Annual PR improvement

I'm curious about what is a realistic level of annual improvement in PR for those who give substantial time and effort to improving their game throughout the year.
Obviously, the gains are greater as you move from beginner to intermediate to advanced and slow significantly once you move into master/grandmaster levels.
But I'd appreciate hearing personal progress stories over multiple years to help realistically gauge expectations.


Hi! Welcome! As you mention, it's not a linear progression. I'd guess someone putting full effort in can go from 20PR to 10-12 in a year. Then another 1-2 lower the next year or two. Below 8, it'll depend a lot on your individual drive and methods and constitution. Many people plateau in that neighborhood.

One barrier to progression, and to accurately gauging one's skill, is lacking feedback. It's easy to get your match analyzed playing online, but you need to get a camera and put in a lot of transcribing work to see how you're playing live. Consistently going over all mistakes is my top tip for getting better. Online and live PRs can vary significantly. I mention this because most people serious about improving want to get good results in real tournaments.

I started getting serious around 2017, practicing at my local club and recording all my matches on a GoPro. I was already playing around 7-8, counting crossovers rather than getting full pip counts. I started mixing in travel to some bigger tournaments. I kept analyzing and improving, shaving off around a half point per year. Once I was consistently under 5, in the last couple years, it became clear I'd have to focus harder to keep whittling it down. There were other factors, but it was around then I throttled back my attempts to improve. I still toy with the idea of pushing for GM, but for now am content focusing on other things in life (i.e. gardening and pinball).


Thank you, David! Very helpful feedback!
First, congrats again on the epic win in Skopje!
Your feedback tracks almost exactly to what Im experiencing working in the sub 7-8 pr range.
Ive shaved a half PR point each of the last two years but only after considerable work and effort and progress will only get slower and harder from here.
Im sure there are those who are exceptions and Improve more rapidly but your description rings very true for me...and, I suppose, is reassuring that progress at this rate is still significant and I should be more encouraged than discouraged while also maintaining a healthy perspective about it all.
Thank you very much!



It's very interesting. I regret having no track all my matches and precise hours playing.
First i have no job, so it's easier to improve seriously, i am aware of this.

I have played my first year playing a lot, at the time i get 2200 ELO on old galaxy website , i guess it was PR 7.0-8.0 (??) or something not too far i believe.
The second year i played only by periods (but still a serious amount compared to casual players not "geek"). Maybe i get to 6.3-6.8 (sorry for the bad precision).

Recently this year i made 12 weeks very serious : reviewing blunders, making screenshot
well annotated with dice distributions added to the screenshot blunder.
During off these 12 weeks, like the second year, i played a good amount of backgammon by periods.
Using dices distributions and tactics (first roll and second roll) we can analyze very better a position i find. I also try to consider the position by strategy elements.
During these 12 weeks i also made serious meta-analysis of my blunders, seeing very distinct pattern of blunder i do. Very beneficial.

I dit a 30-series of matches (7-9pt) and played at 5.5 PR with a lot of potential and big mistakes of concentration.
One thing is all my numbers comes from ONLINE play, i am sure i play not as good in IRL games, as i have so less experience than online, i can't see the board as well as online.

My huge weakness is a very weak mental, very bad health and sleep and low composure-energy probably a very huge weakness in such game as backgammon with a lot of pressure.
If i play a bad mach or am very tired, i can play very badly the next one, loosing confidence.

Anyway i use the game also as a way as gaining confidence, and i am still happy to play.
I try to be less perfectionist and accept my limits and level, it's not easy.
(Still i am considering stopping the game completely as i find it SO addictive and obessive...).


Thanks very much for the thoughtful and detailed response and have many similarities with you and that's reassuring.
Such a dramatic difference in play when Im rested and alert vs tired and distracted.
And totally agree the game is extremely addictive and that is a whole other issue!
Many thanks for your response


This is actually incredible how much it matters!

Absolutely and stunning difference — and quantifiable by XG, of course.
Best way to shave two points off my PR for the week? Don’t play after 10pm.

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