The backgammon page

Life is not chess but backgammon, with a throw of dice at every turn. (Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works, 1997)

Backgammon is a great game, certainly underrated in comparison to chess. While far from devoid of strategical complexity, in some sense it is closer to real life than chess is, since it models an environment from which only a part can be controlled. I find the most important teaching of backgammon to be that :

Of course, applying that philosophy to backgammon is one thing, and applying it to real life is another !

"See, I was right"

That article doesn't require any prior knowledge of backgammon beyond the most basic rules. It uses backgammon in order to explore the human faulty tendency to assess decisions according to their outcomes only, and what we can do about it.

Bird counting

A simple way of counting rolls which achieve two different goals, a common situation in backgammon. I invented it because I didn't find it in any book ; but since I didn't read that many books, it has probably already been invented before.

Slot backgammon

A modest variant of backgammon, which is very efficient in producing more exciting games, without affecting the way of playing. The only difference is that the first move of the game has to be a "slot", which means leaving a blot in direct range of the opponent's rear point.

Tandem backgammon

A fun variant of my own design, pitting two teams of two players against each other, playing two simultaneous clocked games. While it leaves the rules of the game untouched, it provides interesting partnership issues and completely different match dynamics.

Committing a match equity table to memory

A match equity table is the indispensable companion of the advanced player, but that is a lot of numbers to learn for the memory-challenged like me. Here is the way I found to retrieve quite precise values from the most popular MET without overloading my memory.

Score cards

The exciting side of match play is that each score is unique. I found practical to summarize the most important numbers about each score on a separate card. The best use of this avalanche of numbers for training is probably to have the relevant score card under the eye when practicing a series of games with the same score, but it is also a nice reference for post-mortem analysis. This is definitely for the backgammon literate since the terminology is not explained.


After visiting this page, you probably wonder where you can find better backgammon information. The good news is that there are many places where you can !