As of today, those who base their plays on XG2 rollouts will be looking with interest at new results showing that making the 5pt may not be the best opening 3-1 after all. At GammonGo the wide-open 6/5. 6/3 is almost certainly better, many more gammons and a chance to go into a deep backgame if hit. I look forward to trying it out, so let me know how you get on with it.
The Fibs Spring Open is under way with an entry of 105 players, generating a prize pool of $4, 725.
There are 13 previous winners in the field so it should be a tough tournament to win. This tournament offers a rare Fibs chance to see Kit Woolsey in action, still one of the strongest players in the world.
In the real world, Easter is always the time for the Nordic Open and as usual a very strong field will be on its way to Denmark. It's not too late to book in, http://www.nordicopen.dk/ has all the details.
A lot of the players from the Nordic will then head off to Velden in Austria for backgammon by the lake on the following weekend. This too will be well run and offer a good deal to players of all standards, so go to http://www.wbf.net/ for details. Even if you don't think of yourself as a strong player, you'll find a division suitable for you at either of these venues and you'll make new friends and have a great time for sure.
Robert Fontaine recently made the point that it is very difficult to improve one's standard of play, even with a lot of study and work. I know how he feels! There's no doubt though that concentrating on the blunders, the really big mistakes is the way to go. A blunder costs you more than a tenth of a point, so keeping these off your scorecard will make you an overnight expert. Here are some of mine, without comment, so take a look at these and let's see if you would make the same mistakes. I'm playing a 7 pointer with The_Blade, a very strong Israeli player.
0-0 to 7, White has the cube, Black to play 3-2.
Black leads 4-1 and has the cube and has to play 5-4.
Same game, Black leads 4-1 to 7, holds the cube, is on the bar and has a 4-2 to play.
Now it's Crawford, Black leads 6-1 and has to play a 5-3.
Lastly, post-crawford, Black lead 6-3, has the cube and has a 3-1 to play.
How hard are these? I got them all badly wrong, so let's see if you can do better. Until then, enjoy the game!