Bray’s Learning Curve: Blitzing Reference

Money Game. Should Red double? If doubled, should White take?

Basic Beginners 17



This position occurs after White has opened with 32 (24/21, 13/11) and Red replies with 55 played 8/3(2), 6/1(2)*, followed by White staying on the bar.

This position occurs frequently enough that you should know the correct doubling actions for both players. In fact, you should learn the correct actions after any of the early double fives blitzes. Most of them appear in Kit Woolsey’s “Backgammon Encyclopedia Volume 1”. The problem is that book is currently out of print because the proofs were lost! If you can find a copy on eBay, then I recommend buying it. Alternatively, buy a copy of Marc Olsen’s new book, “Cube like a Boss”, which covers the majority of these early blitzes. It is a not a light read but every aspiring player should have a copy in his/her backgammon library.


You cannot work out the answer over the board so learning the solution is really the only way forward.

Because White’s loose blot is in range of any 2, 4 or 9 Red has just enough firepower here to justify a double. White has a trivial take. Just because the take is easy doesn’t mean Red should not double. Because of the Jacoby Rule Red cannot win a gammon unless the cube has been turned. He must turn it now because the position is very volatile and by next turn he could have lost his market.

The key in these early blitz positions is the placement of White’s loose blot. If the blot was back on Red’s 2-pt then this would be no double/take.

As you improve at backgammon you build up a store of reference positions like this one and you can then call on that store to make the correct decisions in future games.

These double fives blitzes are very common, so it is well worth taking the time to learn them.

Rollout Information from Extreme Gammon

Basic Beginners Rollout 17

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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