Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Kit Woolsey vs. Jeremy Bagai backgammon

In February of 1994, Kit Woolsey and Jeremy Bagai thought it would be a good idea to annotate a match for FIBS players so they could see the thinking processes of the more experienced players. They played a fairly interesting match, logged it, and then annotated it independently. You will see the reasons for their plays and cube decisions, as well their second thoughts upon later analysis which often came to a different conclusion than the original choices.

In addition, Gerry Tesauro volunteered TD-Gammon's valuable help. TD analyzed the whole match and listed its top three choices for each play along with its estimated equities. These equities are always assuming a 1-cube and they do not take into account cube ownership. For example, on a pass/take decision, an equity of -.50 would be a break-even decision, since that would translate to an equity of -.100 on a 2-cube. TD was also nice enough to comment on the game, giving the reasons behind its choices as well as getting in a few snide remarks about the players' mistakes.

Just a word of caution about TD-Gammon's estimates: TD-Gammon's area of expertise is in overall positional judgment decisions, where its vast training experience allows it to accurately weigh the relevant factors. But on certain more technical positions TD-Gammon does not do as well. So you have to be careful about when to accept its recommendations.

Thanks to Kit Woolsey, Jeremy Bagai, and TD-Gammon (Gerry Tesauro) for making this match available. Mark Damish formatted the original text version of the match


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