by Robert Urquhart and Phil Simborg
25 December 2012
Robert Urquhart is a retired IBM software engineer and has been a backgammon enthusiast for many years. He has developed a method that quickly and easily provides the pip count difference for any position.
For some cube decisions, the exact pip count is essential. However for most positions, the pip difference is all that is needed. Many players don't realize that knowing the pip difference is not just helpful in racing games, but also in back games, primes and many contact positions where timing is key. Most of us don't bother to count pips as often as we should because it's laborious and time consuming. UCC solves that problem!
When Robert first described his approach to Phil Simborg, his backgammon teacher, Phil found it confusing, and we agreed that together we could come up with an article that explains both the concept and application in a manner that even people with Phil's low I.Q. could understand!
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As I see this invariant now, it looks pretty simple and very elegant.
It takes a very bright person to take a fresh look at a familiar problem and notice something that nobody saw before.
I have been using Zare's half-crossover method, but this one requires even less operations.
Great method, Robert!
What is next?
Not only extraordinarily creative, but practical OTB. I just compared this method to my usual 'shortcut', and this way got me to a more accurate answer in less time. Thanks!
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