Position 84, page 166
From The Backgammon Book, by Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford

White to play 4-1.

Position 84 illustrates the possibility of hitting a man on your one point as an attacking play. You roll 4-1. You could play it quietly by making your nine point, but the best way to play it is to hit both his blots with one of the men on your six point. Here is an analysis of his possible replies:

 Number of rolls that enable him to bring both men in and hit your blot 7 Number of rolls that enable him to bring both men in but miss your blot 9 Number of rolls that enable him to bring one man in and hit your blot 4 Number of rolls that enable him to bring one man in but miss your blot 12 Number of rolls that keep both his men on the bar 4 Total possible rolls 36

His only good rolls are double 1, double 2, double 3, and double 5, and not one of these hurts you very much. With double 1 he points on your blot on your one point, and makes his bar point; with double 2 he makes your two point and his four point; with double 3 he makes both three points; with double 5 he enters both men and keeps them going to hit the blot on your ten point.

None of his other thirty-two rolls are much good to him. The twelve that enable him to bring one man in without hitting your blot leave you a definite favorite in the game, while if he rolls 6-6, 6-4, or double 4, and fails to bring either man in off the bar, you will have an excellent moment to double him, and he should refuse.

Now let’s take a detailed look at the plays he could make if you had made the inferior play of making your nine point:

Double 1. He makes his bar point, moves one man from his six to his five point, and brings the man on your one point to your two point.

Double 2. He makes his four point and your five point — a very strong play.

Double 3. He makes his bar point.

Double 4. He has a choice of any number of excellent plays. They’re all so good that we need not discuss their relative merits.

Double 5. He makes his one and three points, leaving you with a man on the bar and himself with a four-point board. You are going to need a very good return roll to stay alive.

Double 6. He makes his bar point, and brings the man on white five point to his eight point.

6-5. He runs from white’s five point to his nine point. He doesn’t want to leave that man on your five point to be hit.

6-4. He has three fair plays. He can make the white five point and expose a blot on his bar point; we favor this move since if you don’t then roll a 6, 5-1, 4-2, or double 3, it will be his game. The other two plays are to run from your five to his ten point (second best, in our judgment), or to make his two point (third best).

6-3. Run from the white five point to his own eleven point.

6-2. Make the white bar point.

5-4. Use the 4 to make the while five point, and reinforce his own eight point.

5-3. Make his three point.

5-2. Run from the white five point to white twelve point.

5-1. Not a good roll. He should either hit your blot on his one point with the 5 (a defensive play to keep you busy) and move the 1 anywhere, or he should play from white five to your ten point and move from his six to his five point.

4-3. Make the white five point, and move a man from the white twelve point to his ten point.

4-2. Two good alternates: He can make his four point, or he can make the white five point and move a man to his eleven point.

4-1. Make the white five point, and move a man from his six to his five point.

3-2. Not a good roll. There are several ways to play it. We have a very slight preference for moving from the white five point to the white ten point.

3-1. Make the white five point.

2-1. Not good. His best play is to move his man on the white one point to the three point, and a man on his six point to his five point.

Make careful note of the great difference between the two ways you could play the 4-1 in Position 84. If you make the aggressive play we recommend, your opponent then has four good rolls, sixteen nondescript rolls, twelve bad rolls, and four disastrous rolls. If you make the conservative play, he has only eight poor rolls (6-4, 5-1, 3-2, and 2-1), while his other twenty-eight rolls are either good or very good.

Conservative: 13/9, 10/9 Aggressive: 6/5*/1*
Rollout

Tom Keith 2013
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