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Old 02-17-2009, 02:18 PM   #1
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"Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

I'm putting together a shopping list of a few new books to get my gf up to speed on modern backgammon. One I'm considering as a basic is Backgammon For Blood by Chris Bray.

Oddly there was another book with the same title by Bruce Becker that's in my old collection and is awful (example of classical bad Becker advice is to slot the seven and nine points on an opening role of 6-4).

Are these books related? If their not would anyone advise the Bray book as a good first read?

~ Rick

PS I already have Robertie's "Backgammon For Serious Players" and will get his "Backgammon For Winners" along with his "501 Essential Problems" books. The latter is to get my game back up to speed but I'm hoping gf will get decent starting with the other two and perhaps one more.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:33 PM   #2
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Re: "Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

Well, there's a book called Modern Backgammon by Bill Robertie that is very good. I would also recommend Classic Backgammon Revisited, as well as New Ideas In Backgammon. I think the Robertie books you mention are good, but not as readable as the ones I've listed.

Backgammon For Blood looks interesting, might have to pick it up.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:49 PM   #3
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Re: "Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Nebiolo View Post
Oddly there was another book with the same title by Bruce Becker that's in my old collection and is awful (example of classical bad Becker advice is to slot the seven and nine points on an opening role of 6-4).
lols, yea its a pretty c**p book. I think he also advocates not making the 12 point with 5-6 as its ''boring/uncreative'' or sth like that.
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:01 AM   #4
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Re: "Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

This is my understanding.

In 2007, Chris Bray initially released the book Backgammon to Win: Play Like a Pro Both Online and Off in the UK.

Twelve months earlier it was reported that Backgammon for Blood was a well read book in the George W. Bush household. So publishers hoped to re-issue the book given its recent publicity, but pulled out due to some lost original artwork.

American publishers then approached Chris and asked to rename his book for the US market to Backgammon for Blood: A Guide for Those Who Like to Play But Love to Win.

Or something like that. So fear not, Bruce Becker's book and Chris Bray's book have no correlation other than in name, in the US market. Chris Bray's "two" books are identical, and I can recommend it as a good starting point for a beginner.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:10 AM   #5
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Re: "Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

The original "Backgammon for Blood" was full of terrible advice, but it was very entertaining, and the author (Bruce Becker) had a real facility with creating interest and drama about the game. It became one of the two best-selling backgammon books of all time, along with "The Backgammon Book" by Jacoby & Crawford (which was a very good book.)

Becker's advice centered around trying to build a prime at all cost from the getgo, and falling into a massive backgame when that failed (as it usually did). It was an extreme version of the super-aggressive style coming out of the New York clubs at that time.

Back then, no one really knew what the right balance was between aggression and safety. Advocates of the aggressive styles were becoming successful and winning tournaments, while the older, conservative players were being left back. When I first saw Paul Magriel at a tournament, shortly after taking up the game in 1976, I watched his first round match. He won the opening roll with a 6-1. His play was 13/7 6/5. Exciting times! People were willing to experiment with a lot of stuff.

It wasn't until the 80s that people really looked at Becker's book and realized it was way over the top.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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Re: "Backgammon For Blood" by Bray - Is it related to Becker's book?

This ultra-agressive style reminds me a bit of the Greek/Turkish style. In Greece and Turkey they often play without the cube but at the same time without the Jacoby rule, such that gammon and and backgammon wins are possible without having to double first.

The result is that these players are used to go for the throat very aggressively. They will hit open and try to close you out at first opportunity. If they can't hit, they will slot. They can be really deadly in short matches (-:
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