Bray's Learning Curve

Each week, author Chris Bray lends his sharp insight and easy-to-understand analysis to help you improve your game. 

Chris is the author of multiple backgammon books, including Backgammon for Dummies, and is the backgammon columnist for The Times of London. 

Expert Backgammon Player and TeacherChris Bray Photo

A New Puzzle Every Week

Every Monday Chris posts an interesting backgammon position on our Facebook page.  We encourage you to join in the lively discussion and return here to our website on Tuesdays to read his extended analysis. 

Bray’s Learning Curve in-depth analysis is one of the great benefits of a USBGF membership.
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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

In the days before computers the most common move made in this position would have been 8/3, 6/3.

Nowadays the recognition of how important tempo is would lead many to play 13/5*. 

There is a well-known rule of thumb for this type of position, which is basically a pay me now, pay me later problem.

If there is no life after death if you are hit when paying now, it is virtually

This problem ties in with one of the themes in Mochy’s new book “Backgammon Masterclass”. You need to keep as many viable game plans as possible for as long as possible until the game

This is a good lesson on how to treat positions like this one where you have quite a few back checkers and your opponent is on the bar against your strong board.

The basic theory is to go

The key to solving this problem is to understand what type of position we are dealing with.

Here are they elements:

  1. The basic structure is that of a prime versus prime game with White

Orange could play safe with 23/22, 8/6 but that will just invite a blitz attack from White and Orange has no defence. Orange must make a tempo hit with 6/4*. That will stop White from making