by Jay Bidal
7 July 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jay Bidal is a Canadian expatriate living in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates where he teaches English at Zayed University.
Jay has been playing and studying backgammon seriously for the last several years and has won first place at the 2008 and 2005 Abu Dhabi Ramadan tournaments. He plays mostly online on the FIBS backgammon server as jaysbird. His immediate goal is to become the best player in the Gulf region and the Middle East.
This column is aimed at intermediate players who wish to improve their play by improving their thinking, but hopefully players of all levels will be able to benefit to some degree. One difference this time around is that I would like to solicit matches from you, the readers, as basis for future columns.
If you have an electronic copy of what you feel is an interesting match (not too long, though—10 games in the match would be about the limit), feel free to send it to GammonVillage, and it will be forwarded to me. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to annotate every match we receive, but I'll certainly do my best.
In any case, I hope that you will enjoy and learn from the games published in this column, as I have. If you can, please try to rate the articles to give us feedback, and also feel free to post any comments, queries, additions, or contradictions—any and all are most welcome!
Here are games 5 and 6 of Jay's 18th match in "Delving Into Match Play." This article and all subsequent articles in this series will be found in the Annotated Bot Matches section of GammonVillage.
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Your analysis is excellent and your writing clear, but the level of play of the players in the match is so amateurish that it is painful studying games like game 6 where the bar point is not made with the double aces or clear cubes are missed....
Do you think that studying these players teaches us something in particular about the psychology of intermediates...? Or with insights into their common mistakes one can profit spectacularly against similar opponents in the future?
In short let me know what was the criteria for the selection of this match....?
Thanks for the comments, Jason--always appreciated. In terms of the selection of this match, part of the rationale is the excitement of the last few games--I think the readers will enjoy the thrill. Another aspect might be psychological--yet another exhortation to good players to strive to play better, because, as this match reminds us, weaker players can still beat them even when they're outplayed. Every little bit of equity counts--don't relax! As far as the intemediate-level mistakes, I'm afraid all of us make them, and what seems obvious at one time, in one position, might not be all that clear, especially in the heat of the battle. Analyzing a match between two players with a low error rate won't be as good a learning tool, I think. Finally, it's worth noting that this column is, strictly speaking, intended for intermediate level players, but if stronger players benefit as well, that's great. Just as a last plug, if you or anyone else has a match that could be suitable for commentary in this column, please send it on! Thanks again for the feedback, and I promise I'll keep it in mind in selecting in the future.
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