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 hope you considered hitting with 22/16* and then swiftly rejected it. The last thing Red wants to do here is lose a gammon. Losing a single game is of little consequence because White

After the forced bar/23* Red has the choice of (a) 23/20; (b) 13/10 (c) 8/5.

The worst place for a single checker in your opponent’s home board is on the 23-pt because its sixes are blocked.

This position came up in a chouette at the London Open this last weekend and caused a heated debate with arguments put forward for all the plays listed in the rollout. In the end the captain

Despite the attraction of triplicating threes with 21/15, 5/4 that play should be ignored. As Paul Magriel would say, that is duplication for duplication’s sake.

Red should also

It is interesting that my doubling problems always get a much poorer response than my checker play problems. Is doubling really that much more difficult?

The correct way to approach

This one is ever so easy to get wrong over the board. Making the 4-pt seems obvious but when your opponent holds your 3-pt the best blocking point for you to own is your 9-pt.

9/4, 8/4 makes

This position graphically demonstrates the need to make your checkers work efficiently. 

Over the board the safe 8/6, 8/4 was played but this made no attempt to solve the problem

Over the board 9/7(2), 8/4 was played. This gives Red a solid five-point prime and looks nice but what is the follow-up? It is difficult to see how Red will improve his position without