Break the rules

Unlimited Games. How should Orange play 54?
eXtreme Gammon ID: XGID=-a---BDaB-B-cCb--c-e-B----:0:0:1:54:0:0:3:0:10

Answer and Commentary

I love this problem because I have 100% record with it. Nobody I have given it you has ever got the right solution.

We are taught that the 5-pt is the most important point on the board and so once we make it, we don’t break it until we start bearing off or, just very occasionally, we wash from the 5-pt with a small double to stop our opponent from anchoring.

Most students opt for 13/9, 6/1* which is what I played over the board. 

Now look at the correct play of 6/1*, 5/1. This puts a White checker on the bar while there is still another White blot on Orange’s bar-point and, most importantly, if White doesn’t hit, it gives Orange many hit and cover numbers next turn. 

Once you see the move it is obvious, but most players don’t ‘see’ it because their training doesn’t let them break the 5-pt.

This position teaches you that rules can be broken. Please take note!

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More Bray's Learning Curve

This problem comes from a training session with one of my students. He had this position in a match and wanted my opinion on it. Even with the Quiz Factor I couldn’t see beyond 6/3, 4/3

White’s structure and overall position is far too threatening to make a passive move here such as 13/11, 8/4 or 8/4, 6/4. Blue needs to make a tempo play here and therefore the four must