Position 34, page 56
From Better Backgammon, by Tim Holland

White to play 6-6.

The correct play is to move both men from Black’s 12 point to White’s 1 point, hitting Black’s blot. If Black does not enter on his next roll (25 to 11 against entering), you can do the following pleasant things on your next roll:

  1. close your board (10 chances)
  2. hit one of Black’s blots (4 chances — with 6 and 2 you would close your board; therefore I have included those 2 chances above)
  3. move your man on Black’s 1 point to Black’s 12 point (2 chances)
  4. move to Black’s bar point (4 chances)

There are other good rolls, the ramifications of which are complex because they revolve around the possibility of Black’s not entering on his succeeding turn. This would include the rolls of 3 and 1, which would enable you to move one man to your bar point and one man to your 5 point. So, assuming Black does not enter, you will increase your chance of closing your board. With a 3 and 2 you would move from Black’s 1 point to Black’s 3 point and bring an additional builder into your home board on the 5 point.

Rather than go any further, let me say that the only bad roll is double 5s; only 5 and 4 or double 4s will not do some good.

Now let’s assume Black enters on his next roll. If he rolls 2 and 5 (17 to 1 against), you will still have 17 chances to hit one of his blots, any one of which will more than likely win the game.

If he rolls 2 and 1, 2 and 3, 2 and 4, or 2 and 6, your plan should be to hit his blot on your 2 point — unless you are able to hit one of his blots in his outer board. You are a more than 3-to-1 favorite to accomplish this.

If Black rolls double 2s, well — c’est la vie — you’ve probably lost the game.

Now, however, let’s investigate what might happen had you made the play of making your bar point and your 2 point.

Black would then have 24 numbers to make his bar. Your position would then be desperate, since you would need some miracles to get out of his now formidable trap.

Let’s assume Black is unfortunate and does not make his bar; any roll for you that contains a 5 or 4 without a 6 will force you to break your prime, permitting him either to escape or hit any blot you may leave, depending on what you roll and how you elect to play it.

Although it might be enjoyable to continue an analysis of this problem, its solution is fairly cut and dried, and the time has come to move on.

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Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Black owns 2-cube
White rolls 6-6

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

6-6: Game BG   Equity
1 13/1*(2) W
+0.8307 x  *

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List of Positions from Better Backgammon

Better Backgammon (1974), by Tim Holland

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