Celebrating 15 years in backgammon games

Feature Columnists: Steve Sax - Advanced Angles

No Steaming or Screaming When You Are Streaming

10 Apr 2014 - by Jake Jacobs

I drew Nishikawa in the first round of the Super Jackpot of the Japan Backgammon Open 2013. The match was streamed on the web. What follows are some of the interesting decisions from our match.

 

Rating:  4.83
"Advanced Angles" Archive
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Winning the Vietor Cup (Again!)

22 Oct 2013 - by Steve Sax

In September 2006 I won the Vietor Cup by going a perfect 8-0 but in the six years that followed I failed to do any better than a tie for third place. Would 2013 be any different?

Rating:  5.00

Lucky Thirteen

14 Aug 2013 - by Steve Sax

Sometimes when you attend a backgammon tournament you play well but the dice are against you and then of course there are the other times when no matter what mistakes you make you can't go wrong.

Rating:  5.00

Backgammon to the 'Max'

22 Jun 2013 - by Steve Sax

During the 2013 Open, Steve Sax played a practice match with the 11 year old son of 2012 California State Champion Todd Crosner--one Max Crosner who in his four years of play has improved enough to move from the beginner division to the advanced division.

Rating:  4.89

The Local Backgammon Tournament

30 Apr 2013 - by Steve Sax

Every Wednesday at 5pm at the El Torito restaurant in Burbank, California Gammon Associates Patrick Gibson runs a local backgammon tournament. The range in skill level among the players there is vast.

Rating:  5.00

Three-Peat!

20 Feb 2013 - by Steve Sax

In 1988, coach Pat Riley of the Los Angeles Lakers trademarked the slogan "Three-Peat" which referred to his team's effort to win a third championship in a row. On February 10th, 2013 I attempted to win my third consecutive Gammon Associates Backgammon Tournament of Champions.

Rating:  4.90

Winning the California State Backgammon Championship

20 Dec 2012 - by Steve Sax

In 2004, when Gammon Associates changed one of its bi-annual tournaments to the California State Backgammon Championship, I found myself in the finals of the winner's bracket.

Rating:  5.00

Backgammon Cubes of the Giants

02 Nov 2012 - by Steve Sax

To sharpen my game in between tournaments I like to play practice matches on the internet at GridGammon against some of the top players in the world. Included among those players are ten of the top 64 players on the "Giants of Backgammon" list.

Rating:  4.80

The 2012 Vietor Cup: An Annual Backgammon Mainstay

28 Sep 2012 - by Steve Sax

After the boondoggle in the bay area, I made a concerted effort to improve my backgammon play at the 2012 Vietor Cup. I did this by re-employing certain methods which helped me at the Giants Invitational in Chicago in 2011.

Rating:  5.00

I Left My Heart in San Francisco (And My Brain in Los Angeles)

05 Sep 2012 - by Steve Sax

Seeking a repeat as Master's champion and a first Golden Gate Open title, I assembled a paltry 4-4 match record and along the way made some peculiar cube and checker decisions. Today we'll look at ten of those boo boos which will help to explain why I didn't do better.

Rating:  4.83

Settling For A Sparkler On The Fourth of July

24 Jul 2012 - by Steve Sax

At the annual Michigan Summer Backgammon Championships held between July 5th and July 8th 2012 I comprised a match record of ten wins and only four losses.

Rating:  4.67

Positions From The 2012 Los Angeles Open

21 Jun 2012 - by Steve Sax

The 2012 Los Angeles Backgammon Open drew top players from all over the United States and if I was going to win the tournament I would more than likely run into quite a few tough matches in my quest for victory.

Rating:  5.00

Crash and Burn

30 Apr 2012 - by Steve Sax

When asked what the worst possible backgammon tournament result is my answer is "Crash and Burn". That is when you get to the money round in every event and lose all of those matches.

Rating:  4.80

The Odd Couple

26 Mar 2012 - by Steve Sax

Most of you from my generation or older remember the Neil Simon play later made into a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau called "The Odd Couple".

Rating:  4.60

Winning the Tournament of Champions... Again!

29 Feb 2012 - by Steve Sax

Just like last year, I qualified for Patrick Gibson's "Gammon Associates" Tournament of Champions by earning enough master points to earn a spot among the 16 players from our Wednesday backgammon club.

