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Archive for June, 2007

Backgammon Seduction?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

We came across a little story today showing how our favourite game can be used as part of a different game entirely!

Here’s a taster;

 We used to have lunch together and play backgammon in the nearby park. No really! It was fun – and we had a blast together….

Read more here


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Backgammon Software

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Backgammon Software Play and analysis

Backgammon has been studied considerably by computer scientists. Neural networks and other approaches have offered significant advances to software both for gameplay and analysis.The first strong computer opponent was BKG 9.8. It was written by Hans Berliner in the late 1970s on a DEC PDP-10 as an experiment in evaluating board positions. Early versions of BKG played badly even against poor players, but Berliner noticed that its critical mistakes were always at phase changes. He applied principles of fuzzy logic to smooth out the transition between phases, and by July 1979, BKG 9.8 was strong enough to play against the ruling world champion Luigi Villa. It won the match, 7-1, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in any game. Berliner states that the victory was largely a matter of luck, as the computer received more favorable dice rolls.Berliner, Hans, et. al. "Backgammon program beats world champ", ACM SIGART Bulletin, Issue 69. January 1980. pp 6-9.

In the late 1980s, creators of backgammon software began to have more success with an approach based on neural networks. TD-Gammon, developed by Gerald Tesauro of IBM, was the first of these programs to play near the expert level. Its neural network was trained using temporal difference learning applied to data generated from self-play.Tesauro, Gerald. "Temporal difference learning and TD-Gammon", Communications of the ACM, 38:3. March 1995. pp 58-68. According to assessments by Bill Robertie and Kit Woolsey, TD-Gammon plays at or above the level of the top human players in the world.

This line of research has resulted in two modern commercial programs, Jellyfish and Snowie, as well as the shareware BGBlitz implemented in Java, and the free software GNU Backgammon. They also offer tools for analyzing games and offering detailed comparisons of individual moves. 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 novice.

Internet play

Backgammon software has been developed not only to play and analyze games, but also to facilitate play between humans from different parts of the world over the internet. Dice rolls are provided by random or pseudorandom number generators. Real-time on-line play began with the First Internet Backgammon Server on July 19, 1992.Schneider, Andreas, et. al. "Brief history of FIBS", FIBS, the First Internet Backgammon Server. Retrieved on August 5, 2006. The server is the longest running non-commercial backgammon server and enjoys a strong international community of backgammon players. Several commercial websites also offer on-line real-time backgammon play. Yahoo! Games has offered a Java-based online backgammon game since 1997. MSN Games currently offers a backgammon game based on ActiveX. The online gambling industry began to expand its offerings to include backgammon in 2006.Lemke, Tim. "Odds favor Internet gambling — Lawmakers aim to rein in industry", The Washington Times. March 19, 2006. p. A1.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material adapted from the Wikipedia article "Backgammon".
[tags] backgammon, backgammon software, backgammon rules, backgammon game, play backgammon, internet backgammon[/tags]

Backgammon Champions (Tournaments)

Friday, June 15th, 2007

List of World Backgammon Champions

The following is a List of World Backgammon Champions from 1967 to present:

1967 Tim Holland, United States

1968 Tim Holland, United States

1969 no championships held

1970 no championships held

1971 Tim Holland, United States

1972 Oswald Jacoby, United States

1973 Carol Crawford, United States (first female champion)

1974 Claude Beer, United States

1975 Billy Eisenberg, United States

1976 Baron Vernon Ball, United States

1977 Ken Goodman, United States

1978 Paul "X-22" Magriel, United States

1979 Luigi Villa, Italy

1980 Walter Coratella, Mexico

1981 Lee Genud, United States

1982 Jacques Michel,Switzerland

1983 Bill Robertie, United States

1984 Mike Svobodny, United States

1985 Charles-Henri Sabet, Italy

1986 Clement Palacci, Italy

1987 Bill Robertie, United States

1988 Phillip Marmorstein, Germany

1989 Joe Russell, United States

1990 Hal Heinrich, Canada

1991 Michael Meyburg, Germany

1992 Ion Ressu, Romania

1993 Peter Jes Thomsen, Denmar

1994 Frank Frigo, United States

1995 David Ben-Zion, Israel

1996 David Nahmad, Monaco

1997 Jerry Grandell, Sweden

1998 Michael Meyburg, Germany

1999 J n Granstedt, Sweden

2000 Katie Scalamandre, United States

2001 J n Granstedt, Sweden

2002 Mads Andersen, Denmark

2003 Jon Kristian R t, Norway

2004 Peter Hallberg, Denmark

2005 Dennis Carlsten, United States

2006 Philip Vischjager, Netherlands

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material adapted from the Wikipedia article "Backgammon".
[tags] Backgammon, Backgammon tournaments, Backgammon Champions[/tags]

