book (Extremely rare).
pub. 1987, pages 274.
by Bill Robertie.
(price UK: £117.00, EU/Europe: €140.00, Denmark: kr 995.00)
between top players,
Nack Ballard vs Mike Senkiewicz.
Nack Ballard vs Howard Markowitz.
There is no writing in the book, but some of the pages have had their corners turned down.
About the book:
This book is a match book, but of a somewhat different sort than has appeared in backgammon literature so far. The book covers two matches: Nack Ballard's semi-final and final round victories over Mike Senkiewicz and Howard Markowitz, from the first Reno Master's Invitational, held in January, 1986. Each match has been annotated from Ballard's point-of-view.
The most useful (and I think entertaining) way to use this book is to imagine yourself as Nack Ballard's silent partner in the two matches. Cover up the page with a sheet of paper or cardboard, then move the sheet down the page, uncovering the opponent's roll and play, then Ballard's dice roll. After each of Ballard's rolls is a line of asterisks. Pause at this point, consider what play you would make over-the-board in this situation,
then write it down. Then uncover Ballard's actual play and the explanation of choices. The various possible plays are assigned point values based on the difficulty and importance of the play. Doubling decisions are also preceded with asterisks, as are certain bonus problems covering other matters of interest as they arise. At the end of each game is a place to compare your total score for that game with the maximum possible score. At the end of the book, you can tabulate your entire score and compare it to estimated scores for players of various strengths.
Used in this way, the book is essentially one long quiz, designed to measure how well you play under more-or-less realistic tournament conditions. By noting where you have missed points, you should be able to focus on those aspects of your game most in need of improvement. At the same time, readers uninterested in scoring themselves can regard the book as simply a collection of interesting games from the final rounds of one of the strongest tournaments ever held.
said by others:
Marty Storer - "Two annotated matches from the very strong Reno tournament of '86. Semifinal match is between Nack Ballard and Mike Senkiewicz; an excellent match, well annotated. Finals between Ballard and Howard Markowitz. The book is in quiz format, so you can test your skill against Ballard's (well, kind of: Ballard had to find his moves over-the-board under great pressure--nothing like the finals of a big tournament to get the adrenalin flowing!). I've only found a couple of mistakes in the annotations." –
Jeremy Paul Bagai - One of the best of the pre-bot era backgammon books. Two complete matches analyzed and presented in quiz format. Robertie's writing is sharp and understated as always. He was clearly one of the best players, and one of the best (if not the best) analysts of the '80s and beyond.
I'd gone through the book several times before, always using a physical board to follow along. This time I used eXtreme Gammon (2, beta) to play along, and got immediate numeric feedback on the proper plays.
As expected there were lots of interesting positions that Robertie got wrong. But by "lots" I mean "significantly fewer than you would ever expect from someone writing in the '80s."
A great book.