Carl Tait wrote:
> Everyone knows that you fill in gaps when you can't bear off a
> checker, with some odd exceptions based on clumpy distribution
> (and some even odder exceptions where you don't bear off a man
> with a single die even though you can). However, I'm wondering
> if there are some general guidelines for *which* gaps to fill if
> the resulting distributions are the same. For example, suppose
> you have three checkers left, and they're on the 6, 4, and 2 points.
> You have a 1 to play. What should you do?
> The two-checker case is easy to work out: if there's a man on the
> 6-point, move it unless the two checkers would end up on the same
> point. If the 6-point is already clear (or you'd stack up), move
> the lower checker instead. Are there similar rules -- or at least
> heuristics -- for guiding play in the general case?
I worked all this out several years ago, and if I remember correctly the
following rules handled almost all situations correctly:
1) Don't stack
2) Aim for the four point
3) Aim for the ace point
Of course this assumes that you have two rolls to get off. If you need
to get off in the next roll you will have to play for specific doubles,
which may require an otherwise unnatural play.