The Last Act of a Desperate Man:
4 Exercises in Getting Off the Gammon
"Dr. J," Jeff Ward, 1980
Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine, December 1980

Jeff Ward
In each of the following problems, you are Black and are trying to keep from being gammoned.

As the game draws to a conclusion, each of the two players, Black and White, have several turns left with the dice, beginning with a roll for Black. Your goal is to give Black the best chance to save the gammon at the end of the game.

When it is Black's turn, you decide how to play the roll. Then play White's roll, which in each case will be a forced play. After Black's last turn, determine how many of the 36* possible rolls would save Black from being gammoned should he be lucky enough to get one more turn. The correct answer to the problem is the series of plays that gives Black the most saving rolls.

* A nondouble (such as 4-3) counts as two possible rolls while a double (such as 4-4) counts as one.

Problem 1

 Black Rolls White Rolls 1. 3-3: ? 5-4: (2 checkers off) 2. 6-5: ? 4-3: (2 checkers off) 3. 4-2: ?

Problem 2
 Black Rolls White Rolls 1. 5-5: ? 6-6: (4 checkers off) 2. 5-4: ? 3-2: (2 checkers off) 3. 6-3: ?