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Backgammon --- Frequently Asked Questions. [monthly]

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Archive-name: games/backgammon-faq
Posting-frequency: Monthly, around the 13th of each month.
Last-modified: January 1996
Version: 9603

`View all headers`
```     _________________________________________________________________

Mark Damish <damish@ll.mit.edu>

_________________________________________________________________

CONTENTS

SECTION 0: FORE FAQ

Definition , Editor , Purpose , Contributions , Availability,
Disclaimer , Editorial , Changes Gratitude , and News .

SECTION A: ESSENTIALS
* A1. What is backgammon?
* A2. What are the basic rules of the game?
+ Backgammon Equipment
+ The backgammon board
+ Object of the game
+ Starting the game
+ Doublets
+ Making points
+ Prime
+ Blots
+ Closed board
+ Compulsory move
+ Bearing off
+ Gammon and Backgammon
+ Cocked dice
* A3. What is the doubling cube for?
* A4. What is the Crawford rule? (Why won't FIBS let me double?)
* A5. What is the Jacoby rule?
* A6. What is the Holland rule?
* A7. What are those critters --- Beavers, raccoons?
* A8. What is a Chouette?
* A9. Basic Strategy for Beginners.
* A10. Opening Rolls

SECTION B: ELECTRONIC BACKGAMMON: VS OTHER HUMANS
* B1. FIBS (First Internet Backgammon Server)
+ FIBS Introduction
+ FIBS Help
+ FIBS Ratings
+ Computer Programs On FIBS
+ FIBS Misc.
* B2. What is the Internet and how do I get onto it?
* B3. Are there any GUI's (Graphical User Interfaces) for FIBS?
+ Tinyfugue
+ xfibs
+ MacFIBS
+ TkFibs
+ FIBS/W
+ xibc
* B4. What is LDB? (Long Distance Backgammon. BG by Email)
* B5. What other ways are there to play people via
nets/modems/e-mail?
+ Netgammon backgammon server
+ GEnie
+ outland
+ PBeM
+ JavaGammon
* B6. Are there any electronic tournaments?
* B7. Do other game servers exist?
+ Backgammon , Bridge , Scrabble-like , Chinese Chess (Xianqi)
, Othello , Chess , Go , Checkers , Other Games Server and
Web Pages

SECTION C: ELECTRONIC BACKGAMMON: VS MACHINE
* C1. Are there any BG programs out there for my computer? Where are
they?
+ Commercial backgammon playing programs
o JellyFish
o TD-Gammon
o Expert Backgammon
+ Shareware and Public Domain backgammon playing programs
o BLOT
o Backgammon, By George!
o bg06
o A PD mac program called ?
o Death by Backgammon
o xgammon
o Misc.
* C2. Which programs are good? How good is good?
* C3. Why is it so hard to write a good backgammon program?
* C4. Backgammon support software and software reviews.
+ Commercial Software
o BOINQ
o Hyper-Backgammon
o Hugh Sconyers Bearoff & Backgame CDs
o Matchqiz (and demo)
o Backgammon Position Anylyzer
o BG-SCRIBE
o The Match Strategist (and demo)
+ Shareware and PD software
o rfibs (fibs recorder & playback)
o LaTeX Style for BG Positions and Games
o BOA/386 Bearoff analyzer

SECTION D: RESOURCES
* D1. I'm looking for a club to play in...
+ Backgammon clubs in North America
+ Playing Backgammon in the Boston area
+ Other Backgammon Clubs
* D2. Where are the tournaments?
publications.
+ Anchors
+ Backgammon Magazine
+ BLITZ
+ European Backgammon News
+ Flint Area Backgammon News
+ GAMMON
+ Inside Backgammon
+ Norpunkt
* D4. Backgammon books and book reviews.
+ BG books [summary] by Marty Storer
+ BG books [summary] by John Bazigos
+ How to play tournament BG [book]
+ Backgammon (Robin Clay) [book]
+ In The Game Until The End... [booklet]
+ Learning From the Machine... [booklet]
+ Kit Woolsey's "Tournament Series Backgammon"
+ The Backgammon Book
+ Playboy's Book of Backgammon
+ Other Books
+ Danny Kleinman Books
* D5. A List of Backgammon Articles in Science and Business
* D6. Where does one purchase backgammon supplies and books?
+ The GAMMON PRESS
+ Carol Joy Cole
+ The Backgammon Shop
+ Danny Kleinman
+ Dansk Backgammon Forlag
+ Crisloid
+ Larry Strommen
+ John Rather
* D7. An index of backgammon resources available on the Internet.

SECTION E: MISC.
* E1. What other games can be played on a backgammon board?
+ Hyper-Backgammon
+ Nackgammon
+ Tapa
+ Narde
+ Diceless Backgammon
+ Acey-deucy
+ One Point Matches
+ Feuga
+ Greek/Turkish variation called ?
* E2. How does one become a better player?
* E3. Kent Goulding's International Backgammon Rating List
* E4. Misc.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Section 0: FORE FAQ

DEFINITION

FAQ /F-A-Q/ or /faq/ [USENET] n.  1. A Frequently Asked Question.  2. A
compendium of accumulated lore, posted periodically to high-volume
newsgroups in an attempt to forestall such questions. Some people
prefer the term 'FAQ list' or 'FAQL' /fa'kl/, reserving 'FAQ' for
sense 1.

-- from: The jargon file, Version 2.9.12, 10 May 1993

EDITOR

Mark Damish damish@ll.mit.edu

PURPOSE

The purpose of this FAQ is to answer commonly asked questions which
come up on the rec.games.backgammon news group and to compile a set of
resources which might be useful to backgammon players in general.

CONTRIBUTING

Contributions will be thankfully accepted. Send E-Mail to the editor
of this list for inclusion and credit in future FAQs.

AVAILABILITY

The FAQ will be posted on or around the 13th (13: is such a nice
opening roll) of each month to rec.games.backgammon, rec.answers and

The FAQ is also available for anonymous ftp on:

The ascii FAQ may also be obtained vie E-mail. Just send mail to:

mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu
with

in the body of the message.

HTML version:
An HTML (hypertext) version of the faq has been created. It is
currently the `source' document for the ASCII version posted to
rec.games.backgammon, and the rtfm archive. Within the document
the document, and several links to ftp sites and other
documents which make getting around the document, and the
backgammon portion of internet quite easy. This version of the
http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/bg-faq.html or at:
http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/faq.html The
HTML version of the faq is updated at this site when the ascii
version is posted to rec.games.backgammon.

diff file:
A diff file will created and posted to the rec.games.backgammon
news group at the same time the FAQ is posted. This will
contain the differences between successive FAQs. It will not be
posted to the *.answers newsgroups, nor will it be archived at
rtfm.mit.edu. The purpose of the diff file is to show recent
changes without having to browse the entire FAQ. DO NOT use
this file to update previous versions of the FAQ as it will
have been edited!

DISCLAIMER

This posting is provided on an "as is" basis, NO WARRANTY whatsoever
is expressed or implied, especially, NO WARRANTY that the information
contained herein is correct or useful in any way, although both are
intended.

EDITORIAL

CHANGES

Changes may be spotted by examining the `diff' file, which is posted
at the same time as this FAQ. In the diff file, a `<' charactor
preceding a line indicates that the line has been removed. Likewise, a
`>' charactor indicates an addition. The diff file is edited and
should not be used for updating from previous versions.

GRATITUDE

Major and minor contributions and suggestions from the following:

Jeremy Bagai     Matchqiz review.
Matthew Clegg    The `What is Internet' section.
Paul Ferguson    Mac PD BG info. FIBS Client info.
Erik Gravgaard   This and that.
Molly Holzschlag GEnie/RSCARDS info
rjohnson         Additional info for rules section A2.
Mika Johnsson    Original Backgammon article compilation.
Rolf Kleef       Nackgammon.
Asger Kring      Danish Newsletter, Book supply info. more.
Andy Latto       Jacoby, Holland, Beavers, Chouette, Useful advice.
Mel Leifer       Many critical pieces of information.
Peter Nickless   Acey-Deucy Submission.
Perry R. Ross    LDB (Long Distance Backgammon) mail server info.
Mark Rozer       Inspired me to play this game.
Gerry Tesauro    Backgammon article pointers.
Michael Urban    Boston area playing spots.
Kit Woolsey      Software reviews. Contributor at large.
Michael J. Zehr  Book Review, Holland rule, Combinitorics answer.
More.
Vincent Zweije   FIBS description. Narde description. Proof reader
deluxe.

[I apologize if I missed anybody]

Thanks for ALL corrections sent!

PLUS Thanks to all who have submitted material to the
rec.games.backgammon news group, whether or not it has been used here.
Material from rec.games.backgammon is credited where used.

May you roll above average when you need it most.

NEWS

Information that may or may not be included in the current FAQ:

From: alberto da pra (dapra@iol.it)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Date: 2 Dec 1995 21:18:50 GMT

The second edition of the Backgammon's Olympiad (the first was in the
year 1992) will be in Venice from 25th to 30th June 1996. Who is
intersted can ask info and the invitation.
Alberto da Pra, President WBF
Worldwide Backgammon Federation

----

Newsgroups: comp.os.os2.games,rec.games.backgammon
Date: 9 Nov 1995 23:52:45 -0800

IBM has made TD-Gammon, their supposedly groundbreaking neural network-
be part of an attempt to promote their IBM Family FunPack.  You can get
it by surfing to http://www.austin.ibm.com/pspinfo/funtdgammon.html and
out a form with your name, address, etc.  (But nothing forces you to enter
valid information. ;)  )

----

The hypertext version of the FAQ is now available at:

http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/faq.html
Thanks Stephen for mirroring the faq in the UK, which should allow
for quicker access from Europe and the Middle East.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Section A: ESSENTIALS

A1. WHAT IS BACKGAMMON?

``Backgammon is an obstacle race between two armies of 15 men each,
moving around a track divided into 24 dagger-like divisions known as
points.''

..The Rules

_________________________________________________________________

``It's just a game.''

-- Many

_________________________________________________________________

``Sport of mind.''

.. Alberto da Pra, President of WBF - Worldwide Backgammon
Federation

_________________________________________________________________

``It's a game of skill and luck. When I win I can claim it's due to
my good skill. When I lose I can claim it's due to my bad luck.''

-- submitted by David Forthoffer davidf@lpd.sj.nec.com

_________________________________________________________________

``Backgammon is one of the oldest games in existence, dating back
some 5000 years and believed to have been developed by the ancient
Egyptians. It is not a game of luck as many believe, but a strategic
game of war; in many ways as difficult to master as chess or Go. A
random element (luck) is certainly involved, but a champion player
also uses the laws of probability, intuition, imagination and
psychology to outwit his opponent''.

-- From the foward of the Expert Backgammon (Mac) documentation.

_________________________________________________________________

``There's an aesthetic to the game, a flow. People think the game
consists primarily of math --- calculating odds and so forth. That's
not true. It's essentially a game of patterns, a visual game, like
chess. Certain patterns fit together harmoniously, make sense in a
away that is nontrivial.''

-- Paul Magriel

_________________________________________________________________

Answering ``Why do you play backgammon'':

``We have become a spectator society, one that experiences
excellence and creativity only by watching it on television or by
of becoming something more than a spectator is to pursue activities
that do not receive mass media coverage. We can invent our own art
forms, or at least re-label existing forms as art. Backgammon,
though it is very old and very common, is an excellent art form.
Patterns of points and blots undergo poignant mutations. The player
strains to work with them, to control them. One's identity is not
entirely intrinsic, nor is it purely acquired. We can shape
ourselves just as we can shape our surroundings. By playing
backgammon, that is - by creating patterns of blots and points - I
help to shape my identity, I set myself apart from the spectators. I
become alive.''

-- Felix Yen (from Anchors, Jan 92)

_________________________________________________________________

A2. WHAT ARE THE BASIC RULES OF THE GAME?

Backgammon Equipment
* A Backgammon board or layout.
* Thirty round stones, or checkers, 15 each of two different colors,
generally referred to as `men'.
* A pair of regular dice, numbered from 1 to 6. (For convenience,
two pairs of dice, one for each player, are generally used.)
* A dice cup, used to shake and cast the dice. (Again, it is more
convenient to have two dice cups.)
* A doubling cube---A six-faced die, marked with the numerals
2,4,8,16,32 & 64. This is used to keep track of the number of
units at stake in each game, as well as to mark the player who
last doubled.

The backgammon board

Backgammon is an obstacle race between two armies of 15 men each,
moving around a track divided into 24 dagger-like divisions known as
``points''.

The Backgammon layout is divided down the center by a partition, known
as the ``bar'' (See Diagram 1), into an outer and inner (or home)
board or table. The side nearest you is your outer and home tables;
the side farther away is your opponents outer and home boards. The
arrows indicate the direction of play.

For purposes of convenience we have numbered the points in the
diagram. Though the points are not numbered on the actual board, they
are frequently referred to during play to describe a move or a
position. Your (X's) 4-point or 8-point will always be on your side of
the board; your opponent's (O's) will always be on his side of the
board.

A move from your 9-point to your 5-point is four spaces (the bar does
not count as a space). A move from White's 12-point to your 12-point,
though it crosses from his board to yours, is but one space, for these
two points are really next to each other.

Diagram 2 shows the board set up ready for play. Each side has five
men on his 6-point, three men on his 8-point, five men on his
opponent's 12-point, and two men, known as ``runners'', on his
opponents' 1-point. The runners will have to travel the full length of
the track, the other men have shorter distances to go. Note that play
proceeds in opposite directions, so that the men can be set up in two
ways. Turn the diagram upside down to see the layout if play were
proceeding in the other direction.

+-------------------------------------------------->
|
|   +-----------------------------< X moves this direction
|   |
|   |
|   |    13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
|   |   +------------------------------------------+
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   |                  |   |                   |  +----+
^   v   |   Outer Board    |BAR|     Home Board    |  | 64 |
|   |   |                  |   |                   |  +----+
|   |   | P  O  I  N  T  S |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . | Doubling
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |   Cube
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   | .  .  .  .  .  . |   |  .  .  .  .  .  . |
|   |   +------------------------------------------+
|   |    12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1
|   |
|   +---------------------------------------------->
|
+---------------------------------< Y moves this direction

Diagram 1  (Numbered from X's point of view)

13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
+------------------------------------------+
| X  .  .  .  O  . |   |  O  .  .  .  .  X |
| X           O    |   |  O              X |
| X           O    |   |  O                |
| X                |   |  O                |
| X                |   |  O                |  +----+
|                  |BAR|                   |  | 64 |
| O                |   |  X                |  +----+
| O                |   |  X                |
| O           X    |   |  X                |
| O           X    |   |  X              O |
| O  .  .  .  X  . |   |  X  .  .  .  .  O |
+------------------------------------------+
12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

Diagram #2  (Numbered from X's point of view)

Object of the game

The object of Backgammon is for each player to bring all his men into
his home board, and then to bear them off the board. The first player
to get all his men off the board is the winner.

Starting the game

Each player casts one die. The player with the higher number makes the
first move, using the two numbers cast by his die and his opponent's.
In the event that both players roll the same number, it is a standoff
and each rolls another die to determine the first move. In the event
of subsequent ties, this process is repeated until the dice turn up
different numbers. (In some games, players double the unit stake
automatically every time they cast the same number; others limit the
automatic doubles to one. In tournament play, there is no such thing
as an automatic double.)

Each player's turn consists of the roll of two dice. He then moves one
or more men in accordance with the numbers cast. Assume he rolls 4-2.
He may move one man six spaces, or one man four spaces and another man
two spaces. Bear in mind that, when moving a single man for the total
shown by the two dice, you are actually making two moves with the one
man---each move according to the number shown on one of the dice.

Doublets

If the same number appears on both dice, for example, 2-2 or 3-3
(known as doublets), the caster is entitled to four moves instead of
two. Thus, if he rolls 3-3, he can move up to four men, but each move
must consist of three spaces.

The players throw and play alternately throughout the game, except in
the case where a player cannot make a legal move and therefore
forfeits his turn.

Making points

A player makes a point by positioning two or more of his men on it. He
then ``owns'' that point, and his opponent can neither come to rest on
that point nor touch down on it when taking the combined total of his
dice with one man.

Prime

A player who has made six consecutive points has completed a prime. An
opposing man trapped behind a prime cannot move past, for it cannot be
moved more than six spaces at a time---the largest number on a die.

Blots

A single man on a point is called a blot. If you move a man onto an
opponent's blot, or touch down on it in the process of moving the
combined total of your cast, the blot is hit, removed from the board
and placed on the bar.

A man that has been hit must re-enter in the opposing home table. A
player may not make any move until such time as he has brought the man
on the bar back into play. Re-entry is made on a point equivalent to
the number of one of the dice cast, providing that point is not owned
by the opponent.

Closed board

A Player who has made all six points in his home board is said to have
a closed board. If the opponent has any men on the bar, he will not be
able to re-enter it since there is no vacant point in his adversary;s
home board. Therefore, he forfeits his rolls, and continues to do so
until such time as the player has to open up a point in his home
board, thus providing a point of rentry. It should be noted, the he
doesn't loses his turn, as he still retains the ability to double his
opponent before any of his opponents rolls, assuming the cube is
centered or on his side.

Compulsory move

A player is compelled to take his complete move if there is any way
for him to do so. If he can take either of the numbers but not both,
he must take the higher number if possible, the lower if not.

[Another way of saying this...]
* If both parts of the roll can be played legally, then this must be
done. Note that you may play the roll in such a way as to move
fewer pips than the larger die indicates by playing the smaller
die first --- this is common in bearoff situations, and legal as
long as each part of the roll is played legally at the moment you
play it.
* If only one part of the roll can be played legally, then you must
play the higher die if possible; if not, play the lower die.

--kw

Bearing off

Once a player has brought all his men into his home board, he can
commence bearing off. Men borne off the board are not re-entered into
play. The player who bears off all his men first is the winner. A
player may not bear off men while he has a man on the bar, or outside
his home board. Thus if, in the process of bearing off, a player
leaves a blot and it is hit by his opponent, he must first re-enter
the man in his opponents home board, and bring it round the board into
his own home board before he can continue the bearing off process.

In bearing off, you remove men from the points corresponding to the
numbers on the dice cast. However, you are not compelled to remove a
man. You may, if you can, move a man inside your home board a number
of spaces equivalent to the number of a die.

If you roll a number higher than the highest point on which you have a
man, you may apply that number to your highest occupied point. Thus,
if you roll 6-3 and your 6-point has already been cleared but you have
men on your 5-point, you may use your 6 to remove a man from your
5-point.

In some cases it may be advantagous to play the smaller die first
before applying the higher die to your highest point (See Compulsory
Move). For example, suppose you have one checker on your 5 point, and
two checkers on your 2 point. Your opponent has a checker on the ace
(one point) and on the bar. You roll 6-3. You may play the 3 to the 2
point then the 6 to bear a checker off the 2 point leaving your
opponent no shots (no blots for the opponent to hit). The alternative,
using the 6-3 to bear checkers off both the 5 and 2 points, would
leave your opponent 20 out of 36 ways to hit your remaining blot.

Gammon and Backgammon

If you bear off all 15 of your men before your opponent has borne off
a single man, you win a gammon, or double game.

If you bear off all 15 of your men before your opponent has borne off
a single man, and he still has one or more men in your home board or
on the bar, you win a backgammon, or a triple game.

Cocked dice

It is customary to cast your dice in your right-hand board. Both dice
must come to rest completely flat in that board. If one die crosses
the bar into the other table, or jumps off the board, or does not come
to rest flat, or ends up resting on one of the men, the dice are
``cocked'' and the whole throw, using both dice, must be retaken.

_________________________________________________________________

A3. WHAT IS THE DOUBLING CUBE FOR?

The introduction of the doubling cube into the game is largely
responsible for the leap in popularity of modern backgammon.

Each face of the doubling cube bears a number to record progressive
doubles and redoubles, starting with 2 and going on to 4, 8, 16, 32 &
64. At the commencement of play, the doubling cube rests on the bar,
between the two players, or at the side of the board. At any point
during the game, a player who thinks he is sufficiently ahead may,
when it is his turn to play and before he casts his dice, propose to
double the stake by turning the cube to 2. His opponent may decline to
accept the double, in which case he forfeits the game and loses 1
unit, or accept the double, in which case the game continues with the
stake at 2 units. The player who accepts the double now ``owns'' the
cube---which means that he has the option t redouble at any point
during the rest of the game, but his opponent (the original doubler)
may not. If, at a later stage he exercises this option, his opponent
is now faced with a similar choice. He may either decline the redouble
and so lose 2 units, or accept and play for 4, and he now ``owns'' the
cube. A player may double when he is on the bar even if his opponent
has a closed board and he cannot enter. Though he does not roll the
dice, for he cannot make a move, he still has the right to double.
Note that gammon doubles or backgammon triples the stake of the cube.

_________________________________________________________________

A4. WHAT IS THE CRAWFORD RULE? (WHY WON'T FIBS LET ME DOUBLE?)

From the FIBS  help screens:

If you are playing an n-point match and your opponent is ahead
of you and he gets to n-1 points you are not allowed to use
the doubling cube in the next game to come

EXAMPLE:
5 point match
score
game #   You      opponent
1      0          3
2      0          4
3      1          4   (you were not allowed to double in this game)
4      3          4   (you were allowed to double again)
...    ...        ...

The Crawford rule is universally used in backgammon match play.

_________________________________________________________________

A5. WHAT IS THE JACOBY RULE?

The Jacoby rule is used in money games. It states, that a gammon or
backgammon may not be scored as such unless the cube has been passed
and accepted. The purpose is to speed up play by eliminating long
undoubled games.

The Jacoby rule is never used in match play.

_________________________________________________________________

A6. WHAT IS THE HOLLAND RULE?

This rule applies to match games and states that in post-Crawford
games the trailer can only double after both sides have played two
rolls. It makes the free drop more valuable to the leader but
generally just confuses the issue.

Unlike the Crawford rule, the Holland rule has not proved popular, and
is rarely used today.

_________________________________________________________________

A7. WHAT ARE THOSE CRITTERS --- BEAVERS, RACCOONS?

In money play, if player A doubles, and player B believes that he is a
favorite holding the cube, he may turn the cube an extra notch as he
takes, and keep the cube on his own side. For example, if A makes an
initial double to 2, B may, instead of taking the double and holding a
2 cube, say ``beaver'', turn the cube an extra notch to 4, and
continue the game holding a 4 cube.

If A believes that B's beaver was in error, some play that he may then
``raccoon'', turning the cube yet another notch (to 8 in the example).
Cube ownership remains with B. B may then if he wishes turn the cube
yet another notch, saying ``aardvark'', or ``otter'' or whatever silly
animal name he prefers (the correct animal is a matter of
controversy), and so forth.

Beavers and the rest of the animals may be played or not in money
play, as the players wish.

Beavers and other animals are never used in match play.

-- Andy Latto

_________________________________________________________________

It should be noted that the original cube turner can drop a beaver.
For example, suppose I miscount a bearoff and double, you accept and
say you want to beaver. I realize something is wrong and recount. If I
am horribly behind, I can drop the beaver, paying you the value on the
cube before you beavered.

-michael j zehr

_________________________________________________________________

A8. WHAT IS A CHOUETTE?

A Chouette is a social backgammon variant for more than 2 players. One
player is ``the box'', and plays against all other players on a single
board. One other player is the captain, and rolls the dice and makes
the plays for the team that opposes the box. If the box wins, the
captain goes to the back of the line, and the next player becomes
captain. If the captain wins, the box goes to the back of the line,
and the captain becomes the new box.

Customs vary as to the rights of the captain's partners: In some
Chouettes, they may consult freely as to the way rolls should be
played. In others, consultation is prohibited. A compromise, where
consultation is allowed only after the cube has been turned, is
popular.

Originally, Chouettes were played with a single cube. The only
decisions that players other than the captain were allowed to make
independently concerned takes: If the box doubled, each player on the
team could take or drop independently. Today, multiple-cube Chouettes
are more popular; each player on the team has his own cube, and all
doubling, dropping, and taking decisions are made independently by all
players.

-- Andy Latto

_________________________________________________________________

A9. BASIC STRATEGY FOR BEGINNERS.

Single checkers (blots) on a point are vulnerable to enemy attack and
must start over if hit by n opponent's checker. Two or more checkers
on a point are safe from attack and can also be used for blocking or

Essentially backgammon is a race to see who takes off all of his
checkers first. However, the shortest distance between two points is
not always a straight line. Most beginners, rarely leave exposed
checkers and hit as often as they can. As you will find out, this
seemingly logical approach is not the best strategy. The following is
a simplification of some of the factors that you should consider in
forming a winning game plan:

Distribution.
Distribution is how evenly your checkers are divided among the
points occupied. It is usually better to have 3 checkers each
on two different points rather than 4 checkers one and 2 on the
other. You should rarely have six checkers on a point and
almost never have any more. A player with even distribution
will seemingly get "luckier" dice than his less flexible
opponent.

