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Nactation notes — S as a substitute for Z

Posted By: Taper_Mike
Date: Sunday, 22 January 2012, at 10:50 p.m.

In Response To: Nactation notes (Nack Ballard)

Mike: This is a case where I wish Nactation required that Z be used. For me, it is an extra step to check whether S can be used for Z, and that means evaluating two Nactation families instead of one. It is not a big deal, though.

Nack: I agree it's not a big deal (either way), but I'm interested to know your thinking. When you say, "This is a case...," are you referring to something specific about this position or speaking more generally? For example, would you like that the opening play of 13/8 24/23 be nactated only 51Z (with 51S not being a permissible option)? If so, it's not an unreasonable point of view, though you might find this thread worth reviewing.

I am speaking more generally. I would prefer if S could never be used as a substitute for Z. Thus, a split of an opening 21 41 51 would always be nactated Z. The way things stand now, a nactator who identifies a play in the Z (Reverse split) family is obligated to evaluate a second family, the S (Split) family, before he can assign a Nactation. That means extra work, and the concomitant extra chance to make an error. The position in this thread is a great example. I made the mistake of assigning 51Z, when I indented to follow the present standard, and assign 51S.

Part of the problem for me may be my intermediate-level skill as a backgammon player. I hesitate to second guess the opinion of world-class experts in this matter, because I do not have the vision and positional awareness that they do. It is, indeed, extra work for me to have to evaluate the S family for every Nactation of Z, and I believe I speak for a large pool of intermediate players. For the expert, however, I’ll guess the burdon is much lighter.

That said, it is not a big issue. Although I might do things differently, I do not think the current choice fractures the foundation of Nactation. In particular, I do not share Tim’s concerns that this decision tends to create an incomprehensible, spaghetti-code-like system.


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