by Jana Bohrer
(I apologize for the absence of promised posts for a couple of days. A series of crises involving our hot water heater, vice grips, a car battery, a chipmunk and Flex Seal intervened. Someday, when I’ve recovered from the trauma, I’ll try to speak about it.)
“I will only date women who are rich, intelligent and beautiful. Like me.” Gaby Horowitz
That quote has absolutely nothing to do with what follows. But it was just too good not to work in somewhere. My last post was regarding Gaby’s C.U.B.E. mnemonic:
C – Consider Potential Gain vs. Potential Loss
U – Use the Cube as a Weapon, NOT as a Gift
B – Blend Checker Play and Cube Action
E – Eliminate Emotional Influence
Today I’m going to talk about the “E”. (Yes, I know CUBE starts with C and this is backwards, but I’m having writer’s block on the C.) For Gaby, eliminating emotions ensured icy rationality when considering whether to take or double. This is excellent advice. And, I’m sure, if one follows it one can improve one’s game and all that jazz. But there are some times in backgammon, as in life, when it is right to be ruled by fear. And there is an even better reason to eliminate emotional influence:
So that you won’t ENFLICT YOUR EMOTIONAL EMERGENCIES ON THE ENNOCENT!!
An Illustrative Nightmare
(Any resemblance to 99% of backgammon players, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)
Once upon a time, at a tournament far, far away, I came across a player who was steaming.
I know this is hard to believe, as this type of behavior is rarely – if ever – encountered in backgammon. But it’s true. This player had not been successful in eliminating his emotions. But, he had eliminated himself from the tournament very efficiently. And, to add insult to injury, his ejection was the result of losing a match to a person he KNEW to be vastly inferior to himself. A novice playing in her first tournament who had obviously ended up in the wrong division.
So this player and his bruised ego were dazedly wandering around the hotel bar, clutching a position card and a shot of whiskey. Warning – NEVER, and I mean NEVER approach a player who has just been knocked out of a tournament if said player is holding a position card.
Or a phone on which he might have taken a picture of a position.
Or an Etch-a-Sketch on which he might draw a position. If you approach and talk to that player without proper lifesaving equipment – you will drown with him. Well gentle reader, no one had ever given me the warning I just gave you. (You’re welcome.)
The next moments are very confused. I’m not sure what happened. There was a sense of whirling disorientation accompanied by stabbing pain.
When I regained consciousness, I was in a booth staring down at that damn position card. I don’t know how I got there. The player was seemingly attacking the card with a crayon while gesticulating wildly. As my hearing gradually returned, I began to catch on. He had the momentum of a runaway train. I dug in and hung on for dear life: “…..by that time…Wait, no, that’s not it. Hold on, I had a man here and this one was over on the 17 or 18 – somewhere in the outfield – and she was anchored on my deuce not the ace. I think.” “Anyway, all I have to do is win the f****** game.” (I sense this may be where the trouble begins.)
“No dude. Sooooo not like this. (Great. Now the new doofus is wielding the crayon.) You were here, and she did this, then you rolled a 5-2 and you went there. But she had already gone there so it was more like this. I was there man and I gotta tell ya, I feel ya’ man. That was some sick s**** that just went down. Sorry man”
(Before I could subdue, restrain and put him in my place – he was gone. The train rolled on.)
“Right, and…wait she was on my ace with at least one. And then she rolled double ones and got really creative.” (It’s always amuses me that only in backgammon does creative = sub-moronically stupid.)
“… and she took one from here and then two or one from here and I think she split with the last one. Or slotted. Then she took it all back 2 or 3 times and it ended up like this.”
(At this point it appears that she may have made an illegal move by playing 7 ones and putting her own man on the bar. It was too much. The train hit me.)
“…SHE REDOUBLED ME TO 8!!!”
(I’m not sure the position he’s depicting by now is possible given the constraints of physics.)
“…I don’t think even Table I.3-a.iii/5 covers this…”
(I’m afraid that anyone discussing match equity always makes me black out, so I think I missed some critical information.)
“…and again with the 6-6, she was like Satan…”
“ …gammoned me… out…*!*^#&^%@&#*&(*(@*&#*@&^$&@^&^#^%@(^”
And then, gentle reader, I awoke.
I know what enquiring minds want to know. But, alas, all I have left is this:
And the moral of the story is – forget what Gaby told you.
When the novice redoubles you to 8 – be afraid, be very afraid and Eliminate Encredible (need word)