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.
Explore by topic:
Explore all (in date order):

I thought it was time for a relatively easy problem and this is it!

Over the board Red chose 24/23, 16/10 but this wrong on several counts:

  • It does not create a lasting asset, an essential

  • It does not create a lasting asset, an essential

Red can choose to make his 21-pt, his bar-pt or his 4-pt. Which is correct?

Trailing by twenty-five pips his primary game plan is priming. Making the 21-pt is the wrong idea as it allows

It looks as if there isn’t much between the various plays but there is.

The weakest play is 13/10, 13/8 which leaves a blot, an unwieldy structure and doesn’t improve Red’s position.

The clue here is White’s stripped 8-pt. It cannot be allowed to contribute to the battle without paying a penalty. Therefore, the two must be played bar/23. His rules out bar/24, 13/11

White has eleven checkers in the zone so Red would dearly like to have an anchor. Red is also behind in the race so a racing play is not indicated. 

The running play 23/16 is superficially

I hope everybody used two of the fives to hit 13/3*. Not hitting is a massive blunder despite the lack of cover numbers. Two on the bar, better by far.

The key is how to play the other two

It is just too easy to play on automatic here and hit with 11/2* but should Red be priming or blitzing?

The blitz play leaves only one cover number, a six. Even if the 2-pt is made White can

In positions like this whoever blinks first tends to be at a disadvantage. If Blue runs a rear checker with 22/13 White will attack the remaining rear checker with gusto.

Blue should