BACKGAMMON: The Cruelest Game by Jon & Barclay Cooke Bradshaw

BACKGAMMON: The Cruelest Game

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This purports to be a text for both tyro and initiate, but the authors move much too fast and leave out too many essentials for the beginner. They cover the basic rules, the opening moves, the odds and probabilities, tactics, bearing off, the back game and end game. The authors uphold some familiar principles (establishing the five and bar points), but their differences with accepted strategy (don't split the back men) are not sufficiently explained. They write, ""To have the ability to improvise when necessary from the norm is the hallmark of the best players."" This is true enough, and the advanced competitor will appreciate their examples; but it is meaningless to a novice, who is unfamiliar with the ""norm."" Chapters on settlements, doubling and psychology are exceptional; players at all levels will find these valuable. Another useful feature is a depth analysis of three games. On the whole, however, the authors reveal backgammon strategy to be idiosyncratic, best learned at the board rather than the book.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1974
Publisher: Random House