Strategy--Checker play

Forum Archive : Strategy--Checker play

Blitzing strategy

From:   Michael J. Zehr
Date:   18 July 1997
Subject:   Re: Why lower points better in blitz?
Google:   5qo26j$jll@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU

Fredrik Dahl wrote:
> A blitz is a postion where one side is caught on the bar without an
> anchor, and his opponent rushes to close him out. A successful blitz
> will normally win a gammon or BG. Once 'committed to the blitz' the
> attacker should not care much about the 'purity' of his position. This
> means that deep points are as good as high points in his board. Deep
> points may even be better because the holes in his board will then be
> high and easier to reach with his following echelons of attackers.

Fredrik Engel asked:
> This has been mentioned several times by very strong players, and I can't
> agree with the reson stated above. How can the higher points be easier to
> reach? No matter how you move, you have the same pipcount. (At least
> before the bear off) So If you have made your lower points, you have used
> more pips to get there, so therefore your other checkers are farther
> back.

Here's a concrete example about making low points:

    X     X
X   X     X
X   X     X       X     X
1 2 3 4 5 6   7 8 9 10 11 12

O has two on the bar, X to play a 41.  [Match score is such that gammons
count for X.]

X can make the 2 or the 5 pts.  If X makes the 5pt, X has no rolls that
make a point next turn.  If X makes the 2pt, X has 44 and 64 to make the

Also, after making the 2, X has 5's, 7's, and 9's to hit loose on the 4
point (22 rolls) and 4's, 6's, and 8's to his on the 5 (29 rolls).

After making the 5, X has 1's, 9's and 11's to hit loose on the 2 (18
shots) and 7's and 9's to hit on the 4pt (11 rolls).  (There's more
duplication here than in the above counts as well.)

Against this huge difference in rolls that make points or attack, making
the 5pt is better if O rolls an entering double, or if O anchors
eventually.  (However, although the 5pt anchor is much better for O, O
has greater chances of anchoring on the 2 than on the 5, so it tends to
even out.  O can probably take a double after an entering 55, but not
after a 22, depending on the match score.  But this is only a few

At the table, you don't need to go through the exercise of all this
counting.    All you have to remember is that by making the 2 instead of
the 5, you're bringing ALL your other builders 3 pips closer to one of
the remaining open points.  Put a builder on the 10pt and it becomes
even more of a difference making the 2pt instead of the 5pt.

-michael j zehr
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Strategy--Checker play

Avoiding major oversights  (Chuck Bower+, Mar 2008) 
Bearing off with contact  (Walter Trice, Dec 1999) 
Bearing off with contact  (Daniel Murphy, Mar 1998)  [Long message]
Blitzing strategy  (Michael J. Zehr, July 1997) 
Blitzing strategy  (Fredrik Dahl, July 1997) 
Blitzing technique  (Albert Silver+, July 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Breaking anchor  (abc, Mar 2004) 
Breaking contact  (Alan Webb+, Oct 1999) 
Coming under the gun  (Kit Woolsey, July 1996) 
Common errors  (David Levy, Oct 2009) 
Containment positions  (Brian Sheppard, July 1998) 
Coup Classique  (Paul Epstein+, Dec 2006) 
Cube ownership considerations  (Kit Woolsey, Apr 1996) 
Cube-influenced checker play  (Rew Francis+, Apr 2003)  [GammOnLine forum]
Defending against a blitz  (Michael J. Zehr, Jan 1995) 
Estimating in volatile situations  (Kit Woolsey, Mar 1997) 
Gammonish positions  (Michael Manolios, Nov 1999) 
Golden point  (Henry Logan+, Nov 2002) 
Hitting loose in your home board  (Douglas Zare, June 2000) 
Holding games  (Casual_Observer, Jan 1999)  [Long message]
How to trap an anchor  (Timothy Chow+, Apr 2010) 
Jacoby rule consideration  (Ron Karr, Nov 1996) 
Kamikaze plays  (christian munk-christensen+, Nov 2010) 
Kleinman Count for bringing checkers home  (Øystein Johansen, Feb 2001) 
Late loose hits  (Douglas Zare+, Aug 2007)  [GammOnLine forum]
Mutual holding game  (Ron Karr, Dec 1996) 
Pay now or pay later?  (Stuart Katz, MD, Nov 1997) 
Pay now or pay later?  (Stephen Turner, Mar 1997) 
Pay now or play later?  (Hank Youngerman+, Sept 1998) 
Play versus a novice  (Courtney S Foster+, Apr 2004)  [GammOnLine forum]
Playing doublets  (Grunty, Jan 2008) 
Playing when opponent has one man back  (Kit Woolsey, May 1995) 
Prime versus prime  (Albert Silver+, Aug 2006)  [GammOnLine forum]
Prime versus prime  (Michael J. Zehr, Mar 1996) 
Saving gammon  (Bill Riles, Oct 2009) 
Saving gammon  (Ron Karr, Dec 1997) 
Splitting your back men  (KL Gerber+, Nov 2002) 
Splitting your back men  (David Montgomery, June 1995) 
Trap play problem  (Brian Sheppard, Feb 1997) 
When in doubt  (Stick+, Apr 2011) 
When to run the last checker  (Stick Rice+, Jan 2009) 
When you can't decide  (John O'Hagan, Oct 2009) 

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