Position 48, page 78
From Backgammon, the Cruelest Game, by Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw

White to play 5-4.

White bears off his 5 and now has an option of playing one of two 4’s. There is only one correct way of playing this move. If white takes a man off the 4 point, he can be hit with a 4 or a 3. If he moves a man from his 6 point to his 2 point, he can be hit with a 4 or a 5. In each case, the odds of being hit are exactly the same: black is a 5 to 4 favorite to hit.

But if white plays the move correctly — by moving a man down from the 6 point — and black then fails to hit him, on white’s next roll he is a solid 8 to 1 favorite not to leave a blot. The only bad shots are double 5’s and 4’s, and 5-1. Had white played his 5-4 the other way — by taking two men off — there would have been 17 rolls which left blots, and in some cases two of them. White would now be only a 19 to 17 favorite not to leave a blot — much less than 8 to 1. The principle involved here is always to leave your blot high up rather than in the middle of your board if possible. If you are not hit, your next roll will be easier to play.

Not: 5/off, 4/off
5/off, 6/2  *
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Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Black owns 2-cube
White rolls 5-4

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Checker play: 3-ply
Cube play: XG Roller

5-4: Game BG   Equity
1 6/2, 5/off W
−0.1822 x  *
2 5/off, 4/off W
−0.3442 (0.1620)  Not

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No. 47, page 76
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No. 49, page 79

List of Positions from Backgammon, the Cruelest Game

Backgammon, the Cruelest Game (1974), by Barclay Cooke and Jon Bradshaw

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