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How Good Are You at Backgammon?: 50 Challenging Situations for You to Rate Your Ability with the Experts Paperback – April 3, 2001

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About the Author

Dr. Nicolaos S. Tzannes, a Professor of Electrical Engineering, has authored many books/articles in his field, including "Communication and Radar Systems", reprinted recently by Authors Choice Press. Dr. B. Tzannes, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Patras, Greece, has authored many papers in his field of Topology. The brothers, well-known backgammon theoreticians, have also co-authored the book Backgammon Games and Strategies, published recently by iUniverse.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (April 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595176429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595176427
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,288,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Floris Brownstone on August 26, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors describe themselves as world champion backgammon players. I have no reason to doubt this claim. However as expositors of backgammon, they fall fairly far from championship status.

The book presents a series of backgammon positions. Given a board position, a roll, and the cube, the reader is asked to find the best move. The authors then assign from one to five points to the reader's selection (assuming that the reader decided upon one of the authors' preselected moves, of course.)
Most of the introductory positions are uncontroversial. The authors quickly move on to more complicated board positions however, and here is where the trouble begins.

In many positions, they tend to favor the safe play. Certainly a recognized style, but stating that the safe play is the best play, without a discussion of the cube, the score, or any alternatives seems like hubris. In one problem, the authors state that "black is far enough ahead to run in this position", but they make no attempt to quantify what they mean by "far enough ahead", nor is there even any discussion of how to determine when one player is ahead. In another position, where they also advocate a safe play, they make no mention of the possibility of playing for a gammon, and the pro's and con's of that decision.

The book doesn't present enough basic principles to be of use to the novice: There are no discussions of pip counts, very little of bearing off, and only a muddled mention of hitting probabilities. The experienced player will find himself disagreeing with the authors without gaining any insight from them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Collins on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of backgammon problems is really very basic, despite the subtitle "rate your ability with the experts." It's a good collection of problems for beginners, but won't challenge anyone who is anywhere close to expert status. It reads as though it was written in the 1970's (or earlier), before neural net computers modernized backgammon theory. Recommended only for beginners. The two Greek authors' other book, Backgammon Games and Strategies, is more interesting. It is one of the few books in English that contains strategy tips on the Backgammon variations, Plakato and Moultezim.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read many of the 'how good is your ..' books for poker and I liked the format which lets you keep a score so you end up with an idea how good you really are. And I also love to play backgammon, so when I saw this book I didn't hesitate and bought it.

However, the book has a major flaw: the authors don't seem terribly good at backgammon themselves. The explanations of the problems sometimes miss important features of the position, such as the position of the cube or the match score. And sometimes the answer is just plain wrong. For instance in situation 6, the authors choose for the play that seems to win the most games, but miss the play that wins not only a lot more gammons, but even a few extra games as well. The answer which the authors present is actually a blunder. There are a couple of excellent backgammon programs on the market which let you analyse positions such as this, and when the authors would have checked this position, they would have noticed their mistake themselves.
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By Jeffrey k on March 24, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book is well written and gives me good idea for moves
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Crimson on March 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought it and read it during a flight from Washington to LA. Entertaining, with many good and easy to remember rules on how to improve your game. It made the trip pleasant, even though my score was low.
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