Internet Backgammon

Friday, June 15th, 2007

It is a story about First Internet Backgammon Server

First Internet Backgammon Server (FIBS) is the earliest Backgammon server on the internet, operating since July 19, 1992. FIBS allows internet users to play Backgammon in real-time against other people and tracks player performance using a modified version of the ELO rating system. It was created by Andreas "Marvin" Schneider, and has been maintained since 1996 by Patti Beadles. Anyone with access to the internet can create a username and play for free. FIBS caters to a strong international community of Backgammon players.

Backgammon Game play

Early users connected to FIBS via a command line interface through telnet similar to a MUD, with the standard Backgammon board drawn in ASCII text. Dice rolls are represented numerically and moves are performed by entering starting and ending point numbers, similar to standard Backgammon notation. Other game related commands are available by typing the appropriate command. The first graphical user interfaces for FIBS were developed in 1994; FIBS/W for Windows and MacFIBS for Mac OS. Graphical interfaces continue to be developed for most major computing platforms, however telnet remains to be the underlying protocol for FIBS. This allows anyone with access to the internet to log into FIBS regardless of platform.

Bots have been developed, some based on neural net programs like gnubg, Jellyfish, TD-Gammon, and Snowie, to allow human players to compete with these computer programs on FIBS and to analyze these programs’ performance in real-world play. Gerry Tesauro of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center wrote TD-Gammon, noted in Scientific American as the first expert-strength Backgammon program. This is one way FIBS has served as an experimental platform for the advancement of computer science and continues to do so.

Backgammon players Community

FIBS supports communication between players via text messages using the "shout" command which broadcasts to all players, in-game using the "kibitz" or "whisper" commands, and privately using the "tell" command. FIBS is largely unmoderated; its sysop typically tends to technical issues with the server. The "shout" command was initially implemented as a way for a player to find an opponent but has developed into a method of communicating with the general FIBS population. Profanity is tolerated but usually frowned upon by regular community members. Behavior on the server is largely unpoliced, however users usually follow the fundamental rule of all social spaces. On occasion, the sysop has stepped in and blocked or banned extremely disruptive users. All users have a range of options to filter the amount of text messaging they receive from ignoring troublesome users (with the "gag" command) to fully blocking receipt of all "shout" messages (using the "toggle silent" command).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material adapted from the Wikipedia article "Backgammon".
[tags] Backgammon, Internet Backgammon, Backgammon game, play Backgammon, backgammon board [/tags]

Backgammon History

Friday, June 15th, 2007

What Backgammon Game is and a bit of Backgammon history.

Backgammon is a board game for two players in which pieces are moved according to the roll of dice and the winner is the first to remove all his pieces from the board. Many variants have developed throughout the world, but most share the same common elements. It is a member of the tables family of games.

The game is essentially a race, and luck plays a measurable role, but Backgammon offers a significant scope for strategy. With each roll of the dice, a player must choose between numerous options for moving the checkers, and plan for possible counter-moves by his opponent. Opportunities for raising the stakes of the game introduce more strategic intricacies. Players have developed a vocabulary for common tactics and occurrences.

Like chess, Backgammon has been studied considerably by computer scientists. Research has resulted in Backgammon software that is capable of beating world-class human players.

Backgammon games hstory, sunk in 1628

The ancient Egyptians played a game called senet, which resembled Backgammon,Hayes, William C. “Egyptian Tomb Reliefs of the Old Kingdom”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 4:7. March 1946. pp 170-178. with moves controlled by the roll of dice. The Royal Game of Ur, played in ancient Mesopotamia, is a more likely ancestor of modern tables games. Recent excavations at the “Burnt City” in Iran showed that a similar game existed there around 3000 BC. The artifacts include two dice and 60 pieces, and the set is believed to be 100 to 200 years older than the sets found in Ur. “Iran’s Burnt City Throws up World?s Oldest Backgammon.” Persian Journal. December 4, 2004. Retrieved on August 5, 2006.

