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My matches in New York Metropolitan Open 2014

Posted By: Henrik Bukkjaer
Date: Friday, 17 January 2014, at 11:22 p.m.

In Response To: My matches in New York Metropolitan Open 2014 (Mochy)

I find this very interesting indeed, and thanks for sharing also your thoughts on your game and PR.

Mochy, I agree with you that the vast majority of moves are the same, no matter if you're playing XG for low PR or an Intermediate at a tournament without the video turned on ;-) There will be some plays that will differ, but I suppose it is mostly plays where the error you introduce is rather limited.

However, I don't believe that to be the same for the cube. And you didn't mention the cube in your comments, so I'd like to ask specifically: Do you feel you adjust your cubes (takes/passes, doubles and too goods) for your opponent a lot?

You are so strong, so you would just have to oppose an "advanced" player, before the skill difference really shows.

Looking at the Mochy - Lee match again, it's obvious (I think) that your checkerplay is not tuned in towards low PR, but rather to win, if you simply consider your 3rd move of the first game.

But looking further down in the same match, game 3, you decide to take when doubled in a dubious 2-5 backgame. (at this point, Jason have missed 7 cubes in that particular game). Score is 6-0/9 in your favor, and you risk a gammon at the rate of about 20%.

The position is a proper double, and a pass according to XG. It's by no means a big pass, only a 0,027 error, but if you were going to adjust anything in your game from low PR towards winning - this is exactly the place to do so (in my eyes). Let me elaborate:

At this point, Jason has shown that he's not playing the same level as you, and certainly you must have picked up on this(*). On top of that, you're leading big in the game, and the thing you risk by taking this non-optimal backgame, is indeed loosing 4 points in many games - more or less the only thing that can go wrong, when having a big lead against a weaker than yourself opponent. In this regards I may add, that Jason has shown in this game, that he's not aggressive with the cube, that favors even more, playing a bit conservative to get more games. Finally, the game is not very hard to play for Jason at this point (once you have come around and start to play in vs. a backgame, without cube access, there's really not many errors left to make.

All in all, this points towards being a bit conservative, if the cube is near borderline.

However, the fact that you take this cube (even though it's a small error), does indeed LOWER your PR for the match. This is the effect (or flaw if you will) I have mentioned before, with the current PR measurement. Introducing this very low error (take), ensures that you get to play this game to the end, and thus get a lot of very easy moves with 0 errors in it, added to your tally. Result = lower error rate.

I see this trend (at least that is what I think) for players that are very strong, and have trained a lot with the bot to lower their PR. I think it's because people don't really analyze how they get to the low PR, but simply reads out the spurious causality presented here: When I play the cube just a bit more aggressive (early doubles, fresh takes), I get lower PR. When I play the cube just a bit more conservative (tough doubles, careful passes), my PR starts looking at the sky. This would be the simple conclusion if you play play play XG and look at the error rate. But you don't uncover the true causality here: aggressive cube play leads to more games being played to the end, thus more easy moves and a lower PR.

So, my question is this: Do you often adjust your cubes for your opponent? And in this particular instance, did you think it was a huge take, or did you simply not consider adjusting such a decision vs. Jason?

I'll also like to know a few more things: It seems that many of the matches being played outside Denmark (ABT included) are short to medium matches of 9 to 13 points. Do you often play to 17 points or more? And do you think you adjust more in longer matches?

Finally, how do you asses your opponents. Do you try to examine their strength before a game (looking up ratings, etc.) or do you simply rely on what you see over the board? Do you pay attention to your opponents game and errors in the beginning of a match?

Cheers, Henrik

PS: I'm not trying to be a smart-ass about this, I simply find it to be a very interesting aspect of the game. I think winning uneven matches is MORE important for an expert player's trophy tally, than being able to produce a .2 improvement vs. Niel Kazaross in the final. You are playing maybe 3 matches towards the final, where you are 65% favorite to win, and getting an extra 5% in these matches will surely do more for your tournament winning chances, than being able to improve your winning chance against Niel in the final, from 51% to 53%.

Also this being an unprecise science, where XG really cannot help us, makes it particularly interesting.

(*) Let me emphasize, I'm not mocking Jasons performance here, what he played I'm sure that half of the field that day would be pleased with.

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