Thursday, June 29, 2006


The first strong computer opponent was BKG 9.8. It was programmed by Hans Berliner in the late 1970s on a PDP-10 as an experiment in evaluating board positions. Early versions of BKG played badly even against poor players, but Berliner noticed that the critical mistakes the program made were always at phase changes. He applied basic principles of fuzzy logic to smooth out the transition between phase changes, and by July 1979, BKG 9.8 was ready to play against then current world champion Luigi Villa. It won the match, 7-1, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in any game, although this was mostly a matter of luck, as the computer happened to get better dice rolls than its opponent in that match.
Beginning in the late 1980s, creators of backgammon-playing software began to have even more success with a neural network approach. TD-Gammon, developed by Gerald Tesauro of IBM, was the first of these computer programs to play at or near the expert level. This program's neural network was trained using Temporal Difference learning applied to data generated from self-play.
This line of research has resulted in two modern commercial programs, Jellyfish and Snowie, the shareware BGBlitz (implemented in Java), and the free software GNU Backgammon, that play on a par with the best human players in the world. It is worth noting that without their associated "weights" tables which represent hours or even months of tedious neural net training, these programs play no better than a human child.
It is interesting to contrast the development of backgammon software with that of chess software:
For backgammon, neural networks work better than any other methods so far. For chess, brute force searching, with sophisticated pruning and other refinements, works better than neural networks.
Every advance in the power of computer hardware has significantly improved the strength of chess programs. In contrast, additional computing power appears to improve the strength of backgammon software only marginally.

Play Backgammon for Money

Backgammon is one of the all time great board games. It is popular worldwide and has gained in popularty over time.
It is a game involving skill and the luck of rolling the dice. Backgammon is also an extremely interesting game of strategy and of quite amazing comebacks. A few lucky rolls of the dice and you can come from an almost impossible position to win the match. Now that's exciting!
Backgammon is well suited for play on the Internet. Like poker, online tournaments are popular and can match two players from two very different countries from just about any country in the world. A German may be matched against an American. A man from Turkey (where backgammon is THE game of choice ) may be matched against an Australian. Online backgammon provides a tremendous opportunity to make friends from all over the world.
Unlike Poker, Backgammon is a game of constant action. In poker a decent player will fold about 85% of the time. While one can learn a lot about the betting patterns and behavorial tip offs of your fellow players and opponents by watching what's going on after you fold most players would really rather still be in the hand. Those who always have to be a part of the action are not good players. So in order to win at poker you have to sit out a lot of hands.
Backgammon is played head to head. There is always something to be thinking about as it is your turn as soon as your opponent has completed his move. Gammon is a game of constant action as you are always making a move or using your head to get ready to move, and your move is determined in part by the outcome of your opponents move. So there is always something to be thinking about and doing.
Backgammon games tend to last a long time compared to a Poker hand. Poker hands last for a few minutes while a good Backgammon game is more like baseball --- it can go on for a long time. Just how long is never known at the start of the game which makes backgammon all the more interesting.
One other thing that Backgammon has in common with baseball is that it is possible to make amazing comebacks from very difficult positions, like the baseball team that is down by five runs in the bottom of the ninth and makes a fantastic comeback to win the game. That makes for truly exciting play.
Chances are if you are a serious Poker player you will love Backgammon. Not that you would ever give up your first love Poker. But a change of pace is helpful for everyone now and then. A break from Poker by playing another exciting but very different game can refresh your mind and give you a mental boost the next time you play Poker.
Why not give backgammon a try? You can start out for free and play for money only when you feel that you are up to the challenge.

played backgammon before for real money?

