Forum Archive :
I often come across the term "pure play", such as
"Bob is making the pure play"
"In the 1970s, pure play was in vogue."
What exactly does "pure play" mean? Thanks!
Casey (fibs alias: ms)
Michael J Zehr writes:
I think if I had to sum it up in one sentence I'd say that pure play
means imagining your opponent doesn't have any checkers on the board
and putting your checkers where you want them.
In more detail, this means making points in the order that you want
them, slotting as necessary, and getting your back checkers moving
early in the game.
Although I haven't heard it discussed this way, I think I'll use the
35 opener as an example. It used to be considered best to bring two
down from the midpoint -- what you want to do is make your 5pt first,
so make the play that gives you the best chance of doing that. You
don't want to make your 3pt because that isn't making your points in
If you get hit a lot while you're bringing down builders and slotting
key points, that's okay because you'll fall back on a "well-timed
something-or-other game." Since you kept your side of the board pure,
with no structural defects, you can win after getting a shot when your
opponent is bearing off.
Another example is hitting on the ace point early in the game. Since
it isn't a point you want to make, putting a checker there is impure.
But after a while some experts starting doing better with a different
style. While their opponent was slotting key points, they would do
things like make the 3pt with a 35 opener. Describing it as trying to
make it painful for your opponent to play purely doesn't do justice to
newer style, but tht's part of it.
Blitzes are not part of playing pure, but blitzing at the right time
works better for you in the long run. (The impurity of blitzing lies
in making the points anywhere in your innerboard, rather than in
order. If your opponent survives the blitz, you have problems because
you have no structural integrity. But if your opponent doesn't
survive the blitz, you chalk up a gammon.)
Because pure play is intended for staying in the game until the very
end and not going for a quick knockout, it's still appropriate at
double match point, for example.
I know this is oversimplification, and maybe I'm just defining
"purity" in terms of "structure" which I havent' really defined, but I
hope this helps get the sense of pure vs. impure play.
Caveat: I give this definition as someone who *wasn't* playing during
the 70's when pure play was in vogue. I'm sure it will be interesting
to contrast my own definition with that of people who have more first
hand experience of the changes in the game.
-michael j zehr
Peter Bell writes:
If I am a pure player, I want to build a prime. I really really
really want to build a prime. Not just any prime, either, but a prime
from my 8-point to my 4-point, with the 9- or 3-point added in later,
if necessary. I already have my 8- and 6-points, so I'm going all-out
to make my bar-, 5-, and 4-points.
If I'm ultra-pure, I make my points in a specific order: 5 first, then
4, then bar. Ultra-pure players might make a move like 6-1: 13/7 6/5.
This is a horrible move. Needless to say, ultra-pure didn't catch on.
Back to pure play. If I can't make one of these key points, I slot
one. If I can't slot, I bring down builders. Using this strategy, if I
don't get hit, I win. The perfect night for a pure player:
Slot/cover, slot/cover, slot/cover = 5-prime. Double out opponent.
If I get hit, that's OK. I keep slotting. If I keep getting hit, I
play a back game. I wait for my opponent's position to collapse, hit
a checker, hit another one later, and win a gammon, or at least a
Sometimes I play defense: I might try to get an advanced anchor to
stop my opponent from playing purely against me.
Good thing about pure play: you can roll an unsophisticated opponent
off the board, game after game.
Bad thing about pure play: it doesn't work very well against talented
Reason to understand and experiment with pure play: it is an excellent
strategy at double match point and other match scores where gammons
don't hurt you, since your equity in a back game is excellent in this
case if your forward game fails.
