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
Match ID: cImqABAAGAAE
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!