Bray’s Learning Curve: Bear-off Problem

Money Play. Should Red redouble? If redoubled, should White take?

2020 - Beginners 23


When we study bear-off doubling we learn about ‘roll’ positions.

A 3-roll vs 3-roll position with no misses is double/pass because the taking side has only just over 21% winning chances. We then learn to adjust for the actual position in front of us.

In this position Red has a pure 3-roll position but White’s position could be a 1-, 2- or 3-roll position.

The most likely scenario is that White will take three more rolls, but the other options move the position from being a drop to being a comfortable take, as you can see from the rollout below.

The most common error I see in this type of position is Red not doubling for fear of White rolling a big double next turn. Quite simply, Red is a big favourite and must redouble now because of the volatility. By next turn White will very often have a huge drop. As you can see not redoubling is a huge blunder.

The topic of backgammon races is a complex one and you can study it in depth, or not, as you wish. For those who want to explore the topic in depth and get an advantage over their opponents please go the downloads page of my own website and download the “Backgammon Races” paper. The link is:

Rollout Data from Extreme Gammon

Beginners 23 Rollout


Bray’s Learning Curve — A Great Member Benefit
Bray’s Learning Curve is a USBGF online series by author Chris Bray. Each week Chris lends his sharp insight and easy to understand analysis to help you improve your game. Visit the USBGF Facebook page every Monday to view an interesting backgammon position and join in the lively discussion, return on Tuesday to view the answer. In addition, as a USBGF member, you get access to this companion blog article that includes an expanded explanation.  More about Chris Bray



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