Position 38, page 67
From Better Backgammon, by Tim Holland

White to play 3-1.

The correct play is to move from Black’s bar to Black’s 10 point and from Black’s 12 point to White’s 12 point. You must avoid hitting Black’s blots, for to do so you would be delaying this forward progress, enabling him to maintain a threatening position in his home board.

By not hitting, Black will be forced to move into his inner board and eventually break his board while you are bringing your men around and into your home board. Therefore, when and if you do leave a blot while bearing off, Black’s board will have been destroyed. You needn’t worry about the blot that you have left exposed to being hit by a 1.

If hit, one of three things can happen:

  1. You will fail to enter and Black will continue to be forced to move forward until he eventually opens one or two of the high points in his board, whereupon you simply reenter and resume your movement in preparation to bearing off. This is beneficial for you, for Black’s board will be toothless.

  2. You will enter and be forced to hit Black’s blot on his 2 point. This is not as good, for in effect it is almost the same as if you had hit one of his blots on your previous roll. As I explained before, you do not wish to slow Black’s progress. However, although you have been forced to hit Black’s blot, you also have been slowed down (as a result of having been hit). This more or less makes it a standoff.

  3. You will enter and not hit. In this event the likely progression of the game will be: Black on either his next roll, or the succeeding roll, will be forced to break his board, easing your problem of escape; or you will roll some number which will enable you to move out under your own power.

The possibility of your not being able to escape and at the same time being forced to break your prime is so remote as to warrant little discussion at this moment. Suffice it to say that Black would have to roll several consecutive rolls such as 1 and 2 or 1 and 3, while you, on the other hand, were rolling large numbers without a 6. (A 6 would move your man out of Black’s board.)

18/15, 13/12  *
18/17*/14* x
XG logo
Tom Keith 2013 
Money play
Black owns 2-cube
White rolls 3-1

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

3-1: Game BG   Equity
1 18/17*/14* W
+1.4735 x 
2 18/17*, 13/10 W
+1.4699 (0.0036) 
3 18/14* W
+1.4541 (0.0194) 
4 13/12, 13/10 W
+1.4185 (0.0550) 
5 18/15, 13/12 W
+1.4074 (0.0661)  *

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No. 37, page 65
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No. 39, page 69

List of Positions from Better Backgammon

Better Backgammon (1974), by Tim Holland

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