Whether you have never played backgammon before, or you are an experienced backgammon player making his first steps in the internet world, this guide is here to help you make those steps in the online backgammon world.
Backgammon is the oldest game known and it is very popular all around the world. In the past you needed a board, dice and gammons. And something else of course - two players sitting and playing against each other. Today, with the development of the internet you no longer need the other player to sit in front of you, he can be playing from the other side of the world, and you can even play against the computer. Why play on the internet if you can play with a real board and dice?
First of all, it doesn't have to replace each other; actually most of the best online players keep playing the real game. The internet can't really replace the feeling of throwing the dice or seeing your opponent's face as you throw yet another double, but the internet can give you what internet gives best- online backgammon, 24 hours a day, without the time being wasted on arranging the game and without thinking where to put the backgammon board when your boss sees you. The fun about playing backgammon online is the availability to play as long as you wish, even for 3 minutes, against players from all over the world.
Playing online can even makes you richer- but this is only for the professional players.
If you do a survey among the online backgammon players, you would be surprised to learn that most of them play regularly online and rarely offline.
Step 1) Choosing the online site-
The internet has a wide variety of online sites. We recommend you begin with the big sites who offer backgammon games for fun and not only money. If you don't speak fluent English, look for a site that has the instructions in your language as well. A quick search in Google will give you the results, just click in and see whether the site looks professional or not, the professional ones will have games for money and for fun, schools, FAQ, support team. If you really are paranoid just fake a question and see if they contact you back. Keeping, at least in the beginning to the big and commercial sites makes you safer and will have more added values later on. Don't give any credit card details or any other detail except an email, and download the program.
Step 2) Learn How to play backgammon-
The online backgammon rules are the same as the offline. For those of you who don't how to play, you can read the article on our site on how to play backgammon and almost any backgammon site has the rules.
Most of the professional sites have schools for backgammon; this is a recommended way to learn quickly how to play- the computer shows you which moves are recommended for every dice.
Step 3) Playing against a real person-
In this stage you play only for FAKE MONEY!
After you register, you are awarded with the minimum points. Each time you win a match you earn more points depending on the level of your opponent and the points you agreed before. . The player's level of expertise is determined by his points. The site will offer you free of charge to enter "rooms" and ask players to play with you.
Step 4) Playing for real money-
You should be well trained before you start playing with your money. It is recommended to play in the backgammon schools in the advance mode, play for fun a lot and learn from other players by observing other matches.
The sites accept most of the credit cards since backgammon isn't considered gambling. The site collects a fee from the winner of each match in percentage and depends on the level of the players, the sums, and the differences between the levels of the players. In other words, basically the fee is higher the bigger difference in the player's level as an incentive for players to keep to their own league.
When you feel you are ready, it's time to choose an opponent.
Beware, although the level of each player is determined by its points, not all is what it seems. Although the points give you a perspective on the level of the player, it can lead to under valuate your opponent. Always remember that even if the best backgammon player in the world is playing, even he as a new player on the site starts with the minimum points and works his way up. In the past, some of the professional players tried to trick other players to play with them by registering under a different name and so starting with minimum points, but today only one player is allowed on each credit card, so rarely will you meet professional backgammon players who borrow their friend's credit card.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Backgammon: rules

Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board consisting of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a player's base and outer board, and the opponent's home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated from each other by a ridge down the center of the board called the bar.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


תופעה: עוזבים את מקום העבודה כדי לשחק שש-בש תופעה מתפשטת בעולם: הופכים את תחביב השש-בש למקצוע. רבים עוזבים את מקומות העבודה בשביל לשחק שש-בש באופן מקצועי ולהרוויח כסף גדול. גם בארץ ישנם שחקני שש-בש מקצועיים שמתפרנסים מהמשחק. שחקני השש-בש נוסעים לטורנירים ברחבי העולם ומשחקים תמורת סכומים גדולים. ביומיום נכנסים השחקנים לתוכנות השש-בש באינטרנט ומשחקים תמורת כספים נאים מול אנשים אחרים בעולם. "השש-בש שינה את חיי. עזבתי את העבודה שלי בתור אחות סיעודית והפכתי את התחביב למקצוע. כל יום אני נכנסת לתכנת Play65 ומרוויחה כספים שלא הייתי חולמת עליהם כשהייתי מקבלת תלוש משכורת" מספרת רינה, אחות סיעודית במיל ושחקנית שש-בש בהווה. כיום מוצעות מספר תוכנות שש-בש באינטרנט, המובילה והטובה מבינהן היא תכנת Play65 המציעה לשחקניה פלטפורמה נוחה לשימוש ופעילות נרחבת של משחקים הכוללת טורנירים יומיים וגם בית ספר לשש-בש.

Friday, May 19, 2006


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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Backgammon Brain

Players from all levels are invited to share their view on these interesting positions that we came across while honing our backgammon skills in match play.

