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MCG vs Mochy: Nactated Match

Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Wednesday, 11 June 2014, at 4:10 a.m.

MCG vs Mochy

Two of the best players in the world, MCG (Matt Cohn-Geier) and Mochy (Masayuki Mochizuki), recently played each other at the Chicago Open. At the bottom of this post is a complete “nacscription” (Nactation transcription) of the match.

First, however, I recommend that you read the rest of the post, which is an explanation of Nactation concepts that are new or helpful to review.

Numerals: Herein is a new paradigm not yet found in the Nactation tutorial.

In bearoffs, assume that the maximum number of checkers are borne off, except in contact bearoffs where no (or fewer) blots is an overriding rule. Once that (plus any forced or entering moves) is accounted for, bearoff or otherwise, then a numeral tells you

  • The final destination point number of a single checker that has been moved using the entire roll. If not, then it is the converging destination of exactly two (and if not then three, and if not then four) checkers, with no leftover portion.
  • Otherwise, move a checker to the indicated point and follow the hit-more-6 rule (as outlined in section 10 of the tutorial).

If it is not possible to move to the point number indicated, try the next lowest point number that ends with that numeral (as stated in the tutorial). For example, if it is not legal to move to the 1pt, then 1 means move to the 11pt, or if that is also not legal then to the 21pt. [By the same token, “0” means playing to (bearing off to) the 0pt, and if that is not possible then try the 10pt, then the 20pt.] This occurs near the end of game 2 (with a roll of 43), where Mochy cannot move to his 8pt, so “8” means he moves to his 18pt.

New Characters: An equals sign ( = ), by itself with no roll given, indicates that two checkers are borne off from the highest remaining point(s). A plus sign ( + ) means that four (or the final three) checkers are borne off from the highest remaining point(s). For example, near the end of game 2, =4 means that MCG rolls a non-doublet that forces him to take two checkers off his highest remaining point (hence the =), and Mochy is able to enter only one checker with a 4.

For another example, in game 4, MCG’s last three moves are =, = and +, meaning that he bears off two, two, and finally his last three checkers off his highest remaining points.

When a player bears off the maximum number of checkers possible (forced or not), with no portion of the roll left over, I give only the roll. Likewise, for forced moves, such as entering two checkers. When a move enters one checker while fanning with the other(s), I name only the die that comes in. (See aforementioned example of Mochy's 4.)

For bearoffs, a couple/few letters will take on new meanings. The only one I’ve created so far is “B,” which stands for “Break the back point,” and it is used straightforwardly a few times in this match. The one tricky instance is in game 2, where, by 6pt convention, 11B would mean 6/5/4(2), whereas the move played “11b” is 6/5 6/3.

Fanning is (and always has been) indicated by F. However, I now distinguish the cases where a player is closed out, or is otherwise completely unable to move (and therefore shouldn’t even bother to roll) with the lower-case “f.”

Cube actions: When a cube is turned, C (Cube) or R (Re-cube) is added just prior to the roll of the player cubing, or P (Pass) or T (Take) is added just after the non-cuber’s previous move. I never list both players actions (e.g., “CT” is unnecessary).

For example, in game 1, 43HFP means that MCG played 43H, then Mochy fanned (F) and passed the cube (P). This could instead be written 43HF-C (i.e., MCG cubed (C), and that Cube must have been passed as nothing appears after it). For another example, in game 3, 51$T65& means that MCG played 51$ and Took the cube, and Mochy (who just cubed) played 65& (double-slot). This could instead be written 51$C65&.

In the latter example, “$” is clearly MCG’s play, and 65 is clearly Mochy’s roll, so T or C cannot be confused with a checker play (such as sTack or Cross). Even so, in this nacscription, I’ve put the cube actions in bold font for additional clarity.

Pair Nactation: This is another recent innovation, handy for transcriptions. Instead of each “move” (which is really a two-character roll plus a one-character move) being flanked by hyphens, each “move pair” is flanked by hyphens. It may look strange at first, but move-pair format makes it much easier to follow the game: you always know which player is on roll. In each move pair, MCG, who has the Black checkers in the XG file, is the first to roll and play.

For example, in game 2, MCG opened with 61P (i.e., with a roll of 61 he played P), and Mochy replied with 42P. In move-by-move format, this is written 61P-42P, whereas in move-pair format it is written 61P42P.