Rating:  4.71

Many Away-Two Away Doubling Decisions

20 Jan 2012 - by Steve Sax

The subject of "four away-two away" has been covered fairly thoroughly by GammonVillage writers and others over the years, but this month, I want to focus on the decision of when to double when your opponent is "two away" and you are "many" away.

Rating:  4.60

Silver vs Bronze: Falafel vs Neil Kazaross

30 Dec 2011 - by Steve Sax

Some of the positions we will look at today come from the finals of the jackpot event at the California State Backgammon Championship (2011), between Giants Falafel and Neil Kazaross.

Rating:  5.00

2011 Las Vegas Open Backgammon Positions

23 Nov 2011 - by Steve Sax

I'd like to share with the readers positions from my Las Vegas Open finals, but I didn't make it out of the first round. Instead I'll share nine positions from four of my losses and my only two wins which came in the consolation.

Rating:  5.00

'Senk': a Man of Many Games

24 Oct 2011 - by Steve Sax

Michael (Mike) Senkiewicz had been a mainstay of the New York games scene for more than four decades as he has been competing at a high level in Chess, Scrabble and Backgammon since the early 70's.

Rating:  4.43

The 2011 Vietor Cup

04 Oct 2011 - by Steve Sax

The Vietor Cup has always been a difficult tournament to win, but when it appeared that "Falafel", "MCG" Ray Fogerlund, David Wells and Sakura Wells were going to join the ranks of the regular La Jolla competitors it just became that much more difficult.

Rating:  5.00

Winning the Giants of Backgammon Invitational - Part Two

22 Aug 2011 - by Steve Sax

After edging Neil Kazaross two matches to one, I reached the semi-finals of the first "Giants of Backgammon Invitational" where I would face off against Maryland math instructor Bob Koca.

Rating:  4.82

Winning the Giants of Backgammon Invitational - Part One

26 Jul 2011 - by Steve Sax

A little more than ten years ago, I mentioned to Jake Jacobs there should be an invitational "Giants of Backgammon" tournament. He liked the idea, but didn't think it would be that easy to get all 32 "Giants" to participate in such an event.

Rating:  5.00

Preparing for the Giants of Backgammon Invitational

21 Jun 2011 - by Steve Sax

After accepting an invitation in April to play in the "Giants of Backgammon Invitational" to be held at the Chicago Open, I had a mere six weeks to get my game up to speed for what would be the toughest tournament I ever played in.

Rating:  4.67

Winning the Golden Gate Masters Jackpot

24 May 2011 - by Steve Sax

I enjoy going up to San Francisco to visit my backgammon friends from Northern California. Chiva Tafazzoli has brought big time backgammon back to the Bay Area with the U.S. Open and now the Golden Gate Open.

Rating:  5.00

Ten Ticklers from the Nevada State Backgammon Championship

20 Apr 2011 - by Steve Sax

It seems no matter how much I study, practice and compete I reach positions I don't really understand all that well. This happens at every major backgammon competition and the 2011 Nevada State Backgammon Championship was no different.

Rating:  4.90

Mochy's Backgammon Fundraiser in the Wake of the Tragedy in Japan

22 Mar 2011 - by Steve Sax

Our friend "Mochy" who is currently in Japan came up with the idea to raise money for the half a million refugees who are currently homeless due to the terrible tragedies which have befallen our East Asian ally.

Rating:  4.89

Winning the Tournament of 2010 Backgammon Champions

22 Feb 2011 - by Steve Sax

Each year in the week following the Super Bowl, "Gammon Associates" backgammon club holds a "Tournament of Champions" in which the top sixteen players from the Sunday tournaments and Wednesday tournaments face off in a five round championship for the title.

Rating:  4.60

Small Town Girl Makes Good: Mary Hickey Wins Back-to-back U.S. Opens

25 Jan 2011 - by Steve Sax

On January 17th, 2011 Mary Hickey completed one of the most unlikely "three-peats" in backgammon history, completing a trilogy of female domination at the U.S. Open backgammon championships over the past three years.

Rating:  5.00

John O'Hagan - One of Backgammon's True Gentlemen

20 Dec 2010 - by Steve Sax

Hailing from Valparaiso, Indiana, John O'Hagan has been playing for more than thirty years as he picked up the game between classes at Indiana University. He soon found that he was having reasonably good success.

