the dorbel daily

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Big Quiz, part 11

10/4, 6/3 is the best play here, giving Blue a safe 6 to play when he can't point on White's head. It also gives Blue a shot if White throws a 6-1 next and decides (correctly) to run out and take her chances in the race. 10/7, 9/3 is inferior, leaving a direct shot after Blue 6-1 or 6-3 next turn and allowing White to escape without being hit.
If you didn't manage to work this out, then I suspect that you are trying to visualise the upcoming position from the diagram, rather than setting out the checkers on a board. Get your board out, don't be lazy! Learn to count shots, learn to do the pipcount.
Another related tip, when you are playing online try the various moves out before selecting one. Backgammon is a very visual game and often the right play just "looks" right. Of course live this is much more difficult, because you need to remember where the checkers came from in the first place, but online this is not a problem.
Anyway, in the match I eventually closed White out, but she ran off the gammon, so we go into the next game with Blue leading 3-1 to 5, the dreaded 2-away, 4-away score. Dreaded because the trailer (White) can double almost anything with an enhanced gammon threat, sometimes on the second roll and the leader has to pass so often that he is a big underdog (about) 38% from memory) to win this game before it even starts!

Position ID: 4HPFAyDg2+ABMA

Blue leads 2-away, 4-away and has to play 5-2. How do you tackle this commonplace position? Give me your thoughts and we'll have another look at it tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the game!


ah_clem said...

I don't think hitting loose on the ace point is thematic here. Not enough checkers in the zone to blitz, and with blue already behind in the race burying a checker on the ace can't be right. If blue plays 6/1*, one of two things are going to happen - either white enters and hits, which puts blue way behind, or white enters ahead of the ace and breaks contact with that checker, making the battle 15 checkers against 14.

So, that means playing the 5 off the 13 point - a good play as it unstacks the midpoint and puts the spare back on the 8. Then, the question is whether to play the deuce by splitting or bringing another checker down from the midpoint. I split here - white has escaped a runner while blue is stuck on the ace point. Moreover, the builders in white's outfield threaten to make a blockade, so getting the runners moving seems to be a priority.

Granted, moving up to the 22 puts that checker utg, but hitting on a deep point isn't as advantageous as hitting on the 4 or 5, so it's not a risky as doing the major split. The alternative, 13/11 strips the midpoint and leaves blus sitting on the ace.

I like to split early, since the longer you wait the more difficult the decision on when to move off the ace becomes. I'd rather make a small error now (assuming splitting is an error) than have to face a much tougher decision later.

24/22 13/8

Steve said...

With 9 chequers in the zone, I think we may have enough to hit loose here, which would take away one of his rolls. After splitting off the ace point, we also have chances of hits next time. So I favour 6-1*, 24-22.