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Backgammon Forum hosted by Bill Robertie. Discussion of anything related to backgammon: strategy, problems, books, clubs, and tournaments.

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Old 04-30-2020, 09:12 PM   #1
satellite
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 21
[Re-]learning bear in/off

I need to sharpen my endgame, but I have always found pip counting tedious (I can easily run "8, 9, 12" in my head- especially if real $ are in play...).

So I would appreciate advice on the most efficient way to drill. Rules of thumb? Reference positions? Flash cards? Fast counting video tutorials? I find the paradoxes fascinating, and the concepts useful, but it's like practicing foul shots for an hour if you're playing pickup ball...
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:27 AM   #2
SeinZumSpiel
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Re: [Re-]learning bear in/off

Most efficient method is certainly to keep the count permanently from the starting position. You'll struggle at the beginning but its EV+ in the long run since the count is so important for every single decision.

If you think its too much energy, there's a lot of ways to a quick count, but nothing as quick and effective.
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:36 AM   #3
satellite
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Re: [Re-]learning bear in/off

That's surprising. None of the books recommend it. Worth a try I suppose. I will soon have the replies by rote so that will save some energy...
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:56 AM   #4
Robertie
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Re: [Re-]learning bear in/off

I don't recommend trying to keep a permanent running count. As soon as you get to a position that requires some serious thought, the count tends to drift away in your mind and you'll have to start over. Besides, there are long stretches of the game where you only need a general idea whether you're ahead or behind and by a little or a lot. It's definitely a very important skill to be able to count a position quickly and accurately, but I think you should only do it when you need to.

The only player I ever heard of who was rumored to keep a running count every game was Oswald Jacoby. Our playing careers didn't overlap by much so I never got a chance to ask him if that was true.
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Old 06-10-2020, 12:40 AM   #5
satellite
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Re: [Re-]learning bear in/off

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robertie View Post
I don't recommend trying to keep a permanent running count. As soon as you get to a position that requires some serious thought, the count tends to drift away in your mind and you'll have to start over. Besides, there are long stretches of the game where you only need a general idea whether you're ahead or behind and by a little or a lot. It's definitely a very important skill to be able to count a position quickly and accurately, but I think you should only do it when you need to.
Thanks for the response. I played the LA Open [Advanced] this weekend online with Grid- the pipcount window was legal. Since I never acquired good counting skills and I rarely play for money, I found the cheat sheet made the game much more enjoyable- provoking more analysis not less- because the tediousness of counting was gone but the information was there to be factored.

If I get to Open Level and the Covid days ever end, I will again try to master counting. There is something to be said, though, for letting coaches radio the play to the QB from the sideline with help from an overhead viewer. The QB's mind is freed up to play better and smarter. Likewise, shooting a free throw is a valuable skill, rewarding the touch shooter willing to practice hundreds a day, but the game is better-served by rules that minimize the hack-a Shaq ploy.

My bet is that guys like Gregg Popovich and Bill Belichik have some gammon in their heads, or would learn it faster than the rest...
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