ARTICLE #14 [First published in February 1988 Chicagoland Backgammon Newsletter]

Playing Well

The popular impression of past glory as an accurate assessment for future performance creates a status barrier between backgammon players. We have all heard quotes like, “He’s a great player and I’m only average. What chance do I have?”

This is a self-defeating attitude. This kind of mentality makes a player over-access his opponent’s ability and start to equate a poor position to his possibility of winning a match. By doing this, he will give his opponent even more of an advantage.

The dice can usually neutralize your opponent’s superior skills faster than most exotic plays you might try. If the dice are equal, you should lose to a stronger player, but not at the large ratio you might imagine. 67% to 33% is probably the widest margin of disadvantage that you will ever have against you, as long as your own desperate plays don’t make things worse. Besides, the law of averages doesn’t say that your opponent will win the first 67 matches. A third of the time, you’ll win the “first” match, and that’s really all that matters.

Fortune Cookie
Your own weakness is your opponent’s strength.

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