2012-07-30 17:34:10 UTC
Introduction by Sam Sloan
This is a basic beginner's book on Backgammon. In spite of the claims
on the cover here of being the last word on the subject, this is
actually the first word.
The author gives 50 problems and their solutions. There are
explanations of the reasons why the solutions are correct. This book
is a good two to three hour read. I wish I had this book when I was
learning backgammon. It would have saved a lot of time.
Do not expect to find any advanced computer analysis here. It was
written before computers had been invented. Ishi Press has brought
back this long been out of print book because most of the current
books are so advanced that they will discourage anybody thinking of
taking up the game. We have checked the solutions to the 50 problems
in this book and they are all still correct.
I would recommend this book as suitable for a gift to a friend who
wants to learn how to play. The friend will be lured into thinking
that Backgammon is an easy game.
In reality, backgammon is one of the few games that has defied
computer analysis. Nowadays there are a dozen chess playing programs
that can easily defeat the World Champion at chess. However, no
program has solved backgammon. Some programmers have made claims that
their programs can beat humans, but these claims gave yet to be
verified through independent testing.
It would seem that backgammon is a much easier and simpler game than
chess. However, this is not true. The complications of backgammon are
deceptive. Most chess games end in 40 moves. A backgammon game can
easily last thousands of moves. The possibilities are literally
The average chess position has 27 legal moves. The average backgammon
position has more moves than that, plus the games can last much
The biggest advantage to backgammon is you have a chance to win. A
player can study chess for his entire life and still have no chance at
all, not even one chance in a million, to defeat a grandmaster at
chess. However, a player of only average ability would, after reading
and studying this book alone, have some chance to beat the World
Champion in a ten point match at backgammon.
There are a great many backgammon players who think they are experts
at this game who are actually quite weak.
This factor enables many players to make their living at backgammon.
Only a very few of the strongest chess players in the United States
are able to make their living playing chess. However, there are
hundreds perhaps thousands of backgammon players who are able to earn
a good living at this game.
San Rafael California
July 30, 2012