Position 46, page 84
From Backgammon for Blood, by Bruce Becker

White to play 3-3.

My recommendation for this throw is also rather novel; none of the other writers suggests playing it this way, but I think it’s a great opener. On a 3-3 throw, I move two men from B12 to W10 and two men from W8 to W5.

One alternative sometimes suggested is to move two men from W8 to W5 and two men from W6 to W3. A second alternative is to move two men from B1 to B4 and two men from W8 to W5.

Let me dispose of this last one first. I dislike it for the reason I have by now made very obvious: I do not want to move from the B1 point this early. And the B4 point is not a strong one to hold in any event.

The first alternative suggested (W8 to W5 and W6 to W3) is a good one, and superficially may even seem more attractive, yet I think my recommendation is preferable.

Both boards are well on their way to being side primes (mine W5 through W10, the alternate W3 through W6), with each having three points covered and a blot on W8. However, the W3 point is actually not very much of an asset at this time. It is not a difficult one to pass, and the men there are, for all practical purposes, out of play. This point is chiefly valuable when your opponent has a man on the bar and, even the, with three points covered against him, he still has a 3 to 1 chance of getting in on his first roll.

On my board, having the W10 point covered gives you tremendous flexibility. These two men are still mobile, if and when you need them. They immediately give you an extra position from which you can build if it is really advantageous, although the value of this point is enhanced by not breaking it up too soon. You have also established another salient base of safety; refuges of this sort can be very important. Further, you have another position from which to hit your opponent’s blot coming out of your inner board, and consequently it acts somewhat like a protecting “Big Brother” to you exposed man on W8, making it more dangerous for your opponent to hit you there that if he hits the same blot on the alternative board.

Another substantial advantage of my recommendation is that you have moved six points closer to your inner board (of the total of seventy-seven you need), and thus enhanced your offensive game while at the same time strengthening your defensive game. It’s nice to have both advantages coincide.

Convinced? If not, be secure in the knowledge that the alternative is, as I said, a good one as well.

One other possibility I’d like to mention is to move two men down from B12 to W7. I don’t like this move as much, simply because it does not place the same pressure on your opponent that the other two possibilities do. I therefore do not recommend it.

13/10(2), 8/5(2)  *
Alt: 8/5(2), 6/3(2) x
Alt: 24/21(2), 8/5(2)
Alt: 13/7(2)
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Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Centered cube
White rolls 3-3

1296 games with VR
Checker play: 3-ply
Cube play: XG Roller

3-3: Game BG   Equity
1 8/5(2), 6/3(2) W
+0.4062 x  Alt
2 24/21(2), 13/10(2) W
+0.3602 (0.0460) 
3 24/21(2), 8/5(2) W
+0.3486 (0.0576)  Alt
4 24/21(2), 6/3(2) W
+0.3414 (0.0648) 
5 13/10(2), 8/5(2) W
+0.2995 (0.1067)  *
6 13/7(2) W
+0.2360 (0.1702)  Alt

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List of Positions from Backgammon for Blood

Backgammon for Blood (1974), by Bruce Becker

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