Rating:  4.67

The 1st Online Backgammon Nations Cup

22 Nov 2010 - by Steve Sax

When I found out that Leonardo Jerkovic was going to be running the "1st Online Backgammon Nations Cup", I immediately asked him how one could qualify to represent their nation in this team event.

Rating:  4.93

Winning the Summer 'Dubrovnik' Backgammon Open

25 Oct 2010 - by Steve Sax

Having come in 2nd in the 2010 Winter Dubrovnik Backgammon Open to Neil Kazaross, I faded quickly in the spring edition. However, I had another chance in the summer tournament.

Rating:  5.00

The 2010 Vietor Cup Backgammon Tournament

22 Sep 2010 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax reports from the eleventh Vietor Cup held from September 18 through September 19, 2010, in La Jolla, California.

Rating:  4.80

Nearly a 'Giant' Weekend of Backgammon: Part Two

24 Aug 2010 - by Steve Sax

We resume my "Nearly Giant Weekend" with positions from my quarter-final match of the Michigan Masters against one of my arch nemesis and current Giant #13 Kit Woolsey.

Rating:  4.50

Nearly a 'Giant' Weekend of Backgammon: Part One

26 Jul 2010 - by Steve Sax

At the 2010 Michigan Summer Championships in my first four matches I drew a current or former "Giant of backgammon" and to top it off, I drew 2009 Giant #3, Neil Kazaross in the round of sixteen in the main event. To start, I had to face 1993 Giant #32 Herb Gurland.

Rating:  4.82

Backgammon with a World Champion: Mochy

23 Jun 2010 - by Steve Sax

Masayuki Mochizuki, better known to his friends and competitors as "Mochy" doesn't seem imposing, but when you witness the ferocity with which he dispatches his opponents you soon realize he is no one to be taken lightly.

Rating:  4.21

The Dubrovnik Backgammon Open; The Finals

25 May 2010 - by Steve Sax

On April 10th 2010, Neil Kazaross and I began the finals of the Dubrovnik Open Winter Backgammon Tournament. This was a double elimination event, and since I had not lost yet, Neil would have to beat me twice to earn the title.

Rating:  4.50

The Dubrovnik Backgammon Open

23 Apr 2010 - by Steve Sax

If you were a golfer and someone was to give you the chance to play a round of golf with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia and at no charge, you would probably jump at the opportunity.

Rating:  4.60

Chouette Strategies in Non-Consulting Backgammon Games

20 Mar 2010 - by Steve Sax

Since backgammon is a game in which only two players may play at a time, a variation of backgammon, called "The Chouette" was created to let more than two people participate in the game at the same time.

Rating:  3.82

Some eXtremely Interesting Positions From Pittsburgh 2010

01 Mar 2010 - by Steve Sax

I arrived in Pittsburgh with hopes of dethroning reigning champ Bob Glass, but unfortunately he was the only one I defeated in the 2010 edition of the Pittsburgh Backgammon Championships Open division.

Rating:  4.69

New Kid on the Block

21 Jan 2010 - by Steve Sax

Matt Cohn-Geier, more commonly known these days as MCG, has blazed a trail of destruction across the backgammon world in the 3 short years he has participated on the ABT and other events.

Rating:  4.76

International Backgammon Stars: Michy from Japan

21 Dec 2009 - by Steve Sax

In the coming months, we will take a look at some backgammon stars from around the world. Today we will look at one of the players from Japan who has had a lot of success since he took up the game seriously in 1997.

Rating:  4.85

Playing Backgammon (as Chess)

23 Nov 2009 - by Steve Sax

While chess players can plan their next moves based on how they think their opponent will respond to their moves, backgammon players don't really have a good idea how their competitor will make his next series of moves.

Rating:  5.00

Keeping Backgammon Pieces in Play

20 Oct 2009 - by Steve Sax

Oftentimes when I play in chouettes or observe my opponents in tournament matches, I cringe when I see a wake of dead checkers strewn along the battlefield that is a backgammon board.

Rating:  4.84

The 2009 Vietor Cup

22 Sep 2009 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax reports from the 2009 Vietor Backgammon Cup held in La Jolla, California on September 19, 2009.

Rating:  4.60

When Is It Right To Run Off Of The Anchor?