Exposure.
Don't be afraid to leave shots early in the game to establish a
strong offense or defense. Be more cautious as your enemy's
home board gets stronger. The more points he has in his home
board, the more difficult it will be for you to re-enter after
being hit. Conversely, the more points that you control in your
enemy's home board (anchors) the bolder you may play. Even if
his board is weak, limit the number of blots (single checkers)
to no more than four. If you are significantly ahead in the
race or position, then restrict your exposure to maintain your

Blocking and Priming.
Try to build points without gaps between them directly in front
of the enemy checkers in your home board to prevent their
escape. Establishing these critical points as early as possible
in approximate order of importance: 5, 4, 7 to start your
blockade. Six points in a row is called a prime. This makes it
impossible for your opponent to escape for as long as you can
maintain that structure.

Hitting.
Try to hit checkers that are the most advanced or checkers that
your opponent would like to cover to establish an important
point. Attack only when it is advantageous to do so. For
example, if you already have two enemy checkers on the bar, it
is more critical to make another point in your home board than
to hit a third checker. Also refrain from hitting if it makes
mind and don't be side-tracked. However, there is an old
backgammon adage that still carries weight, "When in doubt,
hit."

Anchoring.
Anchoring is establishing a defensive point (anchor) in your
enemies home board. This gives you a landing spot to come in on
should you get hit and prevents your opponent from making his
home board. Early in the game try to establish anchors on the
higher points (20,21). If you become significantly behind in
the race, the lower points (22,23,24) have more value as your
strategy is to build your home board and wait for a shot. If
you have two anchors try to keep them on adjacent points.

These are just a few ideas for the beginner to get started and is not
meant as a tutorial. There are many fine books available if you awant

From Macintosh Expert Backgammon Documentation by Tom Johnson
komodo@netcom.com

_________________________________________________________________

A10. OPENING ROLLS.

From: kwoolsey@netcom.com (Kit Woolsey)
Subject: Re: What are the best ways to play the opening rolls?
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 05:19:43 GMT

[...]

Now, on the what I believe is an accurate synopsis of the 15 possible
opening rolls:

2-1: The slotting play 13/11, 6/5 and the splitting play 24/23, 13/11,
the two most common plays, seem to be about equal. Nothing else is a
serious contender.

3-1: 8/5, 6/5 is obviously the only play.

4-1: The splitting play 24/23, 13/9 has come out clearly superior to
the slotting play 13/9, 6/5. Probably the reason is that with the
builder on the 9 point there are so many good pointing numbers next
turn anyway that you don't need the 5 point slotted.

5-1: The splitting play 24/23, 13/8 has come out a bit better than the
slotting play 13/8, 6/5. A third less common alternative, 24/18, came
out clearly worse.

6-1: The obvious 13/7, 8/7 is correct. Magriel's experiment of 13/7,
6/5 is awful.

3-2: The splitting play 24/21, 13/11 came out a bit better than
building with 13/10, 13/11.

4-2: 8/4, 6/4 of course.

5-2: The normal play for years has been 13/11, 13/8. However the newer
splitting play, 24/22, 13/8, (shunned because of the crushing 5-5
threat) has come out a bit better. The slotting play of 13/8, 6/4
(which used to be my choice) did not survive the rollouts -- it was
clearly inferior.

6-2: The splitting play of 24/18, 13/11 comes out fairly clearly
superior. Running with 24/16 is 2nd, but the run isn't far enough.
Slotting with 13/5 (a common choice several years ago) was definitely
in third place.

4-3: The building play of 13/10, 13/9 and the common splitting play of
24/20, 13/10 were just about tied. The alternative split of 24/21,
13/9 was only a little behind.

5-3: The simple 8/3, 6/3 is clearly best. The once common 13/10, 13/8
has been found vastly inferior.

6-3: The splitting 24/18, 13/10 comes out best, but the running play
of 24/15 is not too far behind.

5-4: Splitting with 24/20, 13/8 and building with 13/9, 13/8 come out
quite close (that builder on the 9 point is powerful), with the split
generally a tiny bit better. 24/15 is weaker still.

6-4: Both running with 24/14 and splitting with 24/18, 13/9 are about
equal. However the once laughed at 8/2, 6/2 has reared its head as a
serious contender and comes out about equal with the other choices --
nice play to try if you get familiar with it, since your opponent
probably won't be.

6-5: The simple 24/13 is clearly better than any other possibilities.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Section B: ELECTRONIC BACKGAMMON: VS OTHER HUMANS

_________________________________________________________________

B1. FIBS (FIRST INTERNET BACKGAMMON SERVER)

FIBS INTRODUCTION

On July 19, 1992 at 10:56:22 GMT, Marvin announced the birth of the
FIBS. FIBS is an abbreviation for First Internet Backgammon Server. It
is a server program written by Andreas Schneider
marvin@fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se. Praise to him!

After using a site in Aachen Germany, It moved to the present site ins
Sweden on December 3, 1993.

You can connect to FIBS using telnet; the server runs on machine
fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se (raw address 129.16.235.165). Be sure to
telnet to port 4321, because telnetting to the default port will give
you a regular unix login prompt, which will be of no use to you since
you probably have no account on that machine. For instance, on a unix
machine which is connected directly to the internet, you issue one of
the following commands:

telnet fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se 4321
telnet 129.16.235.165 4321

and then you are connected to FIBS.

FIBS, you use the login name and password you selected. If you're a
first time user, you must log in as guest. Then you are granted a
limited kind of access, until you make yourself known by choosing a
FIBS user name and a password. From that moment on, you can use FIBS
to play against other players, human or otherwise, from all over the
world.

Here is an example connect and login sequence for new users:

%telnet fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se 4321
Trying 129.16.235.165 ...
Connected to fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se.
Escape character is '^]'.

WELCOME TO THE
_______   _          ______            _____
|  _____| | |        |  __  \          / ____|
| |___    | |        | |__|  |        | |____
|  ___|   | |        |  __  <          \____ \
| |       | |        | |__|  |          ____| |
|_|irst   |_|nternet |______/ackgammon |_____/erver

If something unexpected happens please send mail to:
marvin@fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se (Andreas Schneider)
Bug reports are welcome.

This server is on the net to meet people from all countries.
All sorts of racists and fascists are not allowed to login here!
Rude language will not be tolerated on this server. Be nice.

LOGIN AS guest IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS SERVER!
One account per person only!

Friday, September 30 10:23:10 MET   ( Fri Sep 30 09:23:10 1994 UTC )
Welcome to FIBS. You just logged in as guest.
Please register before using this server:

Type 'name username' where username is the name you want to use.
The username may not contain blanks ' ' or colons ':'.
passwords are encrypted before they are saved. If you forget
your password there is no way to find out what it was.
Please type 'bye' if you don't want to register now.

> name Newbie
You are registered.
Type 'help beginner' to get started.
>

Once logged in, you are wise to read the help screens of FIBS. Read
about how not to hear other people's shoutings, how the rating system
works, how to watch other people play, how to talk to other people,
how to invite people to play, and of couse, how to play. Everything
you need is in the help screens. One thing: if you wish to read the
help screens without logging into FIBS, they have been made available
to WWW by Mike Quinn at
http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/mike_quinn/fibs.htm. Mark
http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/fibshelp.html

When you are a little accustomed to FIBS, you can enter tournaments,
which are organised occasionally by volunteers. Read newsgroup
rec.games.backgammon, check out FIBS' login message, or listen for
rumours spreading. Also, if you like FIBS, it will pay you to take the
trouble to install/use a more friendly interface than a simple telnet
client program. Several of these are available, see section Are there
any GUI's for FIBS?.

FIBS description last updated on October 4th, 1994 by Vincent Zweije
(zweije@wi.leidenuniv.nl)

_________________________________________________________________

FIBS HELP

FIBS Command Help Summary. (One liners)

* accept - accepting doubles and resigns
* average - show average number of users
* away - leaving a message for other users before leaving the
terminal
* back - back again after the away command was used
* beaver - offering an instant redouble that is a beaver
* beginner - very short introduction to the server
* blind - Stop people from watching you.
* board - displays the board again
* boardstyle - the various boardstyles
* bye - leave the first internet backgammon server. Aliases for bye
include: adios, ciao, tschoe, end, exti, logout, and quit.
* client - one way to use a client
* cls - clear the screen on a vt100 terminal
* commands - how commands are entered.
* complaints - how to complain about cheaters
* countries - where do the players live
* crawford - The Crawford rule
* date - equivalent to the time command
* dicetest - show statistics about the dice
* double - Ship that cube!
* erase - How and why accounts are erased
* formula - The formulas used to calculate rating changes
* gag - Inhibit yourself from hearing a players shouts etc...
* help - help on different topic
* hostnames - how to interpret hostnames given by the who command
* invite - invite another user to play a game of backgammon
* join - accept an invitation from another player
* kibitz - talking to players and watchers
* leave - leave and save a game
* look - Take a short look at a game
* man - alias for help
* motd - Display the message of the day
* move - Moving pieces on the board
* names - name completion
* off - bear off pieces with every possible move
* oldboard - Display the board of a saved game.
* oldmoves - Display the moves of a saved game.
* otter - Offering an instant redouble that is an otter
* panic - save a game to a special file
* pip - Display pip count
* raccoon - Offering an instant redouble that is a raccoon
* ratings - Display information from the rating list
* rawboard - how to interpret the raw board output
* rawwho - A version of the who command for client programs.
* redouble - accepting doubles by redoubling
* reject - Drop a double. Reject a resignation.
* resign - resign a game
* roll - roll the dice
* rules - The basic rules of backgammon
+ rule1 - how the board looks like
+ rule2 - the direction you move pieces
+ rule3 - the goal of the game
+ rule4 - rolling the dice
+ rule5 - moving pieces
+ rule6 - moving pieces
+ rule7 - bearing off pieces
+ rule8 - winning
+ rule9 - doubling
* save - save your current toggle settings
* say - talk to your opponent
* set - how to set variables that are not toggles
* shout - say something to all users
* show - Display information
* shutdown - shutdown the server (privileged users)
* sortwho - how the 'who' command sorts it's output
* stat - display system usage information about the server
* tell - say something to a specific player
* time - display the current time
* timezones - How the server supports different timezones
* tinyfugue - a few hints on using the TinyFugue client
* toggle - display or change the value of toggles
+ toggle-allowpip - Enable/Disable the servers `pip' command.
+ toggle-autoboard - Enable/Disable automatic board redraws.
+ toggle-autodouble - Enable/Disable Auomatic doubles on the
1st roll.
+ toggle-automove - Enable/Disable Automatic movement of forced
rolls.
+ toggle-bell - Enable/Disable the bell in talking or invites.
+ toggle-crawford - Enable/Disable Crawford. Both players need
to agree.
+ toggle-double - Enable/Disable automatic rolling.
+ toggle-greedy - Enable/Disable automatic bearoffs if
possible.
+ toggle-moreboards - Redraw every move, or every move and
roll.
+ toggle-moves - Enable/Disable listing of moves at end of
game.
+ toggle-notify - Enable/Disable server notification of players
logging in and out.
+ toggle-ratings - Enable/Disable the display of the rating
calculation.
+ toggle-rawboard - Replaced by set boardstyle
+ toggle-report - Enable/Disable server messages when other
players start or finish a match.
+ toggle-silent - Enable/Disable hearing players shouts.
+ toggle-telnet - Toggles extra newlines.
+ toggle-wrap - Toggles whether you or the server wraps lines
larger than 80 charactors.
* unwatch - stop watching a player
* version - display version number of the server
* watch - watch a player
* wave - wave goodbye before leaving to players who receive shouts
* where - display full hostnames
* whisper - say something to watchers of a game
* who - display information about currently logged in users
* whois - Display information about a player
* !! - repeat the last command

[Last updated June 1995. Are there any missing commands?]

_________________________________________________________________

For more detailed information on FIBS commands, type ``help'' at the
while on FIBS or check out Michael Quinn's Guide to FIBS at:
http://www.abekrd.co.uk/FIBS
_________________________________________________________________

FIBS RATINGS

FIBS Rating Formula [From the FIBS man pages.]

NAME
formula - The formulas used to calculate rating changes

DESCRIPTION
These are the formulas used to determine the ratings of a
player: Let's say that two players P1 and P2 were playing a
n-point match. The ratings of the players are r1 for P1 and r2
for P2 .

+ Let D = abs(r1-r2) (rating difference)
+ Let P_upset = 1/(10^(D*sqrt(n)/2000)+1) (probability that
underdog wins)
+ Let P=1-P_upset if the underdog wins and P=P_upset if the
favorite wins.

+ For the winner:
o Let K = max ( 1 , -experience/100+5 )
o The rating change is: 4*K*sqrt(n)*P
+ For the loser:
o Let K = max ( 1 , -experience/100+5 )
o The rating change is: -4*K*sqrt(n)*P

The 'experience' of a player is the sum of the lengths of all
matches a player has finished. Every player starts with a
rating of 1500 and an experience of 0.

ratings

_________________________________________________________________

From:gmortens@newstand.syr.edu (Gerald E Mortensen)
Subject: fibs ratings formula plots
Date: 23 Dec 1994 22:28:16 GMT

i made these plots from the fibs ratings formula. experience >500. if
you can't read these try setting your font to fixed or courier.

P(win) vs. ratings difference
0.8 ++-----+-------+------+-------+------+------+-------+-----++
+      +       +      +       +      +      +       +  C   +
|                             :                     C      |
0.7 ++                            :                 C      B  ++
|                             :             C       B      |
|                             :                 B          |
|                             :          C  B              |
0.6 ++                            :      C   B          A  A  ++
|                             :      B      A   A          |
|                             :  B   A   A                 |
0.5 ++                        A   A  A                        ++
|                 A   A   B   :                            |
|          A   A      B       :                            |
0.4 ++  A  A          B   C       :           1 pt match  A   ++
|              B  C           :           5 pt match  B    |
|          B                  :           9 pt match  C    |
|      B       C              :                            |
0.3 ++  B      C                  :                           ++
|      C                      :                            |
+   C  +       +      +       +      +      +       +      +
0.2 ++-----+-------+------+-------+------+------+-------+-----++
-400   -300    -200   -100      0     100    200     300    400

ratings change for a win vs. ratings difference
10 ++-----+-------+------+-------+------+------+-------+-----++
+      +       +      +       +      +      +       +      +
9 ++  C                         :                           ++
|      C   C                  :                            |
8 ++             C              :           1 pt match  A   ++
|                             :           5 pt match  B    |
|                 C           :           9 pt match  C    |
7 ++                    C       :                           ++
|   B                     C   :                            |
6 ++     B   B                  C                           ++
|              B  B           :  C                         |
5 ++                    B       :      C                    ++
|                         B   B          C                 |
4 ++                            :  B          C             ++
|                             :      B   B      C          |
|                             :             B   B   C      |
3 ++                            :                     B  B  ++
|   A  A   A   A  A           :                            |
2 ++                    A   A   A  A   A   A  A   A         ++
+      +       +      +       +      +      +       A  A   +
1 ++-----+-------+------+-------+------+------+-------+-----++
-400   -300    -200   -100      0     100    200     300    400
ratings diff (your rating - opponent's)

ratings change is the same for both players if both have experience >
than 500 (or have equal experience < 500).

jay (wilfo)
_________________________________________________________________

FIBS - Rating Changes                                2/16/95

change in rating when favorite wins
rate                    points in match
diff    1       2       3       5       7       9       11
------------------------------------------------------------
0       2.00    2.83    3.46    4.47    5.29    6.00    6.63
40      1.95    2.74    3.33    4.24    4.97    5.59    6.13
80      1.91    2.64    3.19    4.01    4.65    5.18    5.63
120     1.86    2.55    3.05    3.79    4.34    4.77    5.14
160     1.82    2.46    2.92    3.56    4.03    4.38    4.67
200     1.77    2.37    2.78    3.35    3.73    4.01    4.22
240     1.73    2.28    2.65    3.13    3.44    3.65    3.79
280     1.68    2.19    2.52    2.93    3.16    3.31    3.39
320     1.64    2.11    2.39    2.73    2.90    2.99    3.02
360     1.59    2.02    2.27    2.54    2.65    2.69    2.68
400     1.55    1.94    2.15    2.35    2.42    2.41    2.37
440     1.50    1.86    2.03    2.18    2.20    2.15    2.08
480     1.46    1.78    1.92    2.01    1.99    1.92    1.83

change in rating when underdog wins
rate                     points in match
diff    1       2       3      5        7       9       11
------------------------------------------------------------
0       2.00    2.83    3.46    4.47    5.29    6.00    6.63
40      2.05    2.92    3.60    4.70    5.61    6.41    7.14
80      2.09    3.01    3.74    4.93    5.93    6.82    7.64
120     2.14    3.10    3.88    5.16    6.25    7.23    8.13
160     2.18    3.19    4.01    5.38    6.56    7.62    8.60
200     2.23    3.28    4.15    5.60    6.86    7.99    9.05
240     2.27    3.37    4.28    5.81    7.14    8.35    9.48
280     2.32    3.46    4.41    6.02    7.42    8.69    9.88
320     2.36    3.55    4.53    6.22    7.68    9.01    10.2
360     2.41    3.63    4.66    6.41    7.93    9.31    10.6
400     2.45    3.72    4.78    6.59    8.17    9.59    10.9
440     2.50    3.80    4.89    6.76    8.39    9.85    11.2
480     2.54    3.88    5.01    6.93    8.59    10.1    11.4

ratio  -  points lost to points won by favorite
rate                     points in match
diff    1       2       3       5       7       9       11
------------------------------------------------------------
0       1.00    1.00    1.00    1.00    1.00    1.00    1.00
40      1.05    1.07    1.08    1.11    1.13    1.15    1.17
80      1.10    1.14    1.17    1.23    1.28    1.32    1.36
120     1.15    1.22    1.27    1.36    1.44    1.51    1.58
160     1.20    1.30    1.38    1.51    1.63    1.74    1.84
200     1.26    1.38    1.49    1.67    1.84    2.00    2.15
240     1.32    1.48    1.61    1.85    2.08    2.29    2.50
280     1.38    1.58    1.75    2.06    2.35    2.63    2.91
320     1.45    1.68    1.89    2.28    2.65    3.02    3.39
360     1.51    1.80    2.05    2.53    2.99    3.47    3.95
400     1.58    1.92    2.22    2.80    3.38    3.98    4.61
440     1.66    2.05    2.40    3.10    3.82    4.57    5.37
480     1.74    2.18    2.60    3.44    4.31    5.25    6.25

Batting Average for favorite to maintain rating
points in match

diff   1    2    3    5    7    9   11
--------------------------------------
0  .500 .500 .500 .500 .500 .500 .500
40 .512 .516 .520 .526 .530 .534 .538
80 .523 .533 .540 .551 .561 .569 .576
120 .534 .549 .560 .577 .590 .602 .613
160 .546 .565 .579 .602 .619 .635 .648
200 .557 .581 .598 .626 .648 .666 .682
240 .569 .596 .617 .650 .675 .696 .714
280 .580 .612 .636 .673 .701 .725 .744
320 .591 .627 .654 .695 .726 .751 .772
360 .602 .642 .672 .716 .750 .776 .798
400 .613 .657 .689 .737 .772 .799 .822
440 .624 .672 .706 .756 .793 .820 .843
480 .635 .686 .723 .775 .812 .840 .862

FIBS ratings tables submitted by William C. Bitting
btbr68a@prodigy.com
wbitting@crl.com

_________________________________________________________________

FIBS ratings reports are posted regularly to Rec.games.backgammon.
Back issues are available from:
http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~banks/fibs/test.html
_________________________________________________________________

COMPUTER PROGRAMS ON FIBS

Currently there several computer programs on FIBS:
tesauro (the original neural net bg program TD-Gammon)
mloner (neural net)
idiot (neural net (JellyFish))
jellyfish (nn)
loner (The 1-pt version of mloner)
EXBGthree
fatboy (nn)
fattest (nn)
jemina (Algrithmic, entering cocoon, to emerge as a nn)
music
Big_Brother (only logs matches)

Some programs play with humans entering the data, while others are
full fledged bots.
_________________________________________________________________

FIBS MISC.

FIBS (and FIBS/W) Instruction book.

Hunter Jones has put together a very nice reference to FIBS and
FIBS/W. It is nicely typeset and printed on heavy paper stock. The
contents make a nice reference to FIBS and the FIBS/W interface.
Commands are pre-sorted by catagory, and it makes looking for an
answer extremely easy. It is 8 pages on 6 sheets of paper, and is
especially worthwile for the new player. It is not just a rehash of
the man pages.

Price is \$4 for U.S. addresses, \$6 US for foreign addresses. All
payments must be in US funds (check, money order or cash). If you wish
expedited shipment, enclose suitable payment. (For example, \$10
(FedEx and the like cannot deliver to PO Boxes.)

Contact Hunter Jones at: hunter@ix.netcom.com

6617 Struttmann Lane
Rockland MD
20852

_________________________________________________________________

From: thrash@mercury.interpath.net
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: online FIBS help for OS/2 users
Date: 7 Mar 1995 03:45:57 GMT

For FIBS players who use OS/2:

I recently created an online help file (.INF) for all the FIBS
commands.  It's basically the same help you get from the FIBS server
but with hyper-text links to related commands.

If you're new to FIBS, I'm sure it will help - although I can't
guarantee it will increase your FIBS rating ;)

Email me if your interested, I can send it via uuencode mail.

-J-

_________________________________________________________________

B2. WHAT IS THE INTERNET AND HOW DO I GET ONTO IT?

[This is copied verbatim, with permission, from OK.FAQ. References to
'OK' are referring to the bridge server.]

[Permission from mclegg@cs.ucsd.edu (Matthew Clegg) for use here.]

connected to the Internet. The Internet is a worldwide computer
network which was founded for the sake of promoting research and
education. Recently, the Internet has been broadening its mission and
it's likely that soon the Internet will be open for commercial as well
as educational uses.

Internet for a modest fee in many metropolitan areas of the US. A few
representative Internet providers include:

Area Served    Voice No.     Email                Organization
-----------    --------      -----                ------------
West Coast     408-554-UNIX  info@netcom.com      Netcom Online Comm. Svcs
Boston         617-739-0202  office@world.std.com The World
New York City  212-877-4854  alexis@panix.com     PANIX Public Access Unix

Many OKbridgers play from home using a PC or Mac and a modem.
purchasing an account from a "public access Unix system connected to
the Internet," which is the jargon describing the service provided by
the above companies. Having obtained such an account, it is usually a
simple matter to obtain OKbridge and begin playing (see below).

If you will be searching for a means to use OKbridge, it is important
to remember the wording, "public access Unix system (directly)
connected to the Internet." There are a number of BBS operators who
have Email connections to the Internet, but this is not sufficient.
Internet but which are not Unix based (Delphi is a notable example).

wonderful resource, see the books:

Krol, Ed, The Whole Internet: User's Guide & Catalog,
O'Reilly & Associates, 1992.

Kehoe, Brendan P., Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's
Guide,
2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 1993.

LaQuey, Tracy, with Jeanne C. Ryer, The Internet Companion:
A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking, Addison-Wesley, 1993.

These books are filled with useful information about Unix and the
software, and how to access some of the many information services
which are available on the Internet.
_________________________________________________________________

The World Wide Web (WWW or 'Web' for short) is a system by which text,
pictures, audio files and movies can be transmitted across the
internet. Old resources you may have heard of -- telnet, news, gopher,
ftp -- can all now be regarded as part of the Web.

Many of the 'pages' on the Web are written in a language called HTML.
This language allows basic formatting of the text, and images to be
included within the text, but also it allows 'links' to other
documents which may be local or on the other side of the world. For
example, I could say 'I have information about cows' and the word
'cows' would be highlighted somehow (underlined or in a different
colour). If you select that word -- typically by clicking your mouse
on it or pressing Enter if you have no mouse -- you will be taken to a
page about cows which could be another page of mine or of someone in
Australia. It does not take much imagination to see how I can then hop
all over the world, following these links and reading all manner of
information.

In order to access the Web, you need a so called 'client program' or
'browser'. The two most popular are called Mosaic (for graphical
terminals) and 'lynx' for text based terminals. If you have got one of
these programs, you can start browsing the Web immediately. If not, do
what you can to get one!

[The Netscape browser is also now worth a mention. It was only in beta
test at the time I originally wrote this, and a bit buggy, but now
it's my preferred browser. You can get it via anonymous ftp from
ftp.mcom.com in the directory /netscape : it's free for academic and
non-profit use. S.T. 30/1/95]

Stephen R. E. Turner

e-mail: sret1@cam.ac.uk
WWW: http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/home.html

_________________________________________________________________

Good places to find local internet providers are listed at the
following web sites:
http://www.internic.net
http://thelist.com
_________________________________________________________________

B3. ARE THERE ANY GUI'S (GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES) FOR FIBS?

