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Backgammon Books. Having defined the rules and the basic game types, it explains with excellent examples the principles of duplication and diversification, and the strength of the 5-point.
It lays out rules for when to play boldly and when to play safe, when to split your back men and when not to split them. Many other basic and some not so basic backgammon concepts are explained. The author leads the reader on the journey from complete novice to competent player.
The one area of the game which the book covers only lightly is doubling, but even here there are some gems. I do not recommend this book to beginners. I do not want to put wrong ideas into beginners' heads by recommending Paul Magriel's book when there are better books available. I recommend Backgammon Boot Camp instead because it contains some match theory and has a lot more about doubling theory.
You can learn a lot if you roll out the positions and think about what Magriel got right and wrong. Covers basic checker play very well. If you read and thoroughly understand this book, you'll play a decent game. A must for the serious minded backgammon enthusiast. It carefully explains the game's basic concepts, ideas and strategic principles. After an introductory section in which he gives examples of the four most common types of game running game, holding game, attacking game and priming game and some basic doubling cube strategy and maths, Magriel goes on to tackle most of the fundamental points of chequer play.
An understanding of these points will raise anyone's game from the "hitting twice is fun, so it must be right" level to knowing what are the issues involved in a position, what sort of game one is trying to play, and how best to bring one's objectives about.
The main criticism of the book must be that it is weak on doubling strategy. This is surely as important as chequer play. There are a couple of chapters on doubling, but a systematic exposition of the subject, in the style of the rest of the book, would have made the book even more valuable than it already is.
It was the only truly analytic book about backgammon since Jacoby's and Crawford's The Backgammon Book and rendered all backgammon texts preceding it, and even some subsequent ones, obsolete as introductory texts.
Magriel systematically elucidates backgammon strategy, from fundamental to intermediate to advanced. The book does great justice to its topics in its well-diagrammed over pages. It has passed the test of time as an introductory text, having been commonly referred to as 'The Bible' of backgammon.
The disadvantages are that some important details of advanced topics e. Also, the prose, though very readable, is structurally and stylistically weak. When I first read Magriel, about 15 years ago, I was very weak, and it transformed my game.
I always recommend reading Magriel to anyone trying to improve. For players who don't understand the fundamentals of the game, studying this book and trying to apply its concepts over the board invariably leads to tremendous improvement. Most of the book is very basic, but each and every aspect is important to understand, and I haven't read a book since that pointed out the basics so clearly.
The first time I read the book, I didn't get much out of it. But then I reread it, skipping the the introduction, and tried to understand why expert players thought so highly of the book. I began to understand the flow of the game better, the concept of game plans, and when to change your plan. It does a fine job of communicating the fundamentals of sound backgammon play.
I have read it many times: first, to become familiar with the concepts; later, to reinforce those concepts and to learn how to put them into practice; and continually, to maintain the fundamental ideas upon which the overwhelming majority of BG decisions are built. That being said, I would not look to Backgammon to bridge the gap between intermediate and expert play. For example, a key component to top-level play is the proper use of the cube, a subject on which Backgammon is all but silent.
The sections I found the most helpful are Chapter 16, Safe Play vs. Bold Play, and Chapter 20, Golden Point. Not merely a collection of problems, but in fact a textbook that presents a logically structured sequence of concepts, each supported by many illustrative examples. What is most striking upon a close rereading is the consistent simplicity of the positions. I've rarely read technical books that are so clearly written and so well illustrated.
Magriel provides both before and after illustrations for ideal moves, followed by complete explanations for why some moves are better than others. Section one is identical to his "Beginning Backgammon" book, and the rest of the book is for more advanced play. If you buy the book, make sure you are getting this one pages not the shorter one. The book is layed out in a format that explains each phase of the game in logical order.
A player that masters the concepts in this book will be head and shoulders above the average player. The book was written a while back, so is missing a few of the modern theories.
This is a minor matter. I recommend this highly to the beginning and intermediate player. It wouldn't hurt advanced players to read this too.
Today, it still remains a superb text on checker play and even today's intermediates will improve thru detailed study of it. However, it is the almost total neglect of the doubling cube that prevents Magriel's book from standing alone at the top of the heap.
Perhaps Magriel didn't feel that he knew enough about the cube 27 years ago to put it all in print in a big book. This was the first real textbook on the game. Teachers no longer needed to spend countless hours on details of backgammon technique, but could simply assign chapters in Magrie's book as required reading for their students. The book is also valuable as a beautifully organized collection of simple problems. Each problem illustrates a point, clearly and unambiguously.
And each problem fits neatly into the text, into the particular themes running through the chapter in which it appears. There is nothing Magriel has to show you about backgammon that you cannot see for yourself if you just stop, look, and think about it.
Yet this pointing out what you can see for yourself is the most valuable service a teacher of backgammon can perform for you. Introduction Section I.
Basics 1. Rules 2. Notation 3. Basic Checker Play 4. Game I: Running game 5. Opening Rolls 6. Game II : Holding Game 7. Basic Doubling Strategy 8. Game IV : Attacking Game Pip Count Basic Odds Section II. Using Men Effectively Builders and Flexibility Duplication and Diversification Middle Game Strategy Modern Opening Theory Safe Play vs.
Bold Play Slotting Action Play One Man Back Golden Point Splitting Doubling Theory Section IV. Endgame No Possible Contact Avoiding Contact After Contact Section V. Advanced Positional Play Priming and Blocking Control of the Outside Timing Holding Game and Backgame Glossary Tables. Author, Paul Magriel, Backgammon World Champion international rivals nicknamed him "The Computer," acknowledging him as a premier theoretician and New York Times backgammon columnist, has ingeniously broken down every aspect of backgammon to its component parts, explaining the game here with a unique, easy to understand, step-by-step, building-block approach.
Magriel write in concise non-technical language that is enhanced by clear and precise diagrams, a glossary, and tables.
Because gambling has become an integral part of backgammon for many players, the betting odds inherent in the game are also carefully spelled out.
For any player who means to take the game seriously and wants to play well, this book is an indispensable guide and an essential reference tool. Backgammon carefully explains the game's basic concepts, ideas, and strategic principles.
Backgammon Books. Having defined the rules and the basic game types, it explains with excellent examples the principles of duplication and diversification, and the strength of the 5-point. It lays out rules for when to play boldly and when to play safe, when to split your back men and when not to split them. Many other basic and some not so basic backgammon concepts are explained. The author leads the reader on the journey from complete novice to competent player.
Quantity: Buy Now. The book is enhanced by clear and precise diagrams, a glossary and tables, including the betting odds. For any player who means to take the game seriously and wants to play well, Backgammon is an indispensable guide. Having stood the test of time for over a quarter-century, Backgammon is still the best and most widely recommended and quoted standard instructional manual and reference work on the game for novice and expert alike. Paul David Magriel, Jr. A former New York State junior chess champion, Paul won a full scholarship to New York University in mathematics and graduated first in his class with a National Science Foundation fellowship to Princeton University in probability. He was a professor at the Newark College of Engineering, now known as the New Jersey Institute of Technology before becoming a full-time backgammon and poker player.
Backgammon by Paul Magriel
Paul David Magriel Jr. July 1, - March 5, , was a professional backgammon player, poker player, and author based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He passed away smiling in his sleep on March 5, He was loved and respected by millions. His book, Backgammon , was often referred to as the Bible of Backgammon. I knew him for 65 years.
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