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Nactation and Zare's position

Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Friday, 30 May 2014, at 8:53 p.m.

In Response To: Nactation and Zare's position (Timothy Chow)

I'm curious as to whether Nactation has matured to the point where one can program a computer to unambiguously handle Zare's position (where there are 2226 legal ways to play snake eyes)?


Here is an excerpt from the Nactation tutorial, page 22:

"Any backgammon move from any position can be described by an areal letter... The use of areal letters in conjunction with the 'hit-more-6 rule' (the way to distinguish between two or more moves that use the same letter), as outlined in section 10, is the most reliable way for skilled nactators to communicate with each other or with a computer program."

A program would first identify the letter/family (there are 13 for a non-doublet, or 37 for a doublet). Then the hit-more-6 rule determines the family member. Including lower case, italic and bold, each family has eight members per color, and the number of available colors is "unlimited." (See section 16.)

The 2226 legal double-1s moves in Zare's position would be divided among the 37 families, say between 40 and 80 members each, requiring five to ten colors per family (or half as many for U/V).

Nactation is a practical shorthand for notating backgammon moves that might be made in a real game (and to that end, simple capital letters are primarily implemented). It wasn't intended to be used for as extreme a purpose as the one outlined above. But the depth does exist.


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