If you play a pre-designated number of medium-length matches, say eight matches to 9 points, you can be pretty sure that your overall PR will give a reliable idea of your true playing strength. That is, if you make an honest attempt to play your best game.
This is what Alain Chif and Guy Van Middelem did over the past month. Both are seasoned bridge players with a subsidiary intrest in backgammon. They play frequently, go through their matches to learn from their mistakes, struggle through the occasional backgammon book, etc. In short, they are competitve players with a keen intrest to improve their level of play.
Here is how they did :
These performances will certainly earn both players appreciative nods in the BMS community. Both Guy and Alain scored PR’s below-7 in five of the 8 matches, which is great. Guy even played 2 matches below-4 (!).
Unfortunately, these heartening PR’s are polluted by some disturbing slip ups. In this demanding and mentally challenging format, consistency is key. You cannot allow a couple of PR’s of 10-plus to mar your overall result. Sure, backgammon matches can have widely varying levels of difficulty, but PR discrepancies of 6 or more (i.e. the difference between PR 4 and PR 10) do not occur in the Master category, where performances are significantly more solid.
In this Master Series, Guy and Alain have displayed unmistakable signs of expertise. If both players put their mind to it, they could lift their game to Expert level ( PR < 7,50) in a matter of months. Progress, however, is not like manna. It does not miraculously appear out of nowhere. Continued study and dedicated practice are vital ingredients of a backgammon player’s regimen, without which no steps forward can possibly be made.