The lower your PR[1] gets, the harder it will be to lower it even further. We humans have the problem that we only have a limited amount of time available, which means that it is not enough to invest a lot of time in studying backgammon, we also need to do it in an efficient way. So we need to find a very effective method.

After receiving my BMAB[2] title Grandmaster 1 (playing a PR below 3.0) in November 2021, I was still very ambitious to aim for the next titles such as Grandmaster 0 (PR below 2.75) and even Super Grandmaster (PR below 2.50), but I realized that this would not be so easy and indeed my PR stagnated for many months.

In September 2022, I started my collaboration with my good friend Rainer Birkle, who had just developed his Anki Method (using digital flashcards). Based on my personal position database, we created many Anki decks, each deck contained 25 positions that had a common theme (e.g. 3rd roll, Leaving the Anchor, Against Backgame, etc.).

I have to admit that while I really liked the method, at first I was a little skeptical about whether it would work for me personally. I'm so glad that I gave it a try, i.e. in the summer of 2023 I first started studying the decks we created for the general public. And a bit later I had Rainer create personal decks (usually based on mistakes I made in my matches).

And what can I say? Only a few months later, in November 2023, I received the title Grandmaster 0 and just another few months later, in April 2024, I took another important step: Super Grandmaster 3, together with Mochy I am now one of the only two Super Grandmasters in the world!

Do you want to lower your PR and are you ready to work for it? Then you should definitely try Rainer's Anki Method. There is a lot of free material to get you started. 

Dirk Schiemann, April 2024

 [1] PR = Performance Rating, human's playing strength measured by today's best backgammon software eXtreme Gammon

 [2] BMAB = The Backgammon Masters Awarding Body

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