[ View Thread ] [ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

BGonline.org Forums

related question-more specific to backgammon

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Wednesday, 18 June 2014, at 4:00 p.m.

In Response To: related question-more specific to backgammon (Timothy Chow)

You make excellent points, and I don't think I stated my case very clearly. Rather than compare plays where you are winning or losing, let's compare situations where you have a good roll where there are several good options: you can hit two, make a good point, or run to safety, for example. Then let's look at a really bad roll where you have to leave a shot, or you have a great risk if you run, and not only can you not make a good point but you might have to break a good point to avoid a shot.

In the case where you have a choice between several good, productive plays that clearly improve your equity, or a choice between plays, all of which reduce your equity, most players are, in my experience and opinion, far more likely to blunder or completely overlook the best play in the latter situation.

So, again, assuming this observation is correct, why is that?

I believe the same thing can be applied to life. Let's say you are out of college and are offered three good jobs. It's fun and interesting to compare the pluses and minuses of each and you look long and hard to determine which job to take. But let's say it's a bad market and your only options are three very poor jobs that you certainly are not wild about, but you must take one to make ends meet and to get out of your parent's basement. How carefully do you study the pluses and minuses of those jobs. You don't care that much because you won't be happy no matter which one you choose, and you might easily overlook a major negative of the one you pick simply because you were so unhappy with the choices you didn't care that much which one you picked. What difference does it make if you take a low-level job in a warehouse or a job bagging at the grocery store? You are going to be unhappy either way, so you flip a coin or take the one closest to home.

So we make fun, positive decisions more thoroughly and more carefully than we make hard, difficult, and dismal decisions. I think this applies very much to backgammon, and I think that identifying this as a tendency and realizing we have this weakness is one way to become a better player.

I remember watching Steve Sax take forever to make a move in a game where I knew his winning chances no matter what he did were terrible, and no matter which move he made I thought he was screwed anyway. But if one move screwed him .020 less than another, Steve wanted to be sure to make that move. In a match against Malcom, I was going to gammon him about 95 percent of the time no matter what he did, but he took a long time deciding on where to put his outside checkers to reduce that 95 percent down to maybe 92 percent.

"Average" players don't do this...it's not part of their DNA to fight for every percent of equity when faced with bad choices. Understanding this, and why, will not only make us better players in the long run, it will help change the entire approach to playing...to try to maximize equity on every move regardless of the score, position, or how good or bad all the options appear to be.

Messages In This Thread


Post Response

Your Name:
Your E-Mail Address:

If necessary, enter your password below:




[ View Thread ] [ Post Response ] [ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

BGonline.org Forums is maintained by Stick with WebBBS 5.12.