Tinyfugue

Tinyfugue is a telnet client program which breaks the screen into
separate 'panes' for input and output. A specialized version exists
where a non scrolling backgammon board is displayed in a third pane.
The specialized version is available for anonymous ftp from
figment.csee.usf.edu in the directory /pub/misc/FIBS_client.

The FIBS command "help tinyfugue" will provide some hints on using
this program.

David Eggert eggertd@aisb.ed.ac.uk
(window routines)

Andreas Schneider marvin@fraggel.mdstud65.chalmers.se
(board printing routines and /board command)

figment.csee.usf.edu /pub/misc/FIBS_client
_________________________________________________________________

From: jlehett@mailhost.gate.net
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: OS/2 Native FIBS-Tinyfugue Client Available now!
Date: 11 Dec 1994 01:49:27 GMT

I just uploaded my port of the fibs-tinyfigue client to the incoming
directories of the hobbes and ftp-os2/cdrom OS/2 sites.  It only works
via TCP/IP connections (SLIP/TIA are fine!) and requires the emxrt.zip
support, so be sure to get that too.  The included text file tells about
the port so have a look all OS/2 fibsters!

Send along any bugs, etc, and I'll see what I can do.

----
John J. Lehett
Land-J Technologies
JLEHETT@GATE.NET

[ It has been reported (95-06) That this e-mail address is no longer in use]

_________________________________________________________________

xfibs

xfibs - graphical interface to FIBS (First Internet Backgammon Server)

DESCRIPTION

XFibs is a Motif-based interface to FIBS. FIBS allows you to play
backgammon against other people (and an increasing number of computer
programs). Unfortu- nately, FIBS is text-based and moves must be typed
in numeric notation. XFibs graphical interface provides a mouse-driven
board, which minimises text input. Below is an explanation of the
various feautures of XFibs, and what you may do to further customize
it according to your own desires. At the very end you'll also find the
backgammon rules.

HOW TO PLAY

XFibs draws two windows, one to display a backgammon board which is
fully resizable and scalable; and another for the text information.
FIBS is a vibrant and lively place, often with lots of banter going on
as well as matches starting and finish- ing. With XFibs you'll only
really use the text window occasionally because you can forget all
about how the board is numbered, in XFibs you move your pieces with
the mouse.

The right button brings forward a popup-menu with several choices like
"roll dice", "double" etc., selecting "roll dice" when it's your turn
will cause two dice to appear.

The left button allows you to click on a piece and drag it to where
you want to put it. You can then release the left button to drop the
piece. If the move is valid, XFibs will draw the piece at the new
location. (You can now pick-up a piece and move both dice in one
action: i.e. 24-13 with 6-5, pick up from 24, drop on 13. The
left-hand die is the default first die of a move, the the right-hand
die. If the left-hand die can't move, XFibs will try the reverse
combination. So If you have a roll in both combinations are legal, but
only one hits an opponent, you may need to drag-and-drop to guarantee
a hit or a miss).

Alternatively, you can double-click on the middle button over a piece
to have XFibs move it (again the left-hand die is the default first
die of a move).

If you decide that you didn't want to move a piece, you can take it
back (either by drag-and-drop or by popup).

Once you are happy with a move, it has to be sent to FIBS. This is
changes according to what is going on. Now it says "accept move",
"undo move" etc. Between games in a match it says "join" "leave". Try
it out!

If you get a text description of the board in the output window, you
have to issue a 'set boardstyle 3' to FIBS. You may then save your
setup my typing 'save' or include this command after a 'on_login'
command in your startup file. (see below)

All in all, just fool around with it, it isn't that hard to figure
out... (At least I hope it isn't)

[...]

AUTHOR

Torstein Hansen
Minor patches made by David Eggert (Snoopy)
Changes since version 0.7 made by Mike Quinn (mikeq)

Available from: ftp://itekiris.kjemi.unit.no/pub and/or
ftp://www.abekrd.co.uk/pub/fibs/

The source is available from:
ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/games/xfibs08.tar.gz
_________________________________________________________________

MacFIBS

MacFIBS greatly enhances the virtual backgammon experience; it's
backgammon played "The Macintosh Way".

MacFIBS provides a multi-window, graphical front end to FIBS , vastly
superior to the "dumb terminal" telnet scrolling text format that FIBS
uses underneath. It also makes excellent use of sound to reinforce the
backgammon playing experience.

Rather than viewing backgammon positions as a series of X's and O's in
a crude character-based text window, MacFIBS offers a full color
backgammon board. Instead of typing cryptic commands like 'm 24 22 15
14', you drag colored checkers around the board, exactly like playing
a real game. The user can select from two board sizes and choose which
color and direction to play. Real-time pip count information is also
displayed.

Other windows include: a Player window to invite, get info, or watch
other players, an elegant Chat window for conversing with other
players, and a Terminal window for full access to FIBS and telnet. The
user can color code and keep private notes about other players (the
color coding is also used in the Chat window).

MacFIBS is freeware and is my contribution to the 'net. The program
requires a color Macintosh and MacTCP, and is available via ftp at the
Info-Mac Archives (sumex-aim.stanford.edu) as well as numerous mirror
sites around the world.

MacFIBS 2.0* is a self-extracting archive file:
ftp://ftp.best.com/pub/fergy

--fergy
Paul Ferguson fergy@best.com

[MacFIBS is also available on AOL, as well as Info-Mac mirror sites.

_________________________________________________________________

TkFibs

From: keithv@chiwaukum.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Vetter)
Subject: TkFibs - an X interface to FIBS  available
Date: 4 Apr 1994 19:31:41 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Announcing TkFibs, an X based, graphical user interface to Fibs.

TkFibs is a tcl/tk client that provides a better interface to Fibs. It
displays two windows: one a graphical depiction of the board, the other
session window with Fibs ala the bottom two windows in tinyfugue.

I've been using the program for over 5 months now so it should be very
solid. I've run it on DecStations, SparcStations, HP 735 and Alphas.

The biggest caveat is that it requires TCL/TK to run. TCL/TK is a
very nice scripting / user interface package for X. It is available
from ftp.cs.berkeley.edu in /ucb/tcl.

TkFibs is located at ftp://shuksan.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/

Send comments, suggestions, bugs, etc to:
tkfibs@shuksan.cs.berkeley.edu

Enjoy
keith vetter

_________________________________________________________________

FIBS/W

FIBS/W is a Microsoft Windows(TM) based client for FIBS. FIBS/W
provides a graphical game board and mouse-driven interface to the FIBS
server. Most operations required to play a game can be executed using
mouse, keyboard, menus or toolbar buttons.

Powerful configuration options for many common Internet host systems,
and communications service providers, and a built-in communications
scripting language allow FIBS/W to automatically dial and connect to
FIBS via the Internet with a single mouse click.

To use FIBS/W you must be able to satisfy one of two conditions:
* You must have modem access to a host computer providing telnet
services. If you can connect to the Internet using Windows
Terminal, you can probably use FIBS/W.
* You must have access to the internet via network TCP/IP, PPP or
SL/IP via the Winsock software interface. If you can find the file
WINSOCK.DLL on your system, you can probably use FIBS/W.

FIBS/W requires version 3.1 or later of Microsoft Windows, or any
version of Windows for Workgroups or Windows/NT. FIBS/W will also run
as a Windows application under OS/2 2.X. FIBS/W does not currently
support OS/2 Warp, or Netcom Netcruiser accounts (although Netcom
shell accounts do work).

FIBS/W is provided as Shareware. The registration fee is US\$40. This
version of FIBS/W includes a Nag Screen (a mildly annoying dialog
which is displayed every time the program is run) but is otherwise
fully functional.

FIBS/W is available via anonymous FTP at: resudox.net in the directory
/pub/pc/windows/games/fibsw. FIBS/W is available via the web at
http://www.magic.com/~rdavies/fibsw.html

A WWW page for FIBS/W is available at
ftp://resudox.net/pub/pc/windows/games/fibsw/html/

Best regards,

Robin Davies.
rdavies@fox.nstn.ns.ca
FIBS: Q

_________________________________________________________________

xibc

"xibc" is an X11 client to the First Internet Backgammon Server (FIBS). It
is using the freeware packages Tcl, Tk and Expect. Normally, you have
to fetch and compile those to be able to run xibc, but not anymore
(provided you have a SunSparc!).

ftp.cd.chalmers.se:pub/xibc/xibc-X.XX.tar.Z

ftp://ftp.cd.chalmers.se/pub/xibc/

# If you need an executable (Sun-SparcOS 4.1.x only):

ftp.cd.chalmers.se:pub/xibc/BX.enc

# If you need an executable and don't have a Sparc, then you need
# to compile Tcl, Tk and Expect on your own. Here's the ftp addresses:

ftp://sprite.berkeley.edu/tcl/
ftp://sprite.berkeley.edu/tcl/
ftp://sprite.berkeley.edu/tcl/
ftp.cme.nist.gov:/pub/expect/alpha.tar.Z

(all but the patch are present at cme.nist.gov)

Features of xibc include:

* Log out from FIBS but keep the interface on the screen (maybe
iconified). Permits you to start xibc in your X startup files
and keep it up all time.

* X resource Tk*xibcLogfile that names a file where to log match
results. Example from my own file ~/.Xdefaults:

Tk*xibcLogfile:   ~/spel/backgammon/xibc.log

* Resource Tk*xibcDelay that sets the programmed delayes in the
interface (the time interval between the different moves in a
sequence). Time is in milliseconds. May also be changed during
a session from a menu (but may not be saved).

Example: Tk*xibcDelay:   500

* The command line has some emacs/tcsh-style "cooked" line features:
C-n next line in history
C-p previous line in history
C-a first on line
C-e last on line
C-u delete whole line
C-d delete the character after the insertion marker
and also
C-s toggle "autoscroll" mode of the text window
C-l toggle logging of game to a log file
C-c log out from server and quit the interface

* There is a menu option called "Emergency". It may also be invoked
with "M-e". It reloads the whole board position from the server.
Nice when the interface screws up (it does sometimes).

* A menu option "Empty textwindow" will delete all rows in the text
window in access of 500. May someday become an X resource.

Don't try to push the interface to hard, that is, don't try to break
it. You will most definitely succeed (not hard at all, I guess). Since
I'm sort of an artist, I don't like breaking my own things so I
haven't really tried to find the bugs.

Special features (also called known bugs):
* Try the "look" command.
* Play a game against "You".
* Do several things at "the same time".
* Answer questions like "Accept double" or "join/leave" from the
command line, not by using the interface.
If you try them out, remember there's always the "Emergency" command
around.

-----

[Just a reminder to client writers. Some of us live behind 'firewalls',
or can only obtain phone access. Please remember us!]

_________________________________________________________________

B4. WHAT IS LDB? (LONG DISTANCE BACKGAMMON. BG BY EMAIL)

Long Distance Backgammon. Play backgammon by E-mail.
Program written by Perry R. Ross (perry@aap.com)

From the ldb man page:

Ldb allows two people to play backgammon over a network using
electronic mail. It runs on character-oriented terminals, or emulators
thereof, using the curses screen package. It will run on most UNIX
dialects, as well as VAX-C under VMS 5.0 and above. Ldb handles all
aspects of starting, playing, checking, and scoring games. It enforces
all normal game rules, as well as several optional rules, and will not
let you make an illegal move. When you have made your moves, ldb will

The latest version is 1.3.2. Version 1.3 can be found in directory
volume36. Patches can be found in subsequent volumes at your favorite
comp.sources.misc archive site. Patch 1 is in volume 39. Patch 2 is in
volume 41. Use: 'unix_prompt\$ archie ldb' to locate the sources.

[from Perry]
I mentioned in that patch that, for people who can't figure out how to
get ldb or how to apply patches, I'd be happy to send them a complete
copy of the latest version. You might want to put the same offer into
the faq.

[Has anybody written a PC/Mac version using CC-mail via a Novell
network?]

[from Perry...]
Well, I'd always intended to do a PC port, but just never got around
to it. I was a bad boy, 32-bit wise, so there would be a little effort
involved making it 16-bit clean. There's a package that simulates
curses on a PC, I've heard. As far as the particular mail transport,
ldb doesn't really care. It puts outgoing messages into a text file
and executes a user-defined command to send the message. Incoming mail
can be read from a user-defined file (or pattern, to read multiple
files), which ought to be pretty transport-independent. It wouldn't be
that hard to port, I don't think.

[Anybody have a little ambition?]

The ldb 'game starter' operated by leopard@midnight.WPI.edu (Leo
Gestetner) has been shut down. [ Are there others? ...Mark]

LDB may be obtained on the net from:
ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/vms/games/board/ldb.shr and
ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/unix/games/ldb.tar.gz
_________________________________________________________________

B5. WHAT OTHER WAYS ARE THERE TO PLAY PEOPLE VIA NETS/MODEMS/E-MAIL?

Netgammon backgammon server

Garrett has shut down Netgammon as of late February 1995. It will be
remembered and missed.

_________________________________________________________________

GEnie

RSCARDS Backgammon on GEnie

GEnie (General Electric's Consumer Information Service) offers on-line
multi-player games in RSCARDS including backgammon.

Features:
* Graphic User Interface (GUI) is available for the following
computers: IBM, Atari ST, Apple IIgs, Macintosh Mono, Macintosh
Color, Amiga and Commodore 128 Mono
* TTY [text only] for non-supported formats.
* Friendly and fun atmosphere. Peak playing times are evenings and
weekends.
* Regular monthly prizes for eligible, high-score players.
* Regular tournaments (see below).
* Game transcripts available immediately.
* Technical support and gaming discussion available in the
Multiplayer Games RoundTable.
checkers, reversi, poker, blackjack and bridge.

How to Access RSCARDS Backgammon on GEnie:

1. Set your communications software for half duplex (local echo), at
300, 1200, 2400 baud.
2. Dial toll free: 1-800-638-8369, or in Canada, 1-800-387-8330. Upon
connection, enter HHH
3. At the U# prompt, enter JOINGENIE then press <RETURN>
4. When asked to enter a code enter: MMC524 [This will waive your
first \$8.95 month subscription fee and give you an additional
\$50.00 online credit during your first month on GEnie!]
5. Have a major credit card ready. In the U.S. you may also use your
checking account number.

For additional information including subscriptions and fees call:
1-800-638-9636

Once you have a GEnie account, simply type RSCARDS from any GEnie
prompt. This will take you to the main area, where you can download
GUI's and get general information on RSCARDS.
You can reach the Backgammon page directly by typing M877. This will
play.
For questions and technical support, visit the Multiplayer Games
RoundTable. Type M1045 from any GEnie prompt and set to CATegory 29.
There are a variety of Backgammon, GUI and RSCARDS TOPics available.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION:

GEnie Backgammon Tourneys are held quarterly. Sign-ups start:
January 1st, April 1st, July 1st and October 1st

Tourney play starts the third Wednesday of those months

[Section on tourney rules is available online at GEnie]
[Note: GEnie is a service like compuserve... They have a monthly fee
and you pay by the hour for use. Contact GEnie for rates.]

_________________________________________________________________

outland

Backgammon is among a package of eight Macintosh only internet games
offerred for a flat monthly fee (\$9.95) by the on-line service
Outland, Inc. The games are advertised and offerred for ftp and free
trial at http://www.outland.com/OutlandBackgammon.html Judging from
the web page it appears to share many features with FIBS plus
providing a nice built-in graphical (draggable pieces) interface.

_________________________________________________________________

PBeM

Play By E-Mail

While not quite in thte same league as FIBS, I have a PBeM Server that
supports Backgammon as one of its' games. Send mail to:
pbmserv@vtsu.prc.com with 'help' as the Subject: line for details,
or visit Richards page at: http://coyote.vtsu.prc.com:8080/~pbmserv
_________________________________________________________________

JavaGammon

This appears to be a backgammon server that allows players with the
hotjava browser to play other players. The server has been created by
Lee Smith.

http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~leesmith/JavaGammon.html JavaGammon

http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~leesmith/hotjava.html Info on Java
extensions, programs, etc...
_________________________________________________________________

B6. ARE THERE ANY ELECTRONIC TOURNAMENTS?

There are tournaments on FIBS and GEnie.

Tournaments on FIBS have been organized by David Escoffery (davide),
and David Eggert (snoopy).

contact: davide@sco.com
eggertd@aisb.ed.ac.uk
http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/staff/personal_pages/eggertd/backgammon.htm
l

_________________________________________________________________

GEnie has a quarterly single elimination tournament. \$25 entry fee.
Cash and credit prizes for first-fourth place. Hourly fee in effect
while you play. The draw is non random, in that previous winners are
placed such that they do not play each other in the first several
rounds.
_________________________________________________________________

B7. DO OTHER GAME SERVERS EXIST?

Backgammon

There are no backgammon servers other than FIBS in operation on the
internet at present.

_________________________________________________________________

Bridge

Get 'OK.FAQ' from rec.games.bridge or rtfm.mit.edu for info on the
Internet bridge server.

Reported servers:

telnet okbridge@irc.nsysu.edu.tw 4321

telnet bridge:bridge.0@zaphod.ttu.ee

[The above servers have been reported to have an annual fee.]

telnet vanderbilt.okbridge.com

[Free guest trials are availble for the above server.]

A further source of information is available at:
http://www.cts.com/~okbridge/

_________________________________________________________________

Scrabble-like

telnet seabass.st.usm.edu 7777                or 134.53.14.112.7777

_________________________________________________________________

Chinese Chess (Xianqi)

USA:     telnet coolidge.harvard.edu 5555       or 128.103.28.15 5555
Sweden:  telnet hippolytos.ud.chalmers.se 5555  or 129.16.79.39  5555
Taiwan:  telnet 140.112.50.160 5555

A Xianqi Web page may be read at: http://www.io.org/~sung/xq/xq.html
_________________________________________________________________

Othello

_________________________________________________________________

Chess

rafael.metiu.ucsb.edu 5000    128.111.246.2 5000
anemone.daimi.aau.dk 5000     130.225.18.58 5000
chess.lm.com 5000             129.15.10.21 5000

It has been reported that the chess servers now charge an anual fee.

_________________________________________________________________

Go

igs.nuri.net 6969     203.255.112.3 6969

information: tweet@ig.nuri.net

It has been mentioned that it is possible to play chinese chess on this
server.

_________________________________________________________________

Checkers

Information about the checker playing program ``Chinook'' may be
obtained by visiting the web page:
http://web.cs.ualberta.ca:80/~chinook/

Besides information, the Chinook page lets you play a game on-line
against the computer program which has beaten the human world
champion.
_________________________________________________________________

Other Games Servers and Web Pages

http://www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Games
YAHOO WWW Games Directory

http://www.dcs.qmw.ac.uk/~steed/Games/bygame.html
Games and Puzzles on the Internet

http://www.io.com/games/servers.html
A list of game servers

http://www.inrete.it/games/telnet_e.html
A list of game servers.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Section C: ELECTRONIC BACKGAMMON: VS MACHINE

COMMERCIAL BACKGAMMON PLAYING PROGRAMS

_________________________________________________________________

C1. ARE THERE ANY BG PROGRAMS OUT THERE FOR MY COMPUTER? WHERE ARE THEY?

JellyFish

Ever since Gerry Tesauro finished TD-Gammon, it was only a matter of
time before a neural network program would become available to the
public. That time has come. Fredrik Dahl's masterpiece, Jellyfish, is
a breakthrough for backgammon. Both the checker play and cube action
of the program are at an expert level, making Jellyfish a truly
enjoyable and challenging competitor. In addition the program looks
over your plays and points out when you have made a serious error,
making it extremely valuable for learning purposes.

Jellyfish is run under Windows for the PC. Moves are made with the
mouse, and can be done very quickly and efficiently. The display is
nice and easy to see. Some additional features of the program:

Plays both single games and matches (yes, it understands match
equities). Allows the user to construct positions and save them. Gives
the user the program's evaluation of the equity of a position upon
request, and the evaluation function is surprisingly accurate. Tells
the user when he has made an error in checker play or cube decision,
making the program the most valuable tutor in the world.

In addition, a separate version is expected which will also permit the
user to roll out positions. In the past computer rollouts were always
suspect because the program didn't play well enough so the results
could be very distorted. This is no longer the case, since Jellyfish
definitely plays well enough to handle almost any position adequately.
Results from its rollouts can be trusted, and we will be able to find
the answers to many backgammon questions which we previously did not
know.

For the casual player, Jellyfish provides an excellent opponent and a
way to improve while playing. For the serious student of the game,
this program is an absolute must. Our knowledge of the game is about
to take a quantum leap, and the player who does not have access to
Jellyfish will be left far behind.

Kit Woolsey

JellyFish Tutor 1.2 for MS-Windows. US\$ 110.

JellyFish Analyzer 1.0 for MS-Windows US\$ 220.
The Analyzer, will in addition to the Tutor, contain a rollout
module It will be release Jan 16 1995. If you own the Tutor,
the Analyzer may be purchased for the difference in price. If
you order the Analyzer before Jan 16 1995, the Tutor will be
shipped immediately, followed by the Analyzer when ready.

Order from:
EFFECT Software A/S
P.O. Box 56 Skoyen
N-0212 OSLO
Norway.

Please use International Postal Money Order, or Visa. If you use Visa,
send the account number, date of expiration, amount and signature. You
may also send a check, but in that case please add \$10 for expenses.

Hardware requirements: 386sx or better
Software requirements: Windows 3.1
The JellyFish programs come on 3.5'' diskettes.

Also available from: The GAMMON PRESS , Carol Joy Cole and The Dansk
Backgammon Forlag.

The program, and technical support are also available from Larry
Strommen within the USA. Contact:

L. A. Strommen; 6866 Meadow View Dr.; Indianapolis, IN 46226
Tel: (317) 545-0224 E-mail: diceman@indy.net

Fredrik Dahl may be contacted at fredrikd@ifi.uio.no

It should be noted that JellyFish uses a copy protection scheme. The
program requires that you ``confirm'' your installation once a month,
at the first of the month, by inserting the original disk. There are
no limits to how many machines you may install the program on. The DOS
rollout module is not protected at all, although the rollout files
must be created using JellyFish.
_________________________________________________________________

TD-Gammon

From wbitting@crl.com Sat Sep 16 20:40:09 PDT 1995
Article: 9552 of rec.games.backgammon
From: wbitting@crl.com (William C. Bitting)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: TD-Gammon & IBM Family FunPak
Date: 14 Sep 1995 22:41:22 -0700

Excerpted from:
OS/2 Warp Monthly Newsletter September 95 (starting at p86
of 176, ascii version)

by Jeri Dube

(This section is out of sequence as presented in original article.)

Although playing backgammon on a computer that plays as well as a
world class master seems somewhat awe-inspiring, you can work up to
it. The game comes with five skill settings, where each higher setting
uses an increasing larger and more complex neural network as its
underlying engine. If you want to use TD-Gammon to improve your
backgammon skills, it is quite good as a learning device. Not only do
you get feedback from the results of your playing but the system is
quite supportive of you. It gives a modest, `I win' message when you
lose and a hearty `Congratulations, you win!', when the computer
loses.

To embody this expert backgammon-playing neural network into an OS/2
game, IBM Research hired Keith Weiner, a professional PC game
developer, to add a front end written for OS/2's presentation manager.
TD-Gammon is fully 32-bit and takes full advantage of OS/2 Warp's
multi-threading capabilities. Like all presentation manager programs,
TD- Gammon comes with a settings notebook where you can set things
such as the background color and the animation speed.

Given the success of the TD-Gammon game, I asked Gerry what his next
neural network game would be. He told me that researchers have used
other games such as Chess, Othello, and Go with varying degrees of
success to study neural network learning. None have been as successful
as backgammon. Gerry theorizes that the stochastic element of
backgammon (i.e. throwing the dice) is what makes backgammon so useful
in modeling the self-learning process. With that in mind, Gerry's next
venture into self-learning is with financial time series analysis. If
that project is as successful at learning as the backgammon game, then
I'm really looking forward to that program.

``Temporal Difference Learning and TD-Gammon'' published in
Communications of the ACM, volume 38, number 3, pp. 58-68 (March
1995).

(The newsletter article starts here and ends with the above 4
paragraphs.)

When most people think of IBM Research, they tend to think of
fractals, scanning- tunneling-electron microscopes, or high
temperature superconductivity. Games are not usually one of the
thoughts that come to mind. However, the TD- Gammon game included in
the IBM Family FunPak for OS/2 Warp was developed by IBM Research.

By virtue of being created at such an auspicious place, you would
think that this version of backgammon is quite special. Well, to be
quite honest and not so humble, it is! TD-Gammon is the most advanced
computer version of backgammon. It can play at the most advanced
levels. If the system were a human, it would be rated as a World Class
Master.

TD-Gammon was developed by IBM Research Staff Member, Gerry Tesauro.
