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38 Matchqiz (and demo) (Commercial backgammon support software)

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This article is from the Backgammon FAQ, by Mark Damish damish@ll.mit.edu with numerous contributions by others.

38 Matchqiz (and demo) (Commercial backgammon support software)

With the MatchQiz software, Kit Woolsey (long time contributer to
Inside Backgammon and Backgammon with the Champions, author of How to
Play Tournament Backgammon, and currently ranked #9 in the world) has
added his name to the short list of backgammon indispensables. The
very short list. Magriel, Robertie, Woolsey. I think that's all you
really need.

MatchQiz is more than very good; it is the single best tool I know of
for transforming your game from intermediate to expert. First let me
describe the format:

You choose a match from a menu, and the computer shows you the
starting position and opening roll. *Then you choose your play.* Now
you get to see the actual play, plus Kit Woolsey's commentary. This
happens for every play, every cube decision. It is an improvement over
printed annotated matches in several ways:

Convenience and speed. How many times have you followed a match on
your own board only to find that the moves and commentary have stopped
making sense? Perhaps you moved the wrong piece two rolls ago? Or was
it three rolls ago? Maybe you should just start this game over. Never
again with MQ.

How many hints do you receive when going over printed matches? You can
see that the player drops the cube because a new game begins next
page. Or did the index card you use to cover the bottom of the page
slip, denying you the chance to come up with your play without seeing
Svobodny's? Not with MQ.

Perfect use of default options. Do you have a tendency to forget the
cube in complex positions? MQ will let you make that mistake -- but
will chide you for it.

Of course the format wouldn't mean much if the annotations weren't up
to par. But they are exquisite. Woolsey is complete, concise, and
entertaining. He covers all aspects of play, from the most elementary
opening moves to the most subtle match equity considerations. Here is
one small sample:

``This is an expert play which many players would not find. If
Magriel quietly plays 13/5, O'Laughlin will be free to make any
point that his dice dictate, and Magriel will be poorly placed in
the upcoming prime vs. prime battle since he will have two men back
will O'Laughlin will have only one man back. Magriel's play forces
O'Laughlin to attack on the bar point whether he wants to or not,
thus preventing him from making optimal use of such point making
numbers as 42 or 51. It is thematic when you have the better board
and your opponent has one man back to split your runners to make it
difficult for your opponent to catch up in the board-building
battle.'' You get this level of analysis after every nearly every

One final benefit that might go unnoticed is volume. Woolsey has 18
matches available now, and volume four is due soon. That is quite a
library. Often an annotater will mention some general theme or
principle and show how it applies it to a specific position. But would
that principle apply if the position were slightly different? With the
MQ library, you will be able to compare similar positions and examine
if the same principles apply. This is especially true for the opening
phase of the game, where the same sorts of decisions come up all the

Woolsey sells one match for $20, or a set of 6 for $100. This is a
fantastic deal considering that most printed annotated matches go for
$20 or so, and I guarantee that you'll get more use out of these.
Write to:

Hal Heinrich
#203, 215 14th Ave. SW
Calgary, AB
Canada T2R 0M2

or call (403) 234-9944

Jeremy Bagai

[Note: Also available from Carol Joy Cole and The GAMMON PRESS] [Note:
This program is written for the IBM-PC, but it 'should' run under
"Soft-PC" for the Macintosh, any level, as the graphics are CGA
(640x200x2) ...Mark]


From: kwoolsey@netcom.com (Kit Woolsey)
Subject: Matchqiz Demo
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL1]

As many of you know, Hal Heinrich and I have produced several
annotated matches which run on computer (PC only -- sorry, you MAC
users). Hal is the programmer, I wrote the annotations. We have a demo
match which we give away for free, so I thought it would be a good
idea to make it available on the net both for the enjoyment of R.G.B.
readers and, of course, to entice you to purchase the other annotated
matches. This is my first effort at doing this so I may have screwed
up somewhere -- if so, please let me know what went wrong.

The program can be gotten via an anonymous ftp to ftp.netcom.com. go
to the directory /pub/kw/kwoolsey/gammon/matchqiz -- there you will
find 2 files. One is: readme, which is instructions for retrieving and
running the program. The other is: mqizdemo.exe, which is the program
and necessary files.

Feel free to distribute this demo package to any friends who may be
interested. If you run into any problems, please contact me at:

Kit Woolsey


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