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Exploiting your opponent's weaknesses

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Thursday, 26 January 2012, at 10:07 p.m.

In Response To: Exploiting your opponent's weaknesses (Iancho Hristov)

I don't understand why you're making such a big deal out of the difference between one match and a large database. I'm sure that if you got all 7 billion people in the world to swear by all that is holy that they, and all their children to the third and fourth generations, will never collectively record more than ONE match played by Nack Ballard, then Nack would not complain. But of course that's not what happens. Once you allow one match to be recorded, why not another? and another? Pretty soon, you have the situation in chess, where we have large databases of games for all players. Nack's no idiot; he knows that if he opens the door to allowing ONE of his matches to be recorded, it's very difficult to stop ALL of his matches from being recorded. (Of course this is all moot since Nack seems to have stopped playing matches in public, but the logic of the argument remains.)

Anyway, it seems that you and CMC are gradually coming around to the point of view that Nack/Stick/I have been arguing. For example:

1. CMC seems to agree with me now that the dice are more relevant than the alleged "solved" status of backgammon.

2. You seem to be agreeing that maybe Nack/Stick/I are right if enough matches are collected.

3. The discussion between CMC and Stick seems to have clarified the point that nobody is claiming that a huge advantage can be obtained by studying the opponent's matches. At high levels, what you're looking for is any measurable advantage.

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