Gerry is not a game developer, rather he is a theoretical physicist
who has been working in the area of neural networks and artificial
intelligence for several years. He did not initially intend to develop
an OS/2 game for the Family FunPak. All he wanted to develop was a
basic research project to study learning algorithms that would enable
a computer to teach itself a task.

Gerry chose backgammon as the task because it appeared to be a good
domain in which a neural network might work well. At this point you
may be wondering now that I've mentioned it twice, what is a neural
network? Well, in short, it's a model of interconnected neurons (also
known as nodes) that was inspired by the logical neurons in the human
nervous system. Each connection between neurons has a particular
weight value associated with it.

In the case of backgammon, the state of the backgammon board is fed
into input neurons that have connections to hidden neurons (or units).
These hidden neurons in turn connect to an output layer that holds the
value of the state (that is, the chances of winning from that
particular state). The computation between the input neurons and the
hidden neurons is a weighted linear summation of all the input
neurons. The result of the summation is put through a thresholding
function. This function compresses the value to lie within a certain
range of probabilities. (In case it ever comes up in conversation, the
function is known as a squashing function.) The squashing function is
a non- linear function. The non-linearity allows a system to learn
more complex functions.

To use this model to teach a system backgammon, all the initial
weights between the neurons are randomly set. The neural network
starts from the opening backgammon position and plays both sides until
one of the sides wins. The outcome of the game is used as a reward
signal for reinforcement learning. That is, the neural network takes
the outcome of the game and adjusts the weights accordingly. The
adjustments improve the network's ability to evaluate board states for
subsequent plays of the game.

This learning process is repeated hundreds and thousands of times.
Using an RS/6000 computer, the learning actually took about two weeks.
Gerry and his colleagues were amazed at how well the neural network
learned to play backgammon. The system kept getting better and better
until it reached the world class master status. Actually, the neural
network could improve its play even more with further training and a
larger network.

TD-Gammon is available on the new IBM Family FunPak for OS/2. The
FunPak may be purchased from Indulable Blue [add url] or from a number
of other mail order software houses.

From: jiml@teleport.com (Jim Little)
Newsgroups: comp.os.os2.games,rec.games.backgammon
Date: 9 Nov 1995 23:52:45 -0800

IBM has made TD-Gammon, their supposedly groundbreaking neural
seems to be part of an attempt to promote their IBM Family FunPack.
You can get it by surfing to
http://www.austin.ibm.com/pspinfo/funtdgammon.htm and following the
with your name, address, etc. (But nothing forces you to enter valid
information. ;) )

From their web page: "TD Gammon requires OS/2 2.1 or higher, an Intel
386-SX or higher, with Advanced and Expert levels requiring a 486-DX
33MHz or higher, and a minimum of 6 meg of memory is recommended."

-Jim Little (jiml@teleport.com)

[md] The original article is available at:
http://www.austin.ibm.com/psinfo/m4bakgam.htm
_________________________________________________________________

Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
From: tesauro@watson.ibm.com (Gerry Tesauro)
Subject: TD-Gammon paper available by FTP
Sender: Gerald Tesauro (tesauro@watson.ibm.com)
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1993 18:06:35 GMT
Disclaimer: This posting represents the poster's views, not necessarily
those of IBM.

The following paper, which has been accepted for publication in Neural
Computation, has been placed in the neuroprose archive at Ohio State.
Instructions for retrieving the paper by anonymous ftp are appended
below.

---------------------------------------------------------------
TD-Gammon, A Self-Teaching Backgammon Program,
Achieves Master-Level Play

Gerald Tesauro
IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
P. O. Box 704
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
(tesauro@watson.ibm.com)

Abstract:
TD-Gammon is a neural network that is able to teach itself to play
backgammon solely by playing against itself and learning from the
results, based on the TD(lambda) reinforcement learning algorithm
(Sutton, 1988). Despite starting from random initial weights (and
hence random initial strategy), TD-Gammon achieves a surprisingly
strong level of play. With zero knowledge built in at the start of
learning (i.e. given only a ``raw'' description of the board state),
the network learns to play at a strong intermediate level.
Furthermore, when a set of hand-crafted features is added to the
network's input representation, the result is a truly staggering level
play at a strong master level that is extremely close to the world's
best human players.

---------------------------------------------------------------
FTP INSTRUCTIONS

unix% ftp archive.cis.ohio-state.edu (or 128.146.8.52)
Name: anonymous
ftp> cd pub/neuroprose
ftp> binary
ftp> get tesauro.tdgammon.ps.Z
ftp> bye
unix% uncompress tesauro.tdgammon.ps
unix% lpr tesauro.tdgammon.ps

For a list of articles written by Gerry Tesauro, check out: A List of
Backgammon Articles in Science and Business

_________________________________________________________________

Expert Backgammon

Expert Backgammon 2.1 for PC: List of features.

Mark Damish E-Mail: damish@ll.mit.edu

Here is some initial information on Expert Backgammon version 2.1 for
the IBM PC.

Intro:
I remember November 92, the first time I walked into a
backgammon club to participate in a tourney. After playing on
FIBS for a month, I thought that I was already a decent player.
Wrong. I won a match, and lost a match. Afterwards, I played a
few games for \$1/point. I reached a simple and common holding
game position where I was doubled, and thought surely it was
worth 25%, and took. My opponent, being helpful to a newcomer,
pointed out that the position was only worth about 15%. Later,
I was able to verify his claim using Expert Backgammon, and had
my first 'benchmark' position. I have since used Expert
Backgammon to benchmark many other simple positions, as well as
to play hundreds of games against it.

What it is:
Expert Backgammon, (EXBG), is a program which allows you to
play backgammon against the computer either in a `money' or
`tournament' format. It also allows you enter a position, and
let the computer `roll it out' --- that is, to let it play both
sides many times, and show you the results. Expert Backgammon
is currently one of the stronger computer program available
commercially, and the game version is quite affordable!

Brief Description of EXBG versions:
Expert Backgammon is currently available in two releases: 1.61,
and 2.1. Release 2.1 has 3 different versions, with different
features

EXBG 2.1  GAME VERSION    \$50.  Plays the game of backgammon.
EXBG 2.1  EXPERT VERSION \$150.  Plays BG, and Rolls out positions.
EXBG 2.1  PRO VERSION    \$300.  Plays BG, and Rolls out positions. Has

EXBG 1.61 EXPERT VERSION \$100   Plays BG, and Rolls out positions.

Upgrades from EXBG 1.61[expert] to EXBG 2.1[expert]  \$60
Upgrades from EXBG 1.61[expert] to EXBG 2.1[pro]    \$200
There are other upgrades available for the other versions as well.

Some Random Features (pro version):

+ Fast non mouse interface for moving the checkers.
+ Match or Money play options.
+ Optional Jacoby rule.
+ Cube profile statistics.
+ Save positions for future evaluation.
+ Save games to be played back later.
+ Computer can suggest a move.
+ Shot counter.
+ Computer can finish game, when it becomes routine.
+ Woolsey or 35% (Friedman?) match equity table for matches.
+ Pip count.
+ Quick or Extended cube searches. Speed vs. accuracy.
+ Rollouts:
o Random dice.
o Sequenced dice for one or two sides. That is all 36
possible starting combinations for one or two sides.
o Rollout multiple positions simultaneously in batch mode.
o Duplicate dice when rolling out multiple positions.

Speed:
Less than 5 seconds per game to play a game from the starting
position on a 486DX2-66 processer. This assumes that the
graphical display is disabled. ie: moves and rolls are not
shown.

Strength:
Seems stronger than 1.61.

Strength is also a somewhat controversial subject. Can the
machine play a complex prop as well as a human who is familiar
with the position? Does the machine have any 'blind spots' in
early game play? Can it 'work a prime' to get a second checker
when needed? Does it blitz too often, not enough? 'Seems
how to play the game myself! See the section on How good is
good? for Bill Roberties ratings of backgammon programs.

Copy Protection:
The program is copy protected. The distribution disks will
allow you to install the program to two hard disks, as well as
allowing you to run the program from the floppy. You may
'uninstall' the program from the hard disk, back to the floppy
for installation on another disk/machine if required. It is
best to uninstall the program before using backup programs, or
reformatting your hard disk/partition, as you can loose your
installation.
Early versions of 1.61 used a differant scheme. They simply
stopped running after a certain date. The authur supplies free
updates to those with the early protection scheme.

Sample Cube Analysis Screen:

B L A C K   C U B I N G   A N A L Y S I S

C  U  B  E    Game won by - lost by    Gammons    Backgammons  Equity
location  size   cube  play  cube play  won   lost  won    lost   /Game

Center    1    47     3    22    8     4     9     0      0      0.108
Black     2     8     0     0   11     0     0     0      1     -0.600
Red       2     0    21     2    2     4     0     2      0      2.000
Black     4     1     0     0    1     0     0     0      0      0.000
Red       4     0     1     1    0     0     0     0      0      0.000
Black     8     0     0     0    1     0     0     0      0     -8.000

01-21-1994  The Jacoby Rule was NOT USED
Only Money Play with Extended Cube Search
MARK won 61.074% of the games played

Equity for MARK = 0.349 per game for 149  games
Cubeless equity for MARK = 0.228

Net equity when Black took a 2 cube = -0.870 per game
Net equity when Red took a 2 cube  =  1.879 per game

[An above average performance in this set.]

Help Screen:

F1 = MENU OF AVAILABLE OPTIONS - Professional Edition
A - Automatic Double                  Ctrl+A - Automatic Concession
B - Beaver                            Ctrl+B - Clear Board
C - Checker Setup                     Ctrl+C - Cube Setup
D - Double the Cube                   Ctrl+D - Manual Dice Entry
E - Extended Cube Search              Ctrl+E - Match Equity
F - New Player Name                   Ctrl+F - File - Alternate Path
G - Game - Money or Match Play        Ctrl+G - Delete Game
H - On-Line Help Service              Ctrl+H - Using Option Defaults
I - Invert Position                   Ctrl+I - Alter the Starting Position
J - Jacoby Rule                       Ctrl+J - Title for Rollout
K - Monitor Type                      Ctrl+K - Player Cube Profile
L - Level of Difficulty               Ctrl+L - Listing of Game
M - Take Back Move
N - Sound                             Ctrl+N - Start New Game
O - Options Currently Selected        Ctrl+O - Open Position
P - Player on Roll                    Ctrl+P - Print Position
Q - Show PiP Count                    Ctrl+Q - Black Shotcounter
R - Replay Game                       Ctrl+R - Rollout Position
S - Speed of Checker Movement         Ctrl+S - Save Position
T - Suggest Move for Black            Ctrl+T - Match Win % Table
U - Skip Save Game/Position           Ctrl+U - Delete Position
V - Black Detailed Shotcounter
W - Expert to Finish the Game         Ctrl+W - Write Rollout to Disk
X - Cancel Move and Reroll Dice       Ctrl+X - Print Disk Rollout
Z - Zero the Score
Spacebar - Roll the Dice              Escape - Leave EXBG

Rollout summary printout:

EXPERT BACKGAMMON ROLLOUT SUMMARY

Date: 12-12-1993                              Games viewed = 0
File: 65_21_A                                 Summary only = 1296
Version: 2.1                                  1296 games rolled out at
Used Hrs:Min:Sec 1:37:41                      4.522 seconds per game.
Batched Duplicate Rollout of 1296  games.
No doubling allowed - Cube at 1 level

[ Diagram of board position was cut from here...]

O on roll.

O won
45.83%     games        594
11.42%    gammons       148
0.46%  backgammons       6
---------------------------
57.72% of the games     748
+0.170 points per game.

X won
32.18%     games        417
9.41%    gammons       122
0.69%  backgammons       9
---------------------------
42.28% of the games.    548
-0.170 points per game.

The dice rolls were generated randomly.

Note: There is also a screen which shows the results of several games
rolled out simultaniously.

Note: Above screens were 'captured' by redirecting my printer port to
a file, and have been edited slightly.

Ordering Info:
Tom Weaver
Expert Backgammon
Dallas, Texas
75231

Call: Expert Backgammon (214) 692-1234 M-F 10am-10pm Central US

Tom also has an email address: tomweave@netcom.com

Also available from Carol Joy Cole and The GAMMON PRESS.

A Macintosh version of Expert Backgammon is also available.
Contact the sources above, or Tom Johnson (auther) directly
atkomodo@netcom.com. A demo of the Macintosh version is
available for anonymous ftp from:
ftp://ftp.cybercom.net/pub/users/damish/backgammon.

_________________________________________________________________

SHAREWARE AND PUBLIC DOMAIN BACKGAMMON PLAYING PROGRAMS

_________________________________________________________________

BLOT

A backgammon program for MS-DOS

"I believe Blot makes primarily other mistakes than the backgammon
programs I know. Due to the selective (rather speculative) style
definitely Blot is tactically the weakest program of all (with
outrageous blunders in the endgame), but positionally not as flawed as
many computer opponents."

Blot has good results against many backgammon progs (see blot.doc).

from you. In case you don't want to bother with sending (real) mail,

The programm is still being developed, so be prepaired to get new blot
versions soon :-).

I hope you enjoy the programm!

Alexander Fuchs

available from: ftp://ftp.cybercom.net/pub/users/damish/backgammon/
_________________________________________________________________

Backgammon, By George!

Backgammon, by George! Version 1.50 has been available since June
1995. This shareware (\$15) program is suitable for Windows 3.x and
Windows 95 and may be downloaded from the WINFUN forum in CompuServe
and other places on the net. If you can't find it contact the author:

George Sutty P.O.Box 6247
Huntinton Beach, CA 92615
USA

sutty@ix.netcom.com

_________________________________________________________________

bg06

Backgammon for Windows version 0.6

A fairly weak backgammon program for windows, originally introduced in
1990.

bg06 is available for anonymous ftp from ftp.cica.indiana.edu in the
directory /pub/win3/games/

_________________________________________________________________

A PD mac program called ?

There is a backgammon game for the Macintosh by Stephen Young, Debra
Willrett, and David Young. The 1.0 version is fairly widespread,
although there is a 2.0 version (dated May 25, 1989) available on
America Online. The play is pretty weak, and the graphics are designed
for the original small B&W Mac screen, but if you're really bored and
can't find a human opponent, it works. The game is freeware, and you
get what you pay for.

-- Paul Ferguson

_________________________________________________________________

Death by Backgammon

For those interested in a good bg game for Windows, why not try Death
By Backgammon for Windows. It runs under Windows 3.1 or OS2/2.1, and
features animated dice/game pieces, comprehensive help, move undo,
suggest move, speed control over all motion, and is fully resizeable.
Best of all, its strategy is very competitive (I wrote the thing, and
have a roughly 50:50 average against it over many hundreds of games).
If you are interested, I would be happy to send out a shareware
version for evaluation. The shareware version is fully functional,
except that the computer's moves are painfully slow. There is also a
DOS version, which is a bit older, but still features animation and
VGA graphics.

To get hold of the program there are two options:

1. To get the shareware version, (free of charge) let me know and I
can email you a zipped uuencoded version of the shareware.
Alternatively, I can send you a floppy if you provide your mailing
2. To get a registered copy of the program, send a cheque made out to
Chris Kanaris, and I will email or post as above.

Prices: Shareware - Nil
Registered: WIN \$AS 35.00, \$US 30.00.
DOS \$AS 20.00, \$US1 5.00.
My Postal address is: Chris Kanaris
PO Box 495
Essendon,
Victoria, 3040
Australia.

[ People who have tried the shareware version claim that the program
plays a pretty weak game. Hopefully computer bg game writers will
continue to make their games stronger and stronger. Not and easy task!
]

_________________________________________________________________

xgammon

From:  klasen@obelix.uni-muenster.de at SMTP-Post-Office
Subject: contribution to FAQ

xgammon.0.96
xgammon is a BG-playing programm originally written for Linux.
The authors are Lambert Klasen (klasen@uni-muenster.de) and
Detlef Steuer (steuer@amadeus.statistik.uni-dortmund.de, blotstorm on FIBS)

Features:
xgammon is Freeware under the Gnu Copyright.
xgammon has nice graphical interface, you move by clicking on mousebuttons.
You can do a maildump for a position, that means you get a file with
a FIBS  style board with current position in it.
You can do money game or tournament game.
You can edit positions via mouse on the board or via ascii plain text files.
You can turn doubling on and off.
You can do rollouts with doubling turned on and off.
The programm uses an endgame database for perfect bearing off (and for
reasonable running game).
There is an compi_finish for shorten the boring part of the game.
and and and ....
You can have fun with xgammon.
Give xgammon a chance getting compiled on your machine.
We'd like any reactions, especially porting reports to OS different
from Linux.
(heard of AIX and Sun OS compiling), especially bug reports .
Send a mail if you use it, please!

at ftp sunsite.unc.edu /pub/Linux/X11/games/strategy/xgammon.0.96.tar.gz.

Detlef Steuer
(blotstorm on FIBS)

_________________________________________________________________

Misc

Other programs that can be found around the net include: backga.zip,
egagam20.zip pcgame.zip, pcgam416.zip and pcgammon.zip. Check DOS
related ftp sites for locations.

_________________________________________________________________

C2. WHICH PROGRAMS ARE GOOD? HOW GOOD IS GOOD?

Program Name        Source      Type        Score
-----------------   ------      ------      ------
TD-GAMMON 2.1       N/A         N/A          -0.05
TD-GAMMON           IBM         OS/2
JellyFish 1.0       Dahl        IBM-PC/Win   -0.15
Expert BG 2.1       Weaver      IBM-PC       -0.20
Expert BG 1.61      Weaver      IBM-PC       -0.35
Championship BG     Spinnaker   IBM-PC       -0.66
Expert BG           Komodo      Macintosh    -0.82
Sensory BG 2        Scitek      Portable     -0.94
Backgammon          Odesta      IBM-PC       -1.20
BG by George        GS Labs     IBM-PC/Win   -1.52
Video Gammon        Baudville   IBM-PC       -1.61
PC-Gammon           Repsted     IBM-PC       -3.67
Gammon              Gakken      Portable    -12.40
Windows BG          Baudville   IBM-PC/Win  -13.83
Gammon Pal          Fidelity    Portable    -15.63
Micro BG            Fidelity    Portable    -15.53
Games People Play   Toolworks   IBM-PC      -26.60

[ From the 1994 The GAMMON PRESS catalog.
and program reviews in Inside Backgammon.]

Score is the number of points won per game, on average, against a top
flight human player. Very large numbers are caused by bad doubling
algorithms which cause a program to double when behind (typically when
primed but ahead in the race), causing the computer to lose some very
large cubes.

_________________________________________________________________

C3. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO WRITE A GOOD BACKGAMMON PROGRAM?

There are two basic ways that a computer can play a game as well as or
better than humans. One is to be really smart, the other is to do an
awful lot of work. The general strategy most game-playing programs use
is to use an evaluation function that isn't very smart, but to make up
for it by looking ahead a lot of moves (doing a lot of work).

With chess, there are typically 20-30 moves by each player per turn.
With backgammon, there are 21 unique rolls and often 4-6 ways to play
each one (not counting doubles with could have 10 or more ways of
playing). This makes it very difficult to look ahead very many levels.
Looking ahead 3 moves by both players examining all possibilities when
there are 25 choices at each play requires evaluating "only" 244
million positions. If there are 90 ways to play each move, there are
530,000 million, positions.

With a game like chess, one can discard all but the best 5 or 10 plays
per person. With backgammon, there are always 21 different choices of
best plays, depending on the dice. This makes it crucial to have an
excellent evaluation function.

The difficulty in doing this is that factors such as the race have a
different effect on the value of the position depending on what stage
the game is in. Consider the concept of timing -- hard enough for
people to grasp, extremely difficult for computers.

Another example of the difficulty of evaluating plays: It's almost
always beneficial to close out your opponents checkers. But if you've
hit one checker and you almost have to hit a second to be able to win,

-michael j zehr

Further information relating to machine learning in games may be found
at: http://forum.swarthmore.edu/~jay/learn-game/systems/gammon.html
_________________________________________________________________

C4. BACKGAMMON SUPPORT SOFTWARE AND SOFTWARE REVIEWS.

COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE

[NOTE: Programs that play backgammon are in the section: Are there any
BG programs out there for my computer? Where are they? " ie:
JellyFish & Expert Backgammon.]
_________________________________________________________________

BOINQ

Boinq is a program which analyzes bearoffs. It can handle any position
where both sides have all their men in the inner board. All results
are cubeless. For any position you enter, you can get the probabality
of each side winning, equity on a 1-cube, proper way to play any roll
of the dice, and a distribution of probabality of bearing off in any
number of rolls. The results are displayed virtually instantaneously,
since they are read directly from a data file rather than done by
simulation. Very user friendly and easy to use -- I use it a lot for a
quick check on bearoff problems. Program takes about 4 meg, so have
some room on your hard disk. Produced by Hal Heinrich -- cost is \$100
I think. Can contact Hal at:

Hal Heinrich
#203, 215 14th Ave. SW
Calgary, AB

Phone: (403) 234-9944

Kit

[Note: Also available from Carol Joy Cole]
[Note: As far as I know, this is a PC program ...Mark]

_________________________________________________________________

Hyper-Backgammon

Hyper-Backgammon is a short version of backgammon where each side has
three checkers. In initial position, these checkers start on
opponent's ace, two and three points. From then on normal backgammon
rules apply. Cube is in play, Jacoby rule, gammons and backgammons
count (and are quite frequent). Proper play is much more subtle than
might be imagined. The program produced by Hugh Sconyers plays the
game perfectly, since Hugh has established a full data base which has
the equities for all possible positions, and the program will tell you
if you make an error. It can be a lot of fun to play, the games go
quickly, and by playing the program you learn pretty quickly the
correct strategies.

Kit

[Note: Also available from Carol Joy Cole and The GAMMON PRESS] [Note:
The distribution is a CD-ROM for the PC ...Mark]

_________________________________________________________________

Hugh Sconyers Bearoff & Backgame CDs

Volume 1: Bearoff Equities and Backgame Probabilities

INTRODUCTION:

This CD-ROM disk contains two large databases of equities and
probabilities. One database has the exact equities for all bearoff
positions when each side has 9 men or less. The other database
contains the probabilities for getting hit or hitting a man when one
side has a backgame of 4 men or less.

The bearoff database is over 400 MB and contains the answers to over
100,000,000 bearoff problems! In addition, you can do a MONTE CARLO
simulation on any bearoff position with more than 9 men on a side. The
program also has a feature which finds the best move given a specific
position and dice roll.

The backgame database is 90 MB and contains the answers to over
22,000,000 backgame positions (some of them are not legal positions).
There is a feature which finds the best move given a dice roll and
position.

These databases will help settle many questions about fair settlement
and the best moves.

BEAROFF:

Once the program has been loaded you can enter any bearoff position,
assuming that all men are in their home board. If both positions you
enter have 9 men or less, the program will give you the EXACT equities
for all 4 cube positions - NO CUBE, ROLLER'S CUBE, CENTER CUBE, AND
NON ROLLER'S CUBE. In addition, it will display the proper cube
decision. These cube equities, as throughout this bearoff program, are
the equities if you roll with the cube in that position.

To compute the proper settlement in any bearoff position(assuming you
are going to roll with the cube in that position) you would multiply
the equity times the value of the cube.

After the equities are displayed, you are given a chance to find the
best move for the position you have just entered. Keep in mind your
best move in the bearoff is the one that leaves your opponent with the
smallest equity. The best move will often be different depending on
the cube position.

If you enter a bearoff position where one or both side have more than
9 men you will enter the MONTE CARLO subroutine. You will first be
asked how many simulations you want to run. There is a limit of
30,000. This Monte Carlo subroutine rolls the dice and moves the men
until each side has 9 men or less. Then it looks up the exact answers
from the database. With a few hundred simulations the NO CUBE result
should be very close to exact. The other cube positions results will
be distorted by the fact that this subroutine assumes that there is no
doubling until the positions are back in the database (ie each side
has 9 men or less). For example, if you have 12 men and the cube is in
the center and your opponent has 12 men, the cube will stay in the
center until each side has 9 men or less. At that point, the
subroutine will retrieve the exact equity from the database.

BACKGAME:

position provided the position not bearing off has 4 men or less. The
side bearing off can have from 1 to 15 men. The program will return
two probabilities: one for each side being on roll. These results are
the probabilities that the side bearing off will have a man hit.

After the probabilities are displayed, you are given a chance to find
the best move for the position you have just entered. Keep in mind
that the best move for the position bearing off is the one that leaves
the other side with the smallest probability of hitting a man. The
best move for the side in the backgame is the one that gives it the
highest probability of hitting a man.

This program assumes that the side playing the backgame has infinite
timing; ie, he will never be forced to leave his opponent's home
board. It follows from this assumption that the backgame side can take
some, part or none of any roll.

