Backgammon Books

From basics to badass

  AUTHOR: Marc Brockmann Olsen
  TRANSLATOR: Christopher Hostrup-Pedersen
Tue Rasmussen
  YEAR: 2015
  ISBN: 1512200441
  ISBN-13: 978-1512200447
  BINDING: Softcover
  PAGES: 319
  SIZE: 23 cm high, 15 cm wide
My book, Backgammon—from basics to badass, is now out. I hope you will like it. It is especially recommendable for beginners or players with little knowledge of theory, but I think there is stuff that might be interesting for the experienced players as well.

     "Marc deals succinctly with most positions in a single page. For example he urges the reader to: 'Build a prime as soon as possible.' And then he explains that advice: 'One of the primary goals in the opening and middle game is to build a strong prime (a blockade). For this purpose points built in your prime zone are obviously very good. Points built in the outer board (the quadrant on your side of the board outside your home board, i.e. from the 7-point to the 12-point) are also good. Although they are often not directly part of your prime they are still functioning as blocking points when the opponent's back checkers are trying to run away from your home board. Outer board points also act as active building checkers for your prime.'"—Jake Jacobs, GammonVillage Magazine, August 2015


     "Though the information in this book is valuable, this is not a book for beginners in any way shape or form. Yes, it describes how to play and includes opening moves/responses, but then goes on to very advanced gameplay; only someone with years of experience could usefully comprehend.
      On a content level, it's about a 3. Buy this book after you've read 4 or 5 other beginner/novice classics and a year of daily play under your belt. It really should be used for polishing once concepts are already fully understood."— M. Graves, Amazon Customer Review, October 2015

About the author

About the book

Introduction and rules
  What is the game all about?
    Starting position
    A turn
    The first roll of the dice
    Checker play
    The dice
    To bear off checkers, win a single, gammon or backgammon
    points, blots and hits
    To enter after you've been his
    Mandatory rules
    The doubling cube
    Backgammon notation

Chapter 1: The basic concepts
  Concept no. 1: the race
  Concept no. 2: hitting
  Concept no. 3: the prime
  Concept no. 4: flexibility
  Concept no. 5: safety
  Concept no. 6: connectivity
  Concept no. 7: buried checkers
  Concept no. 8: an anchor
  Concept no. 9: the golden point
  Concept no. 10: aggression in the early stages

Chapter 2: The basic game plans
  Running game
  Priming game
  Holding game
  Back game

Chapter 3: The opening game
  The goals of the opening game
  The opening moves

Chapter 4: Advanced strategy
  Concept no. 11: dice combinatorics
  Concept no. 12: safe or bold play
  Concept no. 13: efficiency
  Concept no. 14: robustness
  Concept no. 15: duplication and diversification
  Concept no. 16: initiative
  Concept no. 17: aggression
  Concept no. 18: the edge of the prime
  Concept no. 19: timing
  Concept no. 20: placement of blots
  Concept no. 21: when should you run from and anchor?
  Concept no. 22: vulnerability on both sides of the board
  Concept no. 23: containing one checker
  Concept no. 24: mobility
  Concept no. 25: purity
  Concept no. 26: back loaded and front loaded
  Concept no. 27: banana split
  Concept no. 28: prime or blits?
  Concept no. 29: slot?
  Concept no. 30: split
  Concept no. 31: saving gammon
  Concept no. 32: the 6-prime
  Concept no. 33: the double hit
  Concept no. 34: bear in against an anchor

Chapter 5: The doubling cube
  Importance of computer programs
  Backgammon equity
  Volatility and the doubling window
  Strategy with the doubling cube
    When should you double, accept or pass
  Reference positions
    Early cubes
    Bear off
    Holding games
    The blitz
    The priming game
    Deep anchor games
    One man back
    On the bar against a closed board
    Back game
    Too good to double

Chapter 6: Match play
  Match equity table
  Calculation of take point and doubling point
  Formula for match equity
  Gammon (and backgammon) price
  Gammonful and gammonless positions
  Reference positions
  Reference positions for redoubles

Chapter 7: The value equation

Chapter 8: Doing the pip count
  Cluster counting
  Efficient arithmetic
  The absolute pip count
  Counting differences

Chapter 9: Various topics
  Bluff doubles
  Playing against a stronger/weaker player
  Improving your game
  Creating your own position database
  Paradoxical positions
  Zen backgammon
  Backgammon computer programs
  Alternative ways to play backgammon

Appendix: Backgammon probabilities

  COVER: Backgammon—from basics to badass is the cutting edge, modern backgammon book, which teaches you all the basic concepts and principles in the game. It beates the older backgammon theory books by a mile.
      It starts out softly, but don't let this fool you! The book is full of insights from a true expert. The philosophy is a thorough and well structured learning, which leaves you no gaps in you game comprehension, as well as bringing new theory to the backgammon literature, for instance "the value-equation" and probability tables on jumping primes
      It is very easy to read even for beginners. The purpose of the book is to connect the basic theory with the advanced theory. All earlier backgammon books tend to fucus on just one of these categories.
      Since publication in Denmark early 2013, this book is now owned by roughly half of the members of the Danish Backgammon Federation, the worlds largest backgammon federation.

  QUOTES: "It's my humble opinion that this is a must-read for everyone who wants to take his game to another level. The book is highly informative, easy to ready, and packed with education positions. I've been privileged to know Marc for many years, and he is currently the bast backgammon tutor in the world. Don't waste this formidable chance. Buy this book right away!"—Sander Lylloff, the best backgammon player in the world

"Tremendous all-round book which suits backgammon players of all levels. It presents the concepts in a sharp but still educational way. The book has numerous new approaches to the facets of the game that can be very complex. It appeals to new, as well as more experienced players. I'm positive that everybody can obtain new knowedge and inspiration. Read it!"—Karsten Bredahl, Super Grand Master and double winner of Nordic Open

"Marc has truly succeeded in writing a book which starts from the bottom and ends on a very high level, without the usual gaps you can encounter. It is a solid book that everybody can benefit from, regardless of experience. The examples and explanations are top notch."—Peter Hallberg, backgammon world champion, 2004

I am a former professional soccer player, having played in the Danish Superliga and 1st Division. In 2010 I began studying economics (Master of Economics) at the University of Copenhagen, and since then soccer has been a part-time occupation.
      In backgammon achievements, I just won my first "Grad Slam," the Nordic Open 2014, in my hometown of Copenhagen. The final match is on youtube, with the outsanding live commentary of the legend "Falafel." In the moment of writing this book I am rated #1 in the Danish ranking system. Additionally I have been on the national team for the annual Denmark vs. The World matches, held at each Nordic Open, since its origin in 2010.
      Back in 2008/2009, I published the book "World Series Vol 1—basic checker play," which was kind of a nerdy book and sold in only 100 copies, which was decent since it was written in Danish and the target group was very narrow.
      My "performance rating" is among the best in my country. My strongest PR achievement was when I managed to play an average of 2.7 over eight speedgammon matches at the Danish Speed Championship 2012. My average PR in longer matches is probably somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0 (perhaps a little bit better which I get in shape for big tournaments). I am, and always will be, a student of the game. I always try to improved, even though I don't spend as much time studying the game as I used to.

   Backgammon: Pure Strategy
Marc Brockmann Olsen

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