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Annactated game sequence

Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Thursday, 7 January 2010, at 8:33 p.m.

In Response To: Annactated game sequence (Ian Shaw)


2O ' ' ' '5X1O3X '1X2X4O

 '1X ' '1X4O '4O ' ' '2X

Position 1174

Position ID: 4HnwIDDgc5oBEQ Match ID: MAEFAAAAAAAA

Thanks, Ian, for your thoughtful and articulate feedback; much appreciated.

In classic traditional notation, you write out both the source and the destination points, such as “24/21 24/20.” In what I call “Dot” notation -- Destination-oriented traditional notation, you write out only the destination points, such as “21 20” (unless there’s more than one way to achieve that move, in which case you add one or both source points back in).

Dot notations are even shorter when the entire play is made with one checker. For example, 24/14 is “14” and 24/21 is “21.”

Dot notations are shorter still (down to one digit) when you are lucky and the destination of the single-checker play is inside the 10pt. Our friend Position 1 (above) provides an example. Classic traditional notation (such as bots use) writes it 8/7* 10/8, or more commonly ordered 10/8 8/7*, or the condensed version 10/8/7*. Dot can write it 7* 8, 8 7*, or shorter yet just “7*.” There is only one way to interpret this: as “10/7*.”

Likewise, if one were to write “8” in Dot, as terrible a play as it is it can only mean 11/8.

Your question is (essentially) that if a single-checker play to a single-digit point happens to fall into a position's lap, why don’t I simply use that single-digit point number to nactate the play?

To fully understand the answer and grasp its import, it might be necessary to compare the multifarious numeral-usage situations that I have. But hopefully, three examples (Positions 2, 3 and 4) will be enough to give you the idea.

First, let’s alter Position 1 a little, giving us Position 2:


2O1O ' ' '5X1X3X '2X '4O

 ' '1X '1X4O '4O ' ' '2X

Position 2179

Position ID: 4HnwADTg64wBCQ Match ID: MAEFAAAAAAAA

Here, it happens to be a close play choice between 7/5 6/5 and 22/20 8/7. A fine resource available to you in Nactation is to describe the latter move as “7,” using the assumption that the obvious 2 is 22/20. You lose that resource if you “fall back” on Dot whenever the move made is 10/7.

If someone were to play 10/7 here, I would nactate that move as “8” and assume the 1 covers the 7pt, just as I would in Position 1 -- top of post. (To be clear, I would also use “L” for 10/7* in Position 1, but I would not use it here in Position 2 because White’s 10pt is no longer a blot – the term “lift” does not apply to 10/8.)

Granted, “7” is not the only nactative choice for 22/20 8/7. Another option is “@” (anchor), choosing to nactate the 22/20 part of the move and have the 8/7 part of the move be assumed.

Let’s modify Position 2 by running a checker 5 pips, giving us Position 3:


2O1O ' ' '5X1X3X '2X '4O

 ' '1X ' '4O '4O '1X '2X

Position 3179

Position ID: 4HnwADTg64wJCA Match ID: MAEFAAAAAAAA

Here, White's failing to make the 5pt with her roll of 21 is a whopper. In that sense, it is similar to the situation where White's failing to anchor on her 20pt is a near-whopper in Position 1.

Even though we know White plays an inferior move in both cases, it is still very reasonable to assume that she is not going to make certain kinds of gigantic conceptual errors, like failing to hit with a 1 in Position 1 or failing to cover with a 1 in Position 3 when she has already decided on the other half of the move.

In Position 3, one can arguably use either “7” or “L” for 15/13 8/7, but “L” is a better choice because the ace (8/7) is so much more obvious than the deuce (15/13). According to Snowie eval, if 15/13 is played, the second best ace (stacking with 7/6) is a relative error of .270, whereas if 8/7 is played, the second best deuce (22/20) is only a relative error of .023. If you use “7,” you run a much greater risk of misinterpretation.

Likewise, in Position 1, “L” (or “8”) is a better choice than “7” because the ace (played 8/7*) is more obvious than the deuce (played 10/8). If 10/8 is played, the second best ace (23/22) is a relative error of .053, whereas if 8/7* is played, the second best deuce (23/21) is a relative error of only .026. (And considering typical perspection, the difference is even greater than .053 - .026, as evidenced by our knowledge that the human player actually chose to hit rather than anchor – in part he is preventing a direct shot on the 10pt blot and he may feel it no longer needs to be lifted.) In short, it is easier to imagine someone would play 23/21 8/7* than that he would play 23/22 10/8.

The key is to break yourself free of the straight-jacketed notion of Dot (Destination-oriented traditional) notation, and see the similarity between lifting with 15/13 in Position 3 and lifting with 10/8 in Position 1 as being separate and distinct from the hitting (assumed) part of the move.

To drive the point home, let’s look a final example:


 ' ' ' ' '4X '5X1O2X1X4O

1X ' ' '1O4O '3O ' '2O2X

Position 4143


In Position 4, White’s best move is 11/9* 8/7, and by far the best way to nactate it is “7” (with the 11/9* hit of the deuce assumed.

If you cling to a preconceived notion that “7” means 10/7 (in this case presumably hitting the 9pt blot along the way), you are robbing yourself of a valuable nactational resource. You only have one character with which to work, so use it wisely! This sometimes means isolating part of the move and judiciously leaning on the use of assumption for the other part of the move, and having that be understood as an integral part of the system.

Making “7” mean 10/7 is more tolerable in some cases than others, but it is like using a broadax where a scalpel is needed.

Likewise, imposing the Dot-smug definition of “single character refers to entire play,” such as making “8” mean 11/8 (and making “L” into an unusable letter) in Position 1, would cripple Nactation in instances where assumption is the clearest or only tool available.

Hope that helps,


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