Magriel Mega Match Madness Series

This might seem crazy at first. And also, later.

I’ve been casting about for another weapon to add to my “gain experience and get better, faster” arsenal— I study, read, play in both live and online tournaments, Dallas Backgammon League play, timed and un-timed matches of various lengths, play XG and BGBlitz, analyze my games, etc.— but one piece that’s missing, in large part, is playing myself.

Seriously.

Playing yourself in a mind sport is a great way to learn and improve, particularly if you approach the process in a serious and thoughtful way.

Paul Magriel famously took on the player-moniker “X-22” after playing himself, on each side of the board, in a 26-player tournament, where the players were named “X-1” through “X-26.”…

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That Never Happens

Technically perfect. That’s a first.

I just played my first-ever technically perfect game using my BGBlitz analytical trainer, an event so out of the scope of the norm for me, it’s rather like planting flowers in my back yard and discovering a T-Rex fossil.

Obviously, I’m using up all of my good, smart, thoughtful play ahead of tonight’s kick-off of the Dallas Backgammon League‘s 2020 tournament season, and will play like utter trash this evening.

In other words, a mean reversion. In multiple senses of the term.

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This is the End (of 2019)

Champagne and a game, anyone?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted my last backgammon update (“bupdate”?), and seeing-off 2019 is the perfect excuse to crank one out. I’ve been busy, just as I’m sure most of you have, with the Holidays and the usual closing-out-the-year madness, but haven’t neglected the game. Because, priorities.

I think I’ll lead by stealing a super-lazy idea from the press: the end-of-the-year recap:

On January 1, I will have been:

  • Playing backgammon for eight months
  • Playing Daily Gammon for seven-and-a-half months
  • Been serious about learning for five months
  • Been playing with a doubling cube for four months
  • Been playing live tournaments with a League for two months

Today, as of this writing, I have a synchronistic 2002 games under my belt on Daily Gammon and my stats look like this:

231 days of gameplay.

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Punk Rock Backgammon

Had a pretty good game-week this week, with lots of little things adding up to plenty of fun and adventure (as far as backgammon goes).

On Tuesday, my baffle box arrived in the mail and I immediately unboxed it and gave it a whirl. It’s the box that’s sold by Phil Simborg, but it didn’t fit my board as intended. It has adjustable spacers on the bottom which allow it to expand or contract to the depth of the dice tray it’s sitting atop, but the width of my tray, on my board, didn’t accommodate the notch width of the box.…

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Monte Carlo Dreaming

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Monte Carlo— I was spending time “down the road” in Cannes, attending an industry awards festival, and decided to take a day exploring by car, driving up the coast through Nice, Monte Carlo and, briefly, crossing the Italian border. It was wonderful.

Doing my part to keep Monte Carlo family-friendly.

There’s truly no other place like it; it’s unique in the world.

I want to eventually go back and play in the Backgammon World Championship, not because I feel I can win it, but for the experience of it.

Here’s what the Championship looked like in 1985.…

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Rolling the Dice in Paradise

I’m starting a new blog-entry category: Articles and Press.

I’ve found a few articles, here and there— and mainly of the older sort, that I’ve occasionally posted to my Facebook, and thought I would also begin keeping them here, on Mack Gammon, as well.

I’ll give a little snippet of interest for each, but the main concern is for your ability to click through to the article itself (which will typically be much, much longer), because I don’t simply want to repost another publication’s work.

We’ll begin with this one:

Rolling the Dice in Paradise
High-stakes backgammon players flock to Monte Carlo to pit themselves against the competition and soak in the opulence
By Michael Kaplan, From Cigar Aficionado, Tom Selleck, Nov/Dec 2007

Excerpt:

“In poker it’s the riffling of chips.…

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FIBS Fifteen Hundred

I’ve gone on a nice little tear since I posted my 1,400th game update on the 11th.

The red line indicates where I stood eleven days ago.

Then, eleven days ago, my FIBS rating stood at 1,429.87. Last night, I managed to (re)cross the 1,500 mark, a place I haven’t been since the first day I began playing (and began with an automatic 1,500, a number that climbed slightly— and only very briefly— before crashing to Earth while I learned the game).

Waiting for the FIBS score to roll from this…

…to this…

…was, um, anticipatory. I’d won a match and knew it would put me over the top, but my opponent had stepped away and hadn’t cleared the game, leaving my score in limbo.…

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Bookgammon, v1.0

After my last blog post, I was asked what books I’d purchased (read or in the queue to read), and I thought… BLOG MATERIAL!

Here’s my current list. I’ll add links wherever I can. Don’t worry— they’re not “affiliate” links, trying to sell you something, and I don’t earn a cut. If I link to a book, the link will deliver you to Goodreads (where I keep a queue of “want to read” books) so you can check the crowd-sourced reviews.

The “books” are mainly of the digital sort. I read a lot, and I keep a very active Kindle, but the digital backgammon books I’ve purchased have all come through Apple’s iBooks.…

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1,400 Games

Yes. Yes it did.

After taking nearly four months to play 400 games on Daily Gammon, here I am, just over two months later, with 1,400 games under my belt.

That’s a pretty serious escalation, and I blame it on the doubling cube. The games really start adding up when your matches go to multiple points.

For those who don’t know my “backgammon timeline,” prepare for the boring:

  • Began playing the game in May of this year (2019)
  • Discovered Daily Gammon on May 14
  • While traveling, played one-point matches to learn the game
  • Decided in August I would get serious, bought many books
  • Began playing with the doubling cube for the first time in September
  • Had a Birthday, showered with gammon gear, continued reading
  • Located a local League in October, kept getting crushed using the cube
  • Began clawing back in November, and attended my first League meeting
The ups and downs (and downs, and downs) of learning

So I’ve been playing for six months, three of those with serious intent, and only two of those in multi-point matches using the cube, with one week in a League setting.…

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