ARTICLE #36 [First published in June 1991 Chicago Point]

The Specter of an Advantage

How often I’ve heard that the justification for a play (or the lack of it) was based on the “opponent factor” and very little else. There appears to be a presumption that tailoring one’s game to the individual is advantageous and therefore necessary. How much truth is there in this supposition?

The entire presumption seems illogical from my point of view. A typical analysis such as “I would have cubed a good player, but my opponent is so bad that I rolled on to avoid giving him any lucky chances,” has implications of irrationality. If giving the experienced player a tough cube decision makes sense, not giving that difficult choice to a player whose judgment is in question seems ridiculous. Allowing more playing time for the weaker player to find a winning path effectively surrenders one’s competitional advantage.

There is no comfort in claiming to be a good player if you selectively fail to deliver the goods. In backgammon, you are what you do. People’s opinion about your game don’t win any trophies.

Fortune Cookie
It’s not enough to know the right plays.

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