In any kind of game, there are many mistakes that you can commit. I suppose that this could be said of any activity wherein there are clear rules as how to proceed. When it comes to backgammon, what do you think is the worst possible error that you can commit? I am sure that different people would have their own take on this but I would have to say that I am leaning towards something that I read. It was written by Kit Woolsey many years ago but the contents of the article are still applicable – and would still be applicable in the future.
This is what he shared in that article:
A long time ago I was having a conversation with Paul Magriel about the causes for errors. He said something which surprised me — that for all players (even experts), the most common cause of error isn’t choosing the wrong alternative between candidate plays but not seeing the best play as a candidate in the first place.
This surprised me. Surely experts are capable of finding all the decent alternatives one would think.
However, upon upon analysis of matches it became clear that Magriel was quite correct. The biggest blunders came because the best move simply hadn’t been considered. Sometimes it was a complete oversight. Sometimes the player was simply concentrating on the wrong theme and didn’t see the best move because it involved a different theme than he was working on.
If you remember, I wrote a post on some myths about backgammon and one of them was the fact that some people think that there is no such thing as the best play. Well, this post certainly adds supporting evidence to busting that myth.