Bray’s Learning Curve: Small Doubles

Money Play. How should Red play 11?

2020 - Experts 22


Note: For this and all future articles where the players are not specifically named Black will have a male persona and White will have a female persona.

Small doubles nearly always generate a lot of possible move and hence are difficult to play. Add the complexity of a back game and things really get difficult. The key is to take your time and think through the options.

In this position White’s timing for a back game is very suspect and, as yet, she only has one anchor, not the requisite two. Over the board Red played 24/23(2), 13/11 but that move did not really meet the demands of the position and XG rates it as a blunder. Leaving the bar-point open is a mistake if Red is not going to attack.

Red can play a pure priming game with 8/7(3), 6/5 or he can try to deny White the possibility of making Red’s 3-pt by attacking with 24/23(2), 4/3 (2)*. Both game plans are valid and it is a difficult choice. However, to quote Kent Goulding, “four is more than you think”, and having four White checkers trapped behind a solid four-point prime is very strong and that is the play I would select over the board.

However, as you can see from the rollouts the two top plays are very close so either game plan is perfectly acceptable thus demonstrating that there can be more than one valid game plan in a position.

Rollout Information from Extreme Gammon

Experts 22 Rollout

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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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