Feature Columnists: Stick - Stick and Stones

Backgammon in Ohio

30 Mar 2015 - by Stick

I love the direction some things in backgammon have been headed over the years. We've seen a huge spike in match recording, streaming, and matches being released to the public thanks to varied advances in technology.


Rating:  4.70
"Stick and Stones" Archive
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2015 San Antonio Backgammon Finals

18 Feb 2015 - by Stick

My plan had originally been to annotate the entire finals match between Bower v. Simborg but after receiving feedback from both Chuck and Phil and realizing how much longer of an article that would make I decided to cherry pick based on their responses and the big picture.

Rating:  4.83

Stick Errs - Stick Blunders

06 Feb 2015 - by Stick

I only had three backgammon matches streamed from the ABT event in San Antonio at the end of January/beginning of February. I always want to be streamed because I love having my matches recorded so I can not only see how I played but also review my errors and blunders later on.

Rating:  4.75

American Backgammon Tour Las Vegas Finals 2014 - Akiko vs. Kit

26 Nov 2014 - by Stick

A clash of the titans in the most recent American Backgammon Tour event. Akiko Abe Yazawa, the latest winner of Monte Carlo faced off against an omnipresent on the Giants list Kit Woolsey.

Rating:  4.86

XG (ExtremeGammon) Explain to Me

04 Nov 2014 - by Stick

I give lessons to all ranges of backgammon players. From time to time we have a lesson though where we just play. This level of backgammon player seems to love this lesson.

Rating:  4.82

Deep Anchor Cubes

02 Oct 2014 - by Stick

One advantage of teaching or giving lessons is that it really forces you to know the material. This month's article I owe to a student of mine who was having troubles with deep anchor holding games cubes.

Rating:  4.57

Mythbusters No. 6 - Stick's Doubling Rule for 3 away - 7 away or Greater

27 Aug 2014 - by Stick

There was once a wise beyond his years backgammon player who went by the nick *Stick*. He prophesied that your future backgammon play at a certain set of particular scores would be greatly assisted by following this one simple rule.

Rating:  4.75

As The Saying Goes...

30 Jul 2014 - by Stick

Sifting through live matches has become my latest backgammon addiction. At any point in my backgammon lifetime I've had a different drug of taste much like my preference of alcohol.

Rating:  4.54

Mythbusters No. 5 - Covering the Slotted Ace Point

30 Jun 2014 - by Stick

I've recently been reminded about a couple of Mythbusters I had thought about doing so in the coming months I'm plunging back into the series. We'll be starting with what to do in general when you've slotted the ace point.

Rating:  4.90

DMP from Denmark

10 Jun 2014 - by Stick

For this month's column I've decided to pick apart the dmp matches from the recently held Denmark v. The World event that took place at the Nordic Open.

Rating:  4.33

Third Roll Nightmares

31 Mar 2014 - by Stick

Interesting 3rd roll backgammon positions are in no short supply. The issue is that the candidates in a lot of them are close--so that if you are making an error it isn't costing you much.

Rating:  5.00

Climbing Jacobs Ladder

05 Mar 2014 - by Stick

Phil Simborg recently asked me how to take his game to a higher level. He seemed a bit concerned over the leaps he has seen some people make whereas he hasn't been able to make that large of an improvement when he feels he is logging a sufficient amount of backgammon hours.

Rating:  4.58

Mochys Mischief Managed

29 Jan 2014 - by Stick

Backgammon electronic progress is slowly plodding along. When I started the game, thankfully much later than at least 75% of the people reading this article, we were in the Snowie era.

Rating:  4.77

Best of the Backgammon Books - Part IV

09 Jan 2014 - by Stick

While I started out this mini series wanting to revisit my backgammon book collection, I also stumbled across my pamphlet and newsletter collection. Why should I leave these out?

Rating:  5.00

Best of the Backgammon Books - Part III

26 Nov 2013 - by Stick

Three months in and still plenty of backgammon book material to sift through. This month we take a look at two of my absolute favorites that I'm quick to recommend to anyone who is wondering which bg books to get first or which ones are among the best.

Rating:  4.57

Best of the Backgammon Books - Part II

30 Oct 2013 - by Stick

This month we'll continue with hand selecting positions from previously published written material covering Backgammon with the Giants Neil Kazaross by Ortega and Kleinman and Greiner Versus Marmorstein by Kit Woolsey.

Rating:  4.70

Best of the Backgammon Books

17 Oct 2013 - by Stick

Even though there's what I would call a shortage of new backgammon books there is a lot of material out there for the interested student. It's safe to say I have read all the big titles.

Rating:  4.56

Five In A Row Is...

27 Sep 2013 - by Stick

The five prime. Is it more than you think? Is it less than you think? Does it depend? We're not going to try to tackle that question in full today but look at a couple of extreme over the board examples.

Rating:  4.77

Save the Gammon

30 Jul 2013 - by Stick

I am fortunate enough to give backgammon lessons. Not only do people pay me to talk about backgammon but thanks to them, I learn a lot in the process.

