Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Point-Time Estimation for Snooker

Using the point-time estimation works for snooker, too.

I did not run this course with the "magic points" in mind. Bug, a 16" Championship dog, had 50 seconds to complete the course. He would tell me what Scout, a 16" Performance dog could do. (At the time, I was going for Top Ten points for her). Both dogs run about the same speed, even though no one believes me.
Bug's Course
Opening: R1 + 4, R2 + 4, R3 + 7
Completed Closing and crossed the finish line: 47.29

Note that amount of hauling butt you need to do to cross the finish line. If Bug crossed the finish line before the timer sounded, then I had more time to get more points. It didn't matter because he took first, SuperQ and his Snooker Master title.

With a 50 seconds to get it all done, I can do 25 magic points. Let's add.
R1 + 4 + R2 + 4 = 4mp
The run to R3 = 1mp
The run to 7a = 2mp
7a, 7b, &c = 3mp
TOTAL = 10mp

2 through 5 = 5 mp
The distance to get to 6 = 1mp
A-Frame = 2mp
7 combo = 3mp
TOTAL = 11 mp

Bug's Total: 19mp.

Scout's Course
I changed plan for Scout - went for the #4 and two #7s in the opening. Let's do the math:
R1 + 4 + R2 = 3mp
7c, 7b, 7a = 3mp
Scooting to R3 = 2mp
R3 = 1mp
Scooting back to 7a= 2mp
7a, 7b, 7c = 3mp
TOTAL = 14mp

Same as Bug's, 11mp.

Scout's Total: 25mp

Alternative Openings
The dog that placed first ran R1-5b-5a, then the remaining reds and sevens. Scout could not have run faster than this dog, but let's compute her opening estimate anyway:
R1 + 5b +5a + a scoot + R2 = 5mp
7c, 7b, 7a = 3mp
Scooting to R3 = 2mp
R3 = 1mp
Scooting back to 7a= 2mp
7a, 7b, 7c = 3mp
TOTAL = 16mp

Time wise, this would have been cutting it awfully close to NOT finishing the #7 and, had we did finish, it still would have been second place.

Scout would have needed at least a 6-7-7 to win.
R1 + a scoot + 6 + a scoot + R2 = 6mp
7c, 7b, 7a = 3mp
Scooting to R3 = 2mp
R3 = 1mp
Scooting back to 7a= 2mp
7a, 7b, 7c = 3mp
TOTAL = 17mp

I don't think we could have successfully completed the #7 with this opening.

In 50 seconds, I expect to get 25 magic points with Scout. The course I happened to choose, without any analysis, worked. She crossed the finish line at 53.41 seconds. Scout took second and SuperQ'd.

And, in case you're wondering, Scout did make the 2008 Performance Top Ten for Snooker.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seeing the Point-Time Estimation Method in Action

Using "Magic Points" can easily help you with a Time Gamble.

Here is the USDAA DAM/PVP Time Gamble from Mark Wirant at Good Dog Agility in Tempe, AZ. In a nutshell, the ideal time to cross the finish jump was between 30.01 and 31 seconds in a 1-2-3-5 system.
A couple of considerations:

  1. In a 1-2-3-5 system, the value of the contacts and weaves, unless one is the 5-point obstacle, is not much compared to the jumps and round things. It is to your advantage in a 1-2-3-5 system to get the 5-point obstacle twice, and focus on round things (tire and tunnel). Round things and jumps are cheap and fast, usually faster than contacts and weaves.
  2. Tire is always your friend! It is fast and easy, and worth more points than a regular jump.
I ran this with my older, very consistent dog, Scout. She has a fast A-Frame, and, as luck would have it, that was the 5-point obstacle. I stressed because I wanted the tire twice but could not work that into a nice flow. I planned for 14-15 magic points, with the option of taking the tunnels on the left twice, depending on her speed.

I did a couple of things I would not normally do: 3 back-to-back obstacles. I did, however, allow Scout to safely exit the obstacle and nicely turn around to re-perform it.

Because of her speed on the tunnel-jump sequence that EVERYONE took on the exit, I opted to toss in a back-to-back tunnel by the exit jump.

Finish time: 30.30 seconds.
Opening Points: 28
Gamble Points: 15
Placement: 1st, P16 (my partner finished at 30.36 with extra jumps - the double the wrong direction, and a dropped bar), and highest in PVP Class

The following was my strategy, red text shows the sequence numbering and magic points, blue shows the obstacle values:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gamblers Opening Strategy

This is not my idea. It was given to me by someone else, who got it from someone else, who... well, you get the picture. I further tweaked the method.


  1. Each obstacle has a point value based on the relative amount of time it takes a dog to complete it. I call these "magic points".
  2. Obstacles are assumed to be spaced 15-20 feet.
  3. Any dead space greater than 20 feet in a sequence counts as a magic point.
  4. The better the flow, the more magic points needed.
  5. Almost every dog, regardless of size or speed, averages 12-16 magic points in a 30-second opening sequence.
  1. Each jump counts as one (1) magic point.
  2. Each contact counts as at least two (2) magic points. If the dog has a slow dog walk, then that obstacle may count as 2.5 or 3 magic points.
  3. A set of 6 weaves is one (1) magic point for a good weaver.
  4. A set of 12 weaves is two (2) magic points for a good weaver.
  5. Tunnels count as one (1) magic point.
  6. Any dead space distance greater than 20 feet counts as a magic point.
  7. Jumpers caveat: 4 consecutive jumps count as 3 magic points.
If you can't have someone track the obstacles you do in a set time, then use a standard run without a table. Count the magic points for each obstacle, divide by the time completed and multiply by 30. That is the number of magic points, on average, you need in your opening for gamblers.

The example I am posting is theoretical. Pretend that there is no table in this run:
There are 22 magic points. If I completed the course in 44 seconds, then I have averaged 0.5 magic points per second. Multiply by a 30 second opening, and that is 15 magic points.

The following is a Masters/PIII Gamblers course from 02/14/09, Saguaro Scramblers, with Sheri Boone as the judge. The opening is 25 seconds.
Scout and I sought 13 magic points (about half of 25, using my example ratio above). The buzzer blew right as she took what would be the 13th magic point. This left us with a nice entry into the gamble.
This method works nicely, of course, for time gambles, and for estimating what you can do in snooker.