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):

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

This is a basic reference position that everybody should know. Massive redouble, trivial take.

Not redoubling here is nearly a double blunder while dropping would be a sextuple blunder!

This problem comes from a training session with one of my students. He had this position in a match and wanted my opinion on it. Even with the Quiz Factor I couldn’t see beyond 6/3, 4/3

White’s structure and overall position is far too threatening to make a passive move here such as 13/11, 8/4 or 8/4, 6/4. Blue needs to make a tempo play here and therefore the four must

In the days before computers the most common move made in this position would have been 8/3, 6/3.

Nowadays the recognition of how important tempo is would lead many to play 13/5*.