backgammon

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There is a wealth of information on backgammon to be found on the Internet. Firstly there is a newsgroup, rec.games.backgammon, where players from all countries exchange information and lively debates over backgammon positions can be followed. Some of the world's top players are here, giving useful instruction. The newsgroup has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, especially useful for new players.

Secondly, there is a world wide web backgammon page. Its Internet address is: www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/sret1/backgammon/main.html#books. It is constantly updated by Stephen Turner of Cambridge. This includes a section for beginners, book reviews, annotated matches, a list of backgammon clubs around the world and a diary of forthcoming events.

The other key information on the WWW is how to use the Internet to play against other players from around the world. This is done on FIBS (First International Backgammon Server). For the price of a local phone call, you can play backgammon with enthusiasts from all over the world.

The normal way is to play short matches of 3 or 5 points. You may exchange comments with your opponent throughout the games. Regular tournaments are organised and ratings published. If you don't want to play you can watch matches between others. You may occasionally even get a game on FIBS against the best computer program, TD-Gammon (not commercially available).

For those of you who know nothing about the Internet and are interested in finding out more, I recommend calling Compuserve on their freephone number 0800-289458. For readers who would like to communicate with me directly with queries or suggestions for future articles my Internet address is 101353.3532@compuserve.com.

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