This time we bring you an e-book review…
Deep Cube 1 is the first of a trilogy by Michael Norberg. Norberg is an experienced tournament and online player who may not be familiar to many, as he is now based in South Korea rather than his native Germany. The series as a whole contains 1,500 positions drawn from expert matches played between 2014 and 2017, and all have been analysed with eXtremeGammon at the highest level with extensive rollouts. The results from XG accompany each position.
Volume 1 concentrates on opening positions – all arise within the first five moves of the game. You might not think that there’s enough scope to make a whole book of cube decisions so early on but the variety of positions is a testament to just how much can happen in ten rolls! The positions are categorised into a number of themes: On the Bar, Threat, Anchor, Position, Priming and Race. “On the Bar” naturally dominates but there are plenty of interesting positions in each category.
The positions make a really good collection of reference positions and no doubt many of them will feel somewhat familiar to regular players, even if the correct action may be a bit of a surprise. Some were definitely counterintuitive to me, which suggests there’s a lot for me to learn! They are presented without commentary so it’s left to the reader to come up with the understanding behind them; it’s a bit of a shame that there are no anecdotes as I’m sure some of the positions must have interesting stories behind them. It’s not a book for a casual read and not aimed at beginners and intermediates; this is a book for serious study, and would be ideal for advanced players who really want to sharpen up their game.
I do intend to buy the remaining volumes in the series once I’ve finished volume 1. Volume 2 focuses on middle game positions, and volume 3 the endgame. Despite the lack of text, at £4.30 (at the time of writing) per volume it’s definitely good value. All the volumes are only available as e-books, not in printed form.
Deep Cube vol. 1 is available for download from Lulu.com