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Re: [Bug-gnubg] Interesting backgammon scoring system

From: Albert Silver
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] Interesting backgammon scoring system
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 13:39:07 -0300

I took a look at the system for a 'fairer' backgammon. Aside from the
alternating opening rolls, the rest didn't make it fairer to my eyes,
merely completely different.

As a parallel to chess, it would be as if instead of the purpose only
being to checkmate the opponent, you also got a heavier 'score' the
more pieces you had over your opponent, or the faster (fewer moves)
you won. Would this make it fairer? No, it would simply be a different
variant of the game, much like Fischer-Random or others.

Here the idea is to especially reward a player for the number of
checkers ahead they are, beyond the gammons and backgammons. Gammons
already do this, since a gammon automatically means the opponent has
all 15 checkers on the board. Now I'd be rewarded for having 5 more
checkers than my opponent when the game ended. So I should ask myself
whether I should double now, and end a game, or keep on playing and
hope for doubles to give me a bigger victory. Sure, you can argue that
this adds greater depth, and in a sense it does, since knowing how
much ahead you are (beyond the pips) will require a calculator.
Learning equity tables and knowing the winning margins is tough
enough, now we get a whole slew of further scoring complications.

Personally, I think that the variant Nackgammon already does a great
deal toward reducing the luck factor by simply making the games

As to the opening rolls, other than ensuring the players alternate who
starts, the idea of giving the same opening roll doesn't seem like
much of an equalizer. The reason is simply that you are only deferring
the randomness of the dice to the second roll. In other words, instead
of the first roll being decided by the dice, it will now be the
second. If you really want to take this to the logical end, do as
Scrabble competitions, and predetermine all the rolls from the
beginning to the end, and it is he who makes the most of what they get
who wins. But that would mean people with ESP would be favored.
Frankly, the only temporarily 'unfair' aspect in backgammon is the
swing of luck, and none of these counting methods address it. The only
way would be to use a bot to score how well a person played, rolling
out any controversial position, and say with precision who played

Just my two cents.


On 9/14/06, Øystein Johansen <address@hidden> wrote:
Hi all,

I've made contact with Dr. Jakob Garal. He is the inventor of a new
backgammon scoring system. The scoring system mainly differs with normal
backgammon in the way that not only win, gammon and backgammon is the
outcomes of the game, but the "quality" of the win also matters for the
result. You get more points the more of the opponents checkers are left
when you win. A close race is less points than just a close gammon save.

In addition his scoring system lends some principles from bridge. It
uses Match points, international match points (IMP) and victory points.

You can read more about his scoring system, and even play a match/game
in his server at http://www.fairbg.com

Personally I find his scoring system a bit amusing. I believe the
scoring system can introduce new depth to the game, ( in the same way
the doubling cube did about 80 years ago)

Now, it would be really überkool if the scoring system was implemented
in GNU Backgammon! I believe the scoring system can be implemented,
(more or less trivial), but it will be really hard to analyse and
evaluate a position according to this system.

If someone reading this feels this looks like a challenge, or if someone
got curious, go to the site and look at the rules. I'm also quite sure
Jakob will provide you more information if you're interested in
implementing the scoring system.


PS: Analysing according to the scoring system will probably need a full
reimplementation of the neural nets, since there is lots of possible
outcomes of each game.

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