21 Aug 2009 - by Steve Sax

We've all been in this situation when playing backgammon. We roll a number where we can run off of an anchor in our opponent's home board but we're not sure if it is the right time to do so. What factors govern this decision?

Rating:  4.79

An Update On How To Improve Your Backgammon Game

22 Jul 2009 - by Steve Sax

When I first started writing for GammonVillage in 2002 I wrote an introductory article on ten ways to improve your backgammon game. Since then a few things have changed.

Rating:  4.83

Battle of the GammonVillage Writers: Sax vs. Rice

20 Jun 2009 - by Steve Sax

When I suggested to "Stick" Rice that he come out to L.A. to compete in the Los Angeles Backgammon Open and Super 32, I knew there was a fair chance I would have to play him at some point in the tournament.

Rating:  4.78
Backgammon Match Viewer

Backgammon Against a 'World' Champion; Joe Russell

21 May 2009 - by Steve Sax

This month, we will take a look at the player who won the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo 20 years ago this summer. I remember it quite well as it was my first time there.

Rating:  4.60

Risk Assessment at the Nevada State Backgammon Tournament

20 Apr 2009 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax presents twelve interesting backgammon positions he encountered during his play at the 2009 Nevada State Backgammon Tournament.

Rating:  4.67

Winning the 2009 Grand Crystal Beaver Backgammon Jackpot Tournament

20 Mar 2009 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax reports on his performance in the Grand Crystal Beaver Jackpot at the 2009 American Backgammon Tour Midwest Backgammon Championships, held from March 20 to March 22, 2009 in Lisle, Illinois.

Rating:  4.62

Backgammon Settlements

20 Feb 2009 - by Steve Sax

At critical junctures in the backgammon game, opponents can decide to either continue or make a settlement: an agreement to end the game for a specific amount to reduce the variance and potentially gain some equity.

Rating:  4.29

NY Metro Backgammon Positions

20 Jan 2009 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax analyzes a dozen positions he encountered during the 2009 NY Metropolitan Backgammon Tournament, held on the 2nd weekend of January, 2009.

Rating:  4.89

Art Benjamin, a Backgammon Player you can Count on

20 Dec 2008 - by Steve Sax

Arthur T. Benjamin, Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, is known in popular culture as a Mathemagician. In addition, Art has another talent: he is an excellent backgammon player.

Rating:  4.79

Yes Oui Cannes

20 Nov 2008 - by Steve Sax

If you want to improve your backgammon game and make changes needed to thrive and prosper as a player, one of the things you might want to do would be to go over matches between two top players. To that I say "Yes, Oui Cannes".

Rating:  4.56

Deadly Backgammon a'Munitz'ion

20 Oct 2008 - by Steve Sax

In 2005, I had never heard of Richard Munitz. By 2006, he was just about all I heard about. Richard burst upon the backgammon scene with an impressive three wins to take the top spot on the American Backgammon Tour, nearly ten points clear of 2nd place finisher Gregg Cattanach.

Rating:  4.93
Backgammon Match Viewer

Developing Equities With Respect to Gammon Sensitivity

20 Sep 2008 - by Steve Sax

In this month's article, we will take a look at six related positions of developing equity in three different states of "Gammon Sensitivity". Those states are Gammon Go, Money, and Gammon Save (GS).

Rating:  4.54

Expert vs Expert Backgammon Match Play

20 Aug 2008 - by Steve Sax

In March of this year we looked at two expert level players and how they fared against me in two different matches. This time we will look at how expert level backgammon players fare against each other.

Rating:  4.08

Backgammon Kaz and Effect

20 Jul 2008 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax provides interesting backgammon positions and commentary on a hard-fought backgammon match against Neil Kazaross during the recent Michigan Summer Championships.

Rating:  4.91

Women in Backgammon

20 Jun 2008 - by Steve Sax

I was introduced to backgammon by my mother, Ricky Sax. She won the 1980 U.S. Open Women's backgammon championship in Reno Nevada. This column features excellent women backgammon players, their accomplishments and a few positions I have had in competition against them.

Rating:  5.00

2008 Las Vegas Super Jackpot - 2nd Round Versus Backgammon Giant Bill Robertie

20 May 2008 - by Steve Sax

After my exciting come-from-behind victory against Kit Woolsey in the first round, I had to play another Giant in the 2nd round of the 2008 Super Jackpot: two time World Backgammon Champion Bill Robertie.

