Sunday, 24 June 2018

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Backgammon and the world cup (and probably lots of other things as well)

There is something called the FIBS rating.

http://www.bkgm.com/articles/McCool/ratings.html

It's a weighted ratings system. A player with a low rating will see their rating rise higher if they beat a player with a high rating than they would if they won a match against a low rated player. There are other factors too. The main one being the match length. Winning a match played over a series of games, with the winner being the first to amass 21 points would yield a bigger ratings gain for the winner than a match against the same opponent that was played over 1 or 3 points.

Backgammon is more like poker than chess. It's not about pure skill. There is an element of luck too. A good player will beat a bad one most of the time, especially over a series of games. Yet perfect play will sometimes be confounded by mediocrity combined with luck. It's all about probabilities, and making the optimal play, so that you maximise your own chances of a useful throw of the dice, while doing your best to minimise your opponents options.

Meanwhile, of course, your opponent is trying to do the same thing to you.

Once you reach a certain level, and can play the best possible move every time (which no human ever does, although computers increasingly can) if you meet an opponent that is equally skilled, it becomes a matter of luck.

The human factor dictates style. For example, if an attacking option and a defensive option both present themselves, each offering some balancing factors of risk and/or reward, one player might choose the aggressive play, while another might make more conservative choices. Each may prevail. That's the game.

Watching England play against Tunisia last night, I couldn't help feel that against a better team, (and if it had been chess, rather than backgammon, England would prabably have won 4 or 5 - 1 )given the same luck, they would have struggled.

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

3 letters

One of the things I have been thinking about is "What combination of three letters has the most permutations?"

For any group of three letters, there are six different combinations. For example...

ABC
ACB
BAC
BCA
CAB
CBA

That's just an example, and it yields just one legitimate English word, CAB, unless BAC is also a word.

I've not found a group that makes words in any order.

Or five.

I've found one that makes four:

SAP - ASP - SPA - PAS (the last word is a dance step closely derived from French but it's in the dictionary)

Here are some that make three:

APT - PAT - TAP
ART - TAR - RAT
TOP - POT - OPT
ERE - REE - ERE
ERA - EAR - ARE

It would be easier if I included acronyms.

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