Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Poker: September Graph

After my bad downswing September turned out fine in the end. I was able to maintain my aces status at PartyPoker and i am also happy with my winning rate. I won about 200 big bets within 9200 hands. That is 2.60 BB/100 which is actually more then good. I guess i was running good at the end of the month. So here is the graph:
I guess it is pretty easy to tell where the downswing hit me. It is part of the game and this graph shows that playing "good" will be rewarded in the end.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Anand is World Chess Champion 2007

Anand played remis against Leko in his last game and is the new World Chess Champion. Kramnik won his last match against Aronian but that did not help. Gelfand, the closest pursuer of Anand, is still playing but even winning will not make a difference.

Here are the results:
Svilder - Grischuk 1-0
Anand - Leko 1/2-1/2
Kramnik - Aronian 1-0
Morozevich - Gelfand 1/2-1/2

Friday, September 28, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 13 result

Anand defends his one point lead. The game between Kramnik and Gelfand ends in a draw. Only a single round left and Anand is ahead one point to Gelfand. Here are the results of today:

Leko - Morozevich 1-0
Aronian - Svidler 1/2-1/2
Gelfand - Kramnik 1/2-1/2
Grischuk - Anand 1/2-1/2

Anand only needs to draw against Leko to be the new world chess champion. Gelfand would need help of Leko and win his own game against Morozevich.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 12 result

Today Gelfand and Kramnik were able to catch up a bit. Both won their games while Anand draws. Well Anand has still one point more then Gelfand, his closest pursuer and there are only two rounds left. Maybe Anand will get a bit nervous and we will have a thrilling final. Anyway here are today's results:

Svidler - Anand 1/2-1/2
Aronian - Gelfand 0-1
Kramnik - Leko 1-0
Morozevich - Grischuk 1-0

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Backgammon - Opening rolls pt. 2

Welcome to part two of the opening rolls at backgammon. If you missed part one you can find it here.

The best possible roll which is not a blocking roll is 6-5. It is called the lover's leap. You can move one of your back men all the way to the secure 13-point.

Bringing your back men into the game is one of the aims in the beginning. Preventing your opponent from blocking them out.

The rolls 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 are basically all played the same way. Use the 6 to escape your back men to the 16-point. The number of the second die is used to move a checker from the 13-point. This will give you more possibilities to make the 5 or 7-point in the next turn.

You might have noticed that 6-4 could have build the 2-point. So why did we not build an inner board point with this roll. Because the 2-point is not a real blocking point. There is a huge gap between the 2-point and the 6-point. Make sure you do not occupy the 1 and 2-point to early in the game because they might be too far away from the action.

The rolls 2-1, 4-1 and 5-1 are also all played in a similar way. With these slotting rolls you move the higher number with a checker from the 13-point. The idea behind this play is again to have more moves to build the 5 or 7-point with your next roll. The actual slotting play is done by moving to the 5-point. You occupy the 5-point with a single checker. Leaving a blot where your enemy can only hit it with a single number is called slotting. The possibility your opponent hits you is pretty slim but you have got a good chance to make the 5-point.

That is a real aggressive play but it will reward you in the long run. Building the 5-point is a big advantage and getting hit every now and then is not that bad at the beginning of the game.

Hope this will help you all to improve your game and remember there is still one more port with opening rolls to come.

Monday, September 24, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 10 results

Seems like Anand is going to be champion. Well there are still four more rounds but with one point ahead of the field, he is on the right track. Drawing against Kramnik today and thereby keeping him 1,5 points away is a major step. Also his closest pursuer - Gelfand, who is "just" one point behind - could not gain a full point today. Here are the results of today:

Svidler - Morozevich -still running-
Aronian - Grischuk 1-0
Gelfand - Leko 1/2-1/2
Kramnik - Anand 1/2-1/2

Sunday, September 23, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 9 results

Morozevich beats Kramnik while Anand split points with his opponent. So he gains another half of a point against Kramnik. Gelfand, who is currently second, is still playing.