Rating:  4.71

Las Vegas Super Jackpot 1st round vs Backgammon Giant Kit Woolsey

20 Apr 2008 - by Steve Sax

From time to time I like to highlight a particular player by showing a variety of interesting positions from a backgammon tournament match we competed in. This month we will take another look at Kit Woolsey as I drew him in the first round of the Super Jackpot in Las Vegas.

Rating:  4.13

Competing against the Expert Level Backgammon Player

20 Mar 2008 - by Steve Sax

Last month we looked at competition against an Advanced Level Backgammon player from the perspective of a World Class Backgammon player. This month we will take a look at two Expert Level players and see how they fare against that same player.

Rating:  4.50

Competing Against the Advanced Level Backgammon Player

20 Feb 2008 - by Steve Sax

Competitive backgammon players play at all levels of ability. While each player has strengths and weaknesses, a specific player's ability can be reckoned either subjectively, based on another player's opinion, or using objective evidence, obtained with bots such as Gnu or Snowie.

Rating:  4.87

The Next One

20 Jan 2008 - by Steve Sax

There has always been discussion about who is the best backgammon player in the world and there is enough disagreement that a bi-annual poll "The Giants of Backgammon" is taken to help determine that. What is less easy to determine is who will be one of the next great players.

Rating:  4.43

Backgammon Backgames, the Equity Continuum and the Timing Coefficient

20 Dec 2007 - by Steve Sax

In the last article of this year, I will return to the topic of "The Equity Continuum", using the 2-3 and the 1-3 backgames as examples.

Rating:  5.00

Ten Interesting Backgammon Positions From Las Vegas

20 Nov 2007 - by Steve Sax

Whenever I go to a backgammon tournament I bring my digital camera to record positions of interest. Here are the ten most interesting positions I saw at the Las Vegas Open Backgammon Tournament.

Rating:  4.79

The Five Point Backgammon Match

20 Oct 2007 - by Steve Sax

Whether you are starting off playing a five point match or a longer match that ends up with both players needing five points or less, there are many diverse cube decisions that need to be made whether you have the lead or are behind.

Rating:  5.00

The Bulgarian Express

20 Sep 2007 - by Steve Sax

In 2000 Petko Kostadinov and his family immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream. For those of you who don't know Petko, he is one fantastic backgammon player, one which I will proudly give the nickname "The Bulgarian Express" in honor of the fantastic year he is having in backgammon.

Rating:  4.50

Surviving Being Hit

20 Aug 2007 - by Steve Sax

Sometimes, when bearing in or off, your exposed checker is hit and sent to the bar. Steve Sax suggests several strategies for dealing with this backgammon dilemma.

Rating:  4.64

Backgammon Analyzed: Wachtel vs Sax - Part 2

20 Jul 2007 - by Steve Sax

In part one, we examined seven backgammon positions. Now we find the match tied at eight apiece to fifteen. Do you go for structure and let your opponent get away or do you hit attempting to contain him?

Rating:  4.67

Backgammon Analyzed: Wachtel vs Sax

20 Jun 2007 - by Steve Sax

In the first of a two part article, Steve Sax analyzes a recent backgammon match of his against Vice-World Champion backgammon player Bob Wachtel.

Rating:  5.00

Georgia (And A Few Interesting Positions) On My Mind

20 May 2007 - by Steve Sax

The South-East Backgammon Championships in Atlanta, Georgia May 4-6, 2007 is a new event on the American Backgammon Tour. I was excited and pleased to accept the invitation to visit Georgia in the springtime.

Rating:  5.00

Who should be in a Backgammon Hall of Fame?

20 Apr 2007 - by Steve Sax

The idea of a "Backgammon Hall of Fame" was posed to me last year by Hugh Sconyers, and I wondered who might be enshrined there. I could come up with quite a few names on a list and I'll discuss those shortly but first, what qualifications should a person have to be eligible?

Rating:  3.75

Giving the Advanced Player a Lesson

20 Mar 2007 - by Steve Sax

Players of all levels can benefit from getting a lesson. I especially enjoy giving "advanced" level players lessons since they have already learned many of the techniques that enhance their chances to win games but don't always employ that information to their benefit.

