Friday, 30 December 2011
A Reader Asks.....
While we wait for the super computer at Dorbel HQ to process the millions of entries received for the Christmas Quiz, here's an interesting query from a reader trying out XG2 for the first time.
"I'm analysing a three point match, it's 1-1 and the analysis says that White should double here, even though she is an underdog in the game. Why is this?"
This is of course our old friend the 2-away, 2-away scoreline, which everybody claims to understand, yet so few below the expert level do. It is, so the experts say, always correct to double at the first opportunity. So, when White started this game with 3-2 and (correctly) played 24/21, 13/11, Black had an optional double, even though he was a very slight underdog. He should do this because he has nothing to lose by doubling. If he refrains from doubling, White will on her turn double anyway and Black will still have a take.
In the position above, XG says that White should double from the bar. This is because even if White dances, Black should double and White should still take! So, White can't lose by doubling, but what can she gain? If she rolls 4-4 and makes the best play, which is bar/17*, 21/17, 13/9 (not an easy play to find!) and Black rolls 6-6, White has actually lost her market and Black should pass!
If you play below expert level (98% of players), then doubling immediately at this score figures to be right for you. Occasionally it will be a minute mistake, of the order of 0.002 points, but not doing it risks making a much bigger mistake later, so turn it at the first legal opportunity. If you are an expert and playing somebody much weaker than yourself, you can get some mileage from delaying it in the hope of an incorrect pass later or occasionally even playing on until the end for an undoubled gammon! Don't try this at home kids! Trust me, at 2-away, 2-away, turn the cube immediately, even if your opponent starts with a 3-1. It's always correct.
Until the next time, enjoy the game!