Here are the results:
Morozevich - Kramnik 1-0
Anand - Aronian 1/2-1/2
Grischuk - Gelfand 1-0
Leko - Svidler 1/2-1/2

Thursday, September 20, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 7 results

Anand strikes for another point while Kramnik draws. Now he is a whole point in front of the field. Here are today's results:

Svilder - Aronian 1/2-1/2
Kramnik - Gelfand 1/2-1/2
Anand - Grischuk 1-0
Morozevich - Leko 1/2-1/2

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 6 results

Three games finished so far and all ended in a draw. Gelfand is still playing against Morozevich. Here is the list of all games:

Leko - Anand 1/2-1/2
Aronian - Kramnik 1/2-1/2
Grischuk - Svidler 1/2-1/2
Gelfand - Morozevich 1-0

Gelfand wins against Morozevich

Backgammon - Opening rolls pt. 1

We already talked about the opening goals in an earlier post. Now it is time to see how you the possible opening rolls can be used to perform the first step. In this post i will concentrate on the blocking rolls.

The luckiest roll for your first move is 3-1. This allows you to build the 5-point.

Blocking another point in your home board, so your opponent has one point less to reenter the game if a checker is hit. Making the 5-point also helps blocking the back men of your enemy.

Another good first roll is 4-2. This allows to make the 4-point.

Basically offering the same advantages as 3-1 but leaving the 5-point as a gap. If white is able to reach the 5 point your chance to trap them and to build a prim shrinks.

A little weaker is the roll 5-3 and making the 3-point. I guess you already understand why ;-)
It is building a point in your home board but the 3-point is not a strong point alone and leaving a bigger gap does not help.

The last blocking roll is 6-1. The best move is to make the 7-point also known as the bar-point.

Not considered as strong as 3-1 because it is not building a point within the home board but making the 7-point prevents white from escaping with his first roll. Also building a 3-point prime (from 6 to 9) as a very good start.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 5 results

Three games are already finished and today some players scored full points. Anand and Grischuk were able to win with the white pieces. The match between Leko and Kramnik ended in a draw. Gelfand against Aronian is still on. Here are the results so far:

Leko - Kramnik 1/2-1/2
Anand - Svidler 1-0
Grischuk - Morozevich 1-0
Gelfand - Aronian 1-0

After this round, Anand is leading the scoreboard being the only player with 3.5 points.

And the last game is finished as well. Gelfand also wins with the white stones. Only Kramnik was able to achieve a draw with black today.

Monday, September 17, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 4 results

Here are the results of the 4th round:

Svilder - Gelfand 1/2-1/2
Aronian - Leko 1-0
Kramnik - Grischuk 1/2-1/2
Morozevich - Anand 1/2-1/2

Saturday, September 15, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 3 finished

Here are the results of round 3 so far. The match Leko against Gelfand is still on yet.
Morozevich - Svidler 1-0
Anand - Kramnik 1/2-1/2
Grischuk - Aronian 1/2-1/2
Leko - Gelfand 1/2-1/2

The last game just finished. After over 7 hours of play and exactly 100 moves Leko and Gelfand agreed on a draw.

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 2 finished

Sorry for the late update but i was pretty wasted last night. So here are the results of round two:

Peter Svidler - Peter Leko 1/2 - 1/2
Boris Gelfand - Alexander Grischuk 1/2 - 1/2
Levon Aronian - Viswanathan Anand 0 - 1
Vladimir Kramnik - Alexander Morozevich 1- 0

So Anand and Kramnik scored a full point and are now leading. Today is the clash of the titans as they have to play each other. We will see if one of them will be able to take the lead.

