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

BGonline.org Forums

PR or Luck? Here is the real answer if you are looking for (Long but informative)

Posted By: __1ERROR1__
Date: Wednesday, 10 February 2016, at 4:04 a.m.

I have discussed the topic before with Rick in details and heard his opinion; however, I am gonna bring it up here as well to see what your opinion is as I am kinda sure that even less than 7 people here may know how terrible the condition is …..

I saw a thread before about this topic, but I preferred to post a separate one for that. I think the questions of “which one is important in bg” and “by how much” have not been answered mathematically for years in the field since nobody did not want to conduct the experiment for that or they did not have the knowledge for. One way or another, I am gonna give you the direct and mathematically/statistically proven response which you may/may not like it.

For those of you who don’t know me very well: I started working with bots about 7 years ago when I was in high school. In those years, I was playing with GNU about 8-10 hrs/day, classifying different positions and trying to find mathematic formulas for them as a function of different variables in linear and nonlinear format. That’s my personal interest. Regardless of being useful or not…… I have always believed that you should work hard on your PR and develop your skill to get the best result as you could not control the dice distribution.

Last year, I conducted a thorough analysis as a part of my MSc course project called Design of Experiments (DOE), to figure which factor plays the most important role in BG, Luck or Skill (each student could select his/her own project to understand the contribution of well-defined factors on a quantified result). If we take XG as an almost accurate source, I took its numbers and did my experiment. I took “PR” as a measure of skill and the “luck figure” as a measure of luck. Before you wanna go on and read the rest of my post, I want to make you sure that I got full mark for this project and it was selected as one of the most fascinating designs with the most accurate data collection and analysis (according to NPP plots in the report).

The analysis was done for three levels of skill and three levels of luck where I considered PR 3.7 as an average WC player, PR 6.3 as an average expert player and PR 10 as an average advance player, and I considered -2 luck as an unlucky player, +2 luck as a lucky player and 0 as neutral luck. Obviously, I could not find the exact numbers that I was looking for since it was an actual real-world experiment. That is, I considered the luck between -0.5 and +0.5 as 0 and almost the same story for the rest of the lucks and PRs (PR 10.7 as PR 10 and…..). Those were the factors for the experiment. As for the result to quantify, for each match file, I selected one of the players based on Random/CoinFlip function in MATLAB (Math programing software) and read their result. The difference between the final result of the match was the output that I used in my study. For instance, If X beat Y by 11-8, the output is +3. On the other hand, If M is beaten by N by 3-9, the output was -6 (min match length was 7pt). With three levels of luck and three levels of skill, I filled up my 3X3 data table with the match files that I randomly collected from different players from all around the world (Thanks to all my friends from Iran, Croatia, US, Bulgaria, Denmark and ….) .

The result of the analysis was surprising and eye-opening even for me, myself.

Believe it or not, whether you like it or not, the game is purely controlled by luck in short term no matter what your level of competence is in the design window that I worked in [3PR to 10PR and -2luck to +2luck…which is large enough in terms of coverage I believe]. That is, PR was not statistically significant at all with 95% level of confidence; however, Luck was extremely super significant as the factor deciding who the winner of the match is. For those of you who believe that “Skilful players are luckier”, I have to say: Unfortunately, that is not correct either since the correlation between luck and skill is statistically insignificant as well. That is, mathematically saying, the game is purely the game of luck in the short term.

Do you have a question now? …. How short is short? Well that’s the only minor good news that I have here for those of you practicing and analyzing with bots for ages and hours each day. According to this study, in the long term where your luck approaches zero due to dice distribution, the more skillful (better PR) you are the more wins you could get. How many matches do you need to get your luck in the zero range?! I am not sure…..maybe Rick or Xavier could help me here, but I could say “ almost a lot”. Another question for you: For those of you who are professional players scheduling their international tournaments at the beginning of each year, do you think that you could play that amount of matches in the tournaments which you are gonna attend to make your luck in the statistically zero range? Does it worth the money you risk? And so on …….

What it actually boils down to is: The game is the game of luck and the contribution of skill in the game is nothing for a tournament/ tournaments. People probably are not gonna do this analysis again to understand whether the game is controlled by luck, skill or both. However, they will certainly understand and feel this by the passage of time and by experience. They study/analyze the game a lot well before a tournament, go to that in the best shape and get knocked out in the first 4 rounds or so…. Not even once, twice ….. a lot of times…a lot….did not that happen for you a lot? You may know the reason now….

Now I wanna bring up the main point of my discussion: I saw different people (Mochy/Phil/ falafel/ Michy and ….) trying to promote the game and develop it. But, according to the history and real world, a game/mind sport could not develop if it is controlled by luck. People want to win if they are better. That’s when they accept to spend time on the game and develop their skills and understand the concepts of the game deeper. Just look at the real world around you…… what are the most popular sports in the world (Tennis, soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming, hockey, football, golf and …..) and which parameter determines who the winner is? Luck or skill? If you want to promote backgammon in the real sense of the word and attract more players and big moneys to the game, the winner of this game must be the player who is better in terms of the skill “most of the times”. I do not wanna say and not gonna say “always” since I do not want to make the game exactly like chess.

As a suggestion that all the tournament directors may consider, the overall format of the XG-masters that is currently played in DK and is gonna be held in nordik. The format could be engineered more in terms of weight factors and gets applied to all the tournaments over the world…… you may think that you may lose some players/attendees in the short term since they know they are not gonna win anything due to their lack of skill, but in the long term, people would understand that if they wanna win more, they have to practice more and be better…..and that’s what the game really needs in order to flourish…..

Here is the link to my study if you really want to go to its details:


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.