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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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

This position is taken from the 2022 UBC (Ultimate Backgammon Championship) final between Mochy and Sander Lylloff. Amazingly the move chosen by Sander was 24/21, 15/13 which is

We sometimes forget that for all its complexity backgammon is still a race.

We are also advised not to make points behind our opponent’s anchor, although sometimes that is necessary.

This is one I got badly wrong over the board. I played 20/10(2).

This gives Red a ten-pip lead in the race but leaves White fifteen hitting numbers to at least equalise the position. Red

The key here is to understand the game plan.

Should Red be trying to prime White’s rear checker or mounting a blitz attack against it?

Red’s structure is geared towards priming rather

Double twos are known as quacks – one of Paul Magriel’s favourite numbers.

Normally when we roll doubles, we move our checkers in pairs to build new points. In this position clearly