A troublesome six

Unlimited Games. How should Red play 63?
eXtreme Gammon ID: XGID=--a--aE-C---dD-a-b-e-a-AAA:0:0:1:63:0:0:3:0:10

Answer and Commentary

Bar/22/16 is the weakest move because the 22-pt is somewhere Red might want to build an anchor and it is more useful if the rear checkers stay in communication, i.e. within six pips of each other. Bar/22/16 applies very little pressure to White.

Bar/22, 8/2* takes the last spare checker off the 8-pt, buries a checker deep in Red’s home board and the tempo gain is not worth the damage it does to Red’s structure.

Bar/22, 13/7 has some merit but exposes a fourth blot and unnecessarily gives White some blitzing opportunities.

This leaves us with bar/22, 24/18. This keeps the rear checkers nicely connected and leaves Red with a couple of potential points on which to anchor. Red could still be blitzed but White has only nine checkers in the attack zone, so that is relatively unlikely.  

Bar/22, 24/18 is the best of a bad lot but good backgammon is about making the best of bad rolls such as this 63.

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