most other backgammon "shareware" - a lot of what's out there
is simply not good enough to learn from.
o As you say, play a lot. On FIBS, try the command "show games" and
watch high-rated players. Record the matches, print them out, and read
them on the train. For that matter, seek out previously-recorded
matches and study them. ftp.gammon.com/fibs/matches/ contains a *lot*
of matches between high-rated FIBS players.
That's my checklist - maybe others can add to it. Good luck in your
games and your education.
James _ To mail me, spell "nomed" in my address backwards
'Ivan' (,_,) N : E : T : A : D : E : L : I : C : A
on FIBS. ======= http://www.revolver.demon.co.uk
- Advancing beyond intermediate (James Eibisch, July 1998)
- Beginners' mistakes (Alan Webb+, Nov 1999)
- Best way for a beginner to learn (Koyunbaba+, July 2007)
- Committing to memory (RobertFontaine+, Feb 2011)
- Getting better than "awful" (Morph+, May 2004)
- How to excel in backgammon (Max Levenstein+, Aug 2011)
- How to improve (N Merrigan, Jan 2007)
- How to improve (Albert Steg, Feb 1996)
- How to improve cube handling (RealNick+, Jan 2011)
- How to learn and improve (Hristov, Aug 2005)
- Lowering your error rate (Stick Rice+, Apr 2009)
- Maintaining your game (Robert-Jan Veldhuizen, Apr 2005)
- Matchqiz and Jellyfish (Gilles Baudrillard, May 1997)
- Missing candidate plays (Klaus Evers+, Apr 2009)
- Most efficient way to learn (Stick+, May 2007)
- Practice and preparation (Ian Shaw+, Mar 2004)
- 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)
- Three steps to better play (David Montgomery, July 1998)
- Using Jellyfish tutor (Stephen Hubbard, Sept 1997)
- What more can I do? (Alison Wylie+, Apr 2000)
- Zen in the art of backgammon (Robban+, Aug 2009)