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Bill Robertie's Blog

Some product reviews are hard to write. Do I like this product? Do I really like this product? Can I wholeheartedly recommend it, or do I have a few lingering reservations?

Fortunately, eXtreme Gammon (or ‘XG’ as it’s known in the backgammon world) presents no such problems. It’s the best backgammon software available, and if you’re a serious player (or aspire to be one) you have to have it. Period.

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Posted: September 12, 2017 | In Backgammon Software

The Gammon Press is pleased to announce the publication of Kit Woolsey’s new book, The Backgammon Encyclopedia, Volume 2. This new book builds on Kit’s work in Volume 1 by examining new doubling reference positions in these 10 categories:

1) Early Advantage
2) The Semi-Blitz
3) One Man Back
4) On the Bar
5) Containment
6) Hitting a Blot
7) Escape
8) Priming
9) Crunching
10) Racing

The Backgammon Encyclopedia, Volume 2 is available now. You can order it from the Backgammon Books section on this website. The price is $30 plus shipping.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 2.

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Posted: June 7, 2017 | In Backgammon Books

The modern backgammon boom continues apace, with new players, tournaments and clubs appearing on a regular basis. New players require new books and new equipment, and thankfully suppliers are appearing to meet the need.

I recently received for review a set from one of the newest suppliers, Bone.Club. The company is located in the U.K. but sells worldwide through its website, https://www.boneclub.co.uk. I picked a color scheme called ‘A Kind of Blue’ (blue, black, and yellow), but several other color schemes are available, such as Purple Rain (red, blue, and purple), Green Dream (green, black, and orange), and others. The colors are all sharp and vivid, which makes for a very impressive-looking set. Here’s a picture of the board I received, showing the striking colors.

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Posted: April 6, 2017 | In Backgammon Equipment

The backgammon boom continues apace, with new tournaments popping up on the calendar on a regular basis. Two new tournaments appeared in just the past month: the Boston Open (Feb. 23-26) and the Viking Classic in Bloomington, MN (Mar. 9-12). Both were well attended, with 82 players in Boston and 83 players in Minnesota, very strong numbers for first-time events.

To help kick off the Boston tournament, I created a quiz contest for Sunday morning, with no entry fee and a $100 prize to the winner. Marty Storer of New Hampshire took first place with an outstanding score of 17/20, closely followed by Dennis Culpepper of Virginia with 16/20.

The collection of problems in the quiz is a little unusual. There aren’t any weird, tricky positions or difficult cube decisions based on match score considerations. It’s just a group of pretty normal positions where the choice is between two or three reasonable-looking plays. The idea here is to understand where you want to put your checkers when there’s nothing decisive to do this turn.

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Posted: March 15, 2017 | In Backgammon Quizzes

In the last blog post we looked at some hitting problems in the early game. In this post we’ll look at a couple of more examples where hitting is one possibility.

When you have a chance to hit on your opponent’s side of the board in the early game, it’s usually a pretty easy choice. Gaining a lot of ground in the race, advancing your back checkers, and taking away at least half your opponent’s roll are so important that such hits are usually routinely correct, and even when wrong are rarely wrong by much.

Hitting on your own side of the board is more problematic. Merely hitting is no longer enough of a rationale. Here are some of the other questions you need to ask:

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Posted: December 26, 2016 | In Backgammon Problems: Early Game

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