Bray’s Learning Curve: Middle Game Thinking

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 42?

2020 - Experts 34


This 42 is a very poor roll for us as Red. Every move weakens our position. However, we own the cube, so we have the right to play the game to the end.

Can we afford to burn checkers by moving within our home board with something like 6/2 4/2? The answer is no, because what will we do next turn? Moving within our home board exerts no pressure on White’s rear blots. Even a play like 13/11 6/2 is the wrong plan.

Playing 12/6 leaves White 20 shots to hit us – any 7, 8, 9 or 10. Much better is 13/7. This also leaves 20 shots but, crucially, only one blot. If the blot is not hit, it can attack or begin to make the bar, a useful blocking point.

The dice don’t always cooperate at backgammon, and that is definitely the case here. However, good players make the most of their poor rolls. Here we must play positively with 13/7, which gives us a 31% chance to win. Our anchor on White’s 3-point will give us reasonable long-term chances.

Rollout Information from Extreme Gammon

Experts 34 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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