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You can just call me "chum".

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Friday, 14 June 2013, at 2:03 p.m.

In Response To: You can just call me "chum". (David Rennie)

Nobody knows what the average PR's are, and most people don't even know their own. Many people who say they know their own are lying (or fooling themselves) by about 2 PR on average, as they tend to "forget" to record their really bad matches.

EVERYBODY who moves up from Advanced to Open feels like they are chum. The truth is, you are, until you get better. And when you get a lot better, you are still chum to some degree....we all are except for the top 10 percent of the players.

If you were a 10 handicap golfer and you entered a tournament with a bunch of scratch golfers, would you expect to win very often? Even if they gave you the 10 strokes, your odds aren't great. Of course there is more of the random dice factor in backgammon that can give you better odds than you will have in golf, where it is 100 percent skill, but you get my point. You are competing against clearly better players without a handicap.

So, from a purely "risk/reward" or return on investment, playing tournament backgammon is not a good bet unless you are one of the best players...even then, I am not sure how much money you can make, after all expenses, at the end of the year even if your name is Kazaross.

So don't play major tournaments with an expectation of winning. Play because you love the game and it is a great experience and you will learn and get better as you continue to play and study, and some day you may be one of those top players, or at least good enough to come close to breaking even.

I know there are MANY who are not going to major tournaments simply because they feel like chum and because they don't want to, or can't afford to spend the money to travel and enter compared to their odds of getting their money back. That is why I, and others, would love to see backgammon offer more options for more players. Smaller entry fees (with bigger side pools for those who can afford to and want to risk more), and more events that are about winning points and the joy of the competition, not about the money (like bridge and chess and other games).

In the meantime, you should remember this: you have proven to be as good or better than most Intermediate players and you belong in the Open Division. You will have been matches and you will have the pleasure of playing against some of the truly great players in the world. And occasionally you will beat them, and that is really, really fun! And remember something else: they were all once chum. They paid their dues to get where they are, and you simply must pay your dues if you ever hope to rise to a higher level. The trick is to not go in expecting to win and to enjoy the experience and focus on your own game and improvement and not how much you win or lose.

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