Backgammon Articles

Blot-Hitting Contests
by Bill Robertie
Posted on the Two Plus Two Backgammon Forum, April 2, 2009.

You know the scenario: Either you slot your opponent's five point in the opening or he slots yours. A blot hitting contest ensues.

If you slot, avoid a hit, and then cover you have an edge and the blot hitting contest ends before it begins but what if he hits? Do we ever stop hitting before somebody makes whatever five point is in question?

No one has any incentive to stop a blot-hitting contest, once started.

Suppose Black opens with a 2-1 and plays 13/11 6/5. For simplicity, let's call Black the slotter and White the defender.

The defender always wants to hit to stop the slotter from making a key point, and to gain ground in the race.

The slotter always wants to hit back because he wants to hit, and he wants to make a valuable point, and he wants to stop the defender from making a good anchor, and because each time he had a checker hit he fell further behind in the race, and thus his risk associated with being hit again keeps dropping.

So both sides have every incentive to keep the blot-hitting going until the issue is resolved when someone actually makes the point.

Blot-hitting contests lead to the most interesting games.

If you have several men back and a nice play on the other side of the board, you can certainly pause to consolidate at a certain point. Take a look at this position, for example:

Position 1.
Money game. Black to play.

Here I would play as follows:

4-3: bar/21, 8/5*
5-3: bar/20, 23/20
3-2: bar/22, 23/21

If I've got something really good to do, I can postpone hitting.

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