Sony's MMCD Player:

This disc works on an MMCD player also. Sony makes this very small
CD-ROM player which takes special exe files. This disc works both for
dos and MMCD. The MMCD version is the same as the PC version except in
a few places. To start the program place the disc in the MMCD player
and turn the power on. If you plan to use the bestmove feature and the
MONTE CARLO routine you will need to put the Volume #1 disc in the
player after the program loads. The MONTE CARLO simulations are
limited to 20,000 games.

_________________________________________________________________

Volume 2: Bearoff Equities for 4 Points and 15 Men

INTRODUCTION:

This CD-ROM disk contains two databases of equities for the bearoff.
The first database(4X15) has the exact equities for all bearoff
positions when each side has 15 men or less on the first 4 points. The
second database(3X15) contains the exact equities for all bearoff
positions when each side has 15 men on the first 3 points. The second
database is a subset of the first. The smaller database(3X15) is
included for a number of reasons, which will be explained later.
Everything that follows applies to the 3X15 database when the 4's are
change to 3's etc.

The bearoff database for 4 points and 15 men is over 240 MB and
you can do a MONTE CARLO simulation for any bearoff position where one
or both sides have men on the 5 or 6 points(4,5 or 6 in the case of
the 3X15 database). The program also has a feature which finds the
best move given a specific position and dice roll.

These databases can help settle many questions about fair settlement
and the best moves.

BEAROFF EQUITIES:

Once the program has loaded you can enter any bearoff position,
assuming that all men are in their home board. If both positions you
enter have all their men on the first 4 points, the program will give
you the EXACT equities for all 4 cube positions - NO CUBE, ROLLER'S
CUBE, CENTER CUBE, and NON ROLLER'S CUBE. In addition, it will display
the proper cube decision and probability for winning in the no cube
case. These cube equities, as throughout this bearoff program, are the
equities if you roll with the cube in that position. If you find an
equity greater than 1.000 or less than -1.000 this is due to the fact
that a position with 15 men can still lose a gammon.

To compute the proper settlement in any bearoff position(assuming you
are going to roll with the cube in that position) you would multiply
the equity times the value of the cube.

After the equities are displayed, you have an opportunity to find the
best move for the position you have just entered. Keep in mind your
best move in the bearoff is the one that leaves your opponent with the
smallest equity. The best move will often be different depending on
the cube position.

If you enter a bearoff position where one or both side have men on the
5 or 6 points you will automatically enter the MONTE CARLO subroutine.
You will first be asked how many simulations you want to run. There is
a limit of 30,000. This Monte Carlo subroutine rolls the dice and
moves the men until each side has all men on the first 4 points. Then
it looks up the exact answers from the database. With a few hundred
simulations the NO CUBE result should be very close to exact. The
other cube positions results will be distorted by the fact that this
subroutine assumes that there is no doubling until the positions are
back in the database (ie each side has all men on the first 4 points).
For example, if you have 12 men on the one and 3 men on the 5 point
versus the same, the cube stays in the current position until both
sides have all their men on the first four points. At that point, the
subroutine will retrieve the exact equity from the database.

THE 3X15 DATABASE:

There are several reasons that this database is included. First, it is
small(only 10 MB!). This will allow it, if you desire, to be copied to
your hard disk(be sure to copy BEQT4X15.EXE, helvb.fon and tmsrb.fon).
Secondly, the 3X15 database has an advantage in speed when doing MONTE
CARLO simulations. Simulations will run faster at the expense of some
accuracy. If you have copied the 3X15 database to your hard disk it
will run MONTE CARLO simulations substantially faster.

_________________________________________________________________

Volume 3: Bearoff Equities for 6 Points and 10 Men

INTRODUCTION:

This CD-ROM disk contains a database of equities for the bearoff. The
database has the exact equities for all bearoff positions where one
side has 10 men in the home board and the other side has 10 men or
less in the home board.

The bearoff database for 6 points and 10 men is over 625 MB and
contains the answers to over 156,000,000 bearoff problems! In
addition, you can do a MONTE CARLO simulation for any bearoff position
where one or both sides have more than 10 men. The results of these
simulations will be more accurate than the results from Volume #1. The
program also has a feature which finds the best move given a specific
position and dice roll. You will need Volume #1 to use the MONTE CARLO
feature and you may need Volume #1 for the best move feature.

These databases can help settle many questions about fair settlement
and the best moves.

BEAROFF EQUITIES:

Once the program has loaded you can enter any bearoff position,
assuming that all men are in their home board. If you enter a position
where both positions have 9 men or less you will get an error message
because all these positions are on Volume #1. For positions where one
side has 10 men and the other side has 10 men or less, the program
will give you the EXACT equities for all 4 cube positions - NO CUBE,
ROLLER'S CUBE, CENTER CUBE, and NON ROLLER'S CUBE. In addition, it
will display the proper cube decision and probability for winning in
the no cube case. These cube equities, as throughout this bearoff
program, are the equities if you roll with the cube in that position.

To compute the proper settlement in any bearoff position (assuming you
are going to roll with the cube in that position) you would multiply
the equity times the value of the cube.

After the equities are displayed, you have an opportunity to find the
best move for the position you have just entered. Keep in mind your
best move in the bearoff is the one that leaves your opponent with the
smallest equity. The best move will often be different depending on
the cube position. For some positions you will need Volume #1.

If you enter a bearoff position where one or both sides have more than
10 men you will automatically enter the MONTE CARLO subroutine. You
will need Volume #1 to use this subroutine. You will first be asked
how many simulations you want to run. There is a limit of 30,000. This
Monte Carlo subroutine rolls the dice and moves the men until both
sides have 10 men on less. Then it looks up the exact answers from the
database. With a few hundred simulations the NO CUBE result should be
very close to exact. The other cube positions results will be
distorted by the fact that this subroutine assumes that there is no
doubling until the positions are back in the database (ie each side
has all men on the first 4 points). For example, if you have 12 men on
the six point and 3 men on the 5 point versus the same, the cube stays
in the current position until both sides have 10 men or less. At that
point, the subroutine stores that position and later retrieves the
exact equity from the database on Volume #3 or Volume #1.

Sony's MMCD Player:

This disc works on an MMCD player also. Sony makes this very small
CD-ROM player which takes special exe files. This disc works both for
dos and MMCD. The MMCD version is the same as the PC version except in
a few places. To start the program place the disc in the MMCD player
and turn the power on. If you plan to use the bestmove feature and the
MONTE CARLO routine you will need to put the Volume #1 disc in the
player after the program loads. The MONTE CARLO simulations are
limited to 20,000 games.

Available from Carol Joy Cole, The GAMMON PRESS and The Backgammon
Shop for \$99 per volume.

If you have any comments or questions, please forward them to the

Hugh Sconyers
sconyers@bga.com
_________________________________________________________________

Matchqiz (and demo)

With the MatchQiz software, Kit Woolsey (long time contributer to
Inside Backgammon and Backgammon with the Champions, author of How to
Play Tournament Backgammon, and currently ranked #9 in the world) has
added his name to the short list of backgammon indispensables. The
very short list. Magriel, Robertie, Woolsey. I think that's all you
really need.

MatchQiz is more than very good; it is the single best tool I know of
for transforming your game from intermediate to expert. First let me
describe the format:

You choose a match from a menu, and the computer shows you the
starting position and opening roll. *Then you choose your play.* Now
you get to see the actual play, plus Kit Woolsey's commentary. This
happens for every play, every cube decision. It is an improvement over
printed annotated matches in several ways:

Convenience and speed. How many times have you followed a match on
your own board only to find that the moves and commentary have stopped
making sense? Perhaps you moved the wrong piece two rolls ago? Or was
it three rolls ago? Maybe you should just start this game over. Never
again with MQ.

How many hints do you receive when going over printed matches? You can
see that the player drops the cube because a new game begins next
page. Or did the index card you use to cover the bottom of the page
slip, denying you the chance to come up with your play without seeing
Svobodny's? Not with MQ.

Perfect use of default options. Do you have a tendency to forget the
cube in complex positions? MQ will let you make that mistake -- but
will chide you for it.

Of course the format wouldn't mean much if the annotations weren't up
to par. But they are exquisite. Woolsey is complete, concise, and
entertaining. He covers all aspects of play, from the most elementary
opening moves to the most subtle match equity considerations. Here is
one small sample:

``This is an expert play which many players would not find. If
Magriel quietly plays 13/5, O'Laughlin will be free to make any
point that his dice dictate, and Magriel will be poorly placed in
the upcoming prime vs. prime battle since he will have two men back
will O'Laughlin will have only one man back. Magriel's play forces
O'Laughlin to attack on the bar point whether he wants to or not,
thus preventing him from making optimal use of such point making
numbers as 42 or 51. It is thematic when you have the better board
and your opponent has one man back to split your runners to make it
difficult for your opponent to catch up in the board-building
battle.'' You get this level of analysis after every nearly every
play.

One final benefit that might go unnoticed is volume. Woolsey has 18
matches available now, and volume four is due soon. That is quite a
library. Often an annotater will mention some general theme or
principle and show how it applies it to a specific position. But would
that principle apply if the position were slightly different? With the
MQ library, you will be able to compare similar positions and examine
if the same principles apply. This is especially true for the opening
phase of the game, where the same sorts of decisions come up all the
time.

Woolsey sells one match for \$20, or a set of 6 for \$100. This is a
fantastic deal considering that most printed annotated matches go for
\$20 or so, and I guarantee that you'll get more use out of these.
Write to:

Hal Heinrich
#203, 215 14th Ave. SW
Calgary, AB

or call (403) 234-9944

Jeremy Bagai

[Note: Also available from Carol Joy Cole and The GAMMON PRESS] [Note:
This program is written for the IBM-PC, but it 'should' run under
"Soft-PC" for the Macintosh, any level, as the graphics are CGA
(640x200x2) ...Mark]

_________________________________________________________________

From: kwoolsey@netcom.com (Kit Woolsey)
Subject: Matchqiz Demo

As many of you know, Hal Heinrich and I have produced several
annotated matches which run on computer (PC only -- sorry, you MAC
users). Hal is the programmer, I wrote the annotations. We have a demo
match which we give away for free, so I thought it would be a good
idea to make it available on the net both for the enjoyment of R.G.B.
readers and, of course, to entice you to purchase the other annotated
matches. This is my first effort at doing this so I may have screwed
up somewhere -- if so, please let me know what went wrong.

The program can be gotten via an anonymous ftp to ftp.netcom.com. go
to the directory /pub/kw/kwoolsey/gammon/matchqiz -- there you will
find 2 files. One is: readme, which is instructions for retrieving and
running the program. The other is: mqizdemo.exe, which is the program
and necessary files.

Feel free to distribute this demo package to any friends who may be
kwoolsey@netcom.com

Kit Woolsey

_________________________________________________________________

Backgammon Position Analyzer

[9507]

BPA is a program which has three basic features: The CPW of a
position, the correct way to play either one or two numbers of a roll,
and the number of rolls that bear-off all checkers in N turns.

The data base is uniquely compressed to fit within 20 megabytes and
covers all home board positions, many bear-in positions where you are
setting up to bear-off, and a single checker race. In the single
checker race, any number of checkers can be off and the single checker
can be on any point from the 7 to the 19 point. Contact is allowed and
a cpw will be calculated if the opponents position is in the data
base, but contact is ignored in the calculation. Thus there are over
25 BILLION positions covered, not counting all the single checker
positions. That's a very efficient use of data in memory. This
concentration is possible because the answer for the cpw is an
approximation, not an exact figure. However, the approximation is very
good. Using an extended calculation from where others had left off,
the expected error in the range of 20 to 80 % is 0.04%. This is good
enough to make all checker plays accurately. ( Ok, you'll be able to
find a few positions where the play made is off by a very small
fraction of 1%.)

When you have either one or two numbers you want to play, BPA will
give an answer very quickly by looking into the data base and checking
all possible ways to play the number(s).

The number of rolls to bear-off in N turns is very helpful in
understanding what is going on in certain positions, but is not for
everyone.

BPA is supplied with all the data calculated, and is distributed on 14
diskettes. It is currently not copy protected but because of the
extent of illegal distribution that has gone on, it will be protected
in the future. Each program is individualized by showing a subsciber's
name on the screen. btw, if anyone has an illegal copy and wants to
get registered at no cost to them, they should contact me at
diceman@indy.net for the procedure. This is a limited time offer and
will end when and if BPA is integrated into any of the commercial game
to be able to use BPA with such a program.

Larry Strommen diceman@indy.net

Available from Larry Strommen and Carol Joy Cole
_________________________________________________________________

BG-SCRIBE

Software Review: BG-SCRIBE, A Program By Walter Trice.

Mark Damish (E-mail: damish@ll.mit.edu)

BG-Scribe -- A system for editing, replaying, and printing backgammon
matches for the IBM-PC by Walter Trice.

This is a program which I consider essential for myself. It will:
* Allow one to enter matches from books and magazines, or from those
personally recorded, to be played back and studied later. Entry is
done using the numeric keypad. After a while, you end up being
able to enter a match very quickly, and become quite proficient at
touch-typing the keypad to boot. An `AT' style keyboard is
preferable for entering matches.
* Play back matches purchased from Walter. Watching great matches
between the masters is definitely enlightening. My favorite
matches are the ones from annotated books. It shouldn't be hard to
write a program to convert a match from one format to another, if
already have a collection of matches. I've converted matches
posted to Internet by Butch Meese using nothing more than simple
editor macros. The matches are currently stored as plain ASCII
files---one directory per match, and one file per game.
* Print out matches to disk or printer. I like to: print out to
disk, annotate my comments using a simple editor, then print the
resulting file to a printer. The program will also embed diagrams
of positions to the printout, but it uses IBM graphics characters,
which might have to be changed if your printer doesn't support
them. The diagram feature is especially useful for diagramming
doubling decisions.

The program is run from one of two screens. The first is a text screen

The second screen displays the backgammon board using a CGA 4 color,
40 column text mode. Trust me here---this mode, with its X's and O's,
looks a lot better than backgammon boards I've seen drawn using the
CGA 2 color graphics mode. Why CGA text mode? Probably because it will
run on any portable or palmtop machine, and likely on most PC
emulators on other platforms. It also runs fine in a window under MS
Windows, without having to mess around with a .pif file.

The second screen is where matches are entered or played back. When
playing back a match, you may see the dice, then the players choice,
and then see the move when the screen is updated. It is possible to go
forwards or backwards in a game. Although you may have entered your
rolls in `landing spot' format, the program can optionally display
them in `from/to' format. It only prints in the format which it was
entered though. You may also mark positions which you would like to
have diagrammed.

As stated above, the user interface consists of two screens. Unlike
modern X/Windows/Mac programs which do a lot for you, this program
assumes that what you tell, or don't tell the program is exactly what
you want. I.E.: You can enter data, then quit the program. If you
didn't save, the program won't prompt you. It is like driving a
standard after getting used to cruise control. The program does a lot,
you have to remember to tell it what to do though! The learning curve
has a slight incline, but the program is well worth the time it takes
to become familiar with it. I found the instructions clear.

I want to start bringing pen and steno paper to local events to record
some `master games' for later entry/playback. I also want to review
some of my `bad games', searching for weakness. There is a lot to be
learned!

The price of the program is \$50, including 11 matches. Additional
matches are available from Walter.

I am not affiliated with BG-SCRIBE in any way, except for being a very
should contact Walter. I did mention to him that I was going to write
a review---Last spring!

...Mark

Contact:
Walter G. Trice
549 Wachusett St.
Holden, MA 01520

(508) 829-3283
e-mail wgt@world.std.com

UPDATE 9512:

Walter as added a program which will convert FIBS oldmoves format to
BG-Scribe. I haven't tested it with output from rfibs.
_________________________________________________________________

The Match Strategist (and demo)

Tom Johnson (komodo@netcom.com) has written a progam which is best
described as a match equity calculator. Given: Match length, Score,
Gammon chances, Cube value, and wether the cube is on the last roll,
last two rolls, or a normal cube, the program will will calculate the
information shown in the sample screen shown below.

Input data                        ---------------------   -----
match length (2 - 25)          |    3    |    3    |   L) Match length
score (0 - 2)                  |    0    |    0    |   S) Score
cube value                     |    1    |         |   C) Cube value
chance of winning the game     |   35 %  |   65 %  |   W) Winning chance
chance of winning a gammon     |   20 %  |   20 %  |   G) Gammon chance
cube situation (1 - 3)         |    3    |    3    |   V) Cube situation
---------------------   N) New table
Static match winning chance with  ---------------------   X) Exit
no double this game            |  45.99% |  54.01% |   A) About demo
double and take                |  41.00% |  59.00% |
double and drop                |  60.44% |  39.56% |   Cube situations
double, take and redouble      |  35.00% |  65.00% |   ---------------
Dynamic data (game win %)         ---------------------   1) Last roll
minimum give point             |  50.00% |   N/A   |   2) Last two rolls
optimum give point             |  61.63% |   N/A   |   3) Normal cube
minimum take point             |   N/A   |  30.43% |
doubling window (size)         |  19.57% |  19.57% |   N/A = Not applicable.
---------------------
Strategy:  Black should not double.
His position is not strong enough.

THE MATCH STRATEGIST DEMO - copyright(c) 1994 Komodo Software

The demo program is limited to 3-point matches and is available for
anonymous ftp from:

machine:   ftp.cybercom.net
directry:  pub/users/damish/backgammon
file:      matstrat.zip

The program runs on a MS-DOS machine, and the file needs to be 'unzipped'
with pkunzip 2.04 or later.

A commercial version, which gives equities up to a 25-point match may be
obtained from the auther for \$45 + S&H.

[Now (3-95) advertized by Carol Joy Cole for \$25.]

_________________________________________________________________

SHAREWARE AND PD SOFTWARE

_________________________________________________________________

rfibs (fibs recorder & playback)

Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
From: spitz@irb.uni-hannover.de (Jan Spitzkowsky)
Subject: Recording and replaying games played on FIBS
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 10:00:21 GMT

Hello fibsters,

I wrote two utilities for FIBS and i want to distribute them. The tools are
able to record (rfibs) own games and watched games and to replay (sfibs)
them.
I observe a lot of discussions about interesting positions in this group.
With 'rfibs' and 'sfibs' it is possible to extract special positions played
on FIBS (or even a whole game) and to comment it.
I am interested in a collection of good and interesting games, commented or
not, to improve my own playing. If someone wants to get these utilities
for collecting and sharing some games, too, the address of our ftp-server
is:

ftp.irb.uni-hannover.de
File: pub/spitz/bg/bg.tar.gz

Below I give a short description of the two tools:

Hope to find much interest for my work and many good games,

Jan (hotspot on FIBS)

Version 26th August 94:

Any bug reports, comments ... etc.

rfibs [<record file>] [-c]

'rfibs' records games played on FIBS and filters the textual output.
Therefore the setting boardstyle must be set to 3 and the stdout of
FIBS must be piped through 'rfibs'. The correct call for 'rfibs' is:
'telnet <...> | rfibs <args>'.
Two additional FIBS-commands are available with 'rfibs':
- bstyle <b>: switches the board display. Additional board displays can be
created and added in the source 'boards.c' and 'fibs.h'. <b> currently
ranges from 0 to 1.
- switch: switches the player and the board.
- recinit: stops recording of the actual game.
- comment <comment>: A comment is inserted into the record file.
Every started, resumed or watched game will be stored in
<record file>.
Every talk of the players or watchers will be included in the game as a
comment.
The argument '-c' suppresses recording the talks as comments.
The created file has the same syntax like the output of the FIBS-command
'oldmoves'.

Bugs:
The prompt '>' is missing

sfibs { <gamefile> [-g] | -p } [-y<b>] [-s]

'sfibs' shows a recorded game given in <gamefile>. The gamefile can
be created with 'rfibs' or with the FIBS-command 'oldmoves'.
Argument '-g' suppresses interaction: The whole game is printed.
Argument '-y' gives the boardstyle. The available boardstyles are the same
as in 'rfibs'.
Argument '-s' puts player O on the downside. Default is player X on the
downside.
Argument '-p' doesn't show a game. It enables the user to create and to
print his own positions.

'rfibs' and 'sfibs' are given in the following files:
readme, makefile, fibs.h, sfibs.c, rfibs.c, boards.c

__________________________________________________________________________

An "as is" DOS Port by Robin Davies (FIBS/W author) is available for
ftp from:
ftp://ftp.cybercom.net/pub/users/damish/backgammon/rfibs.zip
This version will work with output saved using the '>' command for saving
matches from FIBS/W. The file currently contains executables only.

_________________________________________________________________

LaTeX Style for BG Positions and Games I have just finished the first
version of a LaTeX style to print out positions and matches.

The main features are:
* Boards produced with a special font made with metafont, no
inclusion of Postscript files needed (i.e. every dvi previewer
should be able to display the boards).
* Two different environments for single positions and complete
matches.
* Board layout customizable in both environments.
* Automatic generation of the current board at arbitrary places in
the game environment. Only the moves have to be entered, the state
of the board is maintained internally by the style.

I have uploaded my LaTeX package to ftp.dante.de as a CTAN submission
and was told that it's installed under

macros/latex209/contrib/backgammon

It should be available on every CTAN Server (these are if I am right
informed: ftp.dante.de, ftp.shsu.edu and ftp.tex.ac.uk)

Joerg

_________________________________________________________________

BOA/386 Bearoff analyzer From Harold Wittmann
wittmann@fmi.uni-passau.de

I have written a piece of backgammon software that gives you the
winning probability for bearoff positions.

BOA/386. It's inexpensive shareware. Try it!
--------------------------------------------
Never again rollout bearoffs!

Here is what FILE_ID.DIZ says:
+-------------------------------------+
|           BOA/386 v1.1              |
|-------------------------------------|
| A Backgammon Bearoff Analyzer:      |
| - gives probability of each side    |
|   winning, cubeless (both side must |
|   have all their men in the inner   |
|   board)                            |
| - shows proper way to play any roll |
|   of dice                           |
| - very fast and accurate            |
| - less than 1MB HD-space            |
| - MS-DOS, 386SX+ required           |
|-------------------------------------|
|  BOA/386 is inexpensive shareware.  |
|      Only 20\$ registration fee.     |
+-------------------------------------+

Available for anonymous ftp from:
ftp://ftp.cybercom.net/pub/users/damish/backgammon/
Please note that the file is over 800k.
_________________________________________________________________

Section D: RESOURCES

D1. I'M LOOKING FOR A CLUB TO PLAY IN...

Backgammon clubs in North America

Below is a list of backgammon clubs in North America. It was taken
from the January/Febrary 1995 issue of the Chicago Point newsletter.
It may be copied for noncommercial purposes as long as you give full
credit to "CHICAGO POINT, 3940 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 504 Chicago,
IL 60659-3128"

Information for this listing has been obtained directly from the
featured backgammon clubs. Changes are inevitable and we suggest that
you always call before attending. As a service to our readers, CHICAGO
POINT would like to maintain an accurate listing of Backgammon Clubs
closings, and new clubs to:

Contact: Chicago Point
Bill Davis, Editor
3940 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 504
Chicago, IL 60659-3128

Phone: 312 583-6464
Fax:   312 583-3264

(FORMAT)

CLUB NAME.......................  LOCATION..................
CITY & STATE........  MEETING ON................  TIME...
CONTACT.............  TELEPHONE...
MAIL INQUIRIES TO...................................

