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Live PRs

Posted By: Matt Cohn-Geier
Date: Tuesday, 11 February 2014, at 12:29 a.m.

In Response To: Live PRs (Henrik Bukkjaer)

I was probably exaggerating when I said a 2.3 player has 90%. I imagine Mochy and I between us had perhaps a 50% chance of winning.

I don't think I would have 80% to outplay those players you listed (or the other players who did enter). My point is that 2.0 or 2.3 is massively stronger than the field. I think that a 2.0 doesn't have just a 80% chance to outplay the rest of the field, but more like a 80% chance to outplay a 2.9 player. Vs. a 4+ player that becomes more like 90-98%.

My point is that to most people, you and others, players who play a 4+, or players who play a 8+ or whatever, 2.3 and 2.9 look pretty similar. Super low PRs, both averaging under 3 (they're only 0.6 apart, right?). They are not. It's really, really hard to play 2.3. These days, I struggle for years to shave 0.1 off of my PR. That level of backgammon knowledge is simply many years ahead of my game. You can't call it 'adjustments' or 'rested' or 'playing when you feel like it' or whatever. When it comes to 2.3, I am simply outclassed.

For example, here you wrote: "You don't have to adjust much, to end up at 4.23 - if your base play is 2.7ish. ... that makes 4.23 no more than 1.5 PR worth of deliberate adjustments."

I think this belies a lack of understanding of the subject matter. 0.6 PR is a big distance. 1.5 PR is a monstrosity of a mega-distance. Players who understand the game on a 2.7 level just don't play 4.23 that often. It becomes an even bigger difference as your PR gets lower because the standard deviation of your PR drops dramatically.

You can adjust by changing close plays or by passing more gammonish cubes or no-play-left races or bluff doubling or whatever you decide the appropriate adjustments should be. Assuming you only deliberately 'adjust' by making small checker play errors and cube errors with a magnitude of no more than, say, .300, that will as an average add perhaps 0.2 or 0.3 to your PR.

The only way to add 1.5 to your PR is by making repeated, consistent, checker play blunders.

There has been only one instance of which I am aware where human players have averaged around 2.0 live, or possibly even slightly better than 2.0. That is in the Denmark vs the World full consultation where each team has 8 of the best players in the world consulting with long time controls (somewhere around 4-5 hours to play a 15 point match). That is the level of play you should expect to see when you are talking about 2.0 or 2.3.

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