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Calculations over the board
Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Friday, 14 February 2014, at 4:12 p.m.
In Response To: Calculations over the board (Ray Kershaw)
I believe that all intermediate and open players who play regularly should absolutely have memorized the take points and gammon values for a 5 point match. For higher scores, unless the score is lopsided or we're talking about higher cubes and recubes, we can pretty much just use money (NMS), and then for the goofy scores and really long matches, that is the only place where most of us have to do any calculations over the board.
I have "shortcuts" that I have learned from John O'Hagan which help you get to the take points and GV's very quickly in most situations, and of course, if you do have to calculate, Neil's Numbers are not that hard to memorize and use. But even with the shortcuts and Neil's numbers, with the clock running, most of us will have major problems over the board, so instead, I just have some rules of thumb and some shortcuts are rarely have a problem coming "close" to the right numbers at most scores.
The trick to memorizing the numbers is not to simply put them on flash cards or a sheet of paper and trying to memorize...it's to think about WHY a nmber is high or low at a particular score and then it gets easier to remember. Then, NEVER START A GAME AT ANY SCORE without thinking about the take points and GV's, and if you are playing at home or practicing and you don't remember, then look it up.
Part of the problem is answering the question of what is the live cube take point to begin with. XG tells us accurately what the dead cube take point is, but the live cube take point varies depending on the position, so there is some skill and art involved in that.
Fortunately, this information can be learned from a good teacher, and I teach it well, not just because I teach well, but because I have had a lot of great help putting the numbers and strategies together by my former teachers and current partners. In about 3 lessons I can make any reasonable player an expert on take points and gammon values and you will know just about as much as the Giants in that area. Then the trick is knowing how and when to apply it over the board as well as MCG. And that's easy too, but you'll have to pay me for the answer to that one.

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