Backgammon Books

  Backgammon Master Games

  AUTHORS: Bill Kennedy
Chuck Papazian

  YEAR: 1981
  PUBLISHER: Shima Publishing, Inc.
  CITY: Palo Alto, California
  ISBN: 0-941960-00-5
  BINDING: Hardcover
  PAGES: 215
  SIZE: 24 cm high, 16 cm wide

     "Annotated games and positions from master match play. Analysis is largely based on intuitive concepts, and isn't well grounded in match-equity considerations etc. Not well supported by rollouts; a fair amount of errors, but the analysis overall is pretty sound."—Marty Storer, May 1992


     "About 15 years ago this was my first backgammon book and I learned the game by playing through all games and analysing them deeply. If you do the same, you may soon realize that the analyses are often wrong or superficial. On the other hand, the games are interesting and the most important types of positions in backgammon are covered. If you work with the book in an open-minded manner and invest some time to go over and think about the games (by yourself at first — and only after this job is done with JellyFish or Snowie), I'm sure your backgammon will improve a lot. I recommend the book because of the interesting games."—Martin Fischer, April 1999

Chapter 1:  Tactical Games—Explains key tactical ideas in deciding whether or not to hit.
Chapter 2:  One Man Back—Demonstrates the important strategical and tactical concepts for positions with one man back.
Chapter 3:  Prime versus Prime—Discusses the complex play of prime versus prime.
Chapter 4:  Two-Way Holding—Shows how to play two-way holding games in which both players have advanced anchors.
Chapter 5:  Holding Games—Explains the basic strategy of holding games.
Chapter 6:  Backgames—Illustrates proper strategy and tactics in backgames.
Chapter 7:  Multiple Strategies—Provides examples of games involving multiple strategies, unusual positions, and critical cube decisions.
  COVER: Backgammon Master Games contains 64 annotated games and 40 problem positions selected from modern matches that involved world renown players such as Paul Magriel, Oswald Jacoby, Joe Dwek, Jason Lester, Roger Low, and our annotator, Chuck Papazian. The games and problems were selected by World Amateur Champion Bill Kennedy based upon their instructional value and interesting play.
      In each game Chuck discusses key strategic and tactical concepts as they influence the choice of moves. The problem positions are followed by the moves (or cube actions) selected during tournament play with an explanation of the solution that Chuck recommends. The annotations provide the reader valuable examples of the backgammon insight that Chuck has gained over many years of experience. Bill has added comments especially helpful to beginner and intermediate players.
      The games and problems are organized into seven chapters according to their positional motifs. The important strategies and tactics illustrated in the games are explained in each chapter's introduction. Diagrams of key game positions are preceded by an appropriate question to provide additional problems for review. The diagrams and the simple notation system facilitate replaying the games move by move.

Chuck Papazian, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, has been one of the world's best backgammon players during the past decade. His outstanding record in international competition includes winning the 1975 International Grandmaster tournament at Miami and, more recently, the San Francisco pacific Backgammon Championships in 1978 and 1979. Chuck is widely respected for his consistent high-quality play and quick, intuitive grasp of complex backgammon positions. Chuck is currently applying his general expertise in games to the development of computer strategy games such as backgammon, bridge and chess. This has enhanced Chuck's ability to translate his subjective knowledge of backgammon into the informative game annotations in this book.

Bill Kennedy, also from the San Francisco Bay Area, works as a writer and programmer in the computer profession. As an amateur backgammon enthusiast, he studied the game of professional players to improve his play. This involved developing an efficient method to record games for later in-depth analysis. Bill's quick rise to become one of the top amateur backgammon players in the San Francisco area and his winning of the 1981 Plimpton Cup World Amateur Backgammon Championship in Las Vegas emphasize the validity of this approach. The games in this book, selected by Bill, are those he believes are best for study.

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