Backgammon can be a cruel game, and live tournament play is probably the most cruel. You can sit down for your first round all hopeful, take an early double, get blitzed and find yourself first to get unceremoniously knocked out, with plenty of time to twiddle thumbs until consolations start. You can play your heart out, grind away one point at a time to get to a tense final, establish a decent lead in the double-match-point game, then watch helplessly in dismay as your opponent rolls double after double to just squeak home. But I played so well… didn’t I? Didn’t I deserve to win?
To tournament novices: don’t let that put you off trying – the euphoria of, say, pulling off a tough backgame to whip a trophy from under your adversary’s nose makes up for many hard-luck stories!
For some time there’s been a growing trend among top players to record games and take them home to pick over, looking for lessons to learn. This has been helped along by video camera technology becoming cheaper, and camera stands evolving from something that would make Rube Goldberg proud to unobtrusive purpose-built kit. Running the game past your favourite bot can at least help answer the question of how badly the dice treated you.