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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Red can play a priming or blitzing game. Meanwhile White has a blitzing structure and so any move that splits Red’s back checkers is likely to be wrong and in fact any play that moves a

This is basically a lesson in cube efficiency in match play.

The position is not that volatile and with White having an anchor on Red’s bar-point the game has some way to go. In unlimited

This position came up in a video that I did with Alex Eshaghian on his YouTube Channel.

Red has three choices: (a) 21/14; (b) 7/5, 7/2 and (c) 6/1, 3/1

In mutual holding games the player

Red owns the rack (the 4-, 5- and 6-pts) and therefore has a strong board. Meanwhile, White has escaped a rear checker, but his forward position is undeveloped.

In such a position Red

The key here is to play positively. Playing 9/8, 9/7 or 8/7, 8/6 gives Red a difficult position to bring home.

Despite the apparent risk Red must hit 14/12*, putting a fourth White checker

In the opening one of the key objectives is to make new points, particularly in the home board. Here Red can make the 9-pt with 13/9, 11/9 or the 4-pt with 8/4, 6/4.

The 4-pt is the better

This position is taken from Bill Robertie’s third book in the series, “How to Play the Opening in Backgammon”. The book is subtitled “Order from Chaos”.

All three books are excellent

At first sight this looks to be a crushing double. Red has twenty-eight numbers to hit a White blot. He already leads by twenty-two pips in the race and there is a very real gammon threat.