ARTICLE #1 [First published in January 1987 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]

Backgammon: A Battlefield

Backgammon is a highly tactical game involving percentages, probabilities, and the element of threat. It is a visual game where a difficult position may have more than one “obvious” solution depending on how the position is perceived and whether emotions are clouding one’s perception.

Gamblers will love the action; but unlike poker, they will have difficulty in muscling wins by bluffing, for the game is always on the table. Chess players who enjoy the skill of maneuvering and trapping must learn to accept the unpredictable changes that occur due to the dice. A psychologist may enjoy the unpenned emotions that surface from usually calm people during the course of a game.

Pitfalls—Confused Logic Is Worse Than No Logic

As you start to learn backgammon, you will make a lot of assumptions and put them away as rules. Be very careful before you reach any conclusions because if they are inaccurate, you will have problems trying to correct them later on.

Try to examine and reexamine your “truths” and keep them open to revision. Many players have bad learning habits; they constantly jump to “cast in stone” conclusions. Once a player fails to question his own thought process, he will absorb so many false ideas that the good plays will be difficult to separate from the bad ones.

It’s amazing how some players are able to adapt to their false assumptions in creative ways. That’s the intrigue of a game where “perfection” is unobtainable. Perhaps the measure of success is a question of how well you can deal with the distortions (both visual and emotional) that are a part of your game.

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