Friday, September 14, 2007

World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) 2007

Today starts the World Championship of Online Poker 2007. The best online players will come together in 23 different events to determine a champion in the different variants like Hold em, Omaha, 7 card Stud or good old 5 card draw. PokerStars will guarantee a total price pool of 15 million dollars for all events and each champion will receive a bracelet. Check out the schedule and buy ins at the PokerStars homepage

Thursday, September 13, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007 - Round 1 finished

The first round is already finished. All games ended in a draw. See the results below:

Anand - Gelfand 1/2 - 1/2
Grischnuk - Leko 1/2 - 1/2
Kramnik - Svidler 1/2 - 1/2
Morozevich - Aronian 1/2 - 1/2

So my first bet was already wrong. I did bet 1€ on Anand winning with white.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

World Chess Championship 2007

Today starts the World Chess Championship in Mexico City. Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian, Peter Leko, Peter Svidler, Boris Gelfand, Alexander Grischuk and Alexander Morozevich are fighting for the title. Most people expect a head to head race between the current champion Kra
mnik and Anand, who is leader of the ELO table. But maybe "youngster" Aronian will show more of his brilliant play.
Check the official website for updates on the tourament.

Because the official website seems to be pretty slow on updates you might want to check chessbase for regular updates on the games.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Backgammon – Opening goals

In the book "Win at backgammon" by Bill Robertie, he mentions four key goals in the opening:

Hit your opponent
Every checker you send back onto the bar gives you an advantage in the race. If your opponent has to reenter to the board he is missing valuable rolls for other things. But remember, sending a checker back at the beginning of the game might not win you the race. More important is to "steal" part of your enemies roll, so he less options to choose from and you can develop more safely.

Build blocking points
Backgammon is not a pure race. Both players do not run independently around the board. Even more affective than hitting a checker is blocking it out. If you are able to build a full prime your enemy can not move to his home board and win. Even if he hits you again and again, you have all the time to move your checkers back to where you want same to be.
Therefor building blocking points - mainly the 5- and 7- point- in the opening and blocking the backmen of your opponent is giving you a huge advantage.

Build an anchor
An anchor is a point made by your backmen in your opponent's home board. It prevents your enemy from closing the board and makes it harder from him to block your stones out of the game.

Mobilize your checkers
If you can not obtain any of this goals with your current roll make sure to mobilize your stones in a way so you have a good chance to do so in the next move. You may not be able to build a new point with each turn - well must of the time you will not be able to do so - but set up your checkers so you can easily do in later moves. Do not move your checkers from one point to the next safe point whenever possible because then you will never create new points. It is essential to leave single checkers either to move another checker there to make a point or to have more possiblities to build another point.

Next post will be about the best opening moves for all possible rolls.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Checkers solved

In case you have not heard it by now: Checkers is solved. A perfect play of both sides will always lead to a draw. Checkers is the most complex game at the moment that is solved. Have a look at Chinook for a detailed description of the project. It took them 24 years to calculate all 5 * 10^20 possibilities in a legal game.

So checkers solved, chess dominated by computers and backgammon as well. If you are looking for a game where computers do not stand a chance against a decent human you should head straight to Go. There are 4.7 * 10^170 positions possible in Go whereas chess "only" has 10^43. And because computers are still calculating each and every move - more or less - they got to much to do. Humans just have a better "feeling" for a situation - if trained well.

Well i guess in another 30 years or even less chess will be solved as well. And maybe someday Go might fall - but by this time we will all be living inside the matrix anyway.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

backgammon – the rules

Below is the hardest part of the backgammon rules – at least to me. The starting position:

Backgammon is one of those games you can learn within a couple of minutes but need a lifetime to master. But no matter how good – or bad - you are it is a very addictive game.

Each player has 15 checkers and two dice. The object is to run around the board with all checkers and “bear off” – move them off the board. The player who first removes all his stones wins.
After the board is set up each player rolls one dice. The higher roll starts the game – roll again after a draw. This first roll is also used for the first move. The starting player uses his roll and his opponent roll to move his checkers – later each player rolls both of his dice.

The numbers on both dice can be split to move two checkers or the whole roll can be used on one checker - to use the combined roll two moves using the different numbers must be possible. It is just like making two moves with the same checker. In backgammon like chess each player has to move – even if he does not like to. He has to use his whole roll if there is a legal move to do so.
Throwing the same number with both dice is called a double. Allowing to move this number not only twice but four times.

