Unlimited Games. How should Red play 22?
eXtreme Gammon ID: XGID=-a--aBD-B---dE---bbe----B-:0:0:1:22:0:0:3:0:10

Answer and Commentary

Double twos are known as quacks – one of Paul Magriel’s favourite numbers.

Normally when we roll doubles, we move our checkers in pairs to build new points. In this position clearly the first pair of twos should be played 6/4(2)*, putting White on the bar. 

The fact that White is on the bar gives Red the licence to play more openly than usual. Red has two objectives here: mobilise the rear checkers and develop the mid-point stack. Normally Red would choose of these two things but here Red can do both because White’s counter-attacking opportunities will be limited by the checker on the bar.

Thus the best move is 24/22, 13/11, 6/4(2)*. Every other move is an error.

The key in this position is to understand that the White checker on the bar gives Red the opportunity to achieve more than one objective. This is a common theme in this type of position so look out for it.

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 challenge yourself with an interesting backgammon position and join in the lively discussion.  Return to usbgf.org on Tuesday to view the answer with commentary.

More Bray's Learning Curve

Over the board 9/7(2), 8/4 was played. This gives Red a solid five-point prime and looks nice but what is the follow-up? It is difficult to see how Red will improve his position without

This position is taken from the 2022 UBC (Ultimate Backgammon Championship) final between Mochy and Sander Lylloff. Amazingly the move chosen by Sander was 24/21, 15/13 which is