(WEST)

Backgammon Club of San Diago     Java House
Delmar, CA            Sunday                      2:00 PM
Mike Fujita           619/294-2007
P.O Box 178119; San Diago, CA 92177

Backgammon Club of San Diago     II Forno
La Jolia, CA          Wednesday Monthly           6:30 PM
Mike Fujita           619/294-2007
P.O Box 178119; San Diago, CA 92177

San Francisco Backgammon          Golden Gate Grill
San Francisco, CA     Tuesday                     7:45 PM
3200 Fillmore Street; San Francisco, CA 94123

San Francisco Bridge & BG Club    Clubroom
San Francisco, CA     Wed., Fri.                  9:00 PM
Augie Hunt            415/776-6949
777 Jones Street; San Francisco, CA 94109

Gammon Associates                 Grand Slam Bridge & BG Club
Woodland Hills, CA    Tuesday                     7:00 PM
Patrick Gibson        818/901-0464
7641 Orion Avenue; Van Nuys, CA 91406

Gammon Associates                 Grand Slam Bridge & BG Club
Woodland Hills, CA    Sunday                      7:00 PM
Patrick Gibson        818/901-0464
7641 Orion Avenue; Van Nuys, CA 91406

Prime BG Club of Las Vegas        Jockey Club
Las Vegas, NV         Tuesday                     7:00 PM
Howard Markowitz      702/893-6025
2620 S. Maryland Pkwy; Box 230; Las Vegas, NV 89109

No. Nevada Backgammon Assn.       Rapscallion Seafood House
Reno, NV              Thursday                    7:30 PM
Jim Allen             702/329-1227
449 W. Plumb Lane; Reno, NV 89509

Oergon Backgammon Club            Lacey's
Lake Oswego, OR       1st & 3rd Tuesday           7:00 PM
Henry Moss            503/636-6258
2360 Greebtree Road; Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Pacific NW Backgammon Assn.       Shakey's Pizza
Bellevue, WA          Monday                      7:00 PM
Chuck Breckenridge    206/778-8181
18204 Olympic View Drive; Edmonds, WA 98020

Puget Sound Backgammon Assn.      European Connecktion
Seattle, WA           Tuesday                     7:30 PM
Guy Thurber           206/244-6737
428 SW 127th Street; Seattle, WA 98146

(CENTRAL)

Bloomington-Normal BG Club        Ride The Nine
Bloomington, IL       1st/3rd/5th Tues.           6:15 PM
Lane O'Connor         309/454-1947
108 Riss Drive; Normal, IL 61761

Games People Play                 Alexander's
Chicago, IL           Monday                      6:30 PM
J.A. Miller           312/768-5523
P.O. Box 8630; Chicago, IL 60680

Chicago Bar Point Club            Golden Flame
Chicago, IL           Tuesday                     6:15 PM
Bill Davis            312/338-6380
2726 W. Lunt Avenue; Chicago, IL 60645

Chicago Bar Point Club            Braxton Seafood Grill
Oak  Brook, IL        Sunday bimonthly           12:30 PM
Peter Kalba           312/252-7755
2510 W. Iowa Street; Chicago, IL 60622

Pub Club                          Crickets Pub & Grill
Glendale Heights, IL  Monday                      7:30 PM
V.W. Zimnicki         708/924-8632
P.O. Box 72216; Roselle, IL 60172

Prime BG Club of Chicago          TJ's Lounge/Radisson Hotel
Lincolnwood, IL       Friday                      7:00 PM
Joann Feinstein       708/674-0120
8149 Kenton; Skokie, IL 60076

Central Illinois Backgammon Club  Cummins Family Restaraunt
Peoria, IL            Thursday                    6:30 PM
Ed Bauder             309/686-6662
1115 E. McClure Avenue; Peoria, IL 61603

Sangamon Valley BG Assn.          Parker's Sports Bar
Springfield, IL       2nd & 4th Tuesday           6:00 PM

Sangamon Valley BG Assn.          Parker's Sports Bar
Springfield, IL       1st Sat./Nov.-Apr.         11:30 AM
Randy Armstrong       217/528-0117
2012 N. 20th Street; Springfield, IL 62702

Winnetka Backgammon  Club         Winnetka Community House
Winnetka, IL          Wednesday                   7:00 PM
Trudie Stern          708/446-0537
4200 W. Lake 302C; Glenview, IL 60025

Summit City Backgammon League     Alumni Club
Ft. Wayne, IN          Wednesday                  7:00 PM
Ken Bruck              219/639-6898
P.O. Box 6546; Fort Wayne, IN 46896

Hoosier Backgammon Club           Spats
Indianapolis, IN      Thursday                    7:00 PM
Butch Meese           317/845-8435
7620 Kilmer Lane; Indianapolis, IN 46256

Flint Area Backgammon Club        Ramada Inn
Flint, Ml             Thursday                    7:00 PM
Carol Joy Cole        810/232-9731
3003 Ridgecliffe Drive; Flint, MI 48532

Plymouth Backgammon Club          Box Bar & Grill
Plymouth, MI          Wednesday                   7:30 PM
42954 Barchester; Canton, MI 48187

Cavendish North BG Club           Clubhouse
Southfield, MI        Daily except Sun.           1:00 PM
Joe Sylvester         810/642-9616
30065 Greenfield Road; Southfield, MI 48076

Minneapolis Backgammon            Minneapolis Athletic Club
Minneapolis, MN       Monday                      5:00 PM
Fred Kalantari        612/682-1716
4701 Valley View Road; Edina, MN 55424

Cleveland Area Backgammon         Boulevard Sports Tavem
Cuyahoga Falls, OH    Wednesday                   6:30 PM
Irv Taylor            216/663-7332
P.O. Box 28515; Cleveland, OH 44128

Dallas Backgammon League          Scoreboard
Rich Weaver           214/620-7462
2682 Hearthstone; Dallas, TX 75234

Austin Backgammon Assn.           Bombay Bicycle Club
Austin, TX            Monday                      7:30 PM
Jackie Seiders-Smart  512/261-8518
30 Hightrail Way, Austin TX 78738

American Backgammon Club          Vickery Feed Store
Dallas, TX            Sunday                      6:00 PM
Kati Pratt            214/827-8403
5631 Ellsworth; Dallas, TX 75206

Houston Backgammon Club           Abdallah's
Houston, TX           Tuesday                     7:00 PM
Jack Butler           713/774-9439
5931 Reamer Street; Houston, TX 77074

San Antonio, TX       Friday                      8:00 PM
Marcel Mommers        210/606-0025
3812 Greenridge Drive; Cilbo, TX 78108

Milwaukee Backgammon  Club        Gas Lite North
Milwaukee, WI         Wednesday                   7:00 PM
Marv Amol             414/355-8805
9031 N. 70th Street; Milwaukee, WI 53223

Milwaukee Backgammon              John Hawks Pub
Milwaukee, WI         Sunday Bimonthly           11:30 AM
Merril Schrager       414/463-2498
9043 W. Grbaosa Druve; Milwaukee, WI 53225

(NORTHEAST)

Bethesda, MD          2nd & 4th Sunday           12:00 N
Barry Steinberg       301/530-0604
5712 Quebec Street; Benwyn Hts. MD 20740
bkgm@aol.com

Cavendish Club of Boston          Clubroom
Brookline, MA         Thur. & Sat.               1:00 PM
Carl Saldinger         617/734-2230
111 Cypress Street; Brookline, MA 02146

New England Backgammon Club       Sheraton Commander Hotel
Cambridge, MA         Sunday monthly [Sep-Jun]   12:30 PM
Andy Latto            617/374-2537 (days)  617/784/6114 (eves)
156 Massapoag Avenue; Sharon, MA 02067
andyl@harlequin.com

New England Backgammon Club       Sheraton Commander Hotel
Cambridge, MA         Monday                      7:00 PM

New Jersey Backgammon Assn.       Best Western Oritani Hotel
Hackensack,NJ         Tues. & Fri.                7:45 PM
Ron Whitney           201/833-2915
279 Glen Court; Teaneck, NJ 07666

Ace Point Backgammon Club         Clubroom
New York, NY          Daily                       3:00 PM
Michael Valentine     212/753-0842
41 E. 60th Street; New York, NY 10022

Coterie                           Clubroom
New York, NY          Daily                       1:00 PM
Louise Goldsmith      212/371-5151
Private club. Telephone for information.

New York Chess & Backgammon       Office Building
New York, NY          Daily, Tour. Sunday        12:00 N
Steve Manning         212/302-5874
120 W. 41st Street 3; New York, NY 10036

Saratoga Backgammon Club          Waterfront Restaraunt
Saratoga Springs, NY  Friday                      1:00 PM
Lee Hoge              518/584-1714
P.O. Box 563; Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Greater New York BG Club          Woodbury Ramada Inn
Woodbury, NY          Sunday monthly             12:30 PM
Dr. Bob Hill          718/341-3779
194-22 115th Road; Jamaica, NY 11412

Philadelphia, PA      Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat          1:00 PM
Ken Relver            215/878-5777
3801 Conshohocken Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19131

Pittsburgh Backgammon Assn.       Murphy's Tap Room
Pittsburgh, PA        Tuesday                     8:30 PM
Steve Hast            412/823-7500
3560 Ridgewood Road; Pittsburgh, PA 15235

(SOUTH)

Suncoast Backgammon Assn.         New York, New York Lounge
Clearwater, FL        Monday                      7:00 PM
Drew Giovanis         813/726-1398
25350 U.S. Hwy 19 N. 67; Clearwater, FL 34623

South Florida Backgammon          Big Apple Sports Club
Ft. Lauderdale, FL    Sunday                      1:00 PM
Elayne Feinstein      305/785-1282
2621 NE 7th Terrace; Pompano Beach, FL 33064

Backgammon Club of N.W. Florida   Olde English Pub
Lynn   Haven, FL      Tuesday                     7:30 PM
Rick Bieniak          904/773-2013
P.O. Box 416; Wausau, FL 32463

Orando Backgammon                 Coach's Locker Room
Orando, FL            Tuesday                     7:30 PM
David Thomas          904/736-2844
P.O. Box 803, Deland, FL 32721

Backgammon Society of Sarasota    Bath & Raquet Club
Sarasota, FL          Tuesday                     7:00 PM
Frank Shank           813/792-3992
5320 86th St. W.; Brandenton, FL 34210

Atlanta Backgammon Association    Cabo Wabo & Grill
Atlanta, GA           Wednesday                   7:00 PM
Dave Cardwell         404/682-1969
P.O. Box 956547; Duluth, GA 30136

Atlanta Backgammon Association    CafFiends Coffee Bar
Atlanta, GA           Sunday Monthly              7:00 PM
Dave Cardwell         404/682-1969
P.O. Box 956547; Duluth, GA 30136

Louisville Backgammon Club         Encore Restaurant
Louisville, KY        2nd & 4th Tuesday           6:30 PM
Quint McTyeire        502/896-9783
4906 Crofton Road; Louisville, KY 40207

Raleigh Backgammon Club            Western Bowling Alley
Raleigh, NC           1st & 3rd Friday            7:30 PM
Frank Bommarito       919/552-2291
401 St. John Court; Holly Springs, NC 27540

Vancouver Backgammon             Jo-Anne's Place
Vancouver, BC         Tuesday                    8:00 PM
Marty Jensen          604/688-8317
1339 Burnaby St. 402; Vancouver, BC V6E 1R2; CANADA

Nat'l Capital Backgammon Club     Lunergan's Pub
Vanier, ON            lst Sun./Sep.-Jun.        12:30 PM
Eden Windish          613/741-2530
396 Talbot Street; Ottawa, ON KlK 2N6; CANADA

Le Gammon                         Clubroom
Montreal, QB          Daily                       3:30 PM
Michel Medifti        514/845-8370
552 St. Catherine East, Montreal, OB H2L 2E1; CANADA

Playing Backgammon in the Boston area

From: mau@world.std.com (Michael A Urban)
Date: 19 Oct 1993

Frequently, membership fees are waived for initial participants.
For complete details, contact the club of interest.

Cavendish Club                         617-734-2230
111 Cypress St.
Brookline, MA  02146        USA        Fee:  \$150/year

The Cavendish runs chouettes on Thursday evenings and Saturday
afternoons.  The club also has duplicate and rubber bridge.

_________________________________________________________________

New England Backgammon Club
c/o Sheraton Commander Hotel
16 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-3609    USA        Fee:   \$35/year

President:
Andy Latto            617/374-2537 (days)  617/784/6114 (eves)
156 Massapoag Avenue; Sharon, MA 02067
andyl@harlequin.com

The NEBC runs weekly Monday tournaments starting at 7pm and monthly
Sunday tournaments beginning at 1pm. No smoking is permitted in the
tournament room. The NEBC publishes, "Anchors", a monthly newsletter.

A homepage for the NEBC is under construction:
http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/nebc/nebc.html

[Note: There are no Sunday tournaments in July or August]
[Note: Some Sunday tournaments start at noon. Nov and May in 94/95
season] [Note: There are no Monday tournaments During the summer of
1995]

_________________________________________________________________

Other Backgammon Clubs

The Danish BG Federation Phone: (+45 39 40 06 07)

The Danish Backgammon Federation is maintaining two extensive national
ratinglists (all matches and tournament matches). As far as I recall
we are currently rating more than 50,000 matches a year !!

Furthermore the DBgF is offering a variety of things stretching from a
monthly magazine, live tournaments EVERY DAY, international
tournaments (NORDIC OPEN every Easter) and many more things.

For your information: The DBgF is a democratically governed
organisation. We encourage all other nations to form national
organisations. It is the only way if we really want to promote the
game in a serious manner.

Erik M. Gravgaard
President of the Danish BG Federation
erikg on FIBS

_________________________________________________________________

[95-03]
In your FAQ you have details of backgammon clubs ... can you include
ours please? Several fibsters come to it regularly.

8:30 pm. Informal - no officers, but contact number: Marina 01734
612814

Thanks. :-)
--
* Marina Smith * Reading, U.K. *
marina on FIBS.

_________________________________________________________________

From: Jake Jacobs
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon,rec.gambling
Subject: New Backgammon Club in Chicago
Date: 4 Dec 1995 16:48:00 GMT

In January, 1996, Dean Muench will be opening the Chicago Board Of
Backgammon. The CBOB will be a private club for backgammon and other
games. Address is 175 w. Jackson (right near the CBOT). It will be
open Monday through Friday from 12 noon, and on weekends for special
events. I can forward inquiries to Dean till he gets a phone #. I'm at
itaewon@interaccess.com.

The CBOB will hold a grand opening tournament on 1/6/96 at 12 noon.
The address is 175 w. Jackson, suite 1103. The phone number from that
date onward will be 312-922-0404.
_________________________________________________________________

From: pfmcm@worm.hooked.net (Paul McMillan)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: New Weekly BG Site in San Francisco
Date: 27 Feb 1995 15:55:35 -0800

The Baja Cantina will begin hosting weekly BG tournaments on
Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. starting March 8, 1995.

The format will largely resemble that of the tournaments formerly held
on Tuesdays at the Golden Gate Grill.

The Baja is located across the street from the Golden Gate Grill at
3154 Fillmore, corner of Greenwich. The phone number there is 415
885-2252.

_________________________________________________________________

Hi Mark! On my recent trip to Sydney, I visited the bg club that has
been running there 12 years. They said to put it on the FAQ, so here
are the details:

The Clocktower pub
Corner of Crown St. and Nixon St.
Tuesday nights.

* Marina Smith * Reading, U.K. *
_________________________________________________________________

From: "Dr. Linton Hutchinson" (webuniv@iag.net)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: Re: North American clubs on WWW
Date: 28 May 1995 03:35:26 GMT

The Orlando Backgammon meets on Tuesday 9:30 to whenever. The location
is on 436 just past I-4. First shopping center on the right. Behind TGI
Friday's at the Coaches Lockerroom. Upstairs.

_________________________________________________________________

The Tyson's Corner Backgammon Club meets every Monday at 7:00 PM at
Mr. Smith's Restaurant, 8369 Leesburg Pike (Route 7) in the Pike 7
Shopping Center.  It's in northern Virginia near Washington, DC.
call Bill Pow at (703) 549-1808 or (301)227-1915

[Submitted by Mel Leifer]

_________________________________________________________________

Backgammon clubs around the world may be obtained from:
http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/clubs/index.html
_________________________________________________________________

D2. WHERE ARE THE TOURNAMENTS?
* Check backgammon clubs.
* Sometimes announcements are posted to the news group
rec.games.backgammon.
* Various WWW pages are now posting schedules.

_________________________________________________________________

Anchors

Newsletter of the New England Backgammon Club
Monthly except July, usually 8 pages, two devoted to local news with
remaining to analytical material and backgammon related stories with

Overseas: \$25/year (check drawn on U.S. bank).
Contact: NEBC
c/o Sheraton-Commander Hotel
16 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-3609

_________________________________________________________________

Backgammon Magazine

Lately this has been published quarterly in a combined German/English
edition.

Vertrieb (sales/marketing)
Edith Johanni
Emil-Nolde-Str. 26
90455 Nurnberg
Tel.: 0911/883253

Redaktion (Editor)
Harold Johanni
Hochstr. 7
90429 Nurnberg
Tel.:0911/269567

_________________________________________________________________

BLITZ

Bi-monthly, 24 A5 sized pages. in Danish. It is a newsletter/magazine
for a BG club in Copenhagen. 4-6 pages are directed towrds the members
of the club, the rest is general analysis, commentated matches,
articles, problems etc. There is a quiz a la Inside BG's quiz. 4
problems each issue, with the answers taking 4-6 pages.

Subscription:  Scandinavia      Danish kr. 120
Europe                 Dkr. 140
Contact:       Asger Kring (proj13@srv.imsor.dth.dk)
Lykkesholms Alle 4B,3 th.
1902 Frederiksberg C.
Denmark
tlf: 3131 1439

_________________________________________________________________

A Prime Source of Backgammon Information

Overseas: \$35/year airmail in USD check drawn on
U.S. bank.
Contact: Chicago Point
Bill Davis, Editor
3940 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 504
Chicago, IL 60659-3128

Phone: 312 583-6464
Fax:   312 583-3264

_________________________________________________________________

European Backgammon News

Contact: European Backgammon News
E-04630
Garrucha (Almeria)
Spain

FAX: 34/68-438347

Subscription: \$30/12 issues in Europe. \$40 elsewhere.
Published since July 1993 by Martin de Bruin.

_________________________________________________________________

Flint Area Backgammon News

Monthly newsletter, 10 pages: Problem analysis, book and software
reviews, tournament schedules and complete results, local, national
and international backgammon news and views. Full page catalog of
backgammon merchandise.

Overseas: \$25/year or \$250 lifetime subscription.
Contact: Carol Joy Cole, Editor
3003 Ridgecliffe Drive
Flint, Michigan 48532-3730 USA
Phone/Fax: 810-232-9731.

_________________________________________________________________

GAMMON

Members magazine for the Danish Backgammon Federation.
A5 sized. Published 6 - 8 times a year with a circulation between
1,800 and 10,000 (10,000 during Carlsberg Backgammon Cup).
32 to 44 pages with articles, rating lists, tournament invitations and
reviews, general BG theori, "ask the experts"-coloumn, annotated
matches etc. Mainly in Danish, with occasional English articles.
Subscription can also be obtained by non-members for DKK 180 per year
(US\$ 30).

Editor:
Chris Ternel
Danish Backgammon Federation
Gersonsvej 25
DK-2900  Hellerup
DENMARK
Tel. +45 39 40 06 07
Fax. +45 39 40 01 44

or you can contact:

Erik Gravgaard, president of DBgF
e-mail: erikg@inet.uni-c.dk

_________________________________________________________________

Bi-monthly, 8 pages: Articles/problems plus very issue non-annotated
matches of todays best players.

Overseas: \$16/year (cash or check drawn on US bank.)
Contact: Butch & Mary Ann Meese
Hoosier Backgammon Club
7620 Kilmer Lane
Indianapolis, IN 46256 USA

Tel:    317.845.8435
E-mail:  hbc@ix.netcom.com

_________________________________________________________________

Inside Backgammon

Bi-monthly, 24 pages: Technical magazine with quizzes, articles and
annotated matches by the best backgammon players today.

Subscription: USA: \$40/years
Overseas airmail: \$60/year (US funds).
Contact: INSIDE BACKGAMMON
P. O. Box 294
Arlington, MA 02174  USA

(617) 641-2091

_________________________________________________________________

Norpunkt

Norpunkt is the magazine of the Norwegian Backgammon Federation
(Norges Backgammon Forbund). It's published quarterly, but only
written in Norwegian.

A sample of articles written in Norwegian appears at WWW site:
http://www.oslonett.no/home/swelle/norpunkt.html

The WWW page for the Norwegian Backgammon Federation is:
http://www.oslonett.no/home/swelle/NBgF.html

For Further information send E-mail to Stein Welle at
swelle@oslonett.no

_________________________________________________________________

Are there any other backgammon newsletters or magazines out there?

_________________________________________________________________

D4. BACKGAMMON BOOKS AND BOOK REVIEWS.

BG books [summary] by Marty Storer

(From rec.games.backgammon)
From: hunter@work.nlm.nih.gov (Larry Hunter)
Subject: Bibliography
Date: 21 May 92 20:11:35 GMT
Sender: usenet@nlm.nih.gov (usenet news poster)

One more for the FAQ. Before Marty Storer left the list, I pestered
him for an annotated bibliography. He came through in grand style.
Here it is:

Must have:

Backgammon

Paul Magriel, NY Times/Quadrangle Press, New York 1976.
The best introduction to the game. Covers basic checker play
very well. If you read and thoroughly understand this book,
you'll play a decent game. Weaknesses--skimpy treatment of the
doubling cube.

Genud vs Dwek: The 1981 World Backgammon Championship_ (or similar
title)

Bill Robertie, The GAMMON PRESS, Arlington, Mass. 1982.
Very thorough coverage of the 25-point finals of the 1981 Monte
Carlo tournament. Goes into quite a bit of detail about ins and
outs of match play. Excellent section on backgames. I've
referred to this as Robertie(red) since it has a red cover 8-).

Backgammon With The Champions

Kent Goulding, ~1980-82.
Series of annotated matches between good players. Forget how
many in all. Excellent material, giving very good insight into
how top players think. Commentary by Goulding, often in
collaboration with Kit Woolsey; both of these guys are very,
very strong players. Let's see, the matches are Seidel vs.
Hodis; Magriel vs. Sconyers; Genud vs. Posner; Pasko vs.
Motakhasses; two (?) 5-point matches in one volume: Lester vs.
Horan and Woolsey vs. Pasko; Robertie vs. Senkiewicz; Goulding
vs. Maxakuli; Dwek vs. Chafetz; Ballard vs. Lubetkin; Eisenberg
vs. Magriel(?); and more I can't remember. I can't recommend
this series too highly (though Genud vs. Posner was a lousy
match).

Advanced Backgammon (2nd edition; two volumes)

Bill Robertie,
The GAMMON PRESS, Arlington, Mass. '91. I haven't seen this
yet--only the first edition of one volume. Series of problems,
giving very good introduction to truly advanced concepts.
Errors in first edition are supposedly corrected. The first
edition is what I call Robertie(blue); the second is
Robertie(white).

Backgammon Times , all back editions.
This was a very good backgammon newspaper that was around in
about '82-'83. A lot of interesting articles by top players and
analysts. Probably hard to get these days.

Reno 1986

Bill Robertie, The Gammon Press, Arlington, Mass. 1987.
Two annotated matches from the very strong Reno tournament of
'86. Semifinal match is between Nack Ballard and Mike
Senkiewicz; an excellent match, well annotated. Finals between
Ballard and Howard Markowitz. The book is in quiz format, so
you can test your skill against Ballard's (well, kind of:
Ballard had to find his moves over-the-board under great
pressure--nothing like the finals of a big tournament to get
the adrenalin flowing!). I've only found a couple of mistakes
in the annotations. This book is referred to as
Robertie(yellow).

World Class Backgammon, Move By Move

Roy Friedman, 1989 or 90;
forget other publication info. Annotated matches between
Robertie and ``international star'' Rick Barabino (Barabino is
strong, but ``international star''--I dunno...). Three 9-point
matches with some excellent games (check out the second game of
the first match particularly). Annotations are very good;
Friedman put a lot of work into rolling out many of the
diagrammed positions. The annotation style is terse; Friedman
takes a very scientific approach.

Vision Laughs at Counting (two volumes)

Danny Kleinman, ~1978.

-all other material by Kleinman is "must have"--write to him at
5312-1/2 Village Green, Los Angeles, CA 90016 and tell him I
sent ya.
Seminal work on match play, money play, doubling cube, races,
and more. Kleinman is very prolific. His analyses are often
more mathematical than the average reader can handle, but Real
Mathematicians [tm] and even the layperson with math aptitude
shouldn't be fazed. A Real Mathematician wouldn't call
Kleinman's math "deep", but it sure is accurate, and you won't
find anything similar anywhere else. He does the important work
of formulating the right problems the right way, where many
others couldn't.

Drawbacks: his books are self-published with lousy layout and
graphics. He's supposedly not that great a player (I've never
seen him play), so his analyses often lack the world-class
insight into the thought processes of the strong practical
player that you could get from a Goulding or a Robertie. In
particular, his middle-game intuition seems less than
world-class. But these drawbacks are more than made up for by
the wealth of information in his books, which I still haven't
completely soaked up after many years. Kleinman is a subtle
thinker and a meticulous analyst of the countable, and he does
a lot to develop backgammon "vision." His stuff is often
uproariously funny, but sometimes one gets impatient trying to
filter out what's relevant to the practical player from the
humor.

I repeat--all his books are "must have's" for the serious player.
They're a bit expensive since I think he bears all the production
costs himself, but for the serious player they're worth every cent.

Pretty Good Books But Not "Must Have's":

Backgammon For Profit

Joe Dwek, Stein and Day, New York 1975 (out of print)
Problems that would now be considered fairly basic. Almost all
solutions are right. Tables of replies to opening moves show
how badly people played in 1975.

Barclay Cooke, Random House, New York 1978.
This is almost a "must have." 168 problems, most of which are
very interesting. Current thinking is that solutions to about a
third of them are wrong, but the analysis gives very good
insight into how Cooke, a first-generation world class player,

The Doubling Cube In Backgammon

Jeff Ward, Aquarian Enterprises, San Diego 1982.
Goes into basic doubling-cube concepts and gives some benchmark
positions with equities derived from rollouts. Gives some
bearoff tables, etc. Analysis of benchmark positions is pretty
good but sometimes skimpy; Ward only admits to having done
100-200 rollouts to derive his equities. Worth having.