Using traditional notation, the moves in a transcription are typically displayed in two columns, one for each player. When the player in the second column wins the opening roll of a game, a blank (or dash) appears in that row for the first player. In a nacscription, this circumstance similarly results in only the “right-hand” player’s move appearing before the first hyphen. (See Mochy’s opening 62S in game 1.)

“F” has a tri-areal doublet definition that occasionally arises (see page 108 of the tutorial) in conjuction with a roll, but in this match “F” is always by itself and means Fan.

Given the additions (cube actions) and subtractions (moves and die/dice that are unnecessary to specify), some move-pairs in this match are not six characters, yet each has only one legal interpretation. Nevertheless, as training wheels for pair Nactation, I have put MCG’s moves in black typeface and Mochy’s moves in contrasting red typeface. (In the future, colors might be used in a different way; e.g., to identify errors and blunders.)

For any non-doublet roll, the larger of the two dice is listed first; “13” or “35” is never a dice roll. Thus, for example, near the end of game 2, even if you did not have the two-color scheme (which you do), and even if you did not know the position on the board (which you do), “4135” can only mean MCG rolled 41 and played “3” (made a move that included playing a checker to his 3pt) and Mochy entered with a 5.

In the future, without a two-color scheme, I may selectively resort to adding a (straight) apostrophe to separate the two moves of a pair, in order to simplify (or prevent an ambiguity in rare instances). For example, 43'4 (from game 2) and 314'32 (game 3) might save you a “stutter step” when seeing all numerals in the same color.

Assumption: Though NOT used in this nacscription, "assumption" can be a useful tool for competent players who are inexperienced nactators. I mention it because—and sections 8 and 9 of the tutorial will eventually reflect this—henceforward any move using assumption (whether by letter, symbol or numeral) must have a dot (period) under it or after it. [If handwritten, under is preferred. If typed, use the Unicode option of “combined ring below” or type the dot after as a separate character.] Now, if no dot exists, you know that no assumption has been made. (As the nactator, if you are unsure whether you are using assumption, include the dot.)

Only five letters are off limits for assumption: O, C, E, A and N, which already have dotted meanings (for bi-areal doublets with 1:3 ratios, see page 103 of the tutorial). Here, in game 2, “O.” is used once, and in game 4, “N.” is used once.

Would you like to be part of an experiment? Play over all or part of the nactated match below. (Optional: First download the XG file and/or tradscription by clicking on the links in this post, for aid or comparison). Let me know of any difficulties you might have with interpretation, or if you have any questions or critique. Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

Okay, let’s begin!

................................................MCG vs Mochy, 9 point match
.....................................................2014 Chicago Open, round 10

1. (0-0) ..62S - 22N51@ - 11@41P - 51$32D - 55J64$ - 51R41H - 43HFP

2. (1-0) ..61P42P - 11E32S - 11e62Z - 21P33O - 55O.FT - 41AF - 41DF - 65R2 - 21PF - 31RF - 52dF -
...............65OF - 61o2 - 32HF - 654f - 615f - 11bF - 514F - 210F - 63BF - 4135 - 52BF - =4 - 511438 - =

3. (5-0) ..31P - 62S43Z - 61B11S - 41P64$ - 43N54$ - 64366P - 51$T65& - 41&62J - 51A515 -
...............21D314 - 31461P - 211445 - 41C52 - 21J64 - 66o43 - 635542 - 5142 - 5321 - 31432 - 215=

4. (5-2) ..53P - 32S42P - FT52D - 21@52S - 62H41W - 32k115 - 141@ - 63R31H - 62U51H -
...............51H65H - 63H51H - F65C - F11N - 242A - 631A - 263D - 221U - 64R61R - 54T54r -
...............54n61Z - 66P44E - 51N64$ - 62A65D - 54K4 - F65H - 265R - F31H - 6251X - 42H32H -
...............62R42H - F64P - 61U43C - 53P53R - 65764R - 61$61P - 51J54S - 33O51p - 41W33N. -
...............F62Z - 65HF - 63Pf - 31Bf - 42df - 54Jf - 426f - 444 - 44F - 6262R - =65$ - =52B - +51

(MCG wins 9-2)......---------------------------------------------------------------------

My gratitude to Mike Mannon for helping me with this post.


P.S. To increase the size of the Nactation, use Ctrl + (i.e., hold down the Ctrl key and the + key simultaneously.) To decrease the size, use Ctrl -

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