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slot or not?

Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Wednesday, 23 December 2009, at 12:50 a.m.

In Response To: Nactation comment (David Rockwell)

I agree with everything you said. As you surmised, my purpose for suggesting the "5" alternative is that it seems less likely to intimidate a new user. To expand on that, consider 62S-33, where the top three candidates hit (13/7*) for half the move, and the other half of the move is 13/7, 8/5(2) or 6/3(2), which can be nactated as 7, 5 or 3, respectively. With letters, the same plays are P, o and n.

That said, I'm delighted when I see someone use "o," because it demonstrates not only knowledge of O (which doesn't arise as ofen as the other BEACON letters) but also an understanding of how to apply the lowercase letter in that situation. (Hit or not, the capital letter refers to the play that emerges with an extra point; e.g., 33O is 13/10(2) 8/5(2), and 33o is 13/7 8/5(2).)

Your point about using numerals in nacbracs is valid; it would seem to take longer to mentally sort out the numerals in [5 322 726] -- Gnu's GG rollout for 62S-33 (meaning that the "5" play is best, the "3" play is an error of 22 (i.e., .022), and the "7" play is an error of 26). But because I'm used to it it's only a nanosecond. By analogy, you probably have little trouble now with the hit-and-make-4pt play for 41\$-44 being called "4" instead of "P," even though the first time you saw it you might have balked at the 444 string.

You would write the above as [o n22 P26]. That's perfectly fine, too, and I believe I understand why you prefer it. But I think it's largely a matter of what one is accustomed.

There is a reason to avoid using lower-case letters that most people are unlikely to encounter, but you probably will. For file names, most operating systems are case insensitive. For example, 21S-11E and 21S-11e are both strong enough plays to be used as a foundation for subsequent-roll positions. I had to change the name of the 21S-11e-11 file to "21S-11S-11" so as not to overwrite the data in the 21S-11E-11 file. (Granted, this duality doesn't arise often, and another workaround, though unaesthetic, is 21S-11ee-11.) That problem doesn't exist for 62S-33 specifically, but it pays to become comfortable with alternatives to sub in for lower case letters.

You and I have a tendency to prefer capital letters to numerals/symbols, but I have an additional tendency to prefer numerals/symbols to lower case letters, for the above mentioned file-naming reason. Of course, it depends on how suitable an alternative character seems in each individual case.

Btw, for 62S-33, I mostly write [5 322 P26]. However, if an error size happens to be a single digit or it contains a decimal point, I insert a hyphen after the numeral character for clarity of reading. For example, if the 3 play were an error of only 6 (i.e., .006), I would write [5 3-6 P26].

Nack

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