Bold, Brassy Attack Often a Fine Defense
Paul Magriel, 1978
New York Times, February 16, 1978
The experienced player will always strive to actively create winning opportunities. At a disadvantage, he will usually attempt to create complication rather than drift passively to defeat.

In the diagrammed position, Black is already in serious trouble, even though the game has progressed only three turns. White has escaped with both his back men and thus has achieved a major opening objective. Black, on the other hand, still has two men back on the 24-point behind enemy lines. Furthermore, Black has already fallen behind in the race.

Black to play 6-2.
The obvious play for Black is to strengthen his own position by playing 10/4, 6/4, closing his 4-point. Black will now be in fine shape if he can ever hit White. Unfortunately, Black cannot afford to build his home board first and then hope to get a shot at White. Such passive play would allow White to consolidate his advantage.

The correct play is 24/18, 13/11, boldly stepping out of White’s bar-point. Black voluntarily exposes himself to a quadruple direct shot! This may appear suicidal, after all Black will almost certainly be hit. What justifies such chances?

(a) 10/4, 6/4
(b) 24/18, 13/11
Observe that by being hit Black will lose some ground (7 pips) in the race — but this is not relevant. To win, Black must establish contact with White and hit him. Furthermore note that Black has lost little, even if White makes his 18-point on top of Black — the same combinations make the bar-point whether Black is sitting there or not. Thus the downside risk is largely illusory.

The purpose of this play is not to avoid being hit, but to get the curve shot at White. But coming to the 18-point, Black aims directly at both of White’s exposed blots. With such an action play, Black immediately provokes White. Black expects to be hit — but he also hopes to retaliate.

Black must act now. White wants to consolidate his game and strengthen his position. In particular, White wishes to make the 20-point or 21-point. Instead, Black creates a distraction that keeps White from his own important goals. A blot on the bar-point becomes an annoying “fly in the ointment” that must be dealt with next roll. White cannot allow the blot to remain there because if Black rolls a 6 he would reach a viable position by owning White’s bar-point.

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Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Centered cube
Black rolls 6-2

1296 games with VR
Checker play: 2-ply
Cube play: 3-ply Red

6-2: Game BG   Equity
1 24/22, 13/7 W
−0.4977 x 
2 10/4, 6/4 W
−0.4990 (0.0013)  (a)
3 24/22, 10/4 W
−0.5225 (0.0248) 
4 24/16 W
−0.5244 (0.0267) 
5 24/18, 6/4 W
−0.5341 (0.0364) 
6 24/18, 13/11 W
−0.5411 (0.0434)  (b)

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