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Old 01-19-2017, 01:20 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 13
10 Golden Opening Rules for Money Play.

Hi Mr.Robertie,

I have read Jeremy Bagai paper on Opening Replies a few times. In that paper within the introduction he mentions that you outlined Ten General Principles of Opening play (Money Games).The source cited was your Inside Backgammon Magazine 1998.
Any chance you can share the Principles with us here?

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Old 01-19-2017, 01:49 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,601
Re: 10 Golden Opening Rules for Money Play.

Jeremy's referring to a three-part article I wrote in the 1998 issues. It was only about how to play the replies to the opening roll (not opening play in general), and the 10 guidelines for opening roll replies were in the first issue. Here they are:

(1) If you can hit an enemy blot on his side of the board, do it.

(2) If you can make a point, do it.

(3) If you have to choose between hitting a blot and making a point, in general hitting will be more important.

(4) If your opponent has split to your 5-point or 4-point, you want to hit him there.

(5) If your opponent has split to your 3-point or 2-point, in general you don't want to hit him there.

(6) Hitting two men is usually good.

(7) In general you don't want to use your whole roll to run into your opponent's outfield.

(8) If your roll can't be used to make a point or hit, aim for a balanced play -- unstack heavy points and split your back men.

(9) If your opponent has slotted a key point and you've missed him, a counter-slot will be a good maneuver.

(10) If your opponent has made his 5-point, your need to split is even bigger than before.

This list was compiled at the end of 1997. Snowie was still a ways in the future, and the only commercial bot available was Jellyfish. Most good players at the time did not have a high opinion of Jellyfish's opening plays. (Jellyfish played back games and ace-point games poorly, and we thought that it's poor play in these areas affected its opening choices. That was somewhat true, but we were overestimating how important it was.)

These rules hold up pretty well except for #9. There are a few positions where the counter-slot is basically a tossup with some more conservative plays (for instance after 2-1 slot, 6-2) but mostly the counter-slot idea is a small error.
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