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501 Essential Backgammon Problems [Paperback]

Bill Robertie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.95
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work May 19 2003
If, like me, you purchase a book because you want a convenient portable format, then you'd better think twice before you stub up for this one.
I've just read the first section and it gave me a headache. The rub is that the problems are grouped together followed by the solutions. This means you spend your whole time skipping back and forth from problem to solution. Now Robertie suggests that you work through the whole group and write your own solutions on a piece of paper, then move to the solutions section and compare them with his. Well I don't see how this avoids the 'flip flopping,' because unless you can memorize all the positions--and there's 59 of them in the first section--you'll want to go back to have another look at the position so you're 'flip flopping' again.
This isn't just user-unfriendly, it's brutal! It makes the product importable, which is the whole point of a book, no?
I like to read on my commute to the office and have struggling through, keeping two fingers marking the pages I'm on. I think a three-handed Martian would find it hard!
And the biggest shame of all is that the content is excellent, so I'm reluctant to toss the thing because I know I'd be missing out. So, I'll struggle on...flip flop flip flop x 1002.
A great book spoilt by a clumbsy layout... too bad!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not expensive, and pretty complete Nov. 28 2000
If you are a backgammon lover, this book must be on your personal library. Robertie analises problems in each point of the game, since opening rolls until the bear off. The hints are clear and at first read you can discover many points you would play in a different(and awnkward) position. As you read the topics you will feel imediately a good development in your game, specially if you try to solve then before looking for the solutions. The secret of this book is figure out the different way of think in each situation and time of the game. A great book that can be easily consulted by anytime.The book is shared in the following chapters: *THE OPENING *FLEXIBILITY *THE MIDDLE GAME *THE 5-POINT *THE BLITZ *ONE MAN BACK *HOLDING GAMES *PRIMING GAMES *CONNECTIVITY *HIT OR NOT? *BREAKING ANCHOR *CRUNCH POSITIONS *ACTION DOUBLES *LATE GAME BLITZ *POST-BLITZ TURNAROUND GAMES *TOO GOOD TO DOUBLE? *ACE-POINT GAMES* BACK GAMES* THE CONTAINMENT GAME* POST-ACE-POINT GAMES*
SAVING THE GAMMON* BEARING OFF AGAINST CONTACT *VARIOUS ENDGAMES *THE RACE *THE BEAROFF *Plus an introduction with basic rules and backgammon notations and a final chapter with places to play backgammon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 501 Essential Backgammon Problems-Bill Robertie March 26 2000
As I start to read Bill Robertie's latest book, 501 Essential Backgammon Problems, I am informed in the preface that he is the world's best backgammon player. So far so good.
For those of you unaware, Robertie, former two time world champion, has already written many books on backgammon and together with Kent Goulding co-published the sadly now defunct, but at the time premier magazine "Inside Backgammon".
As the title suggests, it is a compilation of 501 problems, split 360 checker plays v 141 cube actions. (67 doubles 74 redoubles). After the introductory chapters covering notation/probability/basic doubling strategy etc, there are 26 chapters covering many of the important concepts in backgammon from the opening to the bearoff. These are:
The Opening, Flexibility, The Middle Game, The 5-point, One Man Back, Priming Games, Connectivity, Hit Or Not?, Crunch Positions, Action Doubles, Late Game Blitz, Post-Blitz Turnaround Games, Ace-Point Games Back Games, The Containment, Game Post-Ace-Point Games, Saving The Gammon, The Race, Various Endgames, Bearing Off Against Contact, The Blitz, Breaking Anchor, Too Good To Double?, Playing For A Gammon, The Bearoff, Holding Games,
The book manages to cram the 501 positions and analyses into 384 pages of a book measuring just 23x15cms. This is achieved by squashing the diagrams with the effect of making the checkers oval. The problems in each chapter are all bunched together first and the solutions at the end of the chapter hence cutting down on the need to avoid looking at the analysis.
It's target audience is everybody from beginner to expert level. The only group that maybe wouldn't find many parts of this book valuable would be world class players.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good set of flashcard problems April 28 2000
The 501 positions examine your approach to the game from beginning to end.
Robertie's solutions so closely mirror my JellyFish Tutor recommendations that I have simply dropped the examples into JellyFish and only consult the book when I have a disagreement with the bot.
Therein is the second value in this book for me: Robertie's analysis is succinct and sticks to themes over theory. When I do perhaps 50 positions quickly, only noting where I differ from the bot, and then read Robertie's suggestions for these positions, I usually find a recurring theme pointing to a weakness in my game.
For me, this book is ultimately what I've made of it, Robertie has provided the necessary resources and I recommend this book as such.
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