Forum Archive : Books

Lamford: 100 Backgammon Puzzles

From:   Harold Simon
Date:   19 October 2001
Subject:   ? "100 Backgammon Puzzles" by Paul Lamford ?

I can buy this book from a reseller for $9.95.
Evaluations from anyone who has read it will be appreciated.


Colin B.  writes:

It helped me.  Can't really say much more than that, but for such a small
sum (though I think I paid even less) there's little reason not to buy it
- all the problems were apparently checked by either Snowie and/or the
Fish for accuracy, though the relevant analyses are understandably not
included.  Apart from anything else, it showed me to be a pretty good
positional player but a lousy cube judger - I already knew this, but did
not realise just how lousy!  Now all I need is the time and determination
to improve that aspect...

Tore Fredriksen  writes:

The cube positions in this book is definitely much more difiicult than
the checkerplay posistions

Douglas Zare  writes:

This book is fun. There are 100 positions, each followed by a short answer
and a quick tip. The puzzles are challenging, sometimes too challenging.
That's because some of them are slightly wrong, despite being checked by
Snowie 2 and Jellyfish.

I think the book is worthwhile for a strong player who will not be misled
by the overly simplistic tips, some of which are quite wrong. For example,
following an example in which a loose hit was wrong, it advises not to hit
if your opponent has the stronger board. That's wrong. Not every hit is a
loose hit, and hitting doesn't necessarily lead to a hitting battle, or the
worst of one. Hitting can be a great way to get back into the game, and may
be the best way to slot a point.

Mark Driver  writes:

As others have mentioned its a great little book. Its probably the most
read book I own for the simple reason that it fits nicely into a jacket
pocket to read on the bus or train etc.

50 puzzles are on checker play, the other 50 on cube action.

Each puzzle is devoted to one page with the answer at the bottom of the
following page (not the best format IMO I would prefer to have all the
answers at the end of each section).

The author's analyses are quite brief, (dont expect anything akin to 'News
Ideas in Backgammon' for instance), but instructive nevertheless. Each
problem is accompanied by 'handy hints and tips' section which summarize
the salient points in memorable soundbites. The quiz format allows the
reader to estimate their ELO rating from a table at the back of the book.
The introductory section also contains Paul Lamford's PRAT (Position Race
And Threats) mnemonic for cube decisions which is simple but effective.
Check out the MSO website where Allan Webb wrote an article featuring the
PRAT concept.

All in all a very good book for the price. Btw I noticed a UK book shop
knocking out the original edition copies at two pounds-fifty, (Sterling) a
while back, so you might find it cheaper via or Abebooks
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