Backgammon Master Games

Bill Kennedy and Chuck Papazian, 1982 (forget other publication info).

Annotated games and positions from master match play. Analysis
is largely based on intuitive concepts, and isn't well grounded
in match-equity considerations etc. Not well supported by
rollouts; a fair amount of errors, but the analysis overall is
pretty sound.

Other books that I've read aren't worth much, including Competitive
Backgammon Vol. II, Mike Labins, Marty Storer, and Bill Tallmadge,
Competitive Backgammon Publications, Syracuse 1981. (It was good for
the time but would be considered lousy now.)

As I mentioned before, you can reach Gammon Press at (617)641-2091,
fax: (617)641-2660 or PO Box 294 Arlington, MA 02174 USA

Larry
--
Lawrence Hunter, PhD.
National Library of Medicine
Bldg. 38A, MS-54
Bethesda. MD 20894
(301) 496-9300
(301) 496-0673 (fax)
hunter@nlm.nih.gov (internet)

[Note: Fax number edited to reflect the current number.]

_________________________________________________________________

BG books [summary] by John Bazigos

Article: 1666 of rec.games.backgammon
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
From: johnsson@sara.cc.utu.fi (MIKA JOHNSSON)
Subject: BG BOOKS INFO
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1993 10:20:19 GMT

HI !

Many people (last Snoopy) have asked about good BG books, well here is
books

-Mika

BG BOOKS BY JOHN BAZIGOS

The two best introductory books are Paul Magriel's ``Backgammon'' (New
York Times Quadrangle Press; New York, NY; USA; 1976) and Enno
Heyken's and Martin B. Fischer's ``The Backgammon Handbook'' (The
Crowood Press; Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HE; Great
Britain; 1990).

The advantages of Magriel's ``Backgammon'' are, first, Magriel was a
clear-minded, distinguished mathematician at the top of the backgammon
world when he wrote it; second, it was the only truly analytic book on
backgammon since Oswald Jacoby's and John R. Crawford's ``The
Backgammon Book''; third, it rendered all backgammon texts preceding
it (including ``The Backgammon Book''), and even some subsequent
backgammon texts, obsolete as introductory texts; fourth, it
systematically elucidates backgammon strategy, from fundamental to
intermediate to advanced; fifth, it does great justice to its topics
in its well-diagrammed over-400 pages; and sixth, it has passed the
test of time as an introductory text, having been commonly referred to
as ``The Bible'' of backgammon. Its disadvantages are, first, some
important details of some advanced topics (e.g., desirable back-game
points), and even some major points of some beginning/intermediate
topics (e.g., tradeoffs between positional and racing equity) are
obsolete; second, the prose, though very readable, is structurally and
stylistically weak; third, the text has been out-of-print since some
time last year, though is well worth a search of *all* your local
used/out-of-print bookstores; and fourth, though the publication price
was \$24.95, the only mail-order list on which I have found it prices
it at \$80, which makes a used/out-of-print bookstore an even better
source -- since it is typically discounted to about \$15 there, in my
experience (here in the San Francisco Bay Area).

The advantages of ``The Backgammon Handbook'' are, first, like
``Backgammon'', it systematically elucidates backgammon strategy;
second, it contains the complete score, with some annotations, of the
very illuminating, 26-game match between two-time World Backgammon
Champion and leading bg theorist Bill Robertie and now-inactive [as of
this writing] international master Nack Ballard (Reno, 1987) that the
former described as ``...perhaps the most interesting one I've ever
played in my life!''; and third, it is still in print with a
--though an International Master in chess-- does not have an
international backgammon rating, and Fischer does not have a master
rating in backgammon; second, it contains only about 60% as much text
as ``Backgammon'', while not being significantly terser; and third,
the authors' lack of qualifications is evidenced in some of their

I think that you should search your local, or even not quite local,
used/out-of-print bookstores for ``Backgammon'', and pay up to about
\$50 for it -- though if you find it in such a store, it is likely to
be discounted to about \$15; and then, if you cannot find it at a

[ Note:
The Backgammon Handbook is still in print and can be ordered direct from
the (very small) publisher:
The Crowood Press
Ramsbury
Marlborough
SN8 2HE, U.K.
Or from any decent bookshop. The price is UKP 15.95 ]

> are you familiar with Danny Kleinmans books,

I have read most of his ``magnum opus'' ``Vision Laughs at Counting'',
which contains much sound advice on the practical aspects of bg play
(e.g., sections on bg hustlers, bg cheaters, chouette money
management), seminal advice on handling the doubler, and even a few
unprecedented mathematical characterizations of certain aspects of
certain positions (e.g., how many pips to penalize a player for having
one or more checkers on the bar).

> are they good ?

``Vision Laughs at Counting'' is generally insightful and often very
amusingly written, but not suitable as an introductory text, sometimes
obsolete, and sometimes simply wrong; and though it is the only text
by Kleinman that I have read, I have good reason to believe that that
judgment applies to Kleinman's other texts, as well.

Ok; then after finishing ``Backgammon'' or ``The Backgammon
Handbook'', study Jeff Ward's ``The Doubling Cube in Backgammon'' --
which has long been offered through Carol Joy Cole.

Magriel's ``Backgammon'' routinely used to be, and sometimes still is,
referred to as ``the Bible (of backgammon)''; but since the
publication of Robertie's three books on backgammon --i.e., ``Lee
Genud vs. Joe Dwek'' (1982), ``Advanced Backgammon'' (1984 and 1991,
the latter edition in two volumes), and ``Reno, 1986'' (1987)-- I
think that it's more appropriate to refer to ``Backgammon'' and
collectively those three as the Old and New Testaments of backgammon,
respectively. Given that you have already finished studying ``The
Backgammon Handbook'' and ``The Doubling Cube in Backgammon'', I think
that you should read one or more books of Robertie's ``New Testament''
fairly soon after finishing Roy Friedman's ``World Class Backgammon,
Move-By-Move'' -- which I, also, recently received a copy of from
Carol Joy Cole, and is the backgammon book that I intend to read
next.

Well, from the quality perspective, I was significantly more impressed
with it when perhaps the only bg literature I had read was typical
junk from the 1970s (i.e., Bruce Becker's monumentally horrible
``Backgammon for Blood'', and Barclay Cooke's often-misleading ``The
Cruelest Game'' and slightly-better ``Championship Backgammon''),
``The Backgammon Book'', and Magriel's ``Backgammon''; and from the
price perspective, the decision is strictly yours, though I hereby
make the following three interrelated claims:
1. If you read enough backgammon books, there will quite possibly
come a time when ``Vision Laughs at Counting'' will be the best
2. You are probably at least seven books from that point: ``World
Class Backgammon, Move-By-Move'', the four volumes of backgammon's
New Testament, and both volumes of Kent Goulding's ``Backgammon
With The Champions'' are presently better for that purpose (and
you can perhaps most profitably read them in that order).
3. ``Vision Laughs at Counting'' is the most entertaining
instructional backgammon book that has been published to date.

> BTW are there other good bg newspapers or magazines ?

Last year was an unprecedentedly good one for backgammon periodicals,
in that it saw the first issues of what I strongly believe were and
still are the two best periodicals for backgammon theory ever --i.e.,
Bill Robertie' and Kent Goulding's bi-monthly ``Inside Backgammon'',
and Roy Friedman's almost bi-monthly ``Leading Edge Backgammon''. The
former is still being published (I recently received my copy of the
fourth issue of its second volume), and publication of the latter was
suspended at the end of last year (due to some personal problems that
Roy was having); but it was possible to order either or both of them
from Carol the last time I checked (Please inform me if you need
ordering information on either or both of them).

Those are the only three backgammon periodicals to which I (have ever)
subscribe(d), though that may change soon; more on that in a
forthcoming e-mail message from me.

> Do you know any technical papers about BG,

One of the best features of both ``Inside Backgammon'' and ``Leading
Edge Backgammon'' is they consist mostly of (what I would consider)
technical papers on backgammon.

>I have read Keelers and Spencers "optimal doubling in BG"

So have I, but I have also read a paper co-authored by Zadeh, titled
``On Optimal Doubling in Backgammon'', that explicitly rendered that
and other technical papers from the 1970s in a forthcoming e-mail
message.

> and in one AI-magazine was an article about Tesauros TD-gammon

The second volume of ``Inside Backgammon'' contains about one article
per issue on TD-Gammon, two of which document (recent) sessions that
Robertie, Magriel, and at least one other bg master had against it;
more on that, also, in an forthcoming e-mail message from me.

_________________________________________________________________

How to play tournament BG [book]

``How to play tournament BG'' by Kit Woolsey

This is an excellent introduction to how play and particularly cube
handling varies in games. It shows how to compute push and cash
points, recube equity, how to figure gammon costs, etc. It gives Kit's
latest match equity chart and gives a method for remembering most of
it fairly well. If you play matches games and don't immediately
recognize any of these terms, I strongly suggest reading it.

-michael j zehr

_________________________________________________________________

Here is an outline of the book:

0. Introduction
1. Crawford Game Strategies
2. Post-Crawford Play
2.1. The Free Drop
2.2. Mandatory Doubling
3. The Two-Away versus Two-Away Score
4. The Match-Equity Table
5. Learning the Table
5.1. The Janowski Formula
6. Using the Table
6.1. Gain-Loss Tables
6.2. The Doubling Window
7. Initial Cube-Decisions at Various Scores
8. Redoubles and Cube-Leverage
9. Cube-Leverage in Gammonish Positions
10. Gammon Potential and Checker Play
11. Five Practical Examples
12. An Illustrative Game: Woolsey-Robertie, Reno 1993

-- John Bazigos (``doc'' on FIBS)
_________________________________________________________________

Backgammon (Robin Clay) [book]

Backgammon by Robin Clay \$7.95 NTC Publishing Group

I was surprised to see this book for sale recently at a local book
shop. This book was 'skimmed' by two intermediate players, and both
immediately found that the some of the concepts and advice given were
grossly incorrect. One of these 'reviewers', went as far as to say:
"If your opponent says that he has just read this book, immediately
raise the stakes!".

...Mark

_________________________________________________________________

In The Game Until The End... [booklet]

In The Game Until The End: Winning In Ace-Point Endgames by Bob
Watchel

You've played an ace-point game; Your opponent is down to his last few
checkers. Should you run? Should you stay? If your opponent wants to
settle, what's the game worth? How aggressively should you try to pick
up a second checker?

If you don't know the answers to these critical questions, you need
this book. In Chapter 4 alone you'll discover the secrets of the
famous "Tino Road Position," an endgame so complicated that - once you
know how to play it - you can take the position from either side and
win. Olympiad Champion Bob Watchel has thoroughly analyzed hundreds of
ace-point game positions to generate a complete picture of what's
really going on in these common yet widely-misplayed situations.

Soft bound, 112 Pages. Level: Advanced and Serious Intermediate.
Available from The GAMMON PRESS. US\$25 + Shipping

[From a flyer from The GAMMON PRESS]

_________________________________________________________________

Learning From the Machine... [booklet]

Learning from the Machine: Robertie vs. TD-GAMMON by Bill Robertie

For years, computer backgammon was a languishing sideshow, with the
best computer programs barely able to rise to the intermediate level.

This all changed in 1991 with the emergence of TD-Gammon, an
experimental neural network program developed at IBM's research labs.
TD-Gammon taught itself to play, starting with a knowledge of the
rules of the game. After playing thousands of games against itself,
the program reached strong Open player level; within months, it became
world-class. TD-Gammon plays like a strong human player in many parts
of the game. In some areas, it plays quite unlike what has generally
been accepted as "correct strategy" leading increasing numbers of top
players to begin to experiment with some of TD-Gammon's unconventional
plays. Here is your chance to see for yourself.

Bill Robertie played two long matches against TD-Gammon as part of its
evaluation process. "Learning from the Machine" is the complete
account of the 31 games of the first match, with annotations by
Robertie.

Soft bound, 56 Pages. Level: All. Available from The GAMMON PRESS.
US\$20 + Shipping

[From a flyer from the GAMMON PRESS]
[Note: This is most likely TD-GAMMON Version 1.0]

_________________________________________________________________

Kit Woolsey's "Tournement Series Backgammon"

In December 1994, The GAMMON PRESS announced its publication of the
first three (of 18) volumes Kit Woolsey's Tournement Backgammon
Series. These are text versions of Kit's instructional Match Qiz
software. There are many diagrams, which means a board is not required
to study the material. The typesetting is elegant. The comments are
elequent.

Book  1:  Joe Sylvester vs. Nack Ballard          150 pages US\$20
Book  2:  Philip Marmorstein vs. Michael Greiner  240 pages US\$25
Book  3:  Mika Lidov vs. Hal Heinrich             220 pages US\$25

_________________________________________________________________

The Backgammon Book

[Authers: Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford]

There are many who will be quick to dismiss _The BG Book_ because it
was written in 1970 and knowledge has come very far since then.

However, I recommend this book to players who are just beginning to
study the game seriously because it offers an excellent overview of
several central features of backgammon thinking and analysis. Although
the anaysis doen't go very FAR, a reader will get clear introductions
to:
* Basic probability (how dice work)
* Pip Counting (the basis for evaluating racing chances)
* Doubling Cube theory (the 25% rule)
* Settlements (useful concept even if you never settle)
* general strategic categories (backgames, etc).

I think this book is a fine place to start, but if you hope to get
anywhere you will need to follow up with some more sophisticated
books. Magriel if you can find it, of course. Dwek's _BG for Profit_
is a good next step, too. Avoid Barclay Cooke's _Paradoxes &
Probabilities_ and _Championship BG_, though, because those books are
wrong in their evaluation of many common positions.

Albert Steg

_________________________________________________________________

Playboy's Book of Backgammon

One of my favorite books on BG is Lewis Deyong's _Playboy's Book of
Backgammon_, becasue he alternates chapters on tactics and strategy
with sections recounting various stories from major tournaments all
over the world : California, Las Vegas, Munich, Athens, Johannesburg,
Beirut.

Reading it, you get a pretty vivid picture of the BG "scene" in the
60's and 70's. You also get some understanding of how Calcutta
Auctions work, and may learn some good anecdotal lessons about the
psychology of the game: steaming, taking insurance, etc.

-- Albert Steg

_________________________________________________________________

Other Books

Other books seeking write-ups:
* Fascinating Backgammon by Antonio Ortega, Edited by Danny
Klienman, forwarded by Carol Joy Cole and Neil Kazaross (English
Version)
* Backgammon For Winners by Bill Robertie. \$6.95 Cardoza Publishing
* Costa Rica 1993 (Wilcox Snellings vs. Mike Senkiewics) by Antonio
Ortega, Max Esquivel, Mario Madrigal, and Neil Kazaross (185 pages
\$35)

Kit Woolsey reviewed this book in the June 95 Chicago Point and
wrote that it contains the most accurate and thorough match
analysis he had ever seen in print.

_________________________________________________________________

Danny Kleinman Books

A list of Danny Kleinman books (Backgammon)

Pages  Price (US\$)
-----  -----------
VISION LAUGHS AT COUNTING with ADVICE TO THE DICELORN    438  \$64
WONDERFUL WORLD OF BACKGAMMON                            132  \$18
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE CHOUETTE                          142  \$20
DOUBLE-SIXES FROM THE BAR                                135  \$19
IS THERE LIFE AFTER BACKGAMMON?                          148  \$21
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM DANCING?                             134  \$19
THE DICE CONQUER ALL                                     228  \$33
HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT BACKGAMMON                      168  \$25
THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT                               142  \$20
... BUT ONLY THE HOGS WIN BACKGAMMONS                    244  \$37
A Backgammon Book For Gabriel.                           144  \$24
The Long Road To Gammon.                                 176  \$32

[Note: Danny will be raising the price of his publications shorty (9507)]

_________________________________________________________________

D5. A LIST OF BACKGAMMON ARTICLES IN SCIENCE AND BUSINESS

[Original list submited by Mika Johnsson] [sorted by date]

Hans Berliner: ``A Program that Plays Backgammon''
SIGART Newsletter No. 54, October 1975

E.B. Keeler, J. Spencer: ``Optimal doubling in Backgammon''
Operations Research Vol. 23 No. 6, November-December 1975

P.J. Orth: ``A Comment on "Optimal Doubling in Backgammon''
Operations Research 24, 1179 (1976)

David Levner: ``Is Brute Force Backgammon Possible ?''
SIGART newsletter No. 58, June 1976

N. Zadeh: ``On Doubling in Tournament Backgammon''
Management Science 23, 986-993 (1977)

N. Zadeh and G.Kobliska: ``On optimal doubling in backgammon''
Management Science 23, 853-858 (1977)

Hans Berliner: ``Backgammon computer program beats world champion''
Artificial intelligence 14 (1980), 205-220

Hans Berliner: ``Computer Backgammon''
Scientific American 243:1, 64-72 (1980)

An on-line summary by Dr. Berliner of his work in ai/games is
found under his name at either:
"http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/misc/mosaic/common/omeg
a/web/frg.txt
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/burks/frg.95

G. Tesauro: ``Neurogammon wins Computer Olympiad.''
Neural computation 1, 321-323 (1989)

G.Tesauro, T.J.Sejnowski: ``A parallel network that learns to play
Backgammon''
Artificial intelligence 39 (1989) 357-390

G. Tesauro, ``Neurogammon: a neural network backgammon program.''
IJCNN Proceedings vol. III, 33-40 (1990).

G. Tesauro, ``Practical issues in temporal difference learning.''
Machine Learning vol. 8, 257-277 (1992).

G. Tesauro, ``TD-Gammon, a self-teaching backgammon program, achieves
master-level play.''
Neural Computation, vol. 6, 215-219 (1994).

G. Tesauro, ``Temporal Difference Learning and TD-Gammon''
Communications of the ACM, Vol.38, No.3, 58-68 (March 1995)

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/~jay/learn-game/systems/gammon.html
Jay Scott's backgammon in his Machine Learning in Games site.

_________________________________________________________________

D6. WHERE DOES ONE PURCHASE BACKGAMMON SUPPLIES AND BOOKS?

The GAMMON PRESS

The GAMMON PRESS (Bill Robertie)
PO Box 294
Arlington, MA
02174
U.S.A.

PHONE:  (617) 641-2091
FAX:    (617) 641-2660

Books, software, video, backgammon sets, precision dice, ++. The
GAMMON PRESS publishes Inside Backgammon, as well as books and
booklets.

_________________________________________________________________

Carol Joy Cole

Carol Joy Cole
3003 Ridgecliffe Dr.
Flint, MI
48532
U.S.A.

(810) 232-9731.

E-mail: carlcole@sils.umich.edu

Books, software, backgammon sets, precision dice, cubes, ++. Carol Joy
Cole is also the editor of the Flint Area Backgammon News.

_________________________________________________________________

The Backgammon Shop

The Backgammon Shop (Backgammon Butikken)
Gersonsvej 25
DK-2900  Hellerup
Denmark

Tel. +45 39 40 06 07
Fax + 45 39 40 01 44
E-mail: erikg@inet.uni-c.dk

_________________________________________________________________

Danny Kleinman

Danny Kleinman
5312 1/2 Village Green
Los Angeles, CA
90016
U.S.A.

Read Kleinman, or rely on dice.

Books on Backgammon, Bridge, O'Hell, and life.

_________________________________________________________________

Dansk Backgammon Forlag

Dansk Backgammon Forlag (Danish Backgammon Press)
Gersonsvej 25
dk-2900 Hellerup
Denmark
phone: +45 39 40 06 07

or contact Erik Gravgarrd at erikg@inet.uni-c.dk

Books, sets, dice and generel backgammon equipment. You can get all
the modern books there, plus some of the old ones from the seventies,
among them `Backgammon' (Magriel). Also some software.

_________________________________________________________________

Crisloid

Crisloid INC.
P.O. Box 2205
Providence, Rhode Island
02905

tel: (401) 461-7200
fax: (401) 785-3750

They require a minimum order of \$100 to obtain wholesale prices.

_________________________________________________________________

Larry Strommen

L. A. Strommen
Indianapolis, IN 46226

Tel: (317) 545-0224
E-mail: diceman@indy.net

Precision Dice and JellyFish sales & support, Backgammon Position
Analyzer.
_________________________________________________________________

John Rather

A source for hard-to-find BG books.

John C. Rather
--------------

Old & Rare Books
P.O. Box 273
Kensington, MD 20895  USA
Telephone: (301) 942-0515

John is a longtime book collector and dealer who specializes in hard-
to-find out-of-print BG books. He usually has a copy or more of
Magriel's ``Backgammon'' (aka ``The Bible''), for sale at a fair
price. A carefully annotated book price list is available upon
request. John's other book specialities are chess, magic and
mountaineering.
_________________________________________________________________

D7. AN INDEX OF BACKGAMMON RESOURCES AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET.

By Site:

rec.games.backgammon
The backgammon newsgroup. Articles, problems, and information
about the game of backgammon are discussed daily in this group.

fraggel65.mdstud.chalmers.se 4321
The First Internet Backgammon Server (FIBS)

http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/bg-faq.html
The backgammon faq.

http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/faq.html
Mirror of the backgammon FAQ in the UK. Thanks Stephen!

http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/main.html
Stephen Turner's World Wide Web backgammon page.

http://www.oslonett.no/home/swelle/NBgF.html
WWW page of the Norwegian Backgammon Federation.

http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/nebc/nebc.html

http://baugi.ifi.uio.no:80/~paalf/BG
Paal Fladstrups Index of Backgammon files.

http://www.ifi.uio.no/~paalf/backgammon.html
Paal's Backgammon Page.

http://www.utu.fi/harrastus/bg/
BACKGAMMONSIVU WWW page in the Finnish language

http://hdirisc9.kfk.de/www/mata/mata93/mat0m6/bg/bg.html
Marco Lau's Backgammon-Seite (German and English)

http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/mike_quinn/fibs.htm
Michael Quinn's Guide to FIBS.

http://www.dknet.dk/~kring/backgam.html
Asger Kring's (Albatross) backgammon page.

http://www.cybercom.net/~damish/backgammon/fibshelp.html
Mark Damish's FIBS help document.

http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/staff/personal_pages/eggertd/backgammon.html
David Eggert's page, which includes announcements and results for his
FIBS tournaments.

http://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~sret1/backgammon/clubs/
Stephen Turner's compilation of backgammon clubs around the world.

http://www.gammon.com
Patti Beadles backgammon page: A central repository for backgammon
related information, and Patti's personal playground.
FIBS T-shirt info.

http://www.io.org/~takeith/bg/glossary.html
Backgammon glossary.

http://www.msen.com/~lwp/BGglossary.html
Spider's BG glossary.

http://www.phil.uni-sb.de/fun/jargon/backgammon.html
Jargon File 3.0.0 - backgammon

http://sg3.organ.su.se/~tsz/equity.html
Equity Tables for different gammon rates and player strengths.

http://forum.swarthmore.edu/~jay/learn-game/systems/gammon.html
Jay Scotts machine learning in games web site.

Back issues of the FIBS Rating Reports.

http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~banks/fibs/test.html
Back issues of the FIBS Rating Reports.

http://www.yahoo.com/Recreation/Games/Board_Games/Backgammon/
A list of backgammon resources around the net.

http://www.mi.aau.dk/~mortend/elite.html
Morten Daugbjerg's homepage, which includes the bearoff program BGOUT

http://www.io.org/~takeith/bg/mpd.html
"Backgammon Match Play Doubling Strategy" By Tom Keith.

http://www.io.org/~takeith/bg/met.html
"How to Compute A Match Equity Table" By Tom Keith.

http://158.38.60.54/webcon/bgframes.html
A web page bearoff analyzer (BOA)

http://webcom.com/~markplag/backgammonpage.html
Mark's (A differant Mark) Backgammon Page. Upgrade MacFibs to include

http://www.outland.com/OutlandBackgammon.html
Outland Backgammon

http://realbeer.com/realbeer/games/beergammon.html
Games - BEERgammon

http://www.pmms.cam.ac.uk/~gjm11/programs/main.html#race3
Gareth McCaughan: programsGareth McCaughan: programs (Bearoff program)

http://www.pmms.cam.ac.uk/~gjm11/bgm/
Some Backgammon Things.

ftp://resudox.net/pub/pc/windows/games/fibsw/html/
FIBS/W web page.

__________________________________________________________________________

ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/kw/kwoolsey/gammon/matchqiz/
matchqiz.exe      Match Qiz demo for DOS. Self extracting.

ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/pa/pattib/backgammon/
kvj_*.ps.gz      Kit Woolsey vs. Jeremy Bagai match. Postscript format.
