Position ID: s90AAg73nAcAEA
Match ID: 8Am2AAAAIAAA
It's the Crawford game in a five point match and Blue leads 4-0.
Yes I see what you mean.
"Only" a 4 and a 6-5 to hit is a lot of only, 17 shots or 47%. "If missed, should get in easily" is also questionable, as only 10 numbers (28%) get you home next turn. Sometimes it is right to take a direct shot when racing a straggler home, but these usually happen when your opponents home board is weak but about to get stronger, which doesn't apply here. Keeping the shots down with 23/18, 6/2 is clearly best. You may be able to hit something next turn to smooth your way home, or find a relatively safe point to land on. I agree that you may have to face more than 17 shots next turn, but you are just as likely to be facing the same or less or even none at all.
Your play is a small but clear error. If it left fewer shots or got you closer to home, it might be right.
Gnu's 2-ply analysis suggests that the two plays are very close (o.010), but a rollout shows that in fact 23/14 is an error costing 0.032. This translates to 52.4 game wins by staying back and 50.8 by running all the way. Can we draw a golden rule from this that stayng back has to be always best? Not really, reduce the shots and get the straggler closer to home, change the home boards a bit, any of these might make leaving the direct shot better or very close to equal. In the end, it's our old friend "pay now or pay later" and all you can do is add up what you risk and what you stand to gain by giving the shots straight away. If you do that and make a mistake, that's fine. It was probably, as here, a close decision anyway. If you fail to add up the hitting numbers and the number of rolls that get you home safely, then you will be making a guess and serve you right if you get it wrong. These crunch positions demand a lot of thought. Don't shirk it.
Have a look at this close relative to our starter position. How would you play 6-5 here?
Position ID: s90ABA73nAcAEA
Match ID: 8Im6AAAAIAAA
Thanks to A. Reader for the position. Until tomorrow, enjoy the game!