Quacks

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.

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