Rating:  4.70

Finding the Lost Treasure of Atlantis

20 Feb 2007 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax analyzes seven difficult backgammon positions he encountered at the recent Backgammon Million tournament held at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in the Bahamas.

Rating:  4.71

The Equity Continuum

20 Jan 2007 - by Steve Sax

The equity continuum is a line on which the value of your position falls either positive or negative and the proper cube action based on perfect opponent play can be determined. Steve Sax shows examples of backgammon positions on the equity continuum

Rating:  4.90

Falafel Is Not An Appetizer (Conclusion)

20 Dec 2006 - by Steve Sax

In November's article we went over seven positions from my semi-final match versus Falafel in the Las Vegas Backgammon Open. We will go over seven new positions in the conclusion today.

Rating:  5.00

Falafel Is Not An Appetizer

20 Nov 2006 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax writes a detailed account of a match he played against high-ranked Matvey (Falafel) Nantazon during the 2006 Las Vegas Backgammon Open.

Rating:  4.50

Backgammon Adventures Across the American Pacific

20 Oct 2006 - by Steve Sax

Jake Jacobs has shared his backgammon adventures of the Asian Pacific region many times and today I will share some experiences I had in the American Pacific locale.

Rating:  5.00

Sax Versus Woolsey

20 Sep 2006 - by Steve Sax

Steve provides an in-depth analysis of a tough quarterfinal match he had against his arch-nemesis Kit Woolsey.

Rating:  4.91

Beating Weaker Players

20 Aug 2006 - by Steve Sax

When you compete against a player of a lesser skill level it is highly beneficial to be able to exploit their weaknesses by using your superior knowledge of checker play and cube action.

Rating:  4.31

Escape Cubes: Conclusion

20 Jul 2006 - by Steve Sax

In the previous two months we went over positions in which Green had one or two checkers closed out. In this month's article we will go over positions in which Green has three checkers closed out.

Rating:  5.00

More Escape Cubes

20 Jun 2006 - by Steve Sax

In last month's article we discussed positions in which your opponent had one of your checkers closed out and needed to escape from behind a five prime with a six. He either had one at the edge, two at the edge or one removed from the edge. In this month's article we will go over positions in which you have two checkers closed out.

Rating:  5.00

Escape Cubes

20 May 2006 - by Steve Sax

Many times I have been closed out and my opponent doubles or re-doubles when I have one or more checkers on the bar. I have a five prime and they have one or more checkers behind the prime. These backgammon positions can vary greatly in their relative equity and in this month's article we will take a look at some baseline positions involving that theme.

Rating:  4.82

Using Snowie To Help Your Backgammon Game

20 Apr 2006 - by Steve Sax

One of the ways you can help yourself to get better at backgammon is to use a neural net like Snowie, Gnu, or Jellyfish. There are other programs out there that are in the process of development that I don't have experience with so I will help you with the one that I use which is Snowie.

Rating:  4.57

Back Anchors

05 Apr 2004 - by Steve Sax

When we arrive at back anchor positions it is in our best interests to understand what to do regarding the cube. This will depend on the point we're holding and the structure of our opponent's board.

Rating:  4.78

Sax Vs. Culpepper

05 Mar 2004 - by Steve Sax

Steve comments on some interesting positions in his match played against Dennis Culpepper in the final of this year's Pittsburgh Masters.

Rating:  5.00

Score Sways Cube Action

05 Feb 2004 - by Steve Sax

When trailing in a match you have several advantages that your opponent doesn't such as a lower take point and the power to kill his gammons. Today we look at how the match score determines cube action in various situations.

Rating:  4.86

Pro Am Pickles - Part 2

05 Jan 2004 - by Steve Sax

Let's take a look at more interesting positions from the 2003 Pro Am match played between the teams of Sax/DiMattia and Woolsey/Kahn. What is clear is that no matter how experienced top players are they are still prone to mistakes.

Rating:  4.63

Pro Am Pickles - Part 1

05 Dec 2003 - by Steve Sax

This year Bruce DiMattia and I paired up against Kit Woolsey and Donald Kahn in the first round of the Pro Am. Let's go over some of the highlights and more difficult positions that the teams encountered.

