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It's a New Year; Let's do Something New

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Sunday, 27 December 2015, at 6:40 a.m.

In Response To: It's a New Year; Let's do Something New (Bob Koca)

I agree that duplicate backgammon does not accurately predict who is the best player in a match against other players over the board. And I agree that the bots are not always right.

But I do believe that duplicate backgammon is an alternative approach to test skill that comes closer to testing the backgammon players knowledge and skill than a short-term contest of playing. And I believe that duplicate backgammon in combination with live games is more likely to give an indication of who is best.

Further, duplicate backgammon does not mean that the best play is chosen on every move and that the game will progress in a manner that is likely to progress when playing a bot. I have administered duplicate backgammon before, and often will select the third or forth best play for continuation in order to put the player into less "common" situations or more challenging situations, and I also choose rolls that are more likely to be challenging, so that in a given period of time all players are "tested" more severely than they would be if you let a lot of "easy plays" come up.

Of course the best test of match play and gaming skill would be to have players play a few thousand matches against each other and see who wins the most. Since that is not possible, anything less than that will have faults.

As for the bots not being correct, if every position is rolled out it is not likely that a bot mistake would make a very great difference in the finals scores as it is not likely that when it does make a mistake, after a rollout, that it would be a very large one, or one that would affect one player particularly more than others.

If you start with the premise that the bots aren't always right, you might as well disregard all PR's. Most pretty much agree that PR's are not perfect, but are a pretty good indicator. And as imperfect as XG is, most agree that it is better than any human, so even if not perfect, it is an excellent hitching post.

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