The red stones – in the above example – run from the lower right to the upper right – their home board. The black stones move in the opposite direction to their home board on the lower right.

A single checker – also called blot – can be hit by the enemy by moving to the same field. When a stone is hit it returns to the bar in the middle of the board. If a player has a checker on the bar his first play after rolling the dice must be to return the checker into the game – according to his dice he has to enter into the enemies home board (black onto the fields 1-6 and red onto the fields 19-24 [see picture above]). If he can not legally enter the checker back into the game his move is forfeit and his turn is over. After entering the board he can use the rest of his roll how he wants to.

As soon as a field is occupied by two or more checkers – called a point – the opposite player can not move to this field. It is blocked. Several points in a row are a prime. As soon as a player build a 6 point prime or full prime – 6 points in a row – the other player can not cross this barrier because the highest number on a dice is the 6. So there is no legal move to jump over these points – until the other player has to move his checkers again. If a player has build a full prime in his home board – a closed board - and the other player has a checker on the bar he does not even have to roll a dice because he will not be able to make a legal move.

As soon as a player has all his checkers inside his home board he can start to bear off. If his numbers on the dice are higher then any legal move on the board he can use it to bear off the checkers most far away.

Red has two checkers on the 5-point and one each on the 3-point and 2-point. He rolls 6 and 3. He can use the 3 to bear off the checker on the 3-point and the 6 to remove his checker currently on the 5-point.

The player bearing off all of his checkers wins. If his opponent did get at least one checker of the board himself it is called a single gammon – worth one point. If that is not the case he wins a gammon or double game – worth two points. It is called a backgammon or triple game – worth 3 points; surprise – if your opponent has still a checker on the bar or your home board.
Now get GNU backgammon and start a game...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

poker is fun - no it is not

well i have to make another post about poker. just to show you want a perfect week party poker gave me.

the graph is made by PokerEV (a software that displays your luck - well it shows how much money you won and how much you should have won statistically aka in the long run). the red line shows how much money i should have shows a small but decent plus. the blue line is the winnings whenever i got to a showdown and the green line shows my actual winnings or to be correct my losings in the last few days :(
and is you can see by the large gap between the lines i am running bad as hell.
sorry for writing a "poker blog" post but i just needed to tell everyone how unlucky i am.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

get your personal chess trainer

Well the best way to learn and master chess is to have your own personal trainer like an IM or even a GM. Another good option is to use a program called personal chess trainer. It offers hundreds and thousands of exercises within 3 different categories (tactics, endgames and strategy). After a couple of exercises there is a repetition to check and deepen what you have learned. It really helps to train your ability to identify certain patterns on the board and how to exploit these situations.
The free trial of the software lets you exercise 5 units of each category. You should really give it a try and see how it helps your chess.

Friday, August 3, 2007

queens in trouble - an interesting poker hand

I found the following hand on the internet and i think it is a really interesting. There is no additional information on the other players involved. Well they all limped in so i guess there are not really playing a TAG (tight aggressive) style.

Preflop: Hero is Button with QClub, QHeart.

UTG calls, 2 folds, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, CO checks, Hero raises, 2 folds, UTG calls, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, CO calls.

Flop: (11.40 SB) THeart , JHeart , QSpade (5 players)

Now that is a good flop – dangerous but good. Right now we got top set – a very strong hand – only 3 hands are beating us right now (AK, K9, 98). AK would have raised before the flop. So K9 and 98 are the only hands we have to fear. And even against these straights we have a couple of outs (cards that would give us the better hand) because we can still make a full house. Pokerstove - a program to calculate your chance to win a hand – says QQ is a 53% favorite to take the pot (assuming all opponents are limping with the top 30% of their hands and raising 10%). I think that range is pretty good for these enemies. Actually i think they will limp even more – given us a better chance to win.

UTG bets, MP2 calls, MP3 folds, CO calls, Hero raises, UTG calls, MP2 calls, CO calls.

