Just how important is it to make the 5pt? Often we are presented with a choice of making it or using the roll to hit somewhere else. In a different form we also sometimes have the opportunity to make either Golden Point. There are of course no definitive answers. Sometimes it's right and sometimes it's wrong, but today we can have a look at a range of positions, some commonplace, some rare.
Here's a very common one and most of you know this one.
It's always correct to hit, money or match, any score. Hitting gains 20 pips in the race and removes the White slot. Still, many intermediate and beginner players still make their 5pt with this one, wrongly. How about with 1-1? Now making the bar and 5pts is correct and hitting is always wrong, although not by a great deal at some scores.
That was an easy one, so how about this?
Not many people run out with 5-4 or 6-3, so you don't often see this one, but against weak players it can be a good alternate if they don't know how to play 3-1.
Hitting is clearly correct and making the 5pt is an error. What you do with the one is not so clear. I always hit and split, but 13/10*/9 is also quite good.
Much more commonplace is the response when White has made a major split.
For money and at GammonSave, making the 5pt figures to be correct, but at GammonGo and DMP the issue is far from clearcut. I haven't rolled this out (although I will) but at lower levels of evaluation (XG2++) there is nothing to choose between them. A very common mistake here is to make the 4pt with a 4-2, but hitting is correct except at GammonSave where the two plays are very close.
Now let's move on to some more difficult stuff. Here's a position that a student faced and got wrong. What would you have done with this?
Leading 2-0 to 5 Black had this 5-1 to play. Hit? Make the 5pt? Make the 4pt? And if you think that one is hard, try this one!
Here Black, the renowned American expert Paul Weaver, is trailing 4-away, 3-away to Mochy.
As an extra problem, should he double this? If he does and gets a take, how should he play a 4-1?
Take your time, you have a day, possibly two to think about this one! If anybody has actually rolled out Position Three I'd like to hear from you.
Until the next time, enjoy the game!