Backgammon Books

  Backgammon Winning Strategies

  AUTHOR: Robin Clay
  YEAR: 1996
  PUBLISHER: Pan Books
  CITY: London
  ISBN: 0-330-34981-3
  BINDING: Softcover
  PAGES: xi+244
  SIZE: 20 cm high, 13 cm wide

     "In my opinion, this is by far the strongest of Robin Clay's books. It is pretty much current (frequently referencing Jellyfish 2.1 evaluations and rollouts and Sconyers database equities) and generally presents reasonable alternatives modern players might consider and gives a fair comparison of them.
      It touches many concepts without going into a great deal of depth. For instance it presents a match equity table derived from Janowski's formula and analyses how it should affect match play. It makes a good effort to address the discrepencies between generally accepted expert and computer preferences. It goes into reasonable detail about many tactical situations (inspecting various possible back game positions and explaining why the 5 point is weak bearing in against a 1,3 back game; walking a prime backwards to pick up an extra chequer, etc.)
      My main criticism is that his treatment of cube handling is weak. Clay claims that cube decisions should be made on three criteria: race, position, and threat — personally I think that's horribly overgeneralised.
      The quiz section of the book (100 questions) is well done. Overall I think most intermediate players could learn a lot from it, though advanced readers would be frustrated at the lack of detail in many areas."—Gary Wong, January 1998

The 24 Point Numbering System
Chapter 1:  The Opening
Chapter 2:  The Middle Game
Chapter 3:  The End Game Race
Chapter 4:  Timing
Chapter 5:  The Semi-Back Game
Chapter 6:  The Back Game
Chapter 7:  Probability and Luck
Chapter 8:  Chouette
Chapter 9:  Tournament Backgammon
Chapter 10:  The 100 Question Quiz
Useful Information
  COVER: Backgammon Winning Strategies is for the player with a basic knowledge of the game who wants to improve their skills and enjoy the taste of victory. The book introduces a new and entertaining way of testing one's judgement by asking the reader to try their skill against common playing situations with analysis of both the correct decisions and the more misguided.
      Backgammon Winning Strategies sets out the most up-to-date principles and concepts of a game that has changed a great deal over the last decade. The self-scoring quiz ensures that the reader has learnt the principles correctly and, as importantly, allows the reader to learn through their mistakes by explaining why a move is wrong.
      The opening, middle game and the end game race, as well as the arithmetic of probability are all dealt with in a clear and instructional way, ensuring that one can arrive at the next game confident of victory.

Robin Clay is an experienced player, ranked no. 4 in the UK, who lectures on backgammon skills and strategy.
      POSTSCRIPT: Robin Clay died in November 2000. Here is an obituary written by Michael Crane.

Robin Clay
1977: Hodder and Stoughton, Dunton Green, Sevenoaks, Kent (England)
   Backgammon in a Week
Robin Clay
1992: Headway, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, Dunton Green, Sevenoaks, Kent

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