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Finish this sentence...

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Thursday, 5 March 2015, at 1:21 a.m.

In Response To: Finish this sentence... (Bob Koca)

I don't discount the millions of casual players as quickly as Phil does, but I do believe that even if we have those millions of casual players in mind, it's a good thing if they become more aware of the depth of the game of backgammon.

A culture as a whole is enriched if there is an awareness among the general public that there is such a thing as a deep mind sport. Between the two of them, chess and go provide that cultural enrichment for a large fraction of the world's population, but they have the limitation that they involve no explicit, "systemic" randomness. The concept that there can be a deep mind sport even in the presence of systemic randomness is, I think, missing from the consciousness of the general public, and the world is a culturally poorer place as a result. This is especially true in today's increasingly complex world, in which judgment in the presence of randomness and uncertainty is increasingly important. The main mechanism I see for changing that is for some mind sport like backgammon to grow at the high levels, so that it becomes newsworthy.

Of course this argument doesn't uniquely single out backgammon as a candidate, but if we want to pick a game that is already moderately well known, the candidates are limited. Bridge is another possibility. From the point of view I'm taking here, bridge does have the advantage that it's not generally associated with gambling in the public's mind, so there's less of an uphill battle to convince people that it's a deep mind sport.

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