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studying Book and PR

Posted By: Igor
Date: Friday, 10 January 2014, at 6:14 p.m.

In Response To: studying Book and PR (onur alan)

I agree with everything Henrik said. Especially the part that knocking down 1PR depends heavily on your current level.

There is no universal recipe that works for everybody. You just need to find what works best for you. But regardless of what you plan to do, you must deliberately study every single aspect of the game -- one at a time -- in addition to general study of the game.

I found that for me personally playing a lot has a big negative impact on my PR. I'm much better off studying a lot and playing a little; perhaps around 5 serious matches per week.

I can't say what impact 501 had on my PR; I did many other things besides going through the book. It was definitely useful and improved my game. But to achieve this effect you have to approach every position critically. Luckily, this particular book is perfect for a critical reader -- many explanations are either inadequate or completely miss the point. Set up every position in XG; then set up different variants to try to isolate critical factors that determine the best plan of action. I.e., be an active reader. It is only this that would allow you to get the maximum benefit out of any book.

At the beginning of 2013 my money game PR (vs. XG) was 10. I then studied races including EPC and blitz cube action; actively and critically read the "understanding backgammon" book. By early summer my money game PR dropped to 7. In August I started playing matches and my PR shot right back up to 10 -- I was making plenty of cube blunders that would have been correct decisions for money but horrendously wrong AtS. It took me a month or two to get my match PR to 7 as well. I learned take points and gammon values for all scores up to -7.

Also, in September I started playing online backgammon. I have played just over 100 matches up to date (average length 8) and right now my XG profile says 6.2 PR. Last 10 matches I averaged 5, but it is too small a sample to conclude I truly reached the 5PR level; I think I still have a lot of work to do for that. My goal is to reach an under 5PR level by the end of this year.

I did notice rapid improvement in the last month which is mostly due to David Presser. USBGF has a wonderful mentorship program where new members may request to be assigned a mentor -- usually an expert level player. I asked Phil Simborg about this and David Presser kindly agreed to take me under his wing. David's influence has already had huge impact on my game.

So, if you are a member of USBGF I strongly urge you to make use of this program, which, for some strange reason, is not adequately advertised. If you are not a member, consider joining if just for that benefit alone.

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