After you have learned the backgammon rules and have played a few games, one of the next steps is to learn the best ways to play the opening rolls of the game and then you should begin to work on checker play tactics – such as how to build blocking points, when it is right to attack or to defend, when to run or to wait, and so on.
Backgammon for Winners
Bill Robertie is a renowned author of Chess, Backgammon and Poker books, and won the World Backgammon Championship in Monte Carlo on two occasions, in 1983 and in 1987. One of his books is called Backgammon for Winners and it is a highly recommended book for beginners.
Backgammon for Winners was published in 2002 and as a seasoned author, Robertie’s writing style is clear and concise, making it easy to understand, and more importantly, to grasp the concepts he presents to the reader. In this book, Robertie not only tells us what the best opening moves are, but also reveals the pros and cons of the best and alternate plays.
Robertie then takes us through three sample games in which we receive valuable knowledge on doubling guidelines, duplication strategy, the blitz, the backgame and more. Backgammon for Winners is an excellent book to help you play more aggressively and provide you with goals that will help you win more often. If you intend to buy this book make sure you purchase a Third Edition copy, which has an added chapter on the backgame.
Backgammon Books by Paul Magriel and Walter Trice
Two other books that are generally suggested to coach the new player are Backgammon by Paul Magriel and Backgammon Boot Camp by Walter Trice. Instead of being specifically aimed at beginners, these two take you through stages that will lead you to a higher understanding of the game’s strategy and will convert you from a Beginner to at least an Intermediate or Advanced skill level.
Although Magriel’s backgammon book was published in 1976 it is still considered to be the best introductory book on backgammon ever published, and in fact is generally referred to by players as “The Bible of Backgammon”. Magriel was a distinguished professor of mathematics and has been ranked amongst the top 10 backgammon players in the world for more than 30 years now – Magriel was also the World Backgammon in 1978.
Section 1: Basics of Magriel’s book starts with the Rules of Backgammon followed by a chapter on the Notation he will use when commenting on positions in the rest of the book. Then Magriel continues with chapters on basic checker play, the running game, opening rolls, the holding game, basic doubling strategy, the priming game and attacking game as well as the pip count and basics odds.
In some of the above mentioned chapters, Magriel takes you play-by-play through a game honing in on the concepts in certain types of positions.There are four more sections that cover virtually all the gambits of Intermediate and Advanced strategies, where you will also find Magriel’s famous criteria on “Safe Play vs. Bold Play”.
Magriel’s classic Backgammon is a masterpiece. He was way ahead of his time and this is a book that players of all levels will want to read more than once.
The other book we mentioned is Backgammon Boot Camp by Walter Trice, a distinguished and respected American expert who plays live in on the U.S. backgammon circuit. Trice has won numerous backgammon tournaments over the years – in November of 2004 he battled his way through a field of 101 of the world’s top experts to win the annual Las Vegas Backgammon Open title.
Backgammon Boot Camp is a collection of some 57 online articles published between the years 2001 and 2002. Trice wrote the series on a suggestion from backgammon magazine Editor Michael Strato, who asked Walter to write him a weekly series for beginners.
After they appeared online, Jeremy Bagai, another renowned expert and friend of Walter’s, suggested the articles be updated and re-published into a new book for beginners. Walter agreed and Backgammon Boot Camp was published in 2004 and has since become one of the best-selling, most recommended books for players from the beginner to advanced level.The truth is that once Trice got past the basics of racing, priming, blitzing and the opening rolls, he was unstoppable and the series gathered headway as he kept on going into more and more theory. Trice lucidly explains the tactics of anchoring, attacking, cubing and much more. And Trice constantly reminds us to stay alert, have a game plan, and he teaches you how to seek the right play and use one’s checkers effectively. Trice also has some great chapters on closeouts, bearing in, bearing off and backgame strategies.
To summarize, the introduction of the book spells it out when it says:“Backgammon Boot Camp is for anyone wishing to get real good, real quick.”
“Drill Sergeant Trice starts from scratch, and makes it his personal job to mold you into a lean, mean, winning machine. The going may be rough. But like any good drill sergeant, Trice has your best interests at heart.”
Backgammon Books for Intermediate to Advanced Players
Once you have read the books suggested above, there are numerous other great books to follow-up with, too many to mention. However, we suggest you continue with one or more of these other titles for Intermediate to Advanced players:
* 501 Essential Backgammon Problems or Modern Backgammon by Bill Robertie.* Backgammon with the Giants series by Antonio Ortega and Danny Kleinman.* Understanding Backgammon by Kit Woolsey and Tami Jones.* Backgammon Openings Book A by Nack Ballard and Paul Weaver.* New Ideas in Backgammon by Kit Woolsey and Hal Heinrich.
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