Rating:  4.77

2003 Indiana Open

05 Oct 2003 - by Steve Sax

At the Indiana Open my three wins were against "Giant 32" list members Paul Weaver, Kit Woolsey and Ed Olaughlin. Here are some highlights from my match with Ed.

Rating:  4.80

The Matrix Re-Cubed

05 Sep 2003 - by Steve Sax

In this month's article I have constructed a matrix of positions where you have to decide what to do regarding cube ownership.

Rating:  4.79

2003 Michigan Masters

05 Aug 2003 - by Steve Sax

My luck took a turn for the better at the 2003 Michigan Masters event as I cruised through four matches besting Kit Woolsey and Frank Talbot. And it did not get any easier in the finals when I faced New England expert Herb Gurland...

Rating:  4.81

2003 Summer Match

05 Jul 2003 - by Steve Sax

The 2003 Summer Match features reigning World Champion Mads Andersen in a match we played at the Las Vegas Open in November 2001.

Rating:  4.75

The Poisoned Pawn

05 Jun 2003 - by Steve Sax

"When in doubt hit" is the mantra of many a wanna be expert, and while often correct advice, there are quite a few occasions when hitting is exactly what you DON'T want to do.

Rating:  4.80

From Behind The 6-Prime

05 May 2003 - by Steve Sax

Here's how to handle those tricky positions in which you're on an advanced anchor but trapped behind a six-prime.

Rating:  4.56

Winning With Junk Positions

05 Apr 2003 - by Steve Sax

Reference positions with closed boards and perfect distributions are often mentioned when discussing the value of a given game. More complex and harder to remember are those I refer to as "Junk Positions".

Rating:  4.95

Pittsburgh's Masters

05 Mar 2003 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax and Neil Kazaross comment on their match in the Masters flight of the recent Pittsburgh Championships.

Rating:  5.00

When To Leave The Anchor

05 Feb 2003 - by Steve Sax

Anchors are integral to winning backgammon strategy but there is a balance between reasonable maintenance of an anchor in your opponent's home board and hanging around past the point of usefulness.

Rating:  4.84

Stuplication

05 Jan 2003 - by Steve Sax

Be careful not to fall into the traps of "stuplication", the incorrect usage of duplication.

Rating:  4.22

December's Featured Match

05 Dec 2002 - by Steve Sax

This month Steve comments on an exciting match from the 2002 Pro Am in which he and his teammate, Stu Hosen, wrangled with the team of Jerry Grandell and Armando Balbi.

Rating:  5.00

November's Featured Match

05 Nov 2002 - by Steve Sax

Having drawn one of the best players in Japan, Michihito Kageyama, in the second round of the Mogami Cup at the 2001 Japan Open, I was going to need all my faculties about me to advance to the semi-finals of that tournament.

Rating:  5.00

The Time For Risks

29 Oct 2002 - by Steve Sax

Calculated risks at the appropriate time are the hallmark of solid play so take your chances when the gains outweigh the risks.

Rating:  4.83

Two-Away Four-Away

22 Oct 2002 - by Steve Sax

Today we look at what you should do when you only need two and your opponent needs four points to win the match. For starters, you should usually only double in non-gammonish positions that have limited or no contact.

Rating:  5.00

Four-Away Two-Away

15 Oct 2002 - by Steve Sax

Whether you need two and your opponent needs four to win, or the other way around, there are strategic choices regarding cube action and checkerplay that drastically affect your chances of winning the match.

Rating:  4.89

Fluid Play

08 Oct 2002 - by Steve Sax

Many Advanced players miss the opportunity to time the deployment of their pieces in an efficient manner so let's take a look at some middle game positions where you have a choice to play stiff or fluid.

Rating:  4.67

October's Featured Match

01 Oct 2002 - by Steve Sax

Steve Sax presents the 2002 Chicago Open Final with comments and rollouts on more than 30 positions.

Rating:  5.00

The Salt Index

24 Sep 2002 - by Steve Sax

Have you ever lost a really unlucky game and wondered, of all the games ever played in the history of backgammon, if this one ranks as the unluckiest of all time?

Rating:  4.53

Putting Pieces Into Play

17 Sep 2002 - by Steve Sax

Snowie is an invaluable tool and to second-guess it because it suggests a play that is not your "style" can be a costly and egotistical mistake. But sometimes you have to think beyond Snowie and make the play you think will win most often.

