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. I took care of the problem by removing the front spacer (attached and tightened with wingnuts, so easy enough to do) and leaving the back spacer in place for resting on the outside of the board (positioning the box perfectly for dropping the dice on to the board’s surface). I really like it.

Here’s a shot of my setup, complete with baffle box, board, precision dice, clock, and scorecard, as shot by Larry during the weekly Dallas Backgammon League tournament. My theme is “attack in red and black,” for any of you backgammon-playing punk rockers out there (::waves at both of you::).

Totally Baffled.

To fully inform the remaining 99.99% of you who are scratching your heads, “Red and Black” is a punk song written by an old band of my youth, 7Seconds. It’s about disaffected youth (duh) and how graffiti, which is to say graffiti done in red and black spray paint, is one of the few avenues open to kids (of the time) to express themselves to the world.

Keep in mind, this was the pre-Internet early 1980s.

Don’t like graffiti? Today’s disaffected youth get online and livestream mass shootings. So I prefer graffiti, but your mileage may vary.

A line from the song, which declares “we will attack in red and black,” was appropriated by another, better-known punk band from the late 1990s-2000s, The Icarus Line, whose album “Red and Black Attack,” and style of dress (black clothes, red ties), paid homage to their early roots in 7Seconds’ sound.

WARNING: punk rock isn’t for everyone. And, sometimes, no one. But that’s the point.
Also, punk’s not dead; it just goes to bed at a more reasonable hour, now.

And thus ends the music history lesson for the day. Back to backgammon…

…Speaking of the Dallas Backgammon League, I finished “in the money” for a second time, and in the exact same way as the first time (last week).

Hey. It still counts. This upcoming week’s tournament will be the League’s year-ending “Monte Carlo” night, where $600 is added to the tournament. My shot at winning that is a number approaching zero. Probably sub-zero.

I did win a couple of tournaments on DailyGammon this week, though, and both were on the same day, bringing my total to seventeen tournaments won (and three times winning two on the same day).

…And speaking of DailyGammon, this happened, too: a new personal historic high ranking. When I began playing DailyGammon this past May 14, I somehow managed to get lucky in my first few games before I went crashing to earth, with a rating in the low 1300s, while I was learning how to play the game.

For the longest time, my historic high looked like this on DG Active Players, a webpage that tracks such things:

An albatross around my neck for seven months while I began learning to play the game…

Then, this week, exactly seven months after beginning my training there, it now finally looks like this:

…has become a slightly less heavy albatross.

…And, finally, speaking of training, I discovered a new-to-me website this week: BGTrain. It’s proven both fun and helpful. It presents you with backgammon problems to solve— ridiculously easy to ridiculously batshit crazy-hard— including problems involving cube play, and then scores your solution against the XG algorithm and awards (or detracts) points from your score, accordingly. If you sign up with an account (free, but also unnecessary to use the website), your score is tracked against others, turning the practice problems into a fun little competitive game.

Learning is fundamental. (Ug. Sorry about that.)

So, it’s been a pretty good week on the backgammon home-front. We’re heading into the Holiday Season, here (and everywhere, I suppose), and I hope everyone has a lovely, and safe, closing few weeks of the year.

And may your dice be terrific.

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