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):

There are only two sensible choices here, 24/13 or 20/9.

The difference between the two is not huge but much  more important is to understand the reasoning.

20/9 is the

When analysing a match play cube decision, one should always start with the decision for money and then adjust for the match score.

In this position Blue is ahead in the race. The static

This position causes a mental blind spot for most players. They just don’t consider the best play as a candidate move.

They mainly hit the White checker on Blue’s 4-pt by moving 6/4*

Blue has the advantage in race, position and threat and yet this position is not a double for Blue and White has a trivial take if doubled. Why is that?

The answer is that none of Blue’s

This is a standard reference position. Blue has twenty-four hitting numbers, but a hit doesn’t necessarily win as White will be favourite to re-enter and will have plenty of chances

It helps if you have seen this type of position before, so you have a reference to work with.

If you have studied this type of position, you will know that even if Blue has a triple shot,

At first glance 7/3*, 5/3 looks obvious, putting the rear White checker on the bar.

However, Blue has only nine checkers in the attack zone and a stack of four checkers on White’s 5-pt.  Those

This is not easy. Behind in the race 24/16 does not look like the right game plan although it is a reasonable choice. The problem is that Blue’s next roll will have to be spent tidying up