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Backgammon For Winners, 3rd Edition Paperback – September 30, 2002
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More About the Author
(Poker, Backgammon, Chess)
When Bill Robertie started playing chess as a boy, he could have had no idea that his single-minded focus on that game would eventually lead to significant world-wide achievements in 3 games - chess, backgammon and poker.
As a young man, Robertie played chess for Arlington High School (where he met fellow Metropolitan league player from Christopher Columbus High School, Dan Harrington). Robertie was the captain of his chess team for 3 years at Harvard College. He won the U.S. Speed Chess Championship and tied for First in the Golden Knights, the U.S. postal chess championship. He also gave simultaneous blind-fold exhibitions on 8 boards. A lifelong devotee of the game, Bill Robertie has written extensively on chess (Master Checkmate Strategy; Easy Endgame Strategies) and is a chess book collector with a complete set of "Chess Life" going back to 1932, missing only 1991 and 1992, for which he is actively searching.
In 1976, Robertie switched to backgammon, where his years of studying and playing chess served him especially well. Robertie very quickly became a world-class backgammon player - winning multiple tournaments including the Monte Carlo World Backgammon Championship twice, the Boston Black & White tournament, the Bahamas Pro-Am and the Istanbul World Cup. He is the author of 10 classic, best-selling backgammon books including Modern Backgammon, Advanced Backgammon V1, Advanced Backgammon V2 and 501 Essential Backgammon Problems.
In 2003, Robertie's remarkable game career took another important turn when he & Dan Harrington (now a poker player and World Series of Poker champion) co-authored their first poker book, Harrington on Hold'em/Strategic Play (published by Mason Malmuth's 2+2 Publishing). The first poker book that was written clearly so that players could easily get a sense of the true nuances of the game, Harrington on Hold'em/Strategic Play quickly became an instant classic, changing poker playing overnight and becoming a must-read for serious students of the game. They followed it up with Harrington on Hold'em/The Endgame, Harrington on Hold'em/The Workbook, Harrington on Cash Games V1 and Harrington on Cash Games V2, with other "Harrington" series books in the works.
Today, Bill Robertie still writes extensively on backgammon and poker. He moderates the Backgammon Forum at http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com. He also travels to backgammon and poker tournaments world-wide, and offers backgammon coaching (in person in Boston and New York City and via phone and special in-person arrangements world-wide). Details at thegammonpress.com.
Top Customer Reviews
It's a fairly thin book, which I liked. I didn't want to spend 2 weeks reading about the history of the game (at least not right now). Robertie jumps right into the meat of the subject, first giving the rules and a bit of broad strategy as well as best opening moves for every possible first roll of the dice. But the bulk of the book is taken up with three different sample games, and Robertie analyzes each move of each game, giving lots of explanation for why something was a strong or poor move. While he suggests you set up a board and move the pieces yourself, there were enough illustrations that you don't have to do so (I didn't).
By the time you work through these three sample games you'll understand backgammon notation, the different phases/styles of a backgammon game, why control of certain points is more important than others, and you'll even see examples of when the 'rules of thumb' should be broken. He does a good job of urging you to go back and reread a section if its covering difficult material, keeping you from glossing over it with an "I'll figure this out later" shrug.
Overall, I'm thinking this is a good first backgammon book. Recommended.
In short, the book is great if you want a quick read that outlines the best opening moves and gives you a feel for aggressive 'modern' backgammon. In addition to the rationale behind how to use opening dice rolls, the book gives you 3 sample games and lets you hear the pro's thoughts on possible moves. My favorite line is "He could play 14/20, moving the blot on the 14-point to safety, but this is a craven play, unworthy of a modern player." :) How could you not like such opinionated tutelage?? I could have used more exposition on why some seemingly valid plays (e.g. hitting an opponent's blot in your inner table even though its deep) are really less effective. Even better would be some statistical analysis showing why some moves make sense when looking at the odds, but I'm not sure there's such a book out there.
If you want to play better backgammon, here's my formula: Read this book. At the same time, download and install the gnubg program. It's free, and it's the best. Use the "hint" mode in gnubg, and try to learn why it's recommending all those bizarre moves. Compare those moves to what Robertie says. Keep at it, then keep at it some more. Your backgammon will get better, I promise.
I have two other Robertie books: Backgammon for Serious Players, and 501 Essential Backgammon Problems. I recommend them both, but it's Winners that got me started. Thanks, Bill!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book contains chapters on the basic rules and opening moves, and then three sample games. The chapter on opening moves is incomplete - only 15 of the 21 possible rolls are... Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Marin guy
Solid theory. Robertie's strategy is so aggressive it makes me nervous, but he is the best there is. My only regret is that this book goes by quickly. I wanted more! Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by Alex
I've only been playing backgammon about 6 months. Before reading this book, I won maybe 50% of the time against other beginners, and when I lost I usually didn't lose too badly. Read morePublished on July 13, 2011 by Pony Dad
A fine book by an author who obviously knows the game. Has improved my game, but can't help the role of the dice. My wife beats me all the time. Read morePublished on February 17, 2007 by Allan Buttrick