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Standard notation for plays

Posted By: Tom Keith
Date: Friday, 30 May 2014, at 1:32 p.m.

In Response To: Standard notation for plays (Timothy Chow)

Thanks for going over this, Timothy. Here is my attempt at resolving these ambiguities.

In step 1, there is some potential ambiguity. I think that all the ambiguities are eventually resolved by the time you apply all the other rules, but this would require some careful checking. For example, if I have just one checker left on the 5pt, and I roll 51, I can write either 5/0 or 5/4 4/0.

This one is easy. The rules of backgammon require you to use both numbers if possible. So start with 5/4, 4/0 before any simplification. (But I don't think it matters.)

Also, for a move like 6/5* 6/5* 5/4 4/3, do you want the asterisk on both occurrences or just one of them? Later on, you talk about merging 6/5* 6/5* into 6/5*(2) so it looks like you want to put the asterisk on both. But then I think you wind up with 6/5* 6/5*/3, which you probably don't want?

Suggested clarification: "There should be exactly one asterisk for each blot sent to the bar. If the asterisk could appear in more than one place, place it as early in the play as possible."

6/5, 6/5*/3  →  6/5*, 6/3

In your description of combining sequences of moves, you don't make it clear whether 7/6 6/5 6/5 5/4 should be combined into 7/5 6/4 or 7/4 6/5.

I never thought about that. My suggestion would be: "When combining sequences, start with the move that has the highest point number." So in your example, start with 7/6. Combine that with 6/5, giving 7/5. 7/5 still has the highest point number, so combine that with 5/4.

7/6, 6/5, 6/5, 5/4  →  7/4, 6/5

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