Peter Bell (USRobots)
- Alphabet soup (Tom Keith, Apr 2004)
- "Anchor and guard" position (Chase+, Apr 2010)
- "Back game" (Marty Storer, Jan 2004)
- "Baffle box" (garyo+, Mar 2005)
- "Bagai position" (Timothy Chow, Dec 2012)
- "Banana split" (Rich Munitz+, June 2011)
- "Banana split" (Adam Stocks+, Sept 2004)
- "Beavers" (Sander van Rijnswou, May 1999)
- "Beavers" (Shuman Lloyd Lee, Aug 1991)
- "Blunder", "whopper" (Raccoon+, July 2005)
- "Bot" (Pit Bull+, Mar 2004)
- "Bronstein" clock setting (rew+, Sept 2012)
- "Calcutta auction" (Roland Scheicher+, Dec 2001)
- "Chouette" (Roland Scheicher+, Mar 2002)
- "Cube provocation play" (Chuck Bower+, Apr 2007)
- "Dance" (William R. Tallmadge, May 1998)
- "Dropper" (Robert D. Johnson, Sept 1996)
- "Duplication" and "diversification" (Simon Woodhead, Nov 1991)
- "Equity" (Gregg Cattanach, Aug 2000)
- "Equity" (Gary Wong, Dec 1998)
- "Equity" (Chuck Bower, Oct 1996)
- "Equity" (Michael J. Zehr, Mar 1996)
- "Equity", "volatility", "claim", "market" (Erik Gravgaard, June 1995)
- "Freeroll" (montygram, Nov 2005)
- "Gammon price" (Ron Karr, Aug 1996)
- "Gammon rate", "gammon price" (David Montgomery, June 1995)
- "Gammon-go" (GG) and "gammon-save" (GS) (Mary Hickey, Feb 2004)
- "Gammon-go" (GG) and "gammon-save" (GS) (Marty Storer, Oct 2002)
- "Gammon-go" (GG) (Chuck Bower, Jan 2004)
- "Golden point" (Daniel Murphy, Dec 2004)
- "Holding game" (Alan Webb+, Dec 1998)
- "In the box" (Ken Bame+, Sept 2012)
- International phrase dictionary (David Allen Sorensen, Sept 1997)
- "Joker" (Richard Divdesman, Sept 1998)
- "Kamikaze play" (Bill Patterson+, June 2011)
- "Kauder paradox" (Carl Tait+, Nov 1995)
- "Latto paradox" (Jean-Pierre Seiman+, July 2004)
- "Lose your market" (Shuman Lloyd Lee+, Aug 1991)
- "MCV" (Mislav Radica+, Oct 2009)
- "PRaT" (Raccoon+, Jan 2007)
- "Phantom double hit" (Marty Storer, May 2010)
- "Polish prime" (Jason Lee+, Jan 2006)
- "Pure play" (Daniel Murphy, Nov 2000)
- "Pure play" (Casey Forrest+, Feb 1996)
- "Raccoon" (Steven Keats, Feb 2011)
- "Root number" (Ken Bame, June 2004)
- "Russian Bridges" (leobueno+, Mar 2013)
- "Short play" (AJ+, July 2012)
- "Speed board" (Gregg Cattanach, June 2004)
- "Splot" (mamabear, Apr 2007)
- "Squeeze", "trap play" (Philippe Michel+, Feb 1997)
- "Suicide play" (Brian Sheppard, Aug 1997)
- "Swing tournament" (Carlo Melzi+, Mar 2006)
- "Table stakes" (Carlo Melzi, Sept 2002)
- "Technical play" (Adam Stocks+, July 2002)
- "Thematic" (Beauregard+, Aug 2009)
- "Thorp count" (Stephen Turner, June 1996)
- "Time," "timing," "checker," "dancing" (Marty Storer, Apr 1992)
- Turkish names for rolls (Lars Soezueer, Mar 1997)
- "Vigorish" (Anthony R Wuersch, Feb 1995)
- "Volatility" (Michael J. Zehr, June 1998)
- "Wash" (Hardy Hübener+, Sept 2004)
- "Wash" (Brian Sheppard, July 1997)
- "Weaver" (Alan Webb+, May 2000)
- "Zone" of attack (Matt Reklaitis+, Dec 2007)