Backgammon Variants Tavla

Backgammon VariantsTavla Tavla is the Turkish name for backgammon. The rules are similar but not exactly the same as Western backgammon. A list of the differences appears at the bottom of this page. The same game is called Takhteh in Iran.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Do not point out your opponent’s luck, or lucky rolls, either during or after a match. Whether you mean to or not, pointing out your opponent’s luck suggests that he is winning or has won due to that luck and not due to his skill. Even if he was unbelievably lucky, it’s poor form and bad sportsmanship. And most players fail to see their own good luck as well as the many bad rolls the opponent probably got too. Most players also forget that the better you play, the luckier you seem to be, because you are set up for more good rolls and protected against more of the bad rolls. When a player tells me how lucky I am just after I've beaten him, I say "Yes, I was lucky to play someone who played so much worse than me."
Do not call your opponent’s bad rolls, or your own good ones. It’s irritating and capricious.
Do not handle the doubling cube unless you mean to double. In fact, this could even be, consciously or unconsciously, a form of cheating ... you reach for the cube and see if the opponent reaches for the score sheet or reached to take the cube ... or simply check out his reaction.
Do not roll until your opponent has clearly picked up his dice. Rolling too soon, or just as he’s picking up his dice, can only create conflict as to whether or not the roll counted, or whether or not the player had truly finished thinking about his play. And quick rolling unfairly rushes the opponent into playing.

Backgammon Etiquette

Always greet your opponent in some friendly manner. You can just say hi, shake hands, wish them luck, wish them a good match, tell them where you are from, or whatever ... but don’t just sit down and start rolling the dice.
When a match is over, always say goodbye. Or thanks for playing, or whatever you are comfortable with. You don’t have to say "good match" if you don’t believe it was, but if you are the loser, congratulations and best wishes in the rest of the tournament or on line is a reasonable goodbye.
When you double, place the cube gently in the center, and say double. If you take, put it on your side and say "take". If you drop, be sure to put the cube in it’s proper place and say "drop" or "pass" clearly.
Both parties should keep score, and you should announce the score or acknowledge your opponent’s announcement of the score, after each game. If it is a Crawford game, announce that at the start and take the cube off the board.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The History of Backgammon II

In Rome the game was called ludus duodecium scriptorum, "the twelve line game", or tabular. Boards excavated from the ruins of Pompeii are identical in form to the modern version. But the Romans used three dice. Although it was referred to as the Game of Emperors, backgammon was clearly as popular among the lower classes as among the patricians. A wall painting in Pompeii depicts a tavern brawl which was sparked by a dispute about the game.
The Roman Legions spread the game throughout the empire. Many commentators maintain that like the customs of reading and bathing, the game, in Europe, failed to survive the fall of the Roman empire. In England, however, the game was played in Saxon times and the Roman name Tables appears in Old English Glossaries of the 8th and 9th centuries.
The game underwent a resurgence during the crusades. It was widely played in Arabia, having arrived there by way of Persia. The Arabs used two dice as opposed to the Roman three and it is this version that spread through the upper classes in Europe. The Church disapproved of the game--probably due to the element of gambling--and periodically attempted to outlaw it. The success of these attempts can be judged by the fact that church leaders had to issue these edicts on the average of once or twice a century throughout the 13th through 16th centuries. One presumes the reformation finally took their minds off backgammon. One of the last such attempts was by Cardinal Wolsey of the court of Henry VIII, who ordered all boards burned in 1526, resulting in a cottage industry for English craftsman of turning out disguised boards in the now familiar book form which can be folded in half with the stones inside and stored in a bookshelf.
The edict did not survive the Cardinal, and backgammon became one of the favorite games of the Elizabethans. By this time the rules of the game, at least in England and France, appear to have been formalized into the modern form, except for the doubling cube. Although the name Tables would be widely used well into this century, in 1645 the name "backgammon" is recorded, and it is clear that with the name the concept of the back-gammon (or back game) had found their way into the game.

The History of Backgammon I

Backgammon has its origins in the early board games developed in Ur of Mesopotamia 5000 years ago. Boards bearing a resemblance to backgammon have been unearthed in excavations along with matching dice and inlaid playing pieces. The game appears to have moved from there to ancient India where it and Parcheesi developed from a common ancestor. A variant called Sennet was played by the ancient Egyptians.
By the time of Plato the board had taken on its now standard form, and as with much else, the Greeks claimed credit for its invention. Sophocles attributed the game to Palamedes who apparently developed it to while away the time during the siege of Troy. Herodatus, on the other hand, claims the Lydians invented it.