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Stick Challenge

Posted By: Bill Phipps
Date: Thursday, 30 August 2012, at 11:49 p.m.

In Response To: Stick Challenge (Fay)

Fay, in no way am I basing this on any assessment of Stick's character. I am basing it on Math and my understanding of backgammon.

The case goes like this. It is documented that Stick has been playing with a PR of 2.04 online. This number would make him the best player in the world by a mile. Forget Falafel, Mochy, Sander or anyone else. They will all tell you, they can't come close to that number. I am sure that some of these players work just as hard as Stick. Do you really think Stick is much, much better than they are?

Secondly- Stick has been playing with a PR of 4.2 in a sample of 22 live matches. This number is not particularly special.

How would you explain that discrepancy between live play and online play? No other top player comes close to having a discrepancy like that.

It has been suggested that perhaps Stick is really a 2.8 PR player who has had a lucky run of playing well online. The odds of this happening after 50 matches are extremely unlikely. Over 100,000 -1 is my guess. It has been pointed out by Timothy Chow and others that it is scientifically dangerous to rely on these numbers, if they are taken after the fact. While that is true, any reasonable person would have to have serious doubts that this is what actually occurred.

So, we are left with 3 possibilities. Stick is by far the best player in the world, forget you Falafel, who happens to either choke enormously when he plays in recorded matches, - or, his results represent a severe statistical outlier , or, he is cheating.

Unlike you, I have not been intimate with Stick ( I can't help but feel a bit thankful for that). I am not in a position to make a character assessment. However, mathematically, I am forced to be highly suspicious.

Now, I am trying to be fair. I am offering him a chance to clear this up. But so far, his reaction is not what I would expect from someone who is miles better than the next best player. If it were me, and I had a legitimate 2.0 PR, I would take on anyone who called me a cheat and use that 2.0 PR to beat them senseless. That is what I am asking Stick to do. Make me regret ever questioning him.

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