Newcomer to Tournaments Proves Her Mettle and Luck
Paul Magriel, 1979
New York Times, October 28, 1979
black and white dice The Black and White Chicago Classic Backgammon Tournament, held earlier this month drew a strong field that included several of Europe’s top players. The surprise winner was Barbara Glazer of Kansas City, a comparative newcomer to tournament play.

Her path to victory was not easy. In the first round she upset Arthur Dickman, Florida’s ranking player. After four more victories, she defeated Paul Magriel in the semifinals, then Roger Low of New York, the young international champion, in the finals.

In other sections: Robert Holyon overcame Joseph Suzyn to win the consolations; Kit Woolsey took the last chance; and Marilyn Turner beat Joanne Goulding in the intermediate.

The diagrammed position shows a key turning point in the 21-point finals match. Low (White) had begun the match by rolling well, and established a 10–5 lead. In this game, Mrs. Glazer (Black) had already doubled but now found herself in an awkward position. Despite her lead in the race, she would have great difficulty coming home safely: Low had managed to create a favorable holding position that left her stranded with two outfield points (the 11 and 13). To compound her difficulties, she rolled a 5-1, which forced her to leave a man open and so give White an immediate shot.

Black to play 5-1.
The presure on Mrs. Glazer was now intense. She knew that if she lost this game she would fall further behind in the match and would have a hard time catching up against a player of Low’s caliber. Furthermore, she was aware that substantial prize money was at stake and every move was being scrutinized by a large audience watching on closed-circuit television. Under such circumstances many players would panic and lose their strategic perspective. They would at all costs attempt to minimize the chances of being hit on the next roll. Accordingly they would play 6/1, 3/2, leaving a single man on the 6-point exposed to a direct 1-shot (11 chances out of 36).

Mrs. Glazer, however, calmly studied the position and found a superior alternative. She correctly played 11/6, 11/10, unflinchingly leaving a man exposed on the 10-point to a double direct shot, 5’s and 3’s (25 chances out of 36).

(a) 6/1, 3/2
(b) 11/6, 11/10
If White misses, Black has successfully cleared the 11-point and will have only the 13-point to worry about. More important, if White hits all is not lost. White has two blots (exposed men) in his home board that will give Black return shots. Because Black must prepare to continue after being hit, it is vital that Black maintain a strong home board. By contrast, giving up the 6-point solves no problems and leaves Black in a weakened state. While the game still has so much “play” left, Black cannot afford to begin to destroy her home board and so create a position that is unmanageable and thus ultimately more dangerous.

In the actual game, Low missed the double shot and Mrs. Glazer was fortunate; she came home safely without leaving any additional shots. After winning this game her luck held and Low scored only three more points for the rest of the match — the final score: 21–13.

XG logo
Tom Keith 2013 
Match to 21
White 10, Black 5
White owns 2-cube
Black rolls 5-1

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

5-1: Game BG   Equity
1 11/10, 11/6 W
+0.1917 x  (b)
5 6/1, 3/2 W
−0.0068 (0.1985)  (a)

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