Since my initial review of Ed Rosenblum’s book Conquering Backgammon the author has contacted the publisher of Flint Backgammon News a number of times to pressure me to remove or alter my review. Ed has contacted me directly a few times asking the same as well as posted on this site. See the comment section of my original review for Ed in his own words.
I am affiliated with the Backgammon Learning Center (BLC) and specialize in teaching its curriculum to beginners and intermediates. Our course begins by covering fundamentals such as backgammon math, game plans, and the proper approach to checker plays cube decisions. Then we proceed to break down the game into major categories such as Bearing In & Off, Early Game play, Backgames, Holding Games, Containment Games, etc. We examine each game type independently, as each has its own special rules of thumb and triggers with regards to checker play and cube decisions. Finally, we proceed to advanced topics such as match play and special one-off situations such as Pay Now or Pay Later. Along the way, we teach the student how to use the computer to study on his own, provide handouts and reading materials for further study and engage in training exercises to give the student feedback on his thought process.
The entire program can take six months or longer to complete, even meeting weekly. In short, I understand firsthand how difficult it is to teach the game to novice and intermediate skill levels.
Mr. Rosenblum himself is a graduate of the BLC. He was obviously inspired by the program as he has incorporated large chunks of our approach into his own work. I should note that BLC co-founder Phil Simborg endorses the book. Phil’s positive review can be found on the book’s back cover.
As I wrote in my original review, Conquering Backgammon is an ambitious work. He attempts to move the reader from absolute beginner to advanced player in about 250 pages. This is certainly no easy task and in my view the book falls short of this goal. I outlined above how it takes me six months or longer of individualized one on one training to move a student from beginner to intermediate skill level.
While there are aspects of the book I like, overall I find the book lacking in organization, depth, and insight. Please see my original review if you are interested in my detailed take on the book.
Ed claims my poor review is unfair and has negatively impacted sales.
I am doubtful my review impacts his sales. My readership is very low and my review doesn’t even rank amongst my top ten most read posts.
I was asked to provide an honest appraisal for the newsletter and I did just that. Mine is just one man’s opinion but I stand by it. I don’t like this book. Readers can make up their own minds.
I list below the top books I would recommend instead of Conquering Backgammon. Perhaps I will review these in the future.
- · Backgammon Boot Camp by Walter Trice
- · Backgammon by Paul Magriel
- · 501 Essential Backgammon Problems by Bill Robertie
** anything by Robertie is gold but if you choose only one try the 501 problems book **