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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I think many would choose 24/23, 13/11 here but that is not quite the best move.

White has ten checkers in the attack zone and also owns the 5-pt. Red’s best game plan is to equalise the

There are multiple choices but following the basic rules of playing backgammon openings leads one to the correct answer quite quickly.

It is far too early to make an anchor on the 23-pt

Most players will look at this position and quickly play 23/12 as happened over the board. However, one needs to look deeper. This is actually a prime versus prime position. While 23/12

This position is more difficult than it looks. The “obvious” move is 8/3* and that was played over the board, but it is nearly a blunder. Why?

Several reasons:

  • Next turn Red will only

Red leads in the race and has the better home board but White has an advanced anchor. It should be clear that Red must do something to activate the rear checkers. Red will have the advantage

As ever in the early game, Red has many choices and can play actively or passively. Perhaps 24/22, 13/8 is the logical choice? It splits the back checkers and develops one of the checkers

At Double Match Point 14/8, 10/6 would be the correct play because it wins the highest percentage of games but the thing that is often forgotten in positions like this is the gammon win

Prime against prime games are the most difficult in backgammon. If you haven’t studied this type of position, it is virtually impossible to get close to the correct answer.

Here Red