the dorbel daily

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Split Or Slot

At the moment, Fibsboard is running one of its Guest v. The Rest matches and yours truly is in the hot seat. The team opened with a 2-1 and there was some intelligent debate which covered almost all the main points in the slot or split debate. The two plays 24/23, 13/11 and 13/11, 6/5 are thought to be more or less equal, with many players switching between the two depending on score and/or the quality of the opposition. I like to split when leading in the match and at dmp, while usually slotting when trailing to catch the small extra gammon chance. The theory also goes that the games are likely to be more complex after the slot, so should be chosen by the stronger player to increase his chances of outplaying his opponent. I believe this to be true, as the weaker player sometimes mishandles the blot hitting contest which often follows the slot and also does less well when the point gets made and a priming contest results. This can be so marked that I sometimes choose the slot even when leading against some opponents, but whether I gain by this is hard to say.
What can the beginner/intermediate player learn from this? I would say that if you are not already comfortably playing at an advanced level the split is best for you and in fact you should probably be splitting with almost everything that doesn't make a point. The reason I say this has little to do with the type of game we can expect though. The decision about when to split the back checkers is one of the hardest decisions that we have to make in the early part of the game and it rarely gets easier as the game proceeds. Spare yourself a tough play later by making a habit of splitting early, on the opener if you get it and on the response if not.
If asked, I would say that this is certain to improve your win rate. This is how you should be playing the opening roll to suit your skill level if you are not yet an advanced player. This probably means everybody who is normally below 1750 on Fibs.
6-5...24/13 of course.
6-4...24/14 for simplicity.
6-3...24/15 rarely tried but simple and as good as anything else.
6-2...24/18, 13/11.
6-1...13/7, 8/7 of course
5-4...24/20, 13/8
5-3...8/3, 6/3
5-2...24/22, 13/8
5-1...24/23, 13/8
4-3...24/20, 24/21 rarely seen, but always my choice when leading and at dmp.
4-2...8/4, 6/4
4-1...24/23, 13/9. At dmp 24/20, 24/23 is fun and reasonable.
3-2...24/21, 13/11
3-1...8/5, 6/5
2-1... 24/23, 13/11 (NEVER 13/10)
Stick to these, see if you win more matches! I'll be interested to hear from anybody who tries these. Enjoy The Game!

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