The first player bets and everyone else calls. We have to raise here. Most likely the set is the best hand and we have to charge all players drawing for a flush or a straight. Maybe UTG has us beaten right now but we have outs and let the others pay if they are still drawing. Once again the queens have a 53% chance to win this hand. As soon as our chance is bigger than 20% (because there are 5 players) it wins money in the long run to put more chips into the middle.

Turn: (9.70 BB) 8Diamond (4 players)

The 8 is a bad card for our queens. Now every 9 makes a straight already. Pokerstove still shows 32% to take the pot. We are still a favorite against the range of our opponents.

UTG checks, MP2 checks, CO bets, Hero....

Now we have to make a tough decision. The player in the cut-off wakes up and bets into us. We have to assume that the 8 helped him – he made the straight. If we believe he has the 9 and the range for all other players stays the same our chance to win drops to 20%. So that is really on the edge. I would love to raise and kick out the flush draws. But raising would give the following players still the needed odds to draw because they have to pay 2 BB for a pot of 12.7 BB and there are 9 cards of the remaining 46 cards giving them the flush. So raising will build a bigger pot for the guy with the straight and knocking out other draws or made hands would reduce the equity of our hand. Reducing the amount of players while building the pot with just a 20% chance to win will lose money in the long run. So calling is right. Remember we still have a draw ourselves to win the hand. And flat calling will invite others to call. So maybe some two pairs will stay in and give us additional money if we hit our full house - besides the flush draws.

Hero calls, UTG calls, MP2 calls.

River: (13.70 BB) AHeart (4 players)

UTG bets, MP2 calls, CO calls, Hero folds.

The ace of hearts is maybe the worst river card we could expect. We did not improve our set to a full house. And in addition now every king makes a straight and the flush draw hit. Now the player first to act bets into the whole field. He really has to have a hand. I would say he was drawing for a flush and finally made it. He bet out on the flop with his flush draw to build a big pot. He called the turn so most likely he did not have a straight then. Well even if he did not complete a flush he is telling the table that he has a strong hand and there are two callers in front of us. There are to many ways we are beaten so we just fold our lovely three ladies.

If you think that the analysis is wrong and you would play the hand different feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

pirates of the gold coast

Let me tell you how i discovered game theory. I read a riddle about five pirates – intelligent pirates – who want to split a treasure. I don’t want to present you with fancy formulas and mathematical explanations. Just try to solve the riddle yourself and enjoy the surprising solution. So here is the riddle:

Five pirates got their hand on 500 gold coins. Now they want to devide the treasure. But because they are intelligent pirates – like a sober captain sparrow - and not the stereotype pirates who would just betray and kill until there is only a last one standing. One after the other will make a suggestion how to split the coins among the pirates. If a suggestion doesn’t get at least half the votes it is declined and the pirate making the suggestion is killed by the others. If the suggestion gets half the votes - or more - it is accepted and the gold is split. The pirate making the suggestion can also vote. So if the first suggestions is not accepted – and the pirate killed - the second pirate only needs to persuade one companion to have the gold split the way he wants it to. So what is the accepted suggestion ? Each pirates wants to make as much as possible - of course - without dying - surprise, surprise.
I will post the solution and explanation as a comment within a couple of days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

hi! who am i ?

welcome to the home of the gameterrorist....and no worries i am calm as a bomb. just kidding. i just find it hard to spell theorist ;-)
i’m not a game theorist neither but i am really enjoying game theory problems and their often surprising solutions. these methods help to improve your play.
and that’s what’s this blog is all, games, games and games
board games, card games, pc games

i am starting to learn backgammon and just received “backgammon for winners” by bill robertie. hoping this book will help to improve my game...
also i play a lot of poker...but this will not turn into a poker blog....maybe i’ll post some results every once in a while...but i think most are not interested in the life of a small limit grinder.
and last but not least i play chess....don’t play a lot lately. only the regular league games. for those who care my DWZ (german rating) is 1571. my highest rating was 1628. really have to play and study more. my goal is still to reach 1700.

besides those games i enjoy every single pc game out there....well of course not all of them...but really to much to mention all.