Wasting your own luck

It’s sometimes said that good backgammon players not only make their own luck, but actually ARE luckier.

What this actually means is: a good player can win a match if they get just a little bit of luck. Whereas your mediocre enthusiast needs a lot more help.

My first match against Richard at Wistow Towers on Sunday was a good example of this concept. I won the first 6 games, with XG commenting that I was “Very lucky”, “It’s in the wrist” etc. During this phase I amassed 10 points. Then the polarities reversed and I lost the next 5 games. This left a horribly tense situation, 10-8 up post-crawford with around 30 seconds on the clock; despite my best efforts I scrambled home 11-10, with the overall luck for the match “Average”.

A better player would probably have squeezed a little more out of the lucky phase and just won 11-0 without the gruelling second hour – and would’ve been rated “Lucky”, maybe even “Very lucky” for the match. They wouldn’t really have been any luckier, just killed the match quicker. What would they do with the cube in this position, for example, at 9-0 up?


I got the willies and cashed. Now, if there was even a ghost of a chance of Richard taking, I was right to do this – but he dropped with convincing gratitude. Computer says play on since there are 18% gammons and only 11% losses (and at this score an undoubled gammon wins the match and is more valuable than usual).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.