Typeset by jrichter@aldebaran.cs.uni-sb.de
(Joerg Richter)

ftp://ftp.cybercom.net/pub/users/damish/backgammon/
File Name    Type Notes
------------ ---- -----------------------------------------------------
00-index.txt    A  File that contains this message.
bg-faq-ptr      A  Location of the backgammon FAQ (ASCII version).
bg-faq.ascii    A  ASCII version of the backgammon FAQ
bg-faq.html     A  Hypertext version of FAQ. Read online, or save from
bg-matches      D  Directory containing backgammon matches.
bg-rules.html   A  Backgammon Rules in formated hyper-text.
bg_1.0.tar.gz   B  Joerg Richter's LaTeX style & font for documenting
backgammon positions and games.
blot            D  A New [9511] Backgammon program for DOS.
boa_v11.exe     B  Bearoff program. Gives cubeless probability of
winning, and best move for up to 15 checkers on
each side in the home board. Shareware.
bqdemo.zip      B  Walter Trices Bearoff Quizmaster Demo. (MS-DOS)
exbgdemo.sea    B  Demo of Expert Backgammon for the Macintosh.
Change type to "APPL", creater to "aust"
would a .hqx (binhex) be better?
fibshelp.html   A  Formated HTML of FIBS help screens. AUG 94
kw_jb.tar.Z     B  Kit Woolsey vs. Jeremy Bagai match. Text version.
matstrat.zip    B  MS-DOS demo of 'Match Strategist'.
pubeval.tar.Z   B  Gerry Tesauros backgammon 'benchmark' function.
race.tar.Z      B  2 bearoff programs: 'race2' & 'race4'. No makefile.
rfibsdos.zip    B  Robin Davies DOS port of rfibs and sfibs.

ftp://figment.csee.usf.edu/pub/misc/
tiny-fugue        text interface to FIBS.

ftp://itekiris.kjemi.unit.no/pub
ftp://www.abekrd.co.uk/pub/fibs/
xfibs08          X interface to FIBS.

ftp://shuksan.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/tkfibs/
TkFibs           X Tk/Tcl interface to FIBS.

ftp://resudox.net/pub/pc/windows/games/fibsw/
fibsw            MS Windows interface to FIBS.

ftp://ftp.cd.chalmers.se/pub/xibc/
xibc-X.XX.tar.Z   X Tcl/Tk/Expect interface to FIBS.

ftp summex-aim.stanford.edu   /info-mac/game/brd/mac-fibs-10.hqx
MacFIBS           Mac interface to fibs.

ftp ftp.statslab.cam.ac.uk /pub/users/sret1/backgammon/
bg2fig            Board description to fig converter.
matches           Backagmmon matches.
printmatch        FIBS `oldmoves' to ascii bg boards converter.
psboards          --> bg2fig

ftp ftp.irb.uni-hannover.de /pub/spitz/bg/
bg.tar.gz          FIBS recording/playback tools.

ftp://figment.csee.usf.edu/pub/misc/FIBS_client/
ftp://figment.csee.usf.edu/pub/misc/FIBS_client/
ms vs. Snoopy match annotated by Kit Woolsey, TD-Gammon, and JellyFish.
ASCII and postscript versions. The postscript version looks great!

FIBS oldmoves to TeX converter by Peter Fankhauser.
Requires Joerg Richters bg.tex package.

Peter Fankhauser's collection of problems from rec.games.backgammon.

ftp://ftp.cica.indiana.edu/pub/win3/games/
A weak shareware backgammon program for windows.

http://www.austin.ibm.com/pspinfo/funtdgammon.html
TD-Gammon, the program, for OS/2

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Section E: MISC.

E1. WHAT OTHER GAMES CAN BE PLAYED ON A BACKGAMMON BOARD?
* Acey-Deucy
* TricTrac
* Jacquet
* Moultezim
* Plakoto (Portas)
* Fevka (spelling?)
* Narde
* Gioul (Turkish variation)
* Nackgammon
* Cubeless, one point backgammon games.
* Many versions of `diceless' backgammon.
* Hyper-Backgammon
* On some boards, you can flip it over, and play checkers or chess.
:-)

_________________________________________________________________

Hyper-Backgammon

Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
From: mau@world.std.com (Michael A Urban)
Subject: Re: 3-Checker Hyper Backgammon
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1993 02:23:24 GMT

Each side starts with 3 checkers on their respective 24, 23, and 22
points. The cube is in play. Jacoby rule in effect. Matches will start
at 7 points and work their way up in later rounds. All other normal
backgammon rules apply.
_________________________________________________________________

Nackgammon

From: kleef@cs.utwente.nl (Rolf Kleef) at SMTP-Post-Office 10/15/93

Nackgammon: The same as backgammon, but with a different starting
position: instead of five men on both your midpoint and 6-point, you
just put four there. The remaining two men end up at the 23-point:

13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
+------------------------------------------+ X:
| O           X    |   |  X           O  O |
| O           X    |   |  X           O  O |
| O           X    |   |  X                |
| O                |   |  X                |
|                  |   |                   |
v|                  |BAR|                   |
|                  |   |                   |
| X                |   |  O                |
| X           O    |   |  O                |
| X           O    |   |  O           X  X |
| X           O    |   |  O           X  X |
+------------------------------------------+ O:
12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

This was invented by Nack Ballard (hence the name), to force his bg
students to practice positional play. Games tend to be much longer,
since you can't easily start a race with a 65 or 66 opening-phase
roll. In July this year, we hosted the first European Championship
Nackgammon during our series of Kater Cup tournaments. Teun Ruardy
from Groningen, The Netherlands became the first EC Nackgammon!

[What are the cube and gammon rules for Nackgammon?]

_________________________________________________________________

Tapa

Subject: Tapa (yet another kind of backgammon)

The word "tapa" means "bottle cap" and it's an apt name because one
seeks to block out the opponent's pieces. The starting position is as
shown below

13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
+------------------------------------------+
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
O     v|                  |BAR|                   |
moves    |                  |   |                XXX|
this    |                  |   |                XXX|
way     |                  |   |                XXX|
|                  |   |                XXX|
|                  |   |                XXX|
+------------------------------------------+
12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

The move direction and game objective are the same as in BG. There is
one important difference:
Blots (single men) are not taken out when hit. Rather, the opponent's
man rests on top of the blot and thus forms a point. Points can also
be formed in the usual way, by placing two or more of your men at the
same slot.

If you leave a blot at your home slot (1 or 24) and it gets covered,
you certainly lose a backgammon (unless your opponent has done the
same, in which case it's a tie).

A long doublet (5 and 5 or 6 and 6) in the initial stage of the game
can be very useful because usually the opponent would have some blots
in their home quadrant and you may cover them. The closer this happens
to their home slot, the better, because the later you will free the
blot when you are bearing off.

Tapa is very much a game of strategy. Even if you get caught very
close to your home row, you may be able to force the opponent to free
it by blocking enough of his men, so that he doesn't have any other
move. During most of the game it better to move SLOWER rather than
faster. Primes are not necessarily useful, eg when the opponent has
enough space for short moves behind the prime.

If nobody gets caught in the early stage, the two players try to
advance their men in "almost primed" formations. Then the
passing-through of the two armies can be a rather dramatic clash.

Tapa is quite popular in Bulgaria. In fact people play three games
--BG, Gul Bara, and Tapa-- in a row. The cube isn't used and there are
no backgammons (although there are gammons, called "mars"). I think
these games (or at least the names) have come to Bulgaria from Turkey.
Some people (esp. the older ones) use Turkish names for the rolls, eg
"shesh-besh" is "6 and 5". I'd say backgammon is the favorite
recreation of Bulgarian pensioners.

Gul Bara is similar to Narde (the actuall name is Nardy where "y"
signifies the Russian letter "ery" as in "byk" (bull)), but double
rolls are very powerful, eg if you roll 1 and 1 then you get to move 4
ones, 4 twos, 4 threes, ..., 4 sixes.

_________________________________________________________________

Narde

From: zweije@wi.leidenuniv.nl (Vincent Zweije)

In Kazachstan, and probably Russia too, people play a game called
"Narde" on a backgammon board. It is also played with 15 checkers
each, in the following starting position (point numbering is taken
from backgammon).

O's side

13 14 15 16 17 18       19 20 21 22 23 24
+------------------------------------------+
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
|                  |   |                OOO|
v|                  |BAR|                   |^
|XXX               |   |                   |
|XXX               |   |                   |
|XXX               |   |                   |
|XXX               |   |                   |
|XXX               |   |                   |
+------------------------------------------+
12 11 10  9  8  7        6  5  4  3  2  1

X's side

Do to language problems I never got a formal introduction to the game.
I'll have to write down the rules out of my head. It is played like
backgammon, with the following exceptions:

1: Both players move in the same direction.  X moves from 12 down to
1, then to 24 and down to 13, and finally off; O moves from 24 down
to 13, then to 12 and down to 1, and finally off.

2: A point is already made with one checker on it.  There is no
hitting in the game.

3: Doublets are not special.  If you roll 3-3, you get to move a
checker three pips twice.  Possibly the same checker.

Bearing off is like backgammon. Moving is mandatory when possible. I
don't know whether, like in backgammon, you have to move the higher of
the dice if you have to choose. It never happened during actual play.

The game is almost fully one of chance. The main thing is to take care
not to get blocked by a six-point prime (already made with six
checkers in a row!).

[ There seems to be quite a few games with this starting postion,
going the same direction, where 1 blot is a blocker, and there is no
hitting. The rules vary with how many may be in a row, doubles, and
starting criteria. It seems to be a game where 'blocking' is the
predonimant strategy. Some games have double games, triple games, quad
games, depending upon what quadrant the opponent has his remaining
checkers in. I've never seen this played in the USA. ...Mark ]

_________________________________________________________________

Diceless Backgammon

From: igor@krest.kharkov.ukraine.ussr (Igor)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: Re: Diceless Backgammon?
Date: 27 Mar 92 00:48:51 GMT
Organization: Society of connoiseurs of female beauty

In fact, there's a version of backgammon, which is much more popular
than regular bg in USSR, especially in Azerbajdzhan and Uzbekistan.
Main features are following:
* both players go same direction ( namely counterclockwise )
* starting position is different
* you're not allowed to hit ( which changes strategy a lot).

And, as far as I know, there are tournaments, where people play this
version without dices, i.e. calling their rolls. Consequently, there
exist time control in this tournaments.

_________________________________________________________________

Acey-deucy

In this game all the men start off the board. They enter and move
around the board in the same way as men sent home in regular
backgammon. In other words, the white men enter in black's home board
and move around through black's outer board and white's outer board
until all are gathered in white's home board; then white can start to
bear them off. Black enters his men in the white home board and moves
around in the same manner.

Rules are the same as for backgammon, except that you can move any man
you want to at any time, whether or not you have men to bring in. In
addition, the roll of 1-2 -- acey-deucy -- is an especially valuable
roll. You begin by playing your ace-deuce. Then you play any number
four times (in other words, you pick any double you wish). Then you
get an extra roll. and if this extra roll is also 1-2 you get the same
extras with it.

Early game strategy in acey-deucy is to try to establish advanced
points as quickly as you can, and if possible also establish adjacent
points as base for a prime. If both sides develop primes right smack
up against one another, the advantage lies with the prime that is
to break his first, he will probably win the game; if he can hold his
prime longer, he almost surely will win.
Credit: The Backgammon Book, Oswald Jacoby/John Crawford

My own comments: Acey-deucy is a fun game, with a much greater element
of luck or chance than regular backgammon. 1-2 rolls are deadly. You
are never out-of-it right to the end. The pace is fast and furious (at
least compared to regular backgammon -- which, incidentally, I still
prefer, but Acey-deucy makes a nice change of pace once in a while).
One key point of strategy -- block your opponent from a play of 1 or 2
if you can. This opportunity only occasionally presents itself, but
watch for it. If you can't play your lowly 1-2, you lose the bonus
double and extra roll.

Acey-Deucy typed/submitted by Peter Nickless
(nickless@ccs.carleton.ca)

_________________________________________________________________

One Point Matches

This variant is played the same as `regular' backgammon with two
exceptions; the cube is not used, and gammons/backgammon don't exist.
This often leads to very strategicaly played games, where a back-game
is more of an option than in the regular version since staying back
forever never leads to losing more than one point. Since all games are
played to to completion, `slime vigorish' to turn a game around
suddenly occurs more frequently since you cannot cube your opponent
out.

Why play `one point matches'? Well, similar games occur all of the
time in tournament play. Double match point, and crawford to an even
score are examples.

One point matches have been labled the `Crack' of backgammon at the
New England Backgammon Club (NEBC), and the opium of the game by
others.

_________________________________________________________________

Feuga

From: sheyn@cs.bu.edu (Igor Sheyn)
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Subject: Re: Greek Backgammon
Date: 4 May 1995 14:10:31 GMT

OK, here's the attempt to put down a complete set of rule for the game
called feuga in Greek.

Equipment: Backgammon board, 15 checkers for each player, 2 pairs of
dice ( we play it with 1 pair, but let's keep it to bg as close to
possible )

Initial checkers setup: Each player has all of his checker on the same
point.

24 23 22 21 20 19  18 17 16 15 14 13
X
X
X
X
15

15
O
O
O
O
1  2  3  4  5  6   7  8  9 10 11 12

Direction: Both players move counter clock-wise. Using numeration
above, O moves from 1 to 19-24 quater, which is his home. X moves from
13 to 24 and then continues 1 to 7-12 quater, which is his home.

Goal: Bring your men home and bear them off as in backgammon.

Main difference from backgammon: Hitting is not a part of a game,
hence the point is considered made when there's only 1 checker on it (
no blots and slotting in this game ).

Various aspects: the initial point for each player ( 13 for X, 1 for O
in the setup above ) is called "head". A player is allowed to move
only 1 checker from his head per roll. If he can't obey this rule on
any given roll, he can't play his roll fully. Exception: if your 1st
roll of the game is 6-6 or 4-4, you're allowed to play 2 checkers off

Priming: there's one restriction on building a 6prime. You can build a
6prime only provided there's at least one opposing checker ahead of
your prime. E.g., if you want to build your prime from 1 to 6 as O, X
has to have at least 1 checker anywhere from 7 to 12. This rule is to
prevent trivial strategy of building 6prime right in the beginning and
then just rolling it home.

Gammon: Gammon is counted in same way as in BG. Backgammons do not
count ( as far as I know ).

Cube: No cube is used ( this can be easily fixed though ).

If u have any questions or if u think I left smth out, please let me
know.

Igor
_________________________________________________________________

Greek/Turkish variation called ?

Subject: Re: Greek Backgammon

As taught to me by my uncle (who is a Greek):

Setup: All 15 of your men start on your 24 point (farthest point from

Initially: Each player rolls 1 die, whoever rolls the highest uses
both dice to move. Play alternates with each player rolling two dice.

Movement and bearing off is the same as standard backgammon. The big
difference in Greek backgammon is that you never 'hit' an opponent's
checker and send it to the bar. Instead, you 'trap' the checker under
your own. Your opponent is not allowed to move his checker until you
uncover it. In addition, the trapped checker acts as one of your own
to form a blot (ie. equivalent to two checkers of your own colour on a
point).

Because of the trapping rule, if you manage to trap an opponent's
checker in your bearoff quadrant, you can pretty much force a gammon,
unless you get trapped yourself and are forced to break the trap
first. Also, backgammons are much more common than in regular
backgammon.
_________________________________________________________________

E2. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A BETTER PLAYER?

[Suggestions/articles from ALL levels sought for this space]
_________________________________________________________________

[Edited from a message about proper cube handling. ...Mark]

Always play backgammon for affordable but meaningful stakes. This is
surprisingly important. If you play "just for fun" you'll take doubles
"to see how they'll turn out" and win some of those games anyway,
giving yourself incorrect reinforcement. Likewise you'll drop doubles
you should take because "you dont' feel like playing it out." If
something is riding on the game, you're much less likely to do that.
In short, it hones the senses and makes you think about the cube all
the time. There is also definite penalties and rewards for correct
cube action.

Practice practice practice.

-- michael j zehr

_________________________________________________________________

I think the first step in becoming a good player is to realize what a
game backgammon is. Many people think they're unlucky when they lose,
and don't realize that it is actually also a game of skill.

The first thing I learned from backgammon was to lose, even from the
most incredible positions. You shouldn't spend your energy whining

Other than that, it's simple to describe how to become a good
backgammonplayer: Study, and read all books you can get your hand on.
If you go to a club or a tournament, watch the good players. One of my
friends did that a lot when he started. Also, don't be afraid to ask
something like that. Most of the strong players are very friendly when

You can also record matches. This can be matches between two good
players, or you can have ask a friend to record one of your matches.
There's a big difference in what you can learn from the former
compared to the latter.

I played a tournament in Chicago in '92 and recorded a couple of
matches, one between Rick Barabino and Dean Muench. Afterwards I went
through the match myself, and noted the plays I would certairnly not
and he explained it in a very logical way to me. He asked me which
flight i played in, I answeared 'Intermediate', and he said 'You won't
be that for much longer if you keep studying like that!' I was also
lucky to get an extremely interesting game in that match.

If you get one of your friends to record your match, you get a chance
to analyse your own play. This can particularly helpfull if you do it
a while after the match has played, to see how (if) your game has
evolved.

-- Asger Kring

_________________________________________________________________

[...]
But a must if you want to reach a high level of backgammon skill is to
build a positions database. Study positions, and remember as many
benchmark positions as you can. The most costly mistakes are bad
middlegame cube actions, and the more benchmarks you have available,
the better your equity estimates can be, and the more accurate will be
your related match-equity calculations. Also, the less time you have
to spend grunting and sweating over equities, the more time you'll
have for figuring out your opponent--and you'll just have more energy,
which is at a premium in long tournaments or money sessions.

--Marty Storer

_________________________________________________________________

Just study and play. What else is there?

-- Roy Friedman
_________________________________________________________________

[...]
One last thing: someone remarked that the best way to learn bg was to
play and observe on FIBS. I might argue. Get a hold of the matches
Heinrich sells. Go through them. Many times. Roll out positions. Try
and see the line of thought behind a play. Second only to playing
countless hours, those matches were some of the most useful studying
I've done.

-- Kim Scheinberg
_________________________________________________________________

Exerpts from `A Talk with Paul Weaver' by Walter Trice from `Anchors'
(The New England BACKGAMMON CLUB Newsletter) Oct 1994

[Paul Weaver was rated number 1 on Kent Goulding's International
rating list in June 1992, and June 1993.]

[...]
WT: What do you have to say to the up-and-coming intermediate who has
decided that he is absolutely determined to win the 1996 World Cup?
What would he have to do?

PW: Well there's no way that he can ENSURE winning it without
cheating. Even if you're the best player in the world the chances that
you're going to win this tournament are actually quite small.

WT: Okay, let's just say that he wants to give himself a damn good
shot at it.

PW: Well, first of all he needs to be in excellent shape physically.
You need to have a lot of stamina. If you're in good enough shape to
go out and run 5 miles a day, then you're probably in good enough
shape to play. Stamina is a very important ingredient of success in
this kind of tournament, and if you look at Sylvester and Horan, both
of them have a lot of stamina.

In addition to stamina, technical knowledge is important, so how do
the books including Kit Woolsey's MATCHQIZ material, and start doing
all you can to analyze positions and roll out positions. When I say
roll out positions, I don't just mean feed them to your computer, I
mean sit down and move the checkers yourself. When you roll something
out yourself you learn an awful lot more than just the raw numbers.
You get an insight into the variations that develop in the position,
and you start figuring out for yourself what checker strategies work
and what strategies don't. You see fluky ways that you can lose the
game, and when you start seeing them over and over again, you realize
that maybe they aren't so fluky and that you should find ways to
prevent them. So my advice to any intermediate who wants to improve
his game would be to get your hands dirty and do some work and roll
out positions. When I did this my game began to improve immensely.

WT: You've certainly rolled out a lot of positions. How many is it at
this point?

PW: Well, the number has got to be over a thousand.

WT: Do you think it's important to actually play?

PW: Oh sure. Rolling out positions by itself is not going to make you
a good player. It's important to play, and also to play the strongest
competition available. To play in the toughest tournaments that you
can, and to play heads-up sessions with the strongest players that are
available. Play for enough to make it meaningful.

WT: So it's read, roll out, play. Plus jog.

PW: More than jog -- I would say run. Get yourself in good shape. Diet
and rest are also important.

WT: How much time do you devote to backgammon during the average week?
Is it like a full-time job?

PW: Well, I suppose it is. It varies -- sometimes very little,
sometimes as much as 40 or 50 hours. But lately my life has changed
and with all the travelling I'm doing and being in Brazil, I don't
spend nearly as much time rolling out positions. And I've decided that
my time has come to stop rolling things out and start playing the game
for real. But I constantly review my material. I have close to 1000
reference positions.

WT: So you don't see yourself having any more major improvements in

PW: No! Not by a long shot. For one thing, the computer software... I
believe that within a few years someone is going to come up with a
piece of software that will nail down the equity of any backgammon
position to within 1/100 of a point. It's conceivable that it has

WT: You think maybe there's a perfect backgammon machine out there?

PW: Not just one. Enough different people are working on it that
there's a good chance that this thing will be solved by more than one
person. And since a lot of people are working on it it won't be kept a
secret for long. And when this tool becomes available I'll learn a
lot, for example about backgames. I'll learn whether it's true that
different match scores will affect your opening plays and responses.
We'll get all the openings and responses nailed down, and pretty much
all the 3rd roll things will be committed to memory.
[...]

_________________________________________________________________

[...]
What is it that makes the better player better? It is his ability to
play through a full game making fewer mistakes than the weaker player.

[...]

From a posting to rec.games.backgammon by Kit Woolsey

_________________________________________________________________

IMHO, FIBS is the single best learning took for backgammon right now.
Hang around, play, watch better players... you can't help but improve

_________________________________________________________________

I have personally developed my skills in backgammon partly by reading
the available literature, but also by playing fairly high stakes money
games.

One of the single most developing activities has been my money game
session with another Danish player. We have invoked our own very
special rule that sharpens your game considerably and hence improves

The rule is:
In case of any cube action -
Any player has the option of demanding the other player to
accept a proposition to be played five times.

For instance:
Peter doubles me. I drop. Peter thinks that I should have
accepted. Now he can demand to be paid one point five times,
each time setting up the same position with him accepting i.e.
he owns the cube on 2.

With this rule in effect you have to consider any cube action much
more in depth, because you also have to consider the other side. And
also there will be no "cheap" drops where you might want to "play it
safe" on the score sheet. A drop that really is a take can prove very
costly indeed.

For my friend and myself it has been a very efficient learning tool as
well as a great gambling add-on to normal backgammon.

--- Erik Gravgaard

_________________________________________________________________

While I'd agree that watching good players is a useful part of
learning, I doubt that there is any substitute for playing many many
many games. Most really strong players are people who spend many hours
at a (real) backgammon table, playing for \$ both head up & in
chouettes. Reading good books can help a great deal, but the knowledge
in them doesn't really become "your own" until you have put it into
uses over the course of hundreds/thousands of games. Because there are
many different criteria (racing chances, shot equity, timing, prime
architecture, etc.) to bring to bear on any given play, it is
difficult to learn how to the *weight* of the various considerations
important in a given situation. After reading the fundamental books,
and perhaps taking notes on the bits you find "new & useful," I'd
spend 5-10 hours playing to one hour studying. Write down interesting
positions that arise when you play and study them, perhaps rolling
them out by hand later. Play in chouettes as often as possible, in
which you are neither the strongest nor weakest player. Learn from
your betters, and earn from your lessers. Wonderful as it may be in
many ways, I still think FIBS is a "second best" playing option -- you
just don't get as many games per hour played. -- Albert Steg
_________________________________________________________________

E3. KENT GOULDING'S INTERNATIONAL BACKGAMMON RATING LIST

Kent Goulding maintains the International Backgammon Rating list for
Backgammon. Copies are available for \$5 from:
Kent Goulding
9201 Marseille Drive
Potomac MD
20854
_________________________________________________________________

E4. MISC.

Apparently it is possible to receive and post to newsgroups via
E-mail. Send mail to netnews@db.stanford.edu Put "help" in your
message. You will receive a reply explaining how you can subscribe to
all Usenet messages that contain a particular keyword or list of
keywords in them.

_________________________________________________________________

Netnews@stanford is good for reading Usenet by mail.

To post to rgb you need the UTexas mail-to-news gateway send mail to
"rec-games-backgammon@cs.utexas.edu and this will post to r.g.b.

_________________________________________________________________

From: lwp@conch.msen.com
Newsgroups: rec.games.backgammon
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 09:42:16 -0500

This is a test post. If this appears in r.g.b., I have found a working
gateway for posting news via email. See my backgammon page at
http://www.msen.com/~lwp/bg.html for links which allow people to
read r.g.b. without a news server and to post to r.g.b. via this
gateway.

-- Spider

_________________________________________________________________

NNNN [End of backgammon-faq]
```