Rating:  4.50

Winning As The Underdog II

10 Sep 2002 - by Steve Sax

The simplest situations to understand in this realm are ones in which the match is on the line. You need to know your winning chance if you pass, and compare that to your chances if you take and redouble. Here are some benchmark positions.

Rating:  4.92

Levermann Vs. Sax

03 Sep 2002 - by Steve Sax

In the first contemporary match in the "Monthly Match" series, Steve Sax comments on a competition from the 2001 Vegas Masters in which he faced Johannes Levermann, the #3 Giant of Backgammon.

Rating:  5.00

Winning As The Underdog

27 Aug 2002 - by Steve Sax

One of the things that makes backgammon so fun is turning around a game in which you are a big underdog. This can happen when you hit a shot after being closed out, or from a deep anchor in your opponent's board... but what about the cube action?

Rating:  4.75

On For The Gammon #2

20 Aug 2002 - by Steve Sax

At every score there is a different set of decisions on whether or not to play on for the gammon. The relative factor in all of these scores is what winning that gammon will do for you.

Rating:  5.00

Playing On For The Gammon

13 Aug 2002 - by Steve Sax

An opportunity can arise in a tournament match or a money game when you need to decide if it is correct to play on for the gammon or not. Here are some explanations of the gains and drawbacks in certain scenarios.

Rating:  5.00

The Monthly Match

06 Aug 2002 - by Steve Sax

I am happy to feature the final match from the 1983 Louisville Labor Day Tournament Championship (AAA) Division which I played against the late Arthur Dickman. It is very interesting to compare the differences in strategy between now and then.

Rating:  5.00

Defending Against A Backgame

30 Jul 2002 - by Steve Sax

One of the most satisfying games to play and win is a backgame, but just as satisfying is to defend against that backgame and win a gammon or backgammon as a reward for using the correct tactics in defeating your opponents backgame objectives.

Rating:  4.80

Trap Plays - Part 2

23 Jul 2002 - by Steve Sax

When deciding whether or not to hit or trap, be aware of the integrity of your opponent's position. A very weak position might make trapping unnecessary as a gammon-producing strategy.

Rating:  4.89

Trap Plays - Part 1

17 Jul 2002 - by Steve Sax

To maximize your equity, there are a variety of positions in which to try a technique called the "trap play", where one of your opponent's checkers is squeezed off an anchor by liberating numbers that were previously obstructed from play.

Rating:  4.67

The Cobra And The Boa

09 Jul 2002 - by Steve Sax

Are you a Cobra or a Boa? Here are some examples of when you should put the bite on your opponent or when to give them the squeeze.

Rating:  4.92

The Blitz

02 Jul 2002 - by Steve Sax

One of the best strategies to win is to immobilize your opponent with the blitz.If you can put them on the bar and keep them there until you close your board you will usually win the game and sometimes a gammon.

Rating:  4.56

Tournament Tips

25 Jun 2002 - by Steve Sax

Steve reveals some great tips on how to prepare yourself for a live tournament and how to avoid being intimidated or bluffed by your opponent!

Rating:  4.76

Tournament Match Example

18 Jun 2002 - by Steve Sax

Last week in Las Vegas, I was lucky to draw some of the best in the world including Nack Ballard, Kit Woolsey, Kent Goulding and Peter Jes Thomsen. Here is my match against Thomsen with comments on significant moves and cube decisions.

Rating:  5.00

General Cube Action

11 Jun 2002 - by Steve Sax

Tournament play for me is far more fascinating than money play because of the variety of situations you can arrive at and the corresponding doubling decisions that result.

Rating:  4.33

Tactical & Strategic Play

04 Jun 2002 - by Steve Sax

Since backgammon can be conceived as a game of war, think of your checkers as having military capabilities.

Rating:  4.50

Where Advanced Players Err

28 May 2002 - by Steve Sax

There is a fine line in all aspects of the game which result in perfect play. When Advanced players attempt to execute a decision, in any aspect of the game, they can err to one side or another in varying degrees of severity.

Rating:  4.00

Advanced Angles - Introduction

21 May 2002 - by Steve Sax

Between the time when you play your first game and the time you accept the trophy for the World Championship you will go through many stages of understanding about the game of backgammon.

Rating:  4.75
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