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Old 06-02-2021, 02:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 13
Two questions about using XG for study

1: If you set up a position to analyze in XG, what match scores should you check it at in order to cover all your bases?

I know that most even score plays are analyzed at 11-away, 11-away. What if you want a general “behind in the score” or “ahead in the score” understanding of the position? Is changing the scores to, say 11-away, 7-away enough to account for this? Or, at the end of the day, is it better to go through all the “five point match” type of scores instead? If you really want to understand a position in depth, should you be checking those specifically?

2: I’ve noticed that sometimes XG’s recommended play is not the top (-0.000) play. Why is this? And what can be learned or gleaned from positions or moves where this is the case?

(Apologies if either of these questions have been asked. I scrolled through the first two pages and didn’t see anything.)

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Old 06-04-2021, 09:49 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,868
Re: Two questions about using XG for study

If you're practicing on XG (an excellent thing to do, BTW), I would urge you to start with XG's 'Unlimited Game' setting. That way you can focus on basic backgammon with cubes and gammons counting but with match score considerations out of the picture. Backgammon's a tough game and trying to figure out how the score changes what you want to do is very hard when you don't have a good understanding of the basics.

When you do get around to trying match play, I would first work on 5-point matches, since that's a popular format and most longer matches eventually become a 5-point match anyway. Here the key scores are 4-4 (DMP), 3-1, 3-2, and 1-0. For the non-DMP scores, you want to look at plays for both the leader and the trailer, since both are heavily affected by the score.

For longer matches, I'd look at something like the 6-0 to 11 score -- a big lead for one side, but still plenty of play left. Again, you'll be looking at plays for both the leader and the trailer.
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:35 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 13
Re: Two questions about using XG for study

Bill, thank you for the reply!

Yes, I have spent much time over the years playing both Unlimited Games and Matches against XG, on both the tutor and free mode settings. At this point XG says my average PR for unlimited / money is ~6.5, and for match play ~10.5. Neither of those are anything to write home about, but my match play (and by extension, I assume, cube play) clearly lags behind. Hence my interest in getting a better handling on score dependent considerations. Thank you for the useful breakdown on the important match scores.

Sometimes I feel that my main problem has been how casual I've been with studying over the years. I've been interested in the game for a good 15 years now. I own a lot of books. I play a lot online. But at no point have I ever sat down and said, okay, I'm going begin now and study in a regimented way until I feel that I've grown from a casual / intermediate player into someone who really understands the game.

Again, thanks for the breakdown on the match scores. I appreciate it!
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