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Old 02-19-2018, 03:48 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 450
Roll-outs by hand

Question for Bill and any other players from pre-solved backgammon days...

I read something recently, and have read it before on this site, where Bill and the guys would roll out a situation they didn't understand by hand. I thought I would try this for a bit of fun, but I immediately ran into the issue of not knowing the best move again, a little further down the line.

How did you take this into account when you were doing your roll-outs, that you may have made a sub-optimum move that would itself require additional work to determine whether it was good? I gave up the exercise pretty quickly after I realised what a rabbit hole I was going down...

Do you prefer the world now, with an immediate answer to 4 decimal places? I can imagine the debates were pretty intense. All my "daring and innovative" plays tend to get labelled "distracted" by XG, I think the arguments must have got quite hairy.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:03 AM   #2
old hand
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,635
Re: Roll-outs by hand

Usually the hairy and discussions came over the board in chouettes or tournaments, followed by the rollouts in the peace and quiet of home.

When doing rollouts by hand, you'll encounter many positions down the road where you also don't know the best play. That's OK. Shrug your shoulders, make your best guess, and soldier on.

The point of a hand rollout in the old days was twofold: (1) get an approximate answer as to the best play, and (2) see how the position looks as it plays out. Reason (1) doesn't apply anymore as XG will give you a much more accurate in seconds. Reason (2) is still very important.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:49 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 450
Re: Roll-outs by hand

Many thanks Bill. I've started appreciating (2) a lot more after playing out a few positions where the cube action surprised me.
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