The ancient Romans played a number of games with remarkable similarities to Backgammon. Ludus duodecim scriptorum (“game of twelve lines”) used a board with three rows of 12 points each, and the pieces were moved across all three rows according to the roll of dice. Not much specific text about the gameplay has survived.Austin, Roland G. “Roman Board Games. I”, Greece & Rome 4:10, October 1934. pp. 24-34. Tabula, meaning “table” or “board”, was a game mentioned in an epigram of Byzantine Emperor Zeno (AD 476?481). It was similar to modern Backgammon in that a board with 24 points was used, and the object of the game was to be the first to bear off all of one’s checkers. Three dice were used instead of two, and opposing checkers moved in opposite directions.Austin, Roland G. “Roman Board Games. II”, Greece & Rome 4:11, February 1935. pp 76-82.Austin, Roland G. “Zeno’s Game of , The Journal of Hellenic Studies 54:2, 1934. pp 202-205.

In the 11th century Shahnameh, the Persian poet Ferdowsi credits Burzoe with the invention of the tables game nard in the 6th century. He describes an encounter between Burzoe and a Raja visiting from India. The Raja introduces the game of chess, and Burzoe demonstrates nard, played with dice made from ivory and teak.Wilkinson, Charles K. “Chessmen and Chess”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. New Series 1:9, May 1943. pp. 271-279

The jeux de tables, predecessors of modern Backgammon, first appeared in France during the 11th century and became a frequent pastime for gamblers. In 1254, Louis IX issued a decree prohibiting his court officials and subjects from playing the games.Lillich, Meredith Parsons. “The Tric-Trac Window of Le Mans”, The Art Bulletin 65:1, March 1983. pp. 23-33. Tables games were played in Germany in the 12th century, and had reached Iceland by the 13th century. While it is mostly known for its extensive discussion of chess, the Alfonso X manuscript Libro de los juegos, completed in 1283, describes rules for a number of dice and tables games.Wollesen, Jens T. “Sub specie ludi…: Text and Images in Alfonso El Sabio’s Libro de Acedrex, Dados e Tablas”, Zeitschrift f?unstgeschichte 53:3, 1990. pp. 277-308. By the 17th century, tables games had spread to Sweden. A wooden board and checkers were recovered from the wreck of the Vasa among the belongings of the ship’s officers.”Vasamuseet — The Swedish-Tables Association”, The Vasa Museum. Retrieved on August 12, 2006.

In the 16th century, Elizabethan laws and church regulations had prohibited playing tables, but by the 18th century Backgammon was popular among the English clergy. Edmund Hoyle published A Short Treatise on the Game of Backgammon in 1743; this book described the rules of the game and was bound together with a similar text on whist.Allee, Sheila. “A Foregone Conclusion: Fore-Edge Books Are Unique Additions to Ransom Collection”. Retrieved on August 8, 2006. The game described by Hoyle is, in most respects, the same as the game played today.

Backgammon Name

*In English, the word “Backgammon” is most likely derived from “back” and Middle English “gamen”, meaning “game” or “play”. The earliest use documented by the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1650.”Backgammon“, ”TheOxford English Dictionary”. Second Edition, 1989. Retrieved on August 5, 2006.

*In Arabic, the game is called tawilat el-nard or tawilat el-zahr meaning “board of dice”.

*In Chinese, the game is called shuang lu meaning “double sixes”.

*In Greek, it is referred to as portes and is played as one of the three games in a tavli match.

*In Hebrew, it is called shesh besh , derived from the Persian and Turkish for “six” and “five”Stahl, Avraham. Bilingual Etymological Dictionary of Spoken Israeli Arabic and Hebrew. 1995. Cited in “shesh”, Balashon — Hebrew Language Detective. May 8, 2006. Retrieved on September 15, 2006.

*In Japanese, sugoroku refers to Backgammon as well as other racing games.

*In Persian, Backgammon is called takhte nard, meaning “battle on a wooden board”.

*In Portuguese, Backgammon is called gam.

*In Turkish, the game is called tavla”.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material adapted from the Wikipedia article “Backgammon.
[tags] Backgammon, Backgammon game, Backgammon strategy, play Backgammon [/tags]

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