this is if only [dot] org

bearing off, baring the soul

I’d wondered for a while why playing backgammon against a computer was unsatisfying. The linearity of chess suits a machine, where strategies can be plotted without needing a gambler’s head for percentages. Un coup de dés n’abolira jamais le hasard. But it’s not just that the turns of fortune seem better suited to human opponents (which is why Hume, dear Hume, turned to backgammon when he tired of philosophy) but that, in the early hours, seeking similar solace, as yet another game turns on white’s unlikely second double after black’s 1-2, it’s easy to become convinced that the computer is cheating you.

As it is in life, when someone else rolls your dice, unseen.