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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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

This is a well known type of ending which everybody should learn. For money this is double and pass but the match score is crucial to the decision-making process here. 

With Red owning

It is just too easy to hit with the four, 13/9*, and then work out what to do with two. 13/11 or 22/20 or perhaps even 9/7 or 8/6?

“When in doubt, hit,” is a well-known backgammon maxim but

Hopefully nobody would double this position with a live cube. Red is the favourite, but the position is not volatile enough to warrant a double. White has a take but not a beaver.


There are many elements to Red’s game plan but his top priority is to make his 3-pt. Escaping his rear checkers is important but if he can lock up his 3-pt and  make a full six-point

Always have a game plan. 

Here Red is way behind in the race and has a weaker home board. Both these elements indicate that splitting the rear checkers is not the right plan.


This position occurs after Red opens with 61 (13/7, 8/7) and White responds with double threes played 24/21(2), 13/10(2). This is all about understanding game planning. When