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I like my chances/ and so Pineapple Bluff Gammon stuff
Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Thursday, 15 September 2016, at 5:21 p.m.
In Response To: I like my chances/ and so Pineapple Bluff Gammon stuff (Jake Jacobs)
I neglected to read this half of the thread before posting in the other half.
Gauss and Ramanujan are certainly mathematical geniuses (it's less clear if Euclid was in the same sense, since he probably did not originate most of the mathematics in the Elements—if you want someone from antiquity, then Archimedes would be my suggestion), but I don't think Stick was setting the bar that high.
I still believe that there's no truth to the idea that someone who is a "genius mathematician" (whether in the strict sense or in a loose sense) will have a tendency to fall into the trap of misapplying mathematical thinking to backgammon. Because I'm a mathematician, I have had more exposure than most to professional mathematicians playing backgammon and I have not observed any such tendency. I myself enjoy thinking about how to analyze backgammon mathematically, but I have no illusions that those analyses have the slightest relationship to my OTB performance.
To repeat, the one effect that I do believe is that there are only 24 hours in the day and you can't devote more than 12 hours/day to more than one activity. That will tend to limit how high a pinnacle you can reach in more than one area. Magnus Carlsen said something similar of John Nunn: "He has so incredibly much in his head. Simply too much. His enormous powers of understanding and his constant thirst for knowledge distracted him from chess." As a result, Nunn's peak world ranking is "only" #9.

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