Backgammon for Winners

So suddenly I’m on a crazy Backgammon kick, and I’ve been playing at DailyGammon.

But I haven’t played in years, so I assumed I was going to suck. I dislike sucking at things that I do so went out looking for a book on backgammon and more or less at random picked Backgammon for Winners by Bill Robertie. And it turned out to be a decent choice.

It’s a fairly thin book, which I liked. I didn’t want to spend 2 weeks reading about the history of the game (at least not right now). Robertie jumps right into the meat of the subject, first giving the rules and a bit of broad strategy as well as best opening moves for every possible first roll of the dice. But the bulk of the book is taken up with three different sample games, and Robertie analyzes each move of each game, giving lots of explanation for why something was a strong or poor move. While he suggests you set up a board and move the pieces yourself, there were enough illustrations that you don’t have to do so (I didn’t).

By the time you work through these three sample games you’ll understand backgammon notation, the different phases/styles of a backgammon game, why control of certain points is more important than others, and you’ll even see examples of when the ‘rules of thumb’ should be broken. He does a good job of urging you to go back and reread a section if its covering difficult material, keeping you from glossing over it with an ‘I’ll figure this out later” shrug.

Overall, I’m thinking this is a good first backgammon book. Recommended.