31 July 2012
Having been in the backgammon world for a mere 6+ years I can only speculate on how things were in the heyday of backgammon. One thing I feel pretty strong about is how bots have affected the game. I think they have driven the popularity of the game way down and killed a great deal of the action I hear about that was floating around in the 70s, 80s, and maybe into the early 90s. Before they came along and demonstrated they could whip any and every opponent people could always blame their misfortune on bad luck. There was no final say on what was the best play, only heated arguments and short term results. Even if people still argued with the bots and their results once they came out, they could no longer lie to themselves when they lost or made poor plays. They knew their game wasn't up to snuff and not many people like giving away their money when they know that's all they're doing. Denial can only be taken so far.
Even with the bots being in existence for around 20 years now and getting stronger and stronger with every new one there is one area in which the bots are still of little help and we can freely argue about without have a final word on the matter. That area is how to adjust to your opponent. I have spent what I consider significant time performing thought experiments when it comes to playing the weaker player. As you all know, like any good backgammon player, I am delusional enough to consider nearly everyone I play a weaker player. The only questions that remain are how much weaker are they and how can I exploit those weaknesses to improve my winning chances?
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