the dorbel daily

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

It's A Lifetime Session

Backgammon, a lifetime session! Once you've learned how to play, learning how to play better has to be the object. This brings two benefits. The first is that you will win more often, always more fun. The second is less obvious, which is that the game will be more enjoyable.
No matter how much you learn, this is not a game that can ever be mastered. Even if you become a world class predator, with the top tournaments and high stake chouettes your natural home, there will still be positions, games, whole matches that will be a puzzle to you.
Let me tell you a story. Before backgammon, my passion was tenpin bowling and very early on I went on an instructor's course. This was great fun and I got a big kick from teaching people the basics. When I got the chance to go on an advanced instructor's course I jumped at it. This was to be hosted by Frank Klaus, the legendary American coach. Well there we all were, assembled and ready and he swept into the room, looking more like the traditional image of a drill sergeant than was possible, iron grey hair with a military cut, shoes shining, trouser crease like a knife edge, starched bowling shirt, the works. His preamble went like this.
"Good Morning. My name is Frank Klaus. I have been bowling for 32 years, my lifetime average in sanctioned play is 205, my season's high average is 223, this ring contains the diamonds taken from rings awarded to me for sanctioned perfect games and there are 13 of them, I have won this tournament and that tournament ( I forget!) and I am a member of the ABC Hall of Fame etc, etc" Well, just at the moment we were all thinking, "What is all this?" he broke off and said, "But let me tell you this. Even after all this, I am still learning and I learn something new about this game every time I walk into a bowling alley. let this be you too."
This is of course a good life attitude and it is just perfect for backgammon. Every game, something new. Sometimes that something is something old that has been forgotten or worse, half-remembered, but the games where the play takes a simple path, easily followed, are as rare as hen's teeth.

This blog is going to be devoted to learning. I'm no Frank Klaus, but I have sometimes lifted the winner's trophy in a tournament, I've given a few seminars and I've written a lot of articles. I'll be posting here several times a week and bringing you positions that have puzzled and interested and often defeated me in the matches that I play. If they interest you and inspire in you the same love and respect that I have for this game and its players, then it will all be worthwhile. Welcome to Dorbel's Daily!

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