Rating:  5.00

Race + Contact Cubes

28 Jun 2013 - by Stick

Lately I have been sifting through tons of actual backgammon matches and trying to classify all the positions I stumble across that are interesting. These mostly end up being cube positions.

Rating:  4.38

A Giant (of Backgammon) Problem

29 May 2013 - by Stick

The 2nd Giants of Backgammon Invitational took place over the weekend. Unfortunately I was unable to attend because a good friend of mine was getting married in Virginia so I thought this month I'd play armchair

Rating:  4.85

20 pt. Anchor Holding Game Part 2

30 Apr 2013 - by Stick

This month we're going to continue down the road to other standard but not as frequent 20pt holding games. So far, we've looked strictly at the 20pt anchor playing against the midpoint, 8pt, and perhaps another point such as the bar point or 9pt.

Rating:  5.00

20 pt. Anchor Holding Game Part 1

26 Mar 2013 - by Stick

Holding games occur so often during a backgammon game that we should take the time to have a firm grip on them. This month I present you with part 1 of the 20 point anchor holding game.

Rating:  5.00

Anchors Away

26 Feb 2013 - by Stick

I think every backgammon player goes through some of the same learning curve when trying to improve initially. One area I think we all faltered in our early backgammon careers is when we should break anchor.

Rating:  4.88

Pointless Doubles

28 Jan 2013 - by Stick

The term 'pointless double' refers to any cube where the player doubling has not made any additional inner board points since the start of the backgammon game.

Rating:  4.64

Do The Math

29 Nov 2012 - by Stick

There are a lot of positions that come up when we play backgammon that are easily analyzed if we take time to dissect the pieces. The problem is most humans don't approach backgammon or problems this way.

Rating:  4.78

Backgammon Match Score 5 Away 3 Away

26 Sep 2012 - by Stick

This is the last month you'll have to struggle through my match equity calculations and standard backgammon game reference positions and comparisons from normal match scores to special scores. So hang on as we take a look at 5 away 3 away.

Rating:  4.90

5 Away 4 Away

06 Sep 2012 - by Stick

Let's tackle one of the few remaining scores this month, 5 away 4 away. Originally I wasn't sure I would cover all these scores. I was afraid there might not be enough material but I came around to thinking that they're worth covering no matter what, even if I couldn't ramble on for pages on end.

Rating:  4.70

According To Opponent

31 Jul 2012 - by Stick

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.

Rating:  4.73

5 Away 2 Away

03 Jul 2012 - by Stick

Reviewing my articles here on GammonVillage I noticed I hadn't completed all the articles from 5 away 5 away and in. There are a couple scores I skipped over initially that I thought I might get to later. Well, guess what? It's later.

Rating:  5.00

Superman's Dead

04 Jun 2012 - by Stick

There has been a fair amount of discussion on a certain set of backgammon forums that I frequent about adjusting your play according to the skill difference in opposition.

Rating:  4.57


27 Apr 2012 - by Stick

Don't lie, you saw the title and thought this was going to be about dice distribution. Do I look like that kind of guy to you? Most backgammon articles are geared toward a type of game whether it be backgames or holding games or blitzing games...

Rating:  5.00

Four Away Four Away

27 Mar 2012 - by Stick

Recently on my forums it was brought to my attention that I never finished all the scores from 5 away 5 away and in as I had set out to do here for GammonVillage. So that's what we are going to do this month, cover 4 away 4 away.

Rating:  5.00

Prime Time

13 Mar 2012 - by Stick

Now that I give a fair amount of backgammon lessons I'm always looking for material. Still, this past week when I went to put together a prime v. prime lesson I came up a lot shorter than I had expected.

Rating:  4.79

What I Learned In PGH

28 Feb 2012 - by Stick

I hadn't been to an ABT event in almost a year. The reasons were many from trying to redefine what 'lazy' means to playing tennis or being too busy with other backgammon projects. However when the ABT event in PGH rolled around my excuses were few.

Rating:  4.89

Lopsided Scores

29 Dec 2011 - by Stick

People seem a little bit lost on how to approach the problem where one player is trailing by an inordinate number of points. They usually lack experience in that area because generally one plays shorter matches and this phenomenon will be a rarity to creep in.

Rating:  4.78

Introduction to Backgames

25 Nov 2011 - by Stick

Thanks to one of my students I've been devoting a lot of my time to studying backgames over the past few months. I had never fully launched into backgame study because I'd never had a real reason to.

Rating:  4.63

An Inside Look

31 Oct 2011 - by Stick

If you know Phil Simborg well enough you'll be part of the onslaught of backgammon emails he regularly sends out. Positions from his chouette play, positions from their weekly tournaments, positions they bet on, a quiz from Jake, etc... It never stops.

Rating:  4.87

Which Hit?

27 Sep 2011 - by Stick

This particular type of problem always has one man on the bar so the entry with one die is forced. The other half of the roll you have to decide which outfield checker of your opponent's should you hit?

Rating:  4.62


07 Sep 2011 - by Stick

I had recently decided to seriously commit myself to improving my game. The best start I thought was revisiting double match point study so I set to it. I played XG about 100 matches before I logged into Gridgammon and started to play against humans.

Rating:  4.78

Tournament Preparation

25 May 2011 - by Stick

I'm taking a month siesta from my Mythbusters series. Instead I'm going to share how I prepare for the more important tournaments. I'm sure every individual soul has a different way of preparing for tournaments.

Rating:  4.25

Mythbusters 4: Midpoint

25 Apr 2011 - by Stick

This month's myth to be potentially busted is 'Don't break the midpoint'. We all know at some point the midpoint has to go or we'd get gammoned every game but under what circumstances is it ok to let go of that point?

Rating:  4.72

Mythbusters 3: The 22 Point Anchor

25 Mar 2011 - by Stick

This month we will take a look at 22 point anchor cubes. I've heard this myth expressed many different ways so you may have your own version of it. Roughly the myth we're looking at today is 'most 22 point anchor games are takes'.

Rating:  4.79

Mythbusters 2: Pottle's Law

25 Feb 2011 - by Stick

This month's article is going to cover something I've referred to as long as I can remember as Pottle's Law. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Pottle's Law simply states "Always run the last checker."

Rating:  4.88

Mythbusters 1: Make the 5 Point

25 Jan 2011 - by Stick

When I started playing backgammon I heard a lot of backgammon proverbs. Over the next set of articles I'll be inspecting these proverbs and hopefully adding an element or two to your game to help keep your error rating down.

Rating:  4.88

European Doubles French Open WBGT Grand Finale

29 Nov 2010 - by Stick

Still being relatively new on the backgammon scene I haven't attended some of the tournaments people who have been around for decades have. For example, last year was my first year for a lot of big tournaments.

Rating:  4.82

Rules of Opening Play

30 Sep 2010 - by Stick

When I started playing backgammon roughly 5 years ago now I was taken aback at the lack of opening game theory available. Backgammon books mentioned reference positions, early game blitzes, or how certain early game positions should be played but there was nothing definitive.

Rating:  4.97

Five Away, Five Away

28 Aug 2010 - by Stick

I briefly considered not covering 5 away 5 away because so much of the score reflects money play. I soon came to my senses after noting that it is probably the most common score at most backgammon tournaments.

Rating:  4.93

2010 Portuguese Backgammon Open

30 Jun 2010 - by Stick

Veni, vidi, vici. Well, almost anyway. I had good results at this past weekend's Portuguese tournament held in Estoril just outside of Lisbon which makes writing about the tournament more of a joy and less of a pain.

Rating:  4.35

3 Away, 4 Away

25 May 2010 - by Stick

This month we're covering the most confusing score there is for both backgammon players, -3 -4. I have seen this score botched, blundered, and butchered on numerous occasions by some of the world's best players.

Rating:  4.91

Four Away, Four Away

27 Apr 2010 - by Stick

As much as I enjoy boring the living hell out of my devoted readers by presenting them with how to play the opening at various scores, this month I'm unable to do so even though the theme is still match play at special scores.

Rating:  4.64

Two Away Four Away

28 Feb 2010 - by Stick

My last match score related article cover the -4 -2 score from the trailer's perspective. This month we'll take a look at the score which everyone who is reading this is more likely to reach, -2 -4, as the leader.

Rating:  4.54

Improving Your Game

26 Jan 2010 - by Stick

This month I'm taking a break from my match play series to take a look at different ways of improving your backgammon game. I show some methods that are more tried and true than others.

Rating:  4.49

Four Away Two Away

04 Jan 2010 - by Stick

This month's column tackles one of the easiest special scores to understand and one my most favorite backgammon scores to write about, four away two away, or -4 -2.

Rating:  4.78

Three Away Three Away

25 Nov 2009 - by Stick

Stick continues his comprehensive series on backgammon scores that has already covered Double Match Point, Gammon Go, Gammon Save, Two Away Three Away and Three Away Two Away.

Rating:  4.43

Two Away Three Away

26 Oct 2009 - by Stick

Last time we covered the dynamics of three away two away from the trailer's standpoint, otherwise known as -3 -2. This time we'll be launching into the same score from the leader's point of view which will be referred to from here on out as -2 -3.

Rating:  4.75

Three Away Two Away

28 Aug 2009 - by Stick

Continuing my coverage of the most common backgammon scores and branching out to short match scores where checker play and cube actions can vary widely from your typical money play we will now move on to -3 -2.

Rating:  4.84

Gammon Save

25 Jun 2009 - by Stick

Having already covered Double Match Point and Gammon Go the next logical step is the flip side of the gammon go coin commonly known as Gammon Save or GS.

Rating:  4.64

Gammon Go

25 Apr 2009 - by Stick

This month we continue our journey through match play with another score usually found near the end of the match: gammon go, otherwise known as GG.

Rating:  4.86

Double Match Point

25 Mar 2009 - by Stick

It is a key element of tournament backgammon to understand as much as possible about the most common scores. This month we begin